This is more a suggestion than a question, though answers and comments are welcome.

In question What should the tag wikis contain?, Robin suggests the preferred content for tag wikis. Unfortunately, most tags I checked did not have any wiki.

I added several tag wikis, and felt like suggesting this to other colleagues as well. I believe at least the top-20 tags must have wikis.

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We can use some help for setting-up tag-wikis:

We need your help to make the page 1 and page 2 tags great — so please pitch in and contribute a tag wiki excerpt or edit a tag wiki excerpt to make it better. To invite editing, there’s a small edit link that will dynamically appear as you mouse over the tags page if you have enough reputation.

Here’s a few words of advice on writing tag wiki excerpts:

  1. The excerpt is the elevator pitch for the tag. You only have ~500 plain text characters for the excerpt, so don’t feel obligated to cover everything in it! Save that for the 30,000+ character Markdown tag wiki. The excerpt should define the shared quality of questions containing this tag — boiled down to a few short sentences.
  2. Avoid generically defining the concept behind a tag, unless it is highly specialized. The “email” tag, for example, does not need to explain what email is. I think we can safely assume most internet users know what email is; there’s no value in a boilerplate explanation of email to anyone.
  3. Concentrate on what a tag means to your community. For “email” on Server Fault, mention the server aspects of email including POP3, SMTP, IMAP, and server software. For “email” on Super User, mention desktop email clients and explicitly exclude webmail, as that would be more appropriate for webapps.stackexchange.com.
  4. Provide basic guidance on when to use the tag. In other words, what kinds of questions should have this tag? Tags only exist as ways of organizing questions, so if we don’t provide proper guidance on which questions need this tag, they won’t get tagged at all, rendering the tag excerpt moot. Think of it as a sales pitch: in a room full of tags screaming “pick me!”, what would convince a question asker to select your tag?


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  • $\begingroup$ Kaveh: why not add a system message about this ? $\endgroup$ – Suresh Venkat Mar 26 '11 at 5:17
  • $\begingroup$ Do they really think that this is an enhancement? $\endgroup$ – Tsuyoshi Ito Mar 26 '11 at 19:45
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    $\begingroup$ @Tsuyoshi: Yes, I think it would be nice if the page cstheory.stackexchange.com/tags looked nice. $\endgroup$ – Jukka Suomela Mar 27 '11 at 15:06
  • $\begingroup$ @Suresh, I don't know what to write in the system message. $\endgroup$ – Kaveh Mar 28 '11 at 22:34
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    $\begingroup$ something like "help contribute to tag wikis' with a link to the tags page and/or meta discussion of tag wikis ? $\endgroup$ – Suresh Venkat Mar 29 '11 at 6:09
  • $\begingroup$ @Suresh, I tried "Please consider helping us in making the tags pages better by contributing to the tag wikis. Read more." but the links didn't work as I expected. Should I use HTML for the links? $\endgroup$ – Kaveh Mar 29 '11 at 19:50
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    $\begingroup$ yes. you need to use HTML for linking: not the system we have here. $\endgroup$ – Suresh Venkat Mar 29 '11 at 19:55

List of high priority tags for creating tag-wikis:

highly used tags

tags like [soft-question], [big-picture]:

top level arXiv tags

highly misused tags

  • advice (it is a complexity concept and should not be used for requesting advice on something)

tags which should not be tags

  • $\begingroup$ Well said, Kaveh! $\endgroup$ – M.S. Dousti Nov 15 '10 at 18:49
  • $\begingroup$ I took care of the advice tag ;) $\endgroup$ – M.S. Dousti Nov 15 '10 at 19:11
  • $\begingroup$ We should rename the advice tag to something less confusing, if there are any good suggestions. $\endgroup$ – Peter Shor Nov 16 '10 at 3:38
  • $\begingroup$ @Peter: I don't know what to use in place of advice, but if you have suggestion we can post a tag merge/synonym request. $\endgroup$ – Kaveh Nov 16 '10 at 4:49
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    $\begingroup$ [advice] -> [non-uniform] perhaps? $\endgroup$ – Jukka Suomela Nov 16 '10 at 10:29
  • $\begingroup$ Multiple tags? advice-Karp-Lipton ... quantum-advice ... advice-(fillinblank) $\endgroup$ – Aaron Sterling Nov 16 '10 at 18:20
  • $\begingroup$ Sorry to interrupt fellas, but why not discuss [advice] in a new topic? I think we are going off-topic here. $\endgroup$ – M.S. Dousti Nov 16 '10 at 20:19
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks to Kaveh, who started the new topic here: meta.cstheory.stackexchange.com/q/666/873. $\endgroup$ – M.S. Dousti Nov 19 '10 at 19:37
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    $\begingroup$ @Peter, @Joe, it would be great if one of you could write a tag wiki for quantum computing. $\endgroup$ – Kaveh Mar 15 '11 at 4:50
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    $\begingroup$ @Dave Clarke, could you please write a tag wiki for pl.programming-lang? $\endgroup$ – Kaveh Mar 15 '11 at 4:52

There are restrictions on editing tag-wikis. For example, I want to add the following to [tag-removed] but I can't, and I don't think anyone other than moderators can edit it since there are not really answered:

This tag should only be used when there are no other appropriate tags. If you remove tags from a question and can't find any suitable tag to add, use [tag-removed]. The tag should not be combined with other tags. This tag is not intended to be used for closed question, please don't replace the tags on a closed question if the current tags assigned to the question are appropriate. (Please try to replace tags with [tag-removed] only when the question is already on the front page.)

We may also want to add something like this: (this is a trick used by moderators on MO to avoid bumping up questions when moderators get rid of tags which shouldn't be tags in the first place, for example meta-tags like: [math], [cs], [general], [advanced], ...)

[tag-removed] is also used by moderators to silently get rid of a tag which should not exists by merging the tag with [tag-removed]. Please remove [tag-removed] when it is combined with other tags (try to be gentle and avoid removing [tag-removed] aggressively from questions which are not on the front page.)


There is nothing wrong with writing tag wikis if someone wants to. That said, I do not find it “unfortunate” that many tags lack wiki.

For some tags, it is very desirable to have some explanation. For example, the meaning of the tag is unclear to those who are not familiar with the complexity class QMA, but renaming it to something like “quantum-merlin-arthur” makes the meaning of the tag less clear to those who are familiar with the concept, so using the tag wiki (actually its one-line summary which is shown on the question list page) is very appropriate. Another example is ; renaming it to “constraint-satisfaction-problem” might have been better, but the system does not support this long tag.

Some tags have closely related tags which may be more appropriate for particular questions (such as , to which is a possible alternative). Other tags deserve some explanation of usage (such as and ). I do not think that tag wiki is a very effective place to write this kind of explanation, but we do not have many choices anyway, so I think that writing tag wiki is one of the best options available.

Other than these cases, it seems to me that tag wiki is completely optional. As I said, there is nothing wrong with writing tag wikis if someone wants to, but I do not think that tag wiki is very much needed.

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