Last time it became evident to everyone that a big problem in choosing what tags and tag names to use is that linguistic terminology is incomprehensible for a lot of ELLs while simple and understandable tag names tend to be more popular among even avid askers.

Well, in an attempt to (re-)organize our tags we need to choose one way or the other. The disadvantage of using "simple" tag names is that they're unlikely to cover everything — after all, there's a reason linguists use a special system of terminology. The disadvantage of using sophisticated linguistic terminology is many learners won't understand the tag names.

But an idea just hit me today. We could make a glossary of the linguistic terms we would use as tag names (on main or here) so that learners would know which tag to use. Ideally, it would also be linked in our Ask Question page. Tag wikis would be good, but they're scattered info and they can't focus on the amount of tags we want.

  • Should we make this glossary?
  • Where should it be? Meta.ELL or ELL itself?
  • If you like this idea, please feel free to develop it! What else do you suggest?
  • I'm not sure how useful it would be for tags in particular, but I think a glossary would be an excellent and wonderful resource for users to read and enjoy. Dec 16, 2015 at 14:37
  • 1
    This is a good idea. It would help us populate the tag wikis. (I am frequently surprised by how many tag wikis are empty.) Unfortunately, I doubt it will help many learners apply "good" tags to their posts. As our host (Joel Spolsky) pointed out, "Users don't read [help text]."
    – Jasper
    Dec 16, 2015 at 16:01
  • I don't understand why we would recreate a resource that already exists in lots of other places on the Internet. The tag wiki should explain the meaning of the tag, and it's easy to browse all of the tags and read their wikis.
    – ColleenV
    Dec 16, 2015 at 16:41
  • 2
    @Colleen we should have something more available, shorter, and more written in a layman way for learners. Other resources on the internet are primarily written for linguists and look intimidating to a learner that doesn't know what they are. Furthermore, when applying tags, a learner doesn't know what the name of the tag they should choose is, hence this stops them from being able to search for those terms.
    – M.A.R.
    Dec 16, 2015 at 20:06
  • But if they don't know how to browse the tags, how will they know a glossary exists? I'm still not understanding how this will work better than clear tag wikis and appropriate tag synonyms. Personally I don't expect learners to pick all the right tags for their questions. It's difficult enough to phrase a question in a language you're learning without needing to also categorize it with the right concepts.
    – ColleenV
    Dec 16, 2015 at 22:31
  • Tag wikis are scattered, and reading all of them will take a lot of time and effort. We would link the glossary somewhere visible. Some sites even have something that pops up when you try to choose tags and tells you some relevant info. (e.g. movies.SE) And the thing is, we're trying to organize tags, and remove bad and not useful tags. To do so, we need precisely scoped tags that'd obviously be linguistic terms. This would lead to more confusion in learners if we don't write a brief note on what the heck the tag name is supposed to mean. :)
    – M.A.R.
    Dec 16, 2015 at 22:36
  • And getting tag wikis right is really hard. The tags that most need wikis often remain without one.
    – M.A.R.
    Dec 16, 2015 at 22:37
  • @Ϻ.Λ.Ʀ. I don't understand how filling out the tag wikis and having learners use this view: ell.stackexchange.com/tags is more work or less effective than creating a whole new post with a glossary and maintaining it. If the glossary is supposed to help learners choose tags, wouldn't it make sense to associate the explanations with the tags?
    – ColleenV
    Dec 17, 2015 at 17:51
  • @Colleen reading tag wikis gets numerous clicks, while reading the post needs one. And tag wikis should/tend to be specialized and elaborate, while we want a short, five-minute read on that post.
    – M.A.R.
    Dec 17, 2015 at 19:23
  • @Ϻ.Λ.Ʀ. Number of clicks is not a complete measure of usability. I know I'm a party pooper, but I have three decades of experience in online communities and I know how this turns out. Folks with good intentions decide to create a resource they believe will be useful, but it never really gets finished, few people use it, and all that hard work goes for naught. A big red flag here is that none of the folks you believe this will help have asked for this problem to be solved. Where are all the meta questions by learners about how difficult it is to choose tags or understand the terms?
    – ColleenV
    Dec 17, 2015 at 22:38
  • Hmm, @Colleen you do have a point. I'll think more about this.
    – M.A.R.
    Dec 18, 2015 at 7:35


You must log in to answer this question.

Browse other questions tagged .