This may be a naive question, but why are some users manually retagging all the questions?

I don't want to discuss if it's necessary or not. Let's assume it is.

But all the questions must be in a database. It's a matter of a (maybe not simple) query to remove the grammar tag.

Of course, when it is done manually, one can add some new tags which are more appriopriate. But what is the point in doing that for questions which were active a year ago.

I'd propose the follwing alogorithm:

  1. For all the questions which are older that 2 months (this value can be changed) remove the grammar tag.

  2. If a question has no tags (the grammar tag was the only one), manually add some tags.

  3. Manually remove the grammar tag for the rest of the questions (this is optional, we could deal with all questions in the first two bullet points).

I'm sorry if it's a dumb question, but automating this process would save a lot of time. Why can't be it (or isn't it being) done?

Edit: I didn't mean to ofend you, M.A.R., or anyone else, or undermine your work. I didn't say you have to do as I suggested, but I asked why you haven't been doing in that way.

It seems normal to me that when I see something I don't understand, I try to figure it out on my own and if I fail, I ask people who have much more expertise and experience than me. It doesn't matter whether it's a solution on a website or a detector of an unusual shape or a suprising solution in a data aqusition system. I can always learn something from that.

So I am sorry if I somehow offended you - I did not mean that.

  • 2
    I think the tag system is probably a lost cause at this point. The entire tag set needs revamping, there are too many questions to retag, and there's too much disagreement about what should be done and resistance to any changes that would help. Plus, we need at least one moderator to help with renaming and synonymizing tags, and I don't think any of the moderators recognize that or agree that most of the tags on ELL are bad and need fixing.
    – user230
    Jan 1, 2016 at 22:50
  • I don't want to discuss which tags need fixing and so on. As far as I understand, some moderators decided to retag the questions. And they have been doing so for at least a day and I think that much longer. No matter how bad or good the tagging system is, the questions must be stored in a database and there must be someone who runs this database who can remove a tag in few minutes. Jan 2, 2016 at 0:31
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    No, it was just some regular users. I think only one of the three moderators (Maulik) has weighed in publicly on the grammar tag debate, and he's in favor of keeping the tag. Anyway, of course the tag can be removed programmatically, but I don't think it will be. The terms are burnination for removing the tag from all questions, and blacklisting for preventing anyone from adding it to any questions ever again.
    – user230
    Jan 2, 2016 at 0:48
  • OK, but why won't it be done programatically? It would save a lot of time. Jan 2, 2016 at 0:57
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    In most cases, questions tagged with grammar alone are tagged poorly. People want to replace it with better tags, not just remove it from each question. Actually removing it doesn't help us find any questions more easily; it's the retagging that is supposed to help.
    – user230
    Jan 2, 2016 at 1:19
  • OK, I see your point. And what about questions which aren't tagged with grammar alone? Are they also tagged poorly? If they have at least two more tags, they should be sufficiently well to let us find questions easily. Jan 2, 2016 at 1:27
  • 1
    That may be so. Maybe someone could put together a random sample of questions that meet your criteria and see if that's the case. We could also put together a query to check how many questions would become untagged or have only one tag if the tag were burninated.
    – user230
    Jan 2, 2016 at 1:28
  • I checked some "randomly chosen" questions with the grammar tag. And for suprisingly many of them this is the only tag or one of two tags. I got it. Thanks. Jan 2, 2016 at 1:32

1 Answer 1


In general on SE, there's considerable resistance to auto-burninating a tag. Partly this is because it requires developer time to set up (not just ♦ mod time), but partly it's because it's a very blunt instrument for a very important thing. Most of the time, there's a variety of actions needed for different questions with the same bad tag. Some need to be closed, some retagged with different tags (often not especially easy to determine ahead of time, and sometimes a large variety of possible new tags makes that impossible — as with something like ), some thoroughly edited, and some can get away with merely removing the tag.

Automatic burnination removes the information the site's users had for doing all that efficiently. At best, it leaves some questions with until they're fixed … without any clue in revision history or elsewhere what the previous bad tag was.

So unless the tag is a) absolutely worthless for categorizing questions in any useful fashion at all (e.g. on Stack Overflow) and b) actively drawing in poorly-tagged questions daily, overwhelming manual attempts at cleanup, true automatic burnination isn't going to happen.

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