I noticed (or re-noticed, studies say people's attention span on the internet decreases by . . . Oh I love that GIF, it never gets old) that we have an Editor's Lounge. Nice.

There have been previous attempts at retagging stuff, but have failed. I thought the reason was a lack of interest, but it really is just that we don't know how to edit. When I'm editing,

  • I don't know what tags to put instead of the damned . is almost just as bad. , eh, probably.
  • I don't exactly know how to rewrite a poorly written title. I feel weird when a lot of my edited titles now look like "is X correct?"
  • I don't know how to use formatting, exactly. Should I use blockquotes for example sentences, backticks, bold, italics, or what? What about dictionary definitions? Consistency isn't a must, but it stops havoc from being wrecked and makes you feel nice.
  • Heck, I don't even know if I should edit the learner's grammar. Meta is divisive about this.

[Editorial note: Edits welcome to add more bullet points.]

Each of the answers below cover one of the bullet points.


2 Answers 2


Fixing up the tags

The purpose of tags is not to completely describe every nuance of the question. Tags should make it easy for people that are interested in answering or reading the answers to that question to find it.

It's not good for questions to have only one really general tag, like or .

It isn't the end of the world if you choose the wrong tag, or if a question isn't tagged perfectly for a few days. Do the best you can, and if you're unsure, link the question in the Editor's Lounge and get some help from the community.

One of the reasons it can be hard to choose tags is because many of our tags don't have descriptions. If you find a tag with no description that you think might fit, look at the other questions that have that tag applied to see how it is being used.

  • This post was actually an excuse to make a list of what tags exactly we shouldn't use and what tags we should. I'll expand on your answer after I'm done with the list, if you're okay with that.
    – M.A.R.
    Feb 4, 2017 at 13:08
  • @M.A.R. Sure - I made it a community wiki because It's just a strawman. Change it completely if you like!
    – ColleenV
    Feb 4, 2017 at 13:09

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Use > to create blockquotes for example sentences, and quotes from sources, including, but not limited to, dictionary definitions, grammar articles, quotes from Google Books, etc.

> If John will really come to my house tomorrow, I can make dinner for three.

which becomes

If John will really come to my house tomorrow, I can make dinner for three.

Use --- or ___ to create a gray line to give your answer an organized feeling and divide it into sections. Lines have been used to divide this very answer into different sections.

To distinguish between use and mention, you can either use blockquotes for large pieces of text, or for inline use, use italics (enclose the text within asterisks (*) or underscores).

Like this when it's a large piece of text, such as a sentence.

But like this (*like this* or _like this_) for inline use.

Use em- and en-dashes whenever appropriate. The codes for each are — (which produces —) and – (which produces –), respectively.

hyphen: em-dash and en-dash
en-dash: The years 1950–2000
em-dash: Using appropriate punctuation for the situation—em-dash, en-dash, or hyphen—makes your writing easier to understand.

To create a new line, insert two spaces after the end of the previous line or use <br/>. If you don't, the SE editor will not insert a new line.

> This is a line of text. This is another line of text.

without spaces, becomes

This is a line of text. This is another line of text.

and with two spaces after the first "text", it becomes

This is a line of text.
This is another line of text.

Make sure you remove the space before punctuation mark, and make sure the post is punctuated correctly.

  • 1
    Regarding use-mention, I find a clean visual appearance from using quotation marks (") or block quotations (> ) for text taken from outside a particular post, italics (* or _) for mention of words or phrases, as well as for examples, and bold (** or __) for words or phrases within a larger example that are the ones being discussed, defined, or explained.
    – brainchild
    Jul 23, 2020 at 5:28

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