I have compiled a list of tags and our possible future decisions about them, which may be subject to change. The primary objective is to decide the fate of tags tagged with "maybe".

Among those tags are , , , , (Obviously, one of these two should go), , , , , and , order by the number of questions tagged.

Do we want these tags, considering the fact that we already have , , , and well, a ?

On one hand, English really has only two tenses, and the latter set of tags more closely resembles the linguistic distinction between tense and grammatical aspect. On the other hand, a great proportion of learners are only familiar with the former set, and repeatedly utter things like "the present perfect continuous tense".

  • 1
    I think for ELL it's more important to use the same terminology that most EFL teachers are using and less important to be linguistically precise.
    – ColleenV
    Feb 5, 2017 at 13:30
  • Colleen I would normally agree, but does that mean we have to expect to have 16 tags instead of 5 in the future? That's a bit messy, exactly what we want to fix.
    – M.A.R.
    Feb 5, 2017 at 13:33
  • We need users to be able to reasonably choose their own tags and be able to narrow their search with tags. If there is no present-perfect, they will create one instead of finding present-tense or perfect-aspect. What's important is that the questions are grouped. If everyone understood what questions xyzzy would have, it wouldn't matter that it wasn't a real word.
    – ColleenV
    Feb 5, 2017 at 13:41
  • OK. So you say we get rid of the latter group? Fine by me.
    – M.A.R.
    Feb 5, 2017 at 13:46
  • I think it would be easier if we could come up with an explicit proposal, like I did in meta.ell.stackexchange.com/q/3343. There are a ton of questions represented by these tags, and I'm having a hard time understanding what value we would get out of touching all of those questions because I don't really understand the different options you're proposing. What does "get rid of" mean? Blacklisting? Making synonyms?
    – ColleenV
    Feb 5, 2017 at 14:01
  • @Colleen I was thinking of removing redundant tags first, and one of the two sets is redundant. Blacklisting is of course reserved for cases where we're sure the tags will come back. Please edit my question as you see fit.
    – M.A.R.
    Feb 5, 2017 at 14:03
  • OK, let me think about it a little bit and I will add an answer that I think is the first step.
    – ColleenV
    Feb 5, 2017 at 19:23

2 Answers 2


I have been thinking about this and trying to come up with some way to rearrange these tags and honestly I don't think this is a good place to start with the clean-up. Each of these tags when applied to a question is meaningful, even though there is some redundancy. I think it would be better to find tags that are applied to questions that are so different they shouldn't be grouped together (like questions before and ) or to find questions for/remove tags that are only applied to a few questions or to add more specific tags to questions that just aren't grouped at all (like the ones that have just the grammar tag).

I think if we look at the tags without looking at the questions they're applied to, we would find lots of cases like the aspect/tense tags where it seems really messy and in need of fixing, but I don't think that sort of clean-up would get us a lot of bang for our buck. I would like to take a different approach that comes from the perspective of finding questions better tags.

For example, we could look at the questions tagged with and see if we can't get them folded into a more specific tag that has some guidance on what sorts of questions it should be applied to. If we find that it's difficult to find proper tags for these questions, then we should figure out if we need to make new tags, or make some synonyms.

I think by focusing on a set of questions instead of a set of tags we can simultaneously improve our question categorization, learn by doing which types of questions should be tagged with certain tags, and can work on continuously improving the site instead of a few folks burning themselves out with massive retagging efforts that don't really "stick".

  • Hmm, so you say we deal with the obvious cases first? Makes sense. I actually can mark tags that are obviously redundant and there's no doubt they should go. We can start from there, which would include ~120 questions.
    – M.A.R.
    Feb 7, 2017 at 18:09
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    @M.A.R. The continuous tag might be a good one to start with. I think tags with around a hundred or fewer questions and no description could almost all use some attention.
    – ColleenV
    Feb 7, 2017 at 18:22

Get rid of the rather new tag called future simple. It's nonsense. English does not have a future tense. It has over a dozen ways to refer to future time.

  • I might agree that it's nonsense, but my agreeing isn't enough approval to get the tag removed. +1, but I think, to get the necessary exposure, you need to open up another meta post tagged with [discussion][tags].
    – M.A.R.
    Apr 26, 2017 at 4:35
  • @M.A.R. apparently someone actually did something about the tag, i.e. deleted it. hopefully it wont be revived. Apr 27, 2017 at 1:21
  • Anyone with edit privileges can get rid of a tag, just take it off of all of the questions it's on and wait for it to be purged. There was a post here on meta somewhere that had the exact time that happens, but it happens once a day. @M.A.R.
    – ColleenV
    Apr 28, 2017 at 16:19

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