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There's something I've been noticing sort of passively as of late: a lot of questions being posted have only one tag. This was a bit of a gut-feeling impression I had, so I glanced over the most recent 5 pages of questions. I'd guesstimate that at least 50% of them have only 1 tag, probably more.

Now it's conceivable that there could be a question that only 1 tag applies to. I doubt that's the case for this many questions, though. Tags are for categorization, and we should be using them as much as possible. If multiple tags apply, we should use them; and if the OP hasn't included a tag that applies, we should edit to reflect.

I've really just been looking at tags out of the corner of my eye, and not paying enough attention to them. I think that needs to change though. I call upon my fellow ELL users to help tag our questions more completely!

The Plan:

  1. When you view a new question (especially if the question has only 1 tag), compare its tags to the question's content. If another tag applies, add it.
  2. Go back through old questions too, and do the same thing! If a question has 2-3 tags, it's probably sufficiently tagged. If you have time and want to check those too, that's great! But our question count is manageable enough right now that if we go through all 700 questions, check the ones with 1 or 2 tags, and update them, we'll have a more well-tagged question base and it shouldn't take that long if we all pitch in.
  3. When you ask a question, really think about the tags! Don't just pick 1 that applies so you're allowed to post the question. If more than one tag applies, use it! Tagging will become even more important as our question base expands, so it's a good idea to start with good habits now.
  4. I don't mean to say we should use tags that don't apply, just for the sake of having more than one tag on a question. But let's make sure nothing else applies before we press the "submit" button, and when we view others' questions!

So, let us go forth and retag! Who's with me?

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    +1, I'm with you. – user114 Mar 7 '13 at 18:00
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    OK, but it should not be necessary to move re-tagged questions to the top of the question list, as is happening now. I would worry that some new questions will be not be seen amongst them, especially if a lot are done at one time. Going forward, of course its important to tag questions correctly while still active. I wonder, is it possible to require 2 tags min. per question, when initially entered? – user485 Mar 7 '13 at 19:50
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    @user3169: If the Great Retagging of 2013 results in a lot of questions being active, any user can sort by Newest to get the latest questions. – J.R. Mar 7 '13 at 22:01
  • Will do, thanks. Related, do added comments move the question up the list, to the position of the time the comment was entered? – user485 Mar 8 '13 at 0:41
  • @user3169 Some questions admit only one tag: I think specifically of word-request and phrase-request and [difference]. People may add tags like verbs or nouns to these requests, but the questions are really of such narrow scope that they are ordinarily of no use to anyone looking for information about anything except the actual words involved. I delete these secondary tags, unless there is something in an answer that is of more general utility: the point of a tag is to find useful answers. – StoneyB on hiatus Mar 9 '13 at 12:25
  • One purpose of tags is to help people find questions using search engines. A single tag (whichever is most popular) is added to the title of the page, unless that tag is already part of the title. This shows up in search engines. See meta.stackexchange.com/a/163409 for more information. – snailplane Mar 9 '13 at 13:23
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    Put number 3. in the FAQ – mcalex Mar 9 '13 at 18:07
  • If there's any tags that ought to be used but aren't being used, maybe they should be noted in an "answer" to this question. – Andrew Grimm Mar 12 '13 at 6:04
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OK, I'll volunteer. But let's be methodical about it, or we'll all end up retagging the same questions, and some will be overlooked.

I undertake to re-tag have re-tagged every question asked in January - that's the first 204 questions.

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    StoneyB, you are the best! Thank you so much :) You're right that being methodical is a good idea--I'll take February 1st through 15th to start, and come back to grab more if others haven't chipped in by the time I'm through! – WendiKidd Mar 8 '13 at 19:38
  • @WendiKidd Work's really, really slow this week. – StoneyB on hiatus Mar 8 '13 at 19:39

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