I am wondering when I would be able to make tags. I just asked question on the main site regarding the difference between "may" and "can". Prior, to asking the question I reviewed couple of related questions that have already been asked on the ell. I noticed it is not a bad idea to have tags like

and so, on. What is your takes on this? Thanks.

  • 2
    How many questions have you identified for each of those tags? I think we need to be careful that we don't create tags just to fill in gaps in the categories; they should actually group related questions together. My rule of thumb is to not create a new tag unless I can find around 10 questions it will help group or if it is a concept that is hard to express with a set of existing tags, like the late-modern-english.
    – ColleenV
    May 12, 2020 at 12:43
  • For example, tourism is applied to exactly one question. It serves no purpose at all except to make it seem like ELL is a good place to ask how to say things when you're on vacation in an English speaking country maybe? (Well, it doesn't have any questions now that I've edited it, but it's still a good example of why making tags with only one question at hand to apply them to doesn't work)
    – ColleenV
    May 12, 2020 at 12:55
  • @ColleenV I skimmed, but I think there were less than ten directly related questions.
    – Cardinal
    May 12, 2020 at 15:27
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    It's just a general rule, if you can find a set of questions (even if it's only 5) that you think would benefit from being grouped together (related and not duplicates), then you should propose the tag creation, what the tag wiki should read, and list the questions you would think need it. I'm sure you could convince someone with the privilege to create it.
    – ColleenV
    May 12, 2020 at 15:35
  • @ColleenV I am not sure what to make of the harry-potter tag. It isn't exactly a one-question tag, but hasn't expanded to serve wide purposes either. One active user has been asking a lot of questions from the internationally popular fantasy series, but I wonder if tags for the KJV Bible, or Alice's Adventures in Wonderland are also in order. Btw, is there a way I can see a tag's history, like when was it created and by what user?
    – Eddie Kal
    May 13, 2020 at 16:40
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    @EddieKal In my opinion it is a bad tag and should be done away with. The English in Harry Potter novels isn't any different from other novels of similar quality. The purpose of tags is not to describe the question. It's to help people find related (in terms of the English, not the content) questions. I've learned to pick my battles with tags though...
    – ColleenV
    May 13, 2020 at 16:41
  • Also, random tip - when you're looking at the tags and you see a bunch of bad tags but they have zero questions (like grammer) those are synonyms for better tags... Non-synonym tags with zero questions get deleted once a day.
    – ColleenV
    May 13, 2020 at 16:45
  • @ColleenV I see. So does it mean I don't have to and/or there is no way to manually destroy a tag? Case in point: Harry Potter. What I need to do is remove the tag from those questions under it, and the tag will disappear the next day?
    – Eddie Kal
    May 13, 2020 at 16:55
  • 1
    @EddieKal Yes, manually removing the tag and waiting is the way to handle those tags. If it's a matter of renaming and creating a synonym, like pastt->past-simple there's a more automated way for moderators to do that. You can also enlist the community to help retag by posting on Meta and featuring it (if you think there is enough consensus to remove it).
    – ColleenV
    May 13, 2020 at 17:12

1 Answer 1


You can create tags since you have (way) more than 300 reputation. The question is: should you? This is what the help center says:

When should I create new tags?

Most common tags already exist on a mature site. You should always favor existing tags; only create new tags when you feel you can make a strong case that your question does cover a new topic that nobody else has asked about before on this site.

IMHO the tag already covers this (especially when combined with ):

This tag is for questions which a dictionary cannot answer about the several possibilities available for a particular meaning, and which one of them would be the most appropriate.

so I would advise against creating a new tag for this.

I do know I'm quite conservative when it comes to tags (across the Stack Exchange network): just because you can add five tags to a question doesn't mean you should. I'm interested in what others have to say about this.


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