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Comments on Who should be able to create new tags?

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Who should be able to create new tags?

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It's been pointed out in a few places that, so long as creating tags is much easier than managing them, we're going to have problems handling typos, duplicates, and tags that otherwise ought not exist. There's a separate question about the maintenance side; my question here is: what should determine who can create tags through the post editor? Should we make a new Create Tags ability? Tie tag creation to an existing ability (Edit Posts?)?[1] Somehow require new tags to be reviewed before being applied? Something else?

We want to make it as easy as possible for communities to create and manage their own infrastructure so you don't need to ask moderators to do everything. We also want to have some guardrails so that users who haven't yet learned the community's norms don't do things that will require a lot of cleanup. Assume that whatever we do will have some sort of configurable threshold, because communities have different needs -- what should the mechanism be?


  1. Potential wrinkle: "new site mode". In this mode, designed to ease early growth, everybody starts with Participate Everywhere. If that no longer includes tag creation, we'll need to do something here. (Most communities on our network are still in this mode and, now that I'm reminded of it, I think we owe you a meta post that explains the tradeoffs so communities can decide whether to remove it.) ↩︎

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1 comment thread

I don't think there's been any problems with this on Stack Overflow, really. It's easy to rename and ... (14 comments)
I don't think there's been any problems with this on Stack Overflow, really. It's easy to rename and ...
Andreas‭ wrote 6 months ago

I don't think there's been any problems with this on Stack Overflow, really. It's easy to rename and merge tags there, and as the scale of that site is quite large, I'd say it's a good example. I don't think the downsides of allowing everyone to create tags, at least not for a Q/A section, will ever be large.

Lorenzo Donati‭ wrote 6 months ago

Andreas‭ On SE network tags are more a list of keyword that a way to convey semantic information correctly. On EE.CD we almost reached consensus that our tag systems should not be used as a keyword system, but more as a "semantic field" infrastructure. This is also supported by the existance of synonyms and parent tags, features lacking on SE.

Lorenzo Donati‭ wrote 6 months ago

Andreas‭ Oh, well. I didn't notice them. Maybe it is a relatively new feature? When I did janitorial work on SE network many years ago they didn't exist.

Andreas‭ wrote 6 months ago
Andreas‭ wrote 6 months ago · edited 6 months ago

I’m not sure why you would say that tags on SO are only keywords, and not a way to convey semantic information. The help page does say they exist for searching purposes, yes, but that’s not their only purpose. They are not meant to just describe the contents of the question, but to categorize it. For instance, information about the programming language(s) of a question, are supposed to be as a tag on the question, not in the title, nor questiol body. Automatic inference of programming language for syntax highlighting in code blocks on SO, is based on the tags of the question. Yes, SO doesn’t have a tag system, but that only means there’s no structure to the tag relations, not that there isn’t any relation between them at all. SO specifically does not want just «keywords» about the question content. That is wrong, and we edit the questions to fix that. I have been on forums, and specified such keywords. That is not it, on SO.

Lorenzo Donati‭ wrote 6 months ago

Andreas‭ I didn't say SO, I said SE network. I mainly worked on EE.SE, and there tags sucks. It seems on SO there is more discipline. Anyway, I see there are a lot of very specific tags, like the specific version of dot-net framework. That is like using a tag for each part number we have in electronics. If we did that we would end up with literally hundreds of thousands of different tags. I wouldn't want that.

As I said elsewhere, for me tags are a way to organize information in a hierarchical-semantic way, it's not just another search tool.

Andreas‭ wrote 6 months ago

Lorenzo Donati‭e No, you're exaggerating the situation on SO. We default to using tags without version numbers if the version of the framework is irrelevant. In most cases, that holds true. However, there are times when a framework may look substantially different between the major versions, or there are other reasons to specify something more specific. They exist for a reason. I can ensure you that they would've been purged long ago if they had no use there. For instance, GLFW is a framework. An answer for GLFW 2 will look considerably different to an answer for GLFW 3. These major versions of the frameworks are neither ABI compatible, nor API compatible. If this is what you consider "search tool", you have misunderstood it.

Andreas‭ wrote 6 months ago

Lorenzo Donati‭ If you want an example of what it would look like to use "each part number we have in electronics" on SO, or CD's software site, that would be to tag each question with the CPU, motherboard, GPU, screen, keyboard model, mouse model, etc, for each question. That makes no sense, and we don't do that.

Lorenzo Donati‭ wrote 6 months ago

Andreas‭ Sorry, I don't agree. Please, don't mix level of abstractions. If an application is made by hundreds of modules and libraries and you tag the version of each library (as it seems SO does, if I'm not mistaken), then the parallel in electronics is: you have a circuit and you tag every part number in the schematic.

Lorenzo Donati‭ wrote 6 months ago

Andreas‭ But anyway, I'm not here to defend or object against SE network. I'm not in that ship any more and I'm not interested too much in that company shenanigans any longer.

In a way I pity those that still linger there, since I'm sure they will be sorely disappointed by the next trick SE company will play on them.

You know, "fool my once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on me". But Stockholm syndrome together with sunk cost fallacy is a combination hard to fight against. I was a victim of that combination too after the "Monica Cellio Affair", and I thought that maybe they weren't "evil". I was wrong, as the "AI affair" demonstrated.

The only thing about SE I'm interested in now is to avoid their mistakes here on Codidact.

Andreas‭ wrote 6 months ago

Lorenzo Donati‭ I am making the point that SO manages to handle tag creations fairly well. That's not where the issue lays; rather, the issues with tag creation can be mitigated by better tag management.

Therefore, it's important that you don't misunderstand how it works, if you are to understand my argument, which relies on understanding the system on SO.

as it seems SO does

No, that's not how tagging works on SO. Questions on SO aren't even that broad. A question attempting to specify that much, likely would've been closed.

Andreas‭ wrote 6 months ago

Examples: Vulkan; only 1 tag, despite there existing multiple major and minor versions of it. Because of the way that Vulkan is designed, it's pointless to specify tags with version numbers. Cocoa: designed with backwards-compatibility in mind. There are no version numbers. Should be co-tagged with an iOS or MacOS version if needed.

GTK tag info states:

This tag should be used for questions about GTK in general. For more specific questions regarding how a certain version works, use gtk2 or gtk3.

That is because GTK has breaking changes between each major version, and the API looks quite different. A question asking for the same, but for a different GTK version, may have completely different answers.

Andreas‭ wrote 6 months ago

I believe we are describing different situations. Maybe the tags on SE EE are indeed horrible, and that the tagging system is abused by the users. I don't think that situation applies to SO. Do you have any idea why the situation is as it is on the EE site, considering that SO accomplishes good use of the tags?