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This is a suggestion for a periodic audit of tags now that there are tag badges. Having just looked at my own "tag" list, there are a number which must be of limited use. But since tags were invented, we now have badges for tags, and these could be data for an annual audit.

For example, any tag with a cheerleader (Gold badge holder) should be retained. Any tag which has been in existence for six months an has no associated bronze badge holder should be considered for deletion/amalgamation.

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    $\begingroup$ It was mentioned a few times that there are several areas which are underrepresented at MSE and that we would like get more users which can provide good questions and good answers in those areas. If a tag has a gold badge that probably means that we already have some good answerers for the given area. One of the minor side-effects of this proposal would be suppressing those areas which are already underrepresented on this site. $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Jan 4 '15 at 9:29
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks to all who have answered and commented. The breadth of coverage expressed by specialist tags is clearly helpful, and the issues of popular tags are often excessive duplication of content and lack of focus. In a sense this means that the tag badges don't quite capture what is most valuable about the tag system. But that's a topic for another day. $\endgroup$ – Mark Bennet Jan 4 '15 at 9:36
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I disagree with both parts. The tag had a few gold badge holders, yet it was deleted.

And there are perfectly sensible tags like and which have no badge holders, because few users read or vote on posts in the tag. This does not make the tags useless; on the contrary, it helps the few users knowledgeable in those subjects find and answer the questions they are interested in.

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    $\begingroup$ Thanks for the constructive response. I mentioned "should be considered" for "deletion/amalgamation" rather than "should be deleted" for exactly the reason you mention. The "Homework" example is an important one, which I had not registered. What I mainly wanted to flag was a potential metric which would allow occasional systematic conversations about tags, rather than the random ad-hoc approach at present (which is not necessarily bad). $\endgroup$ – Mark Bennet Jan 3 '15 at 23:20
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    $\begingroup$ I understand, but there is a simpler metric: the number of questions in a tag. The tag list is ordered by popularity, so the tags around page 30 can be critically examined; are they needed or not? $\endgroup$ – user147263 Jan 4 '15 at 4:19
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In a sense, what are you saying is, IMHO, opposite to what we should do:

  • all discussions about merging / splitting / synonyms / black-listing are important for popular, frequently used tags;
  • on the other hand, if a tag is very small it (usually) can be ignored even if it's not that great — and to 'audit' all tags used just on a several questions seems neither feasible nor desirable.

(But of course I agree that any changes to very big tags [e.g. having gold badge holders] should be thought out and discussed with community before being implemented.)

Or stated less polemically: this metric measures how important decisions for this tag are — but tells almost nothing about what this decisions should be (in particular, is this tag good).

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