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Because the website is in beta, I think, anyone can retag anyone's question. There are thus some people retagging every single question that is being asked, even when the retagging is not uncontroversial.

Is this always going to be allowed or is it just during the beta phase? Should there be a guideline as to when to do those things?

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    $\begingroup$ This question refers to retagging done by 97832123, at the time called Harry Gindi. I have deleted (undo-able) an answer by him whose comments devolved into personal arguments. $\endgroup$ – Larry Wang Aug 14 '10 at 20:36
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Indeed one thing we're supposed to be doing on the meta page is deciding what tagging system is best. This is one of the things where the whole "community owned" setup is a bit annoying, in the early stages of MO Anton made a lot of these sorts of decisions himself. I think Harry jumped the gun a little by making changes without discussing them here first, but on the other hand one of the points of the private beta is to try out some different tagging schemes to see what works right.

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  • $\begingroup$ so does it mean that when the beta is over this won't be allowed anymore? In one week not everyone (or even the beta "founders") will be allowed to be retagging everyone's questions? $\endgroup$ – Vivi Jul 21 '10 at 5:16
  • $\begingroup$ I think that once the beta is over only moderators and users with sufficiently high rep will be able to retag. But I'm not sure what that rep threshold will be once we're out of beta. $\endgroup$ – Noah Snyder Jul 21 '10 at 5:19
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    $\begingroup$ the cap is at 500 on stackoverflow, probably reasonable to expect similar here. $\endgroup$ – cobbal Jul 21 '10 at 5:20
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    $\begingroup$ @cobbal: I don't think that this is good news, but I think you are right. $\endgroup$ – Vivi Jul 21 '10 at 5:21
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I would say that the retagging is normal and to be expected during the very early beta. The way to fix it is to have some well defined tagging conventions on meta, and then retag based on agreed policies.

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To answer the second part of your question, once beta ends, it is expected that we will have an established tag system. The users who have been around during the beta will know more or less what everything should be called, and the new users will have the autocomplete to guide them. At that point, retagging should be restricted to bring new, poorly-labeled questions in line with what everyone else expects.

At this point, retagging is likely to happen. If there is only one question tagged linear-least-squares and one labeled ordinary-least-squares, autocomplete won't be much help to someone trying to figure out how to tag their new question. At the same time, the total number of questions is low enough that we don't need to rely on tags as much in order to avoid being overwhelmed. I wouldn't worry too much about it just yet.


I think we will eventually need a different system from MathOverflow, but if that's what many people here are used to, it could be a good place to start.

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I have retagged some questions to align with existing MO tags. I encourage others to do the same, and the use of a permanent thread or blog for tag-editing and tag-merging requests (if it doesn't already exist here; there is one on MO).

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  • $\begingroup$ the tagging system here makes it quite simple for people to easily post appropriately labeled requests for tag merges, synonyms, etc. This is how it has traditionally been done on other stackexchange sites, as it makes it easy to tell at a glance which are status-completed, status-declined, or other. Having them all on the same page, sorted by votes, makes this hard. MO can use the model you describe because the meta presents data in chronological order. $\endgroup$ – Larry Wang Aug 14 '10 at 16:25

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