A particular user has been editing questions with multiple tags to reduce the number of tags listed. They find the most specific tag for the question, and remove the others. For example, turning

, ,


for an improper integral question.

My question to the community is, do we want questions tagged with only with the most specific tags that apply, or do we want as many relevant tags as possible?

EDIT: And, perhaps a follow up: Should I spend time rolling back these edits this user has performed?

  • 10
    $\begingroup$ Instead of removing 3 proper tags and putting a different one, keep the 3 proper tags and add another one. We allow 5 tags for a reason. If we wanted only the most relevant, there'd be no reason to allow 5. mrf's answer is right on. The more (actually relevant) tags, the more organized things are and the easier it is to find things. $\endgroup$
    – GeoffDS
    May 29 '13 at 1:35
  • $\begingroup$ @Graphth Good. That's my position, and what I expected the community to say, but I wanted to make sure of it. :) $\endgroup$
    – apnorton
    May 29 '13 at 12:28

The most specific tags should always be included. If there is room for more, then it makes sense to add broader tags in order to reach a larger community, since (as mrf pointed out) they might be reading messages filtered by these broader tags. The number of subscribers to a given tag might help as an indication about how large a community there is for a given tag. But always keep in mind that the question should fit in well with this broader tag; reaching a larger community is only desirable if it can be expected that people from that community will actually be able to answer the question.


In general, I prefer more tags to fewer tags. Assuming I would like to read all calculus questions (heaven forbid), it's a lot easier to mark calculus as a favorite tag than to have to keep track of dozens of sub-tags.

Related: I was just getting a little annoyed with another user who removed the in my opinion most relevant tag from a bunch of his (own) questions.

  • $\begingroup$ At first look, one may think though, that it would be nice if tags were hierarchically organized, i.e. "improper-integrals" were a subtag of "integration" and so on. Then someone watching "integration" or "calculus" would automatically also see questions tagged (only) "imroper-integrals". Alas, neither is this possible/feasible to maintain, nor can it be strictly enforced, nor would it even be desireable when taken to the end (experts for "binary relations" need not be experts for "entire functions") $\endgroup$ Jun 5 '13 at 20:27

Tagging the questions by the principle that "as many relevant tags as possible" sounds good, but does it practical with for example facing with the limitation policies about tags usings in MSE?

For example for the questions about improper integrals, when applying the principle that "as many relevant tags as possible" , they should at least all tagged with , , , and . This have already run out the quotas of number of tags using on each question in MSE, so how we can for example adding the tags that showing the additional backgrounds of the questions? Moreover, this is also belongs to "tags-abusing".

So, unless the number of tags using on each question in MSE have no quotas, you can freely tag the questions by the principle that "as many relevant tags as possible". Otherwise, please be cooperate that tag the questions by the principle that "only with the most specific tags that apply". Moreover, for example tag the questions by the tags solely for the OPs' own favourite are also inappropriate, otherwise can we still maintain the community orders in MSE?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Obviously the "as many as possible" means within the actual constraints given by the system, and the tags should be chosen in order of relevance. I don't see how this has anything to do with abusing any tags. $\endgroup$ May 29 '13 at 1:52
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ Note for anyone reading this answer: do not retag questions as suggested here. It is incorrect and you will be asked by the moderators to stop. $\endgroup$ May 30 '13 at 0:56
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Alex: I am having trouble seeing what kind of retagging is suggested here. What is it that moderators will ask people to stop? Retagging with only the most specific tags? $\endgroup$ Jun 4 '13 at 15:00

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