First, let's look at the advice from What are tags, and how should I use them?

Avoid meta-tags

Do not use meta-tags in questions. Here are some tips to help you determine whether a tag is a meta-tag:

  • If the tag can’t work as the only tag on a question, it’s probably a meta-tag. Every tag you use should be able to work, more or less, as the only tag on a question. Meta-tags, like [beginner], [subjective], and [best-practices], are not helpful by themselves – they do not communicate anything about the content of the question.
  • If the tag commonly means different things to different people, it's probably a meta-tag. For example, the meaning of the tag [subjective] is, itself, subjective; the same is true for tags like [best-practices] and [beginner]. Best practices to whom? Beginner by what criteria? Use only tags that have a broadly accepted, objective definition.

Let's, for now, focus only on the first bit of advice. If the tag can’t work as the only tag on a question, it’s probably a meta-tag.

Here is a list of likely candidates (those marked with a strikethrough currently have no questions using them):

  • - The very definition of a meta tag. Runs the whole gamut.
  • - Useless without other tags. Useless generally. Presumably about changing something in a specific web app, which should already be a tag on the question. No one is an expert on "editing" on all web apps.
  • - Can't possibly work as the only tag on a question. I see it used for (it should be ), , (which should be ), comments. This also seems to run afoul of the second point above (it means different things to different people).
  • - This can't possibly work as the only tag on a question. It needs to be paired with a web app. On the first page of questions I see , , , , , . and exist, at least.
  • - Again, this has no context without the existence of other tags.
  • - What could this possibly even mean? Most of the questions tagged are closed. The rest look like web development questions or network protocol curiosity that should also be closed.

So, how should we manage these? This is a problem and it seems to be getting worse. ("Broken windows" and all that.) Should we have a canonical "help clean up these meta-tags" question/answer, or should each individual one get its own question/answer (and arguments)?

There are also some other problematic tags that I think border on meta-tags, but will be harder to justify removing. (For instance, , based on its wiki, is for any webmail service that doesn't already have a tag. Not that it's used that way, of course.)

See also:


4 Answers 4


I have cleaned up the & tags. I will continue on my mission to clean up these tags.

This is a marathon not a race...


Semi-abusing this as an update/call-to-action, tl;dr: burninate , now, clean up a single question then also .

filter (obsolete, see answer)

Virtually nobody can be an expert on -ing in the abstract. Are we filtering results from to ? The process is bound to be radically different (or impossible, gee-thanks Amazon).

There are currently 70 questions tagged . None of them are only tagged filter. Counts of the most common other tag on those questions (among those tagged filter...):

tag                  count
google-sheets           42
twitter                  5
gmail                    4
google-search            3
spam-prevention          2
yahoo-mail               2
search                   2
google-apps              1
google-sheets-query      1
regex                    1
netflix                  1
youtube                  1
outlook.com              1
amazon                   1
firefox-extensions       1
google-reader            1
rss                      1

Maybe would be in order, but I think we can immediately remove and salt .

Workbook: https://gist.github.com/nicktimko/f535fdcc14e06983454bdaecf053e564


There are currently 45 questions tagged . None of them are only tagged delete. Counts of the most common other tag on those questions:

tag                  count
facebook                10
gmail                   10
trello                   5
google-drive             4
account-management       3
online-storage           1
pocket                   1
google-sites             1
facebook-groups          1
youtube                  1
google-apps-script       1
retweet                  1
yahoo-mail               1
gmail-labels             1
trello-boards            1
dropbox                  1
wiki                     1
screenshot               1

Again, how you delete something (beyond "click the trash icon" as step 1) is going to vary wildly.


There are currently 104 questions tagged . Only one is only tagged url, and it likely doesn't belong here (it was migrated) as it's actually about URLs in the abstract, just with a Facebook URL as an example. Counts of the most common other tag on those other questions:

tag                       count
youtube                      10
google-search                 9
google-sheets                 8
links                         7
facebook                      5
gmail                         5
google-plus                   5
google-drive                  4
search                        4
url-shortening                4
google-sites                  3
google-analytics              2
google-docs                   2
openstreetmap                 2
quora                         2
twitter                       2
amazon                        1
blog                          1   # probably another awful tag
blogger                       1
browser                       1
buffer                        1
evernote                      1
feeds                         1
github                        1
google-apps                   1
google-books                  1
google-calendar               1
google-chrome-extensions      1
google-fonts                  1
google-image-search           1
google-reader                 1
google-voice                  1
ical                          1
images                        1
linkedin                      1
microsoft-word                1
screenshot                    1
trello                        1
trello-cards                  1
typepad                       1
upload                        1
video                         1
website                       1
wetransfer                    1


As of October 25, I think that this needs its own question to discuss some tags that already exist and .

I do not have a date in mind about when I might create a post to discuss this, but I created one for a tag in a similar situation but with a "worse" state regarding the number of tags having the same term : What to do with [*search*]? Review of tag naming practices in Web Applications SE for tags using "search"

Old content

I cleaned up by removing There was 8 questions with both tags.

There is still a lot of work to do as is shown in the "related tags" (it will take some time (1 day?) for the system to update the related tags).



Has been cleaned up.

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