The main site tag was flagged by a community member on suspicion that the content was copied without proper attribution.

The tag's usage guidance predated the published content cited as its source by many years however based on the writing style I would not be surprised if it was shown at some point that it had been copied from another text.

In reviewing the tag I noted its description and excerpt don't provide guidance for how the tag should be used in the context of our site. I'm hoping it can be updated to provide better guidance (with attribution where appropriate).

If any community members are interested they can help by answering below with suggestions and/or editing the tag directly.

Hopefully we can address both concerns in one go.



2 Answers 2



For questions about the security of a web application, like authorization, privacy, or access controls. Always use with the tag for the specific web application, such as [google-forms] or [facebook].

Description/wiki not proposed. Feel free to add here or in a new answer

  • 2
    This tag seems like it might attract off topic questions. What about adding something like "Note that questions about developing or maintaining your own web application are off topic."
    – Laurel
    Mar 13 at 19:48
  • @Laurel Agree. There were at least two such questions in the first 100.
    – TheMaster
    Mar 14 at 3:38
  • I modified it to read: "Always use with the tag for the specific web application, such as [google-forms] or [facebook]" so that the user will be reminded to add the relevant web app tag. Mar 14 at 8:04
  • An issue I see with the current wording is that it mentions "privacy" when we already have a [privacy] tag. Either we remove the mention of "privacy" here or we make [privacy] a synonym of [security]. Mar 14 at 9:02
  • @galacticninja There are also other tags that would be subdivisions of [security] like [authentication], [oauth], [access-control] etc. I'd vote for keeping it as is for the same reasons mentioned by me here - specifically overlap. Also related Stackoverflow security tag discussion
    – TheMaster
    Mar 14 at 9:47

I believe currently functions as a meta tag, which is explicitly discouraged on the SE network. This is based on the principle outlined in the Stack Overflow Blog post, “The Death of Meta Tags”, and the Help Center "What are tags, and how should I use them?" article (which applies to all SE sites):

Meta-tags are actually a subset of a larger problem that I usually call dependent tags. These are tags that don't say anything by themselves - you can't tell what the question is about unless they're paired with some other tag (or several of them).

From this point on, meta-tagging is explicitly discouraged.

  1. 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 useless by themselves -- they tell you nothing at all about the content of the question.

In the context of Web Apps SE, security-related inquiries are inherently tied to specific web applications, each of which has its own unique tag. And consequently, is redundant if another web app-specific tag is present.

Users don't have questions about security, independent of a web app. They have questions about Gmail security, Facebook security, etc.—topics that are very different from each other. We don't need tags for specific aspects of web apps, like (which is marked as "DO NOT USE THIS TAG."). Those are meta tags; they're not very useful and have high misuse potential.

After a cursory browsing of questions tagged , I noticed that only one question has it as the only tag, and it's closed as off-topic (because it's not about a web app). There are likely multiple other similar questions auto-deleted by Roomba already.

Given these observations and in line with the Help Center’s guidance on tagging, I suggest we burninate (delete) and consider blacklisting it to prevent future misuse.

We have a precedent for blacklisting meta tags here in Web Apps SE: and other tags listed at Let's clean up some meta tags. I think is very similar to in how it is used, i.e., "My question is a "user interface" or a "security" question."

  • Disagree. Consistent with the definition of the Greek-derived prefix, "meta", a "meta tag" is one that describes the nature or type of a question, rather than its content. -Cody. Does [security] describe the content or the type like [beginner]? There's a lot of history on stackoverflow to unpack here. See excel vs excel-vba saga, google-apps-script-branch saga, arrays and triggers
    – TheMaster
    Mar 14 at 7:34
  • @TheMaster Given that those policies are specific to Stack Overflow, particularly within a programming / software development context, I’m uncertain about their applicability to Web Apps SE. Should you be aware of any discussions on Meta SE that touch upon this subject, I’d be interested to learn whether meta tags such as [security] are acceptable. In Super User, meta tags are almost always burninated. Mar 14 at 8:00
  • @galacticninja I'm inclined to agree with you at first blush and will take some time to reflect on both your answer and TheMaster's feedback on it.
    – Blindspots Mod
    Mar 14 at 8:03
  • @galacticninja I'm disputing that [security] is even a meta tag. The discussions while are within stackoverflow, the concept is the same elsewhere. And not to mention you're quoting/linking stackoverflow blog for meta tag. From your own quote, Meta-tags are actually a subset of a larger problem that I usually call dependent tags. [security] is a dependant tag, but not a meta tag. Meta tags need more stricter criteria than dependant tags: Which is "Does [security] describe the "type" rather than "content" of the question?" Then it is indeed a meta tag. If not, then it is not a meta tag.
    – TheMaster
    Mar 14 at 8:12
  • If that isn't clear, your blog mentions examples of meta tags: Namely: [subjective], [best-practices], [beginner]. Do you see the difference between such tags and tags such as [security]? If [security] needs to be burnt for other reasons(like being a dependant tag or attracts offtopic questions), it still can be burnt(though I think it's a bad idea), but not because it is a meta tag.
    – TheMaster
    Mar 14 at 8:24
  • 1
    @TheMaster The advice in the blog post I cited is also written in all SE sites' Help Center "tagging" articles, so it's not meant to be specific to SO. I see differences but I'm noticing the similarities more, specifically that they all can't be standalone tags. We also have a precedent for blacklisting meta tags here in Web Apps SE, such as [user-interface] (marked as "DO NOT USE THIS TAG" in its tag wiki). I think [security] is very similar to [user-interface] in how it is used. E.g., "My question is a "security" or "user interface" question." I don't see it as a useful tag. Mar 14 at 9:11
  • 1
    I'm against bulk destroying all non-standalone tags as they are very useful in preventing hyphenated tags, provide overlap and for ease of classification
    – TheMaster
    Mar 14 at 9:55

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