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A common (well, twice, at least. I will become common if nothing is done) occurrence on new questions is the following:

  1. @blue removes some tags

  2. I ask why those tags are removed and @blue puts some (not always all) of them back.

I have also seen a lot of retagging edits by @blue. It seems that this user is under the impression that it is best if someone 'curates' the tags to keep things tidy.

I don't think this is a productive usage of time. First of all, 'mistakes' get made, which some user (e.g. me) can point out and we get a lot of edits. Second, questions get bumped to the front page without any good reason. Finally, the tag system was never meant to be a strict library catalogue. I think it works fine if we just leave it and only solve problems when they actually occur?

However, this is just my opinion. I'd like to hear what the community has to say about this, as I think that at least being clear on this would prevent a lot of unnecessary back and forth in the future.


Perhaps I should point to the famous comment by Robert Cartaino. Do note that this one can apply both ways, but at least I am talking about something that is actually happening.

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  • $\begingroup$ Can you post some examples please? Bumping a lot of old posts to the front at once doesn't sound great, but I don't see anything wrong with spreading a few throughout the day $\endgroup$
    – Mithrandir24601 Mod
    Mar 30, 2018 at 15:00
  • $\begingroup$ @Blue Oh, I'm aware of your motivations and goals. I just think that your methods are suboptimal. $\endgroup$ Mar 30, 2018 at 15:22
  • $\begingroup$ The question that prompted this meta post is this: quantumcomputing.stackexchange.com/questions/1515/… $\endgroup$ Mar 30, 2018 at 15:22
  • $\begingroup$ I'm not going to link for an array of "edited by Blue" on the main page (some weren't that new, IMO, but whatever). I think this example makes it clear what is happening and why I would like to avoid it. $\endgroup$ Mar 30, 2018 at 15:23
  • $\begingroup$ Oh and one more thing: Be aware that the interpretation of a downvote on this question is something like 'this isn't important'. If you disagree with my position, then you should specify this in an answer and vote on that one. $\endgroup$ Mar 30, 2018 at 15:24
  • $\begingroup$ @Blue Yes, but I'd rather not be the one running around after you to correct those mistakes. $\endgroup$ Mar 30, 2018 at 15:29
  • $\begingroup$ @Blue Nor would I advise it to be a good way to spend time for others... $\endgroup$ Mar 30, 2018 at 15:34
  • $\begingroup$ @Blue Oh and you seem to have made an answer here. Care to post it so we can vote on it? $\endgroup$ Mar 30, 2018 at 15:34
  • $\begingroup$ @Blue The reason for this that I consider the 90% harmless at best and the 10% actively harmful. I'm afraid that your methods, if left unchecked, do more harm than good. $\endgroup$ Mar 30, 2018 at 15:37
  • $\begingroup$ @Blue No I do not. This is merely my opinion. I don't have to prove this. $\endgroup$ Mar 30, 2018 at 15:40
  • $\begingroup$ @Blue Sigh. Alright. I thought slightly critical suggestions need not be argued for as if they're new physical theories, but all right. I'll go write why I'm feeling strong about this. But the place for it isn't in the comments. $\endgroup$ Mar 30, 2018 at 16:03
  • $\begingroup$ @Blue Alright, see my answer. Please argue on that one instead of these comments. $\endgroup$ Mar 30, 2018 at 16:14
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    $\begingroup$ You've got some valid reasons for when mass tag editing is a bad idea, sure. However, in the example you linked, the original tags that were removed weren't good or even previously used tags, so should have been removed. Also, that question was new when edited. It would have been trivially better if @Blue put the correct tag in as well during that first edit, but considering how close the two edits were, I don't understand what the actual problem is. No-one managed to get the symbols right until several edits, so I don't believe that's the problem either - do you have any other examples? $\endgroup$
    – Mithrandir24601 Mod
    Mar 30, 2018 at 22:06
  • $\begingroup$ "However, in the example you linked, the original tags that were removed weren't good or even previously used tags" Once again, whether the tags are good or bad is irrelevant, I am very much against the methods used because I think this'll only lead to trouble in the end. I would very much like to hear the complete community's opionion on this. Not just that of 3people. $\endgroup$ Mar 31, 2018 at 8:40
  • $\begingroup$ However, I'm afraid I'm not going to provide more examples, I'm not making the mistake I made last time. No, if I argue to much, it will only be perceived as hostility. Please look at my answer, and argue against that! $\endgroup$ Mar 31, 2018 at 8:42

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As requested, let me explain why I think that the behaviour I describe does, if no one else does anything to clean up the mistakes, is actively harmful.

First, what are tags or what are they supposed to mean? This post Why do we tag questions? is relevant. However, this gives us no answer to whether the behaviour described is a bad idea or not.

For that, we have to look at this answer on How do I correctly tag my questions? :

Retagging

Retagging a question is making any edit to a question that changes the tags.

  • Do not retag a question if you are not going to add value to the question information by doing so.
  • Do retag questions to use well-known and popular tags that are appropriate for the question.

Emphasis mine. Perhaps it is now clear why I was hesitant to be heavily motivating my concern, as it should be clear from this accepted part of the SE guidelines.

What I have seen is almost entirely is tags that remove tags and hence clearly not add value to the question information. If it does anything, it removes information!

Therefore, I think that this activity should be stopped, preferably voluntarily.


As for the 'but we'll get swamped with "bad tags" otherwise!' argument, no need to worry:

See here for how to deal with large amounts of "bad tags": How can we get rid of misspelled and unused (or "zombie") tags? . Note that the answer claims:

Note that you should probably seek consensus on the per-site meta before doing so, if the tag was somehow added to a significant number of questions

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