An edit for the tag wiki came up in the review queue, and it's a fine edit, but the tag's existence is bad. It's clearly a meta tag (i.e. it does nothing to describe a question on its own; nobody can be an expert in abandonware).

It seems kind of pointless to edit the wikis of bad tags (especially ones used so infrequently - four questions!) and I wouldn't want to encourage such things, but I don't want to reject a well-meaning and otherwise good edit without knowing the policy on such things.

What should I do when reviewing edits to tags that should not exist?

  • Ok you purged because it was a tag with few entries, but maybe someone is interested in the abandonware world even if you are not. For our site a tag remains "a keyword or label that categorizes your question with other, similar questions.", and IMO it was proper. Similar problems can arise with old technologies and it can be useful to know in which other post to search for...
    – Hastur
    Feb 24, 2016 at 14:11
  • @Hastur It wasn't me who purged it. Either way, I think it's good to know what to do with edits to the wikis of bad tags, even if you don't think this one was bad.
    – Ben N
    Feb 24, 2016 at 16:46
  • 1
    I agree with your "thirst of knownledge". A tag without excerpt will create work tomorrow to fix the questions miss-tagged. IMHO any correct tag compiling/editing should be accepted because it increases the level of the site. If the tag will be removed is another task. Always IMHO even when (if) you will be moderator, you should not use the power of your vote to educate people to work on what you find "not pointless", Indeed you should use it to evaluate the goodness/correctness of the edit, leaving the others free to work on what they like more... PS> nothing personal.
    – Hastur
    Feb 24, 2016 at 17:33

3 Answers 3


Reject it with the reasoning that the tag doesn't even need to be here.

If it's not clear that the tag is a meta-tag then bring it up here on meta to gauge its worthiness and relevance. You can still reject the suggested filler with similar reasoning.

And then slowly start removing the tags from questions.

  • 1
    There's only 4 questions with [abandonware]. We should just get rid of it.
    – DavidPostill Mod
    Feb 16, 2016 at 10:01

I have to disagree with the accepted answer.

Why reject a perfectly good edit? What if the user put a lot of effort into the edit - why penalize them and risk them not participating in something they were interested in?

If it's not plagiarism (or un-cited) and it's not bad information - just approve it - it's acceptable. If the tag shouldn't exist, then that's something else to address.

You could even ping the user and explain that it's a meta-tag and point them to a meta question about it; but you don't need to reject the edit and basically tell the user "you don't deserve two rep for the effort you made."

Even in the privilege of approving tag wikis, there are only two requirements mentioned -

  • All the content is original or attributed properly
  • Wiki excerpts are concise and contain an objective description of the tag

nothing about "check to make sure the tag is useful." That's the job of someone that has the privilege of creating new tags.

  • 1
    I totally agree. I just want to add that even in the case that the effort were little, this kind of rejections are a net loss for the site. To increase the quality of SU we need time. We can say that this site is built on our time and its wasting has always to be avoided.
    – Hastur
    Feb 25, 2016 at 14:20
  • Similar questions have been asked about editing questions that will be deleted. In that case, the rep is lost anyway. Do you know if the rep is retained if the tag is deleted?
    – fixer1234
    Feb 25, 2016 at 16:43
  • @fixer1234 good question. I'll search on meta. Also link for your statement. Feb 25, 2016 at 17:44
  • Agreed. In my experience, @random can be rather pedantic about the "cleanliness" of the site, including things like the length of tag wiki excerpts. There is some merit in his answer, but tag wiki edits on tags that are expected to be deleted soon are not entirely useless—they can still provide useful guidance to users, including advising that the tag not be used.
    – bwDraco
    Feb 27, 2016 at 16:25
  • To answer my earlier question about retaining rep, it looks like rep for tag edits remains after the tags are deleted. Just had one like that on the manufacturer meta tags.
    – fixer1234
    Feb 28, 2016 at 9:26

Hastur's comment on the question raises another point that's worthy of coverage in an answer. As long as a tag exists, it has the potential to be used. If it has no definition and is ambiguous, Murphy's law says it will not only be used, but misused, creating work later. Users don't always read the excerpts, but to the extent they do, it helps to have one, even if the tag is temporary.

Some of the manufacturer meta tags have been edited to state that the tag is deprecated and not to use it. At some point, the tag will be gone. In the meantime, the edit is useful. The manufacturer tags with no deprecation warning are continuing to pop up on new questions.

As both Hastur and Raystafarian described, removal of a tag should be a separate action.

Time Consideration: If a tag has any significant number of questions, the protocol for tag cleanup is for a public comment period of typically a week or more, so the tag will typically be around for awhile and subject to the consideration mentioned above.

The example here is sort of a special case. If a tag is blatantly bad (and there's disagreement over whether this one was), and has only a couple of questions, users with enough rep to edit can (and do) just delete the tags. In that case, the only justification for the edit is the one in Raystafarian's answer.

The empty tags are deleted by the system in 24 hours. If you have less than 20K rep, you can only vote to approve the tag edits, and the edits need to attract sufficient other voters who agree. So, it's a race to the finish line whether the editor will even get the rep unless you purposely delay deleting the tags.

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