"Your home backup strategy" and "What is a good backup strategy for home?" are a non-constructive set of baubles with dangling opinions and suggestions on what one can do for backups.

We already have at least one question about how to backup, so leave out the push to making another community FAQ for the moment.

Another case: Let's take the and tags.

Theses were recently updated to list some alternatives often asked and closed as not constructive lists. The only ones listed in both these tags are only there because they have questions on the site tagged as such. Other recommended products aren't listed because no questions have been asked and tagged of them, meaning no one's actually using them. (If we're taking that logic step, and we are.)

Do you think these lists better belong in the tag wikis? How would you structure the "answers" given on the repository of information if they were to live here?


3 Answers 3


It's always handy to have a go-to Community FAQ / Community Wiki question in case another "Alternative to …" / "Recommend me …" question shows up. The problem is that:

  • We won't be able to create one for every possible application or tag
  • We're essentially creating the kind of Q&A posts we do not want

The FAQ is still very unclear about software recommendations. While plain "recommend me …" is definitely off topic and will always be, many "Looking for alternative to …" questions still slip through.

If we filled those empty and meaningless tag wikis with valuable content, we could easily be more strict in terms of moderation and shut down these questions – even without having a duplicate ready.

So, yes, let's do it. If we do this, we should keep the following in mind though:

Tag wikis are probably third class citizen

I think it's reasonable to say that – at least currently – only a small portion of our users reads and curates tag wikis. Only their excerpts are visible on the front page. Some users that see those excerpts while typing in tags still get their tags wrong. We can assume they wouldn't even click on the "Info" button to see more.

We therefore need to promote them as much as we can. First of all, by adding information. Second, by linking to what we have on the front page.

Not abusing the tag wikis by including too much information

Nobody will read walls of text, few will care to write them in the first place. There's no real gain involved (+2 for an initial write-up), no public user name shown, et cetera.

If we have great stuff to write about, make it a post on the Super User blog. If there's a question specific enough so that it can't be answered by a brief canonical tag wiki write-up or basic research, it probably deserves to be a question on the main site and we can deal with it on a case-by-case basis.

Tag wikis are no answers

They should be as canonical as possible. In very rare cases, the existing answers we have on the main site are a good fit for a tag wiki. There's no question to be answered, therefore the content should probably be written without having a question in mind.

Let's think about the average user who comes here, being redirected through the tag itself or a friendly reminder about the FAQ and which kinds of questions are off-topic.

Being critical about suggested edits

There's no place for "I recommend …" here. Alternatives and frequently used programs should rather be selected and sorted by objective measures. Minor edits should still be rejected, and recent approvals should be tracked so a peer review of the review process itself becomes possible as well.


There is no backup strategy that fits everyone.

While we all have computers and laptops, we don't all have the same storage capabilities. For one, doing free uploads a lot to the internet with a website Dropbox is a solution. For another, it costs too much to buy an external disk. In another case, we need a whole network of home users backed up. And so on...

I agree that because of this, you have closed both questions for being not constructive.

There are backup tips that could be applied to most occasions.

In How to store and preserve lots of data? we see some of these, namely "multiple copies, try a restore, consider measuring reliability, try keeping it secure, ..." which is actually useful advice which I could actually directly apply to my backup strategy, if I had one.

Should we put lists of possible backup strategies in a tag wiki, or ...?

It could be possible to put them in a tag wiki, but consider that that could possible clutter the tag wiki with way too much information. We should however try to only mention the well-known popular programs and services and then just mention links to sites that return alternatives, like Wakoopa / Alternative-To / ...

An alternative is to write an article for the blog, at our Wordpress Dashboard (and now at our Trello) we have had an empty draft titled Backups, better to be safe than sorry! for quite a long time. And it would be interesting to house the different software and service strategies under a title "What are popular software and service strategies for backing up?" and then do a second paragraph like "When trying to implement a backup solution, which things could I keep in mind?" referring to the backup tips.

As for these questions, is it time to hold a great question deletion audit?

  • 3
    We could also link to the blog articles from the tag repos
    – random Mod
    Feb 13, 2012 at 21:59

I understand that lists are not generally the best thing for stackexchange. But, I don't think tag wikis are where this fits either.

Problems with tag wikis as lists:

  1. Requires considerably more reputation to effectively edit
  2. Is not very straight forward for readers. (a tag wiki would be the last place I'd look)
  3. There is no voting or comments on each item in the list.

The problem is not just with SuperUser, but at the core of StackExchange. It just does not handle "what options are there for X" questions well... Community wiki's use to be the solution, but they were misused a lot. I don't know what the solution should be now, but I really dislike using tag wikis as lists.

  • You only need to be registered to suggest an edit. 5k users can approve, 20k can write without approval. There is no voting, but then we'd be taking the alternatives from the tagged list of questions actually asked by users
    – random Mod
    Feb 14, 2012 at 17:54
  • @random and how often do people look at suggested edits for tag wikis? My huge major problem is no voting or comments though. This is what made stackoverflow's lists good to me. It was like reading a list of reviews from people you know were not spambots. The problem with them I saw was that you could get massive amounts of reputation from it for extremely simple answers and questions
    – Earlz
    Feb 14, 2012 at 18:03
  • 1
    Suggested edits queue is reviewed very often multiple, multiple times during the day
    – random Mod
    Feb 14, 2012 at 18:08

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