I have an interesting idea for how tags work. No, it is not the new and improved tag, or a total tag makeover. In fact, it is a small change in how tags work that I think could help out a lot of people.

I think that it would be better if tags were slightly different in color if they existed or if they did not exist when posting.

Here is my idea... (for stack overflow color scheme, not meta)


Above is the "valid" tag, which is also the current version.


Above could be the "invalid" tag.


Above could also be the "invalid" tag.

Here are some pros and cons:


  • If you were typing a tag and misspelled it, then it would be easy to know and helpful so you don't direct others to a non-existent link.

  • I know that, for a fact, this would make lists of tags for tag cleanups very, very easy to deal with when burnicating

  • If you really don't like this, it wouldn't make a big difference in day-to-day use. After all, most tags exist.


  • This could be server-heavy to check each tag's existence
  • BUT servers also load images, which involve getting lots of data
  • This could be annoying if users demonstrate tag usage (like )
  • BUT I guess it could help to show users that the tag doesn't exist???

All in all, I hope that my idea is considered.

Side note: this could be used for links too (instead of lots of comments of "your link's broken"). These images are my own work.

  • And if someone wants to make this community wiki (for the pros and cons) that would be great!
    – Blue Ice
    Commented Jun 4, 2013 at 4:09

1 Answer 1


Tags that do not exist will not be suggested to the user when they tag a question.

If it does exist, but shouldn't, then we have a problem and we need to go through all the questions using that tag and seeing if any of them actually belong on the site.

If it does exist, but something else was judged the better version of it, the system will automatically swap it out for the version that should display. Those are tag synonyms.

Some words are totally made up. isn't a real word, but is a real application, and so striking it out as misspelled only griefs the user.

  • Hmm. Not what I was trying to say. If I posted [wasdhksadhk] then it would be invalid. I don't care if it is spelled right, I just care if it exists. [scribus] would be fine, but [scribuss] would be invalid. If the tag [scribus] was deleted, then it would be invalid. And I am perfectly ok with how tags are suggested in questions.
    – Blue Ice
    Commented Jun 4, 2013 at 4:25
  • You have to have a certain level of rep before you can create tags. So wasdhksadhk could be valid. The tags offered when posting will search, so you'll have to flagrantly disregard the cues of all the suggestions if you want to go for a typo
    – random Mod
    Commented Jun 4, 2013 at 4:50
  • Yes. I know that. But my idea has nothing to do with the way tags are selected at the end of questions. I like the way tags are suggested for questions, and I know how it works. My idea only applies when people use the [tag:] field. See here in tempy's answer for an application of my idea: it's uses in tag burnication. Instead of people manually crossing the tag out when it has been deleted, it would automatically cross out the tag if it doesn't exist.
    – Blue Ice
    Commented Jun 4, 2013 at 12:45
  • I'm really sorry if this was unclear, but this idea only applies when people use the [tag:] field. I don't want to change how tags are used in questions. I just write confusing questions.
    – Blue Ice
    Commented Jun 4, 2013 at 12:47

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