All right, this is a little bit embarrassing. What happens when a tag has zero questions?

I always thought that by removing questions from a tag, the tag will get purged. But, I was unsure about how often this occurs. I found there is a script that runs every 24 hours per the meta question What currently happens to zombie tags?.

But, what triggers a tag to be caught in this filter? According to the meta question Should We Zap The Low-Occurrence Tags?, a tag must be 6 months old and not have any questions associated with it.

However, I can't seem to find anything in help or on this meta or metaSE that explicitly states that this (both these conditions) is how the purge works, just a few threads on metaSE that describe different aspects of it at different points in time. Is there any official documentation on how this works, or am I just really terrible at searching?

Essentially, I see some tags with no questions that hang out for a while (probably the 6 months) at zero. I also wonder if a tag was created a year ago and then purged of questions, does it wait 6 months to be burninated or does it occur immediately? I ask because I recently purged the useless tag growl-notify and saw it's been around for a while.

I apologize for my ignorance.

1 Answer 1


a tag must be 6 months old and not have any questions associated with it.

Those are for those tags which have been used only once in the past 6 months. These are removed every month

..routine that removes tags created more than 6 months ago which have been used only a single time. It will run monthly.

There is another daily process which removes tags which have zero questions associated with them, or are abandoned due to various other reasons.

Tags not associated with any question are automatically destroyed at 03:00 UTC every day.

  • That's exactly what I quoted in my question. I was looking for an official source or at least a SE admin describing it more recently than 2010. Nov 7, 2014 at 16:10
  • @Raystafarian that is the official source considering they are tagged as faq
    – Sathyajith Bhat Mod
    Nov 7, 2014 at 16:43
  • Fair enough, thanks Nov 7, 2014 at 17:26
  • A later feature request was implemented that prevents tags with tag wikis from being subject to this deletion script. The source needs to be updated with information from meta.stackexchange.com/questions/127700/… (it's marked status-completed).
    – gparyani
    Nov 18, 2014 at 0:47

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