I've suggested many tag wiki and excerpt edits lately. While most of them were approved, a particular moderator rejected or edited a few of them, stripping out initial words like "for questions about" or "a/an" on the grounds that they are "fluff" and "get in the way". These edits felt jarring and nitpicky to me as I haven't seen anyone else do this. Examples: 1 2 3

My concern is that removing these words could make the excerpts less intelligible. However, that moderator believes such words are noise and can become annoying when reading lots of tag wiki excerpts. I want to emphasize that this is not a witch-hunt, but an open discussion on tag wiki excerpt wording.

What's your take on this? Should I avoid using these words in tag wikis excerpts?

See also: How long should tag wiki excerpts be?

  • 1
    Pretty sure words like "this tag is for" etc are left out of the tag preview on hover anyway. Either way it doesn't matter, so long as we are consistent in how we define tags
    – Robotnik
    Commented Dec 16, 2014 at 15:11
  • meta.stackexchange.com/questions/82700/…
    – random Mod
    Commented Dec 16, 2014 at 15:48
  • @random: I'm already aware of this feature. I'm more concerned about what users see when they mouse over the tag itself. \@Robotnik: The full text of the tag wiki excerpt is visible on mouseover.
    – bwDraco
    Commented Dec 16, 2014 at 18:37
  • Why are they jarring? Is it because they were edited, or because they start into the sentence?
    – random Mod
    Commented Dec 16, 2014 at 20:18
  • @random: They're jarring because they're minor edits that only affect the style of the excerpt, so they seem very nitpicky.
    – bwDraco
    Commented Dec 16, 2014 at 21:31
  • Style, then they don't affect readability?
    – random Mod
    Commented Dec 16, 2014 at 21:55
  • 1
    This almost seems like a locale-based issue. In the US, particles are an important thing. "I went to the hospital" implies the speaker was referring to a specific (unnamed) hospital. "I went to a hospital" implies that the specific hospital is unimportant, it's about the severity of the problem and that a hospital was required. In the US, nobody would ever say, "I went to hospital", but that's routine in the UK. To me, the PowerPoint wiki excerpt feels naked without a particle.
    – fixer1234
    Commented Mar 15, 2016 at 1:02
  • BTW, the term is actually "article". "Particle" is an inside joke.
    – fixer1234
    Commented Mar 15, 2016 at 4:02

2 Answers 2


Rules must be consistent and unduplicitous. If we handle one tag one way, we should handle all tags related with that tag in the same way (say, all 35 tags about Microsoft products). This might mean that we FIRST have to discuss tag wikis in a setting appropriate for debate and discussion, i.e. a chatroom. IMHO, a meta question is not the right place for debate.

I suggest that to solve the tag wiki issue that I believe to be central to the confusion here, we create one or more tag wiki templates with the following properties:

  1. Consistent (for example, all tags about software are worded the same);
  2. Short (they should all be around the same length);
  3. Supported by the majority (There shouldn't be any discussion after we decided on the wording).

An example for tags related to software that doesn't include the version:

Software developed by [developer name] designed to [goal of the software in 2-4 words]. Available on [list of platforms]. Also see [competing software]

Applied to :

Software developed by Microsoft designed to create and edit spreadsheets. Available on Mac OSX and Windows. Also see and other yearly releases.

The main thing to keep in mind here is that we carefully write the tag wiki summary to minimize the discussion about the wording of the tag itself. We shouldn't be discussing whether the tag should contain articles or other contested words, we should be discussing what information the tag should provide to the user. To that end, we should be using a template that states if and where we should use certain words.

Tl;dr: We should use a chatroom to discuss templates for tag wikis so all the tags for a certain group of tags are consistent with each other. Then we should apply that template to all tags of that category.


Brevity is the issue here, and a style of writing or speaking that can differ between two, or even more, users.

How wordy you want to be when it comes to the limited space and attention that displays on a tag wiki excerpt is also a concern of style and redundancy.

Which also governs how a reviewer of such suggested edits will take it.

Some people like to load up on articles and prefaces before they begin to start what they're actually saying.

Others may choose to recognise they're looking at a tag and questions using that tag and see no need to be reminded that they're looking at a tag or questions using that tag, preferring instead for the information to be delivered direct.

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