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Meta is the repository of knowledge about the main site's policies, along with all the discussion that helped reach those points. Unfortunately, it's also pretty difficult to search, let alone to read through in order to understand those policies!

As an initial step toward making it more useful, I'd like to suggest that we try to retag past questions on meta. There are 864 questions; limiting that to exclude and and only questions with positive score, it's reduced to 597 questions. A fair number of those are still not about policies (e.g. technical questions) but the extant tags aren't really good enough to sort through that. That's a lot of questions, but I think it's also pretty manageable, especially as a group project, if we know what tags we're potentially applying.

If we have a decent number of questions tagged like that, then we'd be able to use them to start putting together a canonical reference for the site's rules, sort of like what's in the "what can I ask?" but with more detail, and with links to examples and additional context.

So: what sort of tags/tagging structure might we want to use, if the goal is easier understanding of how the site works?

(As a reminder, questions can only have up to five tags, and one of those has to be the mandatory bug/feature-request/discussion/support tag, so our taxonomy needs to fit into four tags per question.)

2 Answers 2

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One of the most important things we need to tag, in order to pull it out and put it somewhere more easily reviewable, are all of the little specific rules that aren't listed in Help: On-Topic. For example, the ruling that pet food is off topic for SA.

There's probably a couple dozen of these buried in Meta, and per Cascabel tagging is the first step in pulling them out. I don't know if we want to call them "New Rule" or something else; I'm not sure the name really matters.

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  • The existing tag that should be on pretty much everything like that is scope. There might or might not also be one of closed-questions, closing, or close-reasons, which definitely all exist.
    – Cascabel Mod
    Commented Jul 8, 2022 at 14:39
  • Yeah, any tag could work as long as we use it that way. We just need to pick one and use it to indicate "new rule/judgement that needs to be added to a list". Note that it's not always going to be a closing reason; sometimes y'all make judgements that something is, in fact, on topic and should stay open.
    – FuzzyChef
    Commented Jul 9, 2022 at 20:07
  • When we judge that something is okay, there's still generally a reason that someone thought it might be off-topic, and that's the tag that makes sense for that question. When you're trying to figure out where the line is on something, it's helpful to have examples on both sides of the line.
    – Cascabel Mod
    Commented Jul 9, 2022 at 22:44
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To provide a starting point, I think that we could aim for two levels of tags for common rule/policy topics. The higher level would be associated with a type of site action (e.g. closing questions), and the lower level would be associated with a specific category of issue (e.g. off-topic). That leaves two more tags for whatever else might be related (including things that touch on more than one category), but still provides a good amount of detail/searchability.

Some of what we might end up with given that, deferring for now the more difficult task of actually picking names for things. Note that some of these might have few or even no questions about them; I really have no memory of how many times someone's asked on meta about why their rude post was deleted, for example.

  • questions (especially what's close/delete-worthy and what isn't - close vs delete is more a type/severity thing than a fundamental difference); subcategories are cribbed from close reasons; there's much more than this in the help center that might be worth adding?
    • recipe requests
    • nutrition/medical
    • "what should I cook?" / "what can I make with X?"
    • general off-topic-ness
    • needs details/clarity
    • needs focus
    • spam
  • answers (especially what's okay and what's delete-worthy); subcategories cribbed from answer flags
    • not-an-answer
    • rude/abusive
    • spam
  • editing
    • edit wars
    • proofreading/clarity improvements
  • comments (in particular what's acceptable to post as a comment and what isn't); subcategories cribbed from comment flags
    • obsolete
    • thank you
    • other "no longer needed"?
    • rude/abusive

Lower-level flags that are common between higher-level categories (e.g. any kind of post can be rude/abusive) can be the same flag; the combination of that with the higher-level flag is enough to clarify things.

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  • I'd like a tag for the "little rules" that the board has accumulated for things that aren't in Help: On-Topic. Such as: cooking.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/1108/…
    – FuzzyChef
    Commented Jul 7, 2022 at 4:47
  • I think that's general off-topic-ness; it's not any of the larger categories.
    – Cascabel Mod
    Commented Jul 7, 2022 at 14:13
  • Right, but what I'm saying is: that's the thing we need most to tag. So if there's not a specific tag for it, we should create one.
    – FuzzyChef
    Commented Jul 7, 2022 at 23:52
  • Lemme make this a specific answer.
    – FuzzyChef
    Commented Jul 7, 2022 at 23:53
  • I see - and what I'm saying is I don't want us to go through 700 questions without having the whole broader plan around it. That might be the most obvious thing right now, but I'm sure you could go back a few years and find a big fuss about comments and people then would've said those rules were most important.
    – Cascabel Mod
    Commented Jul 8, 2022 at 14:31
  • Yes -- I'm just saying that you came up with a broader taxonomy that omitted the reason why we were talking about tagging questions here in the first place.
    – FuzzyChef
    Commented Jul 9, 2022 at 20:08
  • Also ... is it really valuable to tag a question with, say, "rude", specifically? Wouldn't it just be sufficient to tag it with "close-reason"? What would we be getting out of having such a detailed tag list? Asking because the more tags we have, the more work it is to decide which ones to use.
    – FuzzyChef
    Commented Jul 9, 2022 at 20:23
  • @FuzzyChef I don't think so? The "rules" ones are just a subset of these tags, and really the ultimate goal for that purpose is to make sure we end up aware of all the rules (and can collate them effectively into a more concise form). We're not expecting anyone to read every single question tagged "rules"; that's going to be a lot of reading.
    – Cascabel Mod
    Commented Jul 9, 2022 at 22:40
  • @FuzzyChef I would like to have tags like that if we're going to be putting in this much work. I laid all of this out to have it be really straightforward to decide tags - you just look at what the core reason action was taken (or considered), and apply the corresponding tag, and similar for the type of post/action. And that's definitely one of the categories that's come up now and then on meta!
    – Cascabel Mod
    Commented Jul 9, 2022 at 22:43

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