There has been a tremendous uptick in tag wiki edits lately, thanks to the work of a few dedicated users. I've reached the review limit of 20 over both of the past two 24-hour cycles, and I've begun making edits myself.

One thing I've noticed, though, is that the tag summaries and excerpts vary quite a lot in their phrasing. Take a look at some of the other SE sites and you'll notice that there are patterns in the phrasing. It gives the tags a sense of order. While our tags contain a lot of good information, it gives the impression of descriptions thrown together helter-skelter.

Are there any ideas on standardizing the tag wikis?

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Do we need some kind of recommended template? Maybe a list of things to include and a list of things to avoid, while still leaving the exact wordings flexible? $\endgroup$
    – trichoplax
    Nov 24, 2014 at 0:20
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    $\begingroup$ Does anyone know of a pre-existing guide on another SE site? $\endgroup$
    – trichoplax
    Nov 24, 2014 at 0:20
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    $\begingroup$ @githuphagocyte That template's kind of what I was thinking. $\endgroup$
    – HDE 226868 Mod
    Nov 24, 2014 at 0:20
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    $\begingroup$ Sounds like a good idea to me. Consistency has an air of professionalism to it, but doesn't have to stifle innovation. $\endgroup$
    – user
    Nov 24, 2014 at 8:18
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    $\begingroup$ Related, on Mi Yodeya: meta.judaism.stackexchange.com/q/2254/5323 ( spoiler: it doesn't really matter all that much ) $\endgroup$
    – Shokhet
    Nov 24, 2014 at 19:32
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    $\begingroup$ Here is the standard format for Arqade, but it's not clear if we have similar tags. Note that in Arqade, almost all tags are game tags. A standard proposal for one kind of non-game tag. $\endgroup$
    – Brythan
    Nov 25, 2014 at 5:21

2 Answers 2


Just a few suggestions based on other SE sites, how they handle this, and what I've found. I've gone to some of the larger ones to see how they do it, and some smaller ones to get a more rounded view. I'm mostly looking at the excerpts, because that's what most people see, though the summary shouldn't be discounted of course.


Arqade has a lot of tags, and seem to have tried tag standardization in the past. Looking at the most popular tags shows that there is some consistency, though it is not complete. Some of the general structures seem to be something like the following...

[Company]'s [genre] game [short blurb]. This tag is for [...]
See: Minecraft

A [genre] [year of release] by [company]. [Short blurb].
See: Skyrim

[tag name] is a [what it is].
See: Steam

This tag should only be used for questions about [...]
See: Xbox 360

[tag name] is for questions regarding [...]
See: Technical Issues


Chemistry is also in beta, so it may be a good place to look for ideas. Their top tags are structured generally as follows...

[tag name] is a [branch/field] of chemistry that [...]
See: Organic Chemistry

In [a field of chemistry], [tag name] is [...]
See: Crystal Structure

This tag should be applied to [...]
See: Acid-Base

Questions relating to [what the tag is].
See: Thermodynamics

[Simple textbook definition].
See: pH

Electrical Engineering

As seen on their tags page, it seems a lot of the most common tags on Electrical Engineering have the following structures...

a/an [definition].
See: Capacitor

[tag name] is [definition].
See: Voltage

See: Current


The majority of SO's most popular tags are very similar...

[tag name] is [definition]
See: Most of them.

Even some of their newer tags have similar structures.


Writers is also in beta, not many more tags than Chemistry (both have slightly more than Worldbuilding). Writers has the following that I can see...

[tag name] is [definition]
See: Fiction

Some tags are a bit shorter.
See: Style
And: Legal
And: Characters

See: Technique


I like two of the above myself as they both strike me as interesting and informative, as far as tags can be at least. Looking at Writers[characters] and something on SO (I'll use Java since I can't figure out how to link C# properly), I like what I see.

The Characters tag is witty in a way, yet still feels professional. It's short, concise, and gets its point across while also being a bit funny.

The Java tag looks well written to me, with a very specific definition of what it is that (I don't know much about Java) prompts me to want to look into it to read more. Behind that, there is so much information that I immediately know where I'm going if I want to learn. That last part may not be what this site will do, but it's a nice feature.

I really like the format of the Java tag, but writing it purely that way may not be a good fit for a site where we may want to guide the writer with the tag. Look at and you will see what I mean. It references some special requests about biology questions in that it asks for special parameters to be defined, if necessary, in the question. That can also be a good target for the main body of the tag: put good example questions in there. If people get stuck in how they should cover everything, they can check that out.

I might write it as follows:

Biology is the science of life and living organisms.

followed by

Use this tag for [...]


Questions about biology should [...].

  • $\begingroup$ I like it cragor. subject x is definition use this tag on questions related to slightly more detail than the definition. Questions about subject x should list of do's and don'ts specific to the tag. $\endgroup$
    – James
    Jun 18, 2015 at 19:22

This sounds like a good idea. However, I think there's little actual standardizing to be done, and far more formalizing of the standard that we already have.

Looking at the top few tags, the excerpts seem to follow this format:

For questions about [short topic description]. [Additional important information].

For example, the tag has this excerpt:

For questions about living things. Does not exclude aliens, but additional information is usually necessary.

which follows the format perfectly.

I like this format: it's clear, to the point, and fits in the limited space available.

The tag wikis themselves are a bit more varied, and will need some standardizing. The format I try to use, based off of tag wikis here and on other sites, and the guidelines in the sidebar, goes something like this:

[topic] is [description].

This tag should be used on questions that [relate to/cover/ask about etc] [topic], for example:

[some popular questions from the tag]

This tag is not for [forbidden uses].

In this case, [description] is a longer cover of the topic, usually incorporating something from the topic's Wikipedia page and other sources.

We may not need to make a completely formal standard, but as long as tag wikis have a generally accepted format, they can be edited as we go to fit it.


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