I've been editing some of the tags on the main site, and I noticed that a few (two out of the top twenty most-used tags) have links to Wikipedia, and one quoted directly from a Wikipedia article! In one case, the quote made up the majority of the tag wiki (and I left it there); in the other case, it was added as a supplement at the very end which I deleted because that tag wiki was clearly strong enough to stand on its own. The first tag had a poor tag wiki if the Wikipedia article is excluded; the second had a very good tag wiki.

Should we quote or add links from Wikipedia in our tag wikis? Should we use external sources at all?


2 Answers 2


The same guidelines for using other people's work that apply to posts (questions and answers) also apply to tag wikis: quote only what's relevant, don't quote excessively, and cite and link the source.

I think linking to, and selectively quoting from, external resources in tag wikis is fine. I've seen this on other sites. I've also seen tag wikis that link to questions (or, more usually, answers) on the main site -- if there's a great answer that really explains the topic of the tag cleanly, go ahead and use that.

Please always make sure that the tag wiki fulfills its primary purpose, which is to explain what the tag means here.

  • $\begingroup$ Right; I've seen a few tag wikis that cited a question that was actually asked as indicative of a good question that uses the tag. Most of the tags seem to satisfy the last criterion you gave, and explain how we use the tag on the site. $\endgroup$
    – HDE 226868 Mod
    Dec 21, 2014 at 1:46

Linking to an external site can help confirm that we are talking about the same thing. For example, if we had a Gutenberg tag, we might mean the man, the printing press, the bible, or the site with free digital copies. Those links help disambiguate our use of Gutenberg.

Links can also serve a secondary purpose of giving people places to find out more about the subject. This isn't the main purpose of a tag wiki, but it is a nice side bonus.

All that said, the real purpose is what Monica said: "to explain what the tag means here" on this site. I wouldn't remove an appropriate link, but there's no need for a Gutenberg Bible link on a Project Gutenberg tag wiki unless it's to illustrate a bad use of the tag. An excerpt is more questionable. We should prefer our own words to those of others. However, in some cases, the excerpt is the tag. Unless you're willing to fix it by writing a replacement, the excerpt is still better than blank space in my opinion. If the excerpt contains information that better specifies what the tag means here, the excerpt should remain until it is made redundant by added content.


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