I've been recently working on removing the tag and this has received some complaints in the chat room, as 90 different questions "flooded" the front page.

Is it okay to do so in the future (provided the edits are in good faith) or should one do major changes slowly to avoid filling up the active questions queue?

  • Wait, you were the one who wanted to keep that tag, right? – Revetahw says Reinstate Monica Sep 21 '16 at 9:16
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    @Fiksdal correct, but a mod said otherwise, so that matter was settled. – JonathanReez Sep 21 '16 at 9:19
  • Alright, I see. – Revetahw says Reinstate Monica Sep 21 '16 at 9:22
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    You are an Established User on the site and at the edge of Trusted User, it means you can act to improve the site as you see fit. Flooding the front page is a transitory condition that lasts for about a day and at the most affects fewer than a dozen new questions anyway. Proceed as you see fit. – Gayot Fow Sep 22 '16 at 19:28

For me it's absolutely fine and just part of the way the site is designed to work.

They have plenty of timing traps they have built into the code such as editing comments too quickly in succession. They have not chosen to prevent "activity" even though they could have.

People who feel all "butthurt" - that's what the kids say these days isn't it? (-; Are not under any obligation to only look at the "activity" page if they are offended by lots of activity.

People who use SE a lot should be completely aware that the "active tab" is only one of several options. If what they really want to see is the new questions, they should be looking at the "newest" page instead.

Telling people they're "flooding" is as dumb as telling them they're "wasting their vote" if they don't vote for a major party or the expected winner. It amounts to being annoyed that somebody is doing lots of work!

Now if the "flooder" is making bad changes rather than good changes, well the "activity" tab also makes it easy to spot them. Win! Win!

Now stop doing Stack Exchange while you're at work and be sure to do less work while you're at it. You don't want to get fired for "flooding" your company's activity.

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    Car manufacturers have chosen not to limit the speed of their cars to the highest speed limit in the jurisdiction they're sold in, even though they could have. So speeding is OK! – David Richerby Sep 22 '16 at 20:26
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    It's not an analogy: it's a consequence. You proposed, apparently without limit, that if a provider could take action to prevent something but doesn't, then that action is approved. – David Richerby Sep 23 '16 at 7:34

Until SE implements the following feature: Give mods/communities better tools for large retagging jobs I'm afraid that manually editing the tags out is the only way to go about this. By design this leads to flooding of the home page. There is absolutely nothing one can do about it, aside from waiting between re-tags as Fiksdal suggests. Quite frankly, when I find the time to re-tag posts I usually don't have that much time to allow me to wait between jobs. So by design I say it is OK to flood the home page.

  • +1 but you still haven't gotten back to me on that tagging project I described. – Gayot Fow Sep 23 '16 at 7:32

I think flooding the front page of any forum or Q&A site is poor behavior, it is usually frowned upon and it does disrupt the normal flow of things. If a multiple action has to be done, it should be done in such a way it does not overwhelm the site.

I know there are ways to still get the newer questions on Stack Exchange, but many of us use the 'recent activities' to view whether there are activities that need action. Having about 80 of the recent questions up at the top because of the removal of one tag will not help with the quality of the site, as important the removal of the tag might be.

In my view, massive actions should not be done question by question, but behind the screens, by either a mod or a tech and if the technology is not yet available, lets wait till it has been made.

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    I've never seen the site "overwhelmed". If the technology you wish for is not yet available, file a feature request. – hippietrail Sep 20 '16 at 19:14
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    I think 80 edits by one person within 40 minutes is overwhelming the site. – Willeke Sep 20 '16 at 19:20
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    And I don't think it is. I think it's getting stuff done. – hippietrail Sep 20 '16 at 19:47
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    I can't see any benefit whatsoever in giving resource priorities to people passively watching the questions stream over people putting in actual grunt work few people including mods often want to do. There is a system of a sort to nuke tags. I've never been a mod, I'm not sure why that system wasn't utilized, but it wasn't so someone stepped up to do it the hard way. And the got told "stop working so hard I'm trying to watch the slow people". Good luck watching the slow question if the site ever gets remotely as successful as Stack Overflow. We want a busy site. – hippietrail Sep 21 '16 at 12:09
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    I did NOT tell the user to stop, I did tell it is bad manners on all Q&A sites and forums I have ever been and the 5 upvotes (so far) on the comment here proofs I am not the only one feeling that way. I do not know why SE sites do not have ways to do it hidden or less disturbing, maybe because the developers work mainly for the bigger sites with more content where new acitivity comming in would break the flow more. – Willeke Sep 21 '16 at 12:13
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    Sorry if I gave that impression. I'm as much ranting about all the times people have spoken up about flooding over the years on this and other sites, as I am about this specific time. I know other sites hate "flooding" but they are mostly worse than SE. I know many people don't like "flooding". Maybe those of us who disagree are a smaller group but I'm not the only one. I know SE could easily implement anti-flooding features but have chosen not too. One reason the developers might not do some much to address it is because we seldom include them in the discussion? – hippietrail Sep 22 '16 at 6:37
  • @hippietrail "We want a busy site." By that argument, we want spammers. And as many of them as possible. What we want is a site that's useful to as many people as possible. It's not enough to just be busy: we want to be busy with the right kind of business. To me, retagging tens of posts at a time doesn't meet that goal. – David Richerby Sep 22 '16 at 20:16
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    @DavidRicherby: No we don't. I covered people flooding with bad actions. You're just being disingenuous. Site maintenance including tag maintenance is the right kind of business. – hippietrail Sep 23 '16 at 4:37
  • @Willeke I have not down voted your answer (or anybody else's for that matter), but surely you want to think this though again. You wouldn't want to hurt people's feelings who are trying to improve the site? Please rethink! – Gayot Fow Sep 23 '16 at 7:30
  • @hippietrail You appear to be claiming that site maintenance is unambiguously good. I am pointing out that it has costs and that these must be weighed against the advantages. To be honest, I find tags on these sites to be of near-zero value, so retagging seems mostly negative with a tiny compensatory positive. – David Richerby Sep 23 '16 at 7:36
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    Everything has its pluses and minuses. Nothing is unambiguously good. If you have problems with tags on Stack Exchange as a whole then that's just your subjective opinion. It is best discussed on meta.stackexchange if you feel that part of the system needs to be reconsidered. – hippietrail Sep 23 '16 at 7:49
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    @GayotFow, while the work was happening several of us were on the chat, I asked there what was going on and we discussed it. From that discussion I did get the feeling the guy doing the work was also not happy with flooding the front page, (did do it to have the pain over as soon as possible. I am stronger in my point, I feel it should never be done, the top 80 or 90 questions are there because of one clean up action. And no, I am not going to back down. I feel we better live with a useless tag than with the flow of the site being disturbed for hours. – Willeke Sep 23 '16 at 11:30

A good alternative to this is to do five questions at a time. Do five questions, then wait maybe 45 minutes and do five more. Sure, it takes longer that way, but it doesn't all have to be done by one person. One can make a meta post or even a chat message:

I've started doing work X, editing five questions. If someone has time, please continue the work later. Try not to flood the front page too much. Stick to five questions at a time and keep something like 45 minutes gap between batches.

That way, multiple people can join in the work, and it won't be so much work after all.

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    Yes I think it's nice to try to do something close to this, especially if you notice the site has some other activity. I don't think it's bad if someone overlooks this, especially if it's done during a time of very low activity. – hippietrail Sep 23 '16 at 6:53

I think this is indeed traditionally frowned upon (vaguely recall reading about this) but one practical reason hasn't been mentioned: It reduces exposure to new questions asked right before a series of minor edits. Most questions receive an answer in the first few hours and then kind of disappear from attention. If they get immediately displaced by other questions and moved further down the list of recently active questions, they will get less exposure.

There are few mechanisms to counter that (you can look for them through tags and full-text search, we do periodical sweeps through unanswered question, older questions get bumped to the top, automatically or by an edit) but depriving questions of their main period of attention makes the site less useful for those who asked them. You can wish contributors would look elsewhere and find them anyway but it's just not happening so frequently, that's a simple fact.

Note that the fact heavy users can look elsewhere than the activity tab or, conversely, dislike it when they see many old questions, is neither here nor there, I am talking about the actual problems it causes for occasional users who come to ask their first question, looking at the problem from the opposite angle, as it were.

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    If you can think of new mechanisms you can file feature requests for them on meta.stackexchange. We should all do this. There is a tag provided for it. I don't see any problem for occasional users coming to ask their first question. They are the ones least interested in existing questions and underway changes. And if they want to see if their question has already been asked they either start writing it and watch the links to previous questions appear on the right by the system, or they Google it and get brought to the already existing answers. – hippietrail Sep 21 '16 at 12:01
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    @hippietrail I am not sure I understand how your comment relates to my answer. The problem I am pointing out is not about what occasional users see or do not see, it's the fact a question they ask just before would not be seen by most people amid the flood of other questions bumped to the top. I tried to clarify that. – Relaxed Sep 21 '16 at 12:29
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    Might not be seen. It might or might not be seen anyway. We definitely don't have round-the-clock vigilance, nor does SE try to advertise that it does. It's just a part of how the site works. I do think they could improve the ways in which each contributor could see new stuff of most relevance to them. Even on SO where they seem to have tried but not succeeded to improve that aspect. I would prefer if the mods could just burninate a tag when we agree on it. I do think it's nice if people can do big thankless tasks and try not to "flood" but I don't think it's bad if there is some flooding. – hippietrail Sep 22 '16 at 6:32
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    @hippietrail “It might not be seen anyway” doesn't really mean anything. Of course it might but we are talking about probabilities and I think that being immediately displaced by other questions dramatically reduces the probability that a given question will receive a timely answer. That's all I am saying. And that's not the only concern either, I understand your points and “flooding” might be unavoidable. But there is no need to feel attacked or to dismiss all objections in the way you did in this discussion. – Relaxed Sep 22 '16 at 7:47
  • I'm not dismissing all objections, at least not across all my comments. I'm just arguing the other side since there's only a couple of us on the other side. In my personal experience two more likely ways to have your question not timely responded to are 1. Ask from a timezone or at a time of day when fewer users are active. 2. Ask on a more popular site where there's so much going on that no amount of imposing "manners" ensures somebody hoping to monitor all questions will see it. In fact sometimes you can hit both problems on one site! I think the best is to file this under "try to be nice". – hippietrail Sep 22 '16 at 8:09
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    @pnuts Wrote this a few months ago, but that's what the second paragraph is about, I would say. That's how we get to 100%… It's true that it's less of an issue if all questions are ultimately answered but it does seem to introduce unnecessary delays. But I really don't feel strongly about it either way, it was more about explaining the general SE stance about this. – Relaxed Feb 18 '17 at 8:02

I don't see the problem with mass edits, if there's work to be done on some tag there's no point postponing it because it might flood the front page.

That said, I've made this search query into a bookmark in my browser to always get the newest questions, not just the ones with activity, I rarely use the 'active' tab.


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