I have seen much more suggested tag wiki excerpt edits recently than previously. In general, it is great to make sure all tags have tag wikis and corresponding excerpts. Thus, thank you very much for doing this for all of us!

However, I would like to nudge all the tag wiki excerpt editors towards the corresponding help centre page where it says:

Guidelines for writing useful tag excerpts

  1. […]

  2. Avoid generically defining the concept behind a tag, unless it is highly specialized. The “email” tag, for example, does not need to explain what email is. I think we can safely assume most internet users know what email is; there’s no value in a boilerplate explanation of email to anyone.

  3. […]

  4. Provide basic guidance on when to use the tag. In other words, what kinds of questions should have this tag? Tags only exist as ways of organizing questions, so if we don’t provide proper guidance on which questions need this tag, they won’t get tagged at all, rendering the tag excerpt moot. Think of it as a sales pitch: in a room full of tags screaming “pick me!”, what would convince a question asker to select your tag?

  5. Some tags are common knowledge. Most tags require a bit of explanation in the excerpt, even if it’s only 3 or 4 words. But if the tag is common knowledge — that is, if you walked up to any random person on the street and said the tag word to them, and they would know what you were talking about — then don’t bother explaining the tag at all. Stick to usage of the tag within your community in the excerpt.

(All emphrasis from the original.)

Please when editing excerpts, make sure that they conform to these guidelines. For example, quite a few of our country tags do not conform to the ideas laid out above — I would assume that most country tags fulfil point 5, so saying ‘A landlocked country in central Europe bordering Germany, France, Italy, Austria and Liechtenstein’ is not a good idea in the excerpt. It takes up space that is not needed and does not explain in the slightest which questions should use the tag.

In fact, tag edit reviewers have an explicit reject option that reads:

Simply defining what a [tag] is rarely helps those using it unless the tag's name itself is ambiguous. Excerpts should describe why and when a tag should be used. See the help center for more guidance.

(Emphasis from the original)

Please, dear tag editors, if you are going to use your time to write something, and the reviewers’ time to approve or reject it, do your best to make bad excerpts good. We don’t want to know what is, we need to know when to use it. And because it really should be mentioned again:

Thank you for going through the trouble of editing tag wikis and their excerpts! You are benefitting the community!

  • 1
    Could downvoters and closers please add a comment. Do you not agree that editing tag wikis correctly is a good thing?
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 6:45
  • @pnuts You know, it was funny for a while …
    – Jan
    Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 15:12


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