I've been looking at the tag wikis again and I've come across a couple that just seem like dictionary definitions rather than describing how the tag should be used in this Stack Exchange site. Definition tags are one of the things the SE people say is bad and I agree:

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.

Here's a blog post with advice on how to write smart, effective tag wiki excerpts by Jeff Atwood.

And here's a couple of the definition tags I noticed so far:

  • An animal kept for companionship and enjoyment, as opposed to wild animals or to livestock or laboratory animals.

  • the act in which a male's penis enters a female's vagina for the purposes of sexual pleasure or reproduction.

OK that clears it up for any of us who were unsure what sex or pets were but does it tell us what kinds of questions we should ask about them or when to use these tags in our questions?

I'm starting to think we should build a nice community wiki question on meta about tag guidelines unless Stack Exchange has one already besides the blog post I already linked to above. What do my fellow contributors think?

  • 3
    I'm not sure if we can assume that all Internet users know what sex is. Dec 14, 2011 at 18:38
  • Well at least now they will know how far they can go without worrying that it might be sex... by the tagwriter's definition anyway... Dec 14, 2011 at 18:49
  • 1
    Does the sex tag even need to exist?
    – victoriah
    Dec 15, 2011 at 2:03
  • Hmm good question, sex is definitely a travel topic. It's easy to imagine more questions people could ask, and it's also easy to imagine nobody wanting to ask them on a site like this (-: Dec 15, 2011 at 7:33
  • The sex tag reminds me of IKEA Erotica. That being said, it seems a little discriminatory to only talk about penile-vaginal sex.
    – Golden Cuy
    Dec 18, 2011 at 10:40
  • @Roflcoptr You must be 13 to participate on Stack Exchange. So yes, we can assume that. Besides, your definition is wrong (but I know you're doing this on purpose; please tone down the provocation). Dec 18, 2011 at 19:13
  • @Gilles No I'm not doing this on purpose, I just looked up the definition at wikipedia and adapted it. As hippietrail pointed out this is not a good tag description, but I'm neither doing it on purpose nor is it actually wrong. The problem is mainly because I'm not a native English speaker, so I can't formulate every sentence correctly. Dec 18, 2011 at 19:18

2 Answers 2


As an example I just rewrote the tag to this:

Questions on taking pets on transportation, pet-friendly accommodation, pet-specific customs and immigration, etc.

I'm going to add any other "defining" tags to this answer from now on, with some suggestions on what's wrong and what might be better:

  • A ticket is a card or a slip of paper or something similar that can be used to gain the privilege to enter a location or event or to use a service.
    • Instead of telling us what a ticket is, which we all know already, tell us what kind of ticket questions have been or should be asked here.
      It's also a bit long and uses the word "is", both of which cause it to be truncated in an ugly manner of the Tags page.

Absolutely, tag wikis and excerpts should always relate to the topic of the site. hippietrail's rewrite of pets is a very good example. Definitions that come straight from a dictionary or Wikipedia don't help anyone; please don't propose them, and don't hesitate to reject them if you're reviewing the suggesting edits queue. Unfortunately, they have to be combatted on every site.

  • Actually sometimes dictionary/encyclopedia definitions are OK, but only when we can expect a significant portion of our audience might not know a word, or a word is ambiguous. We'll have lots of placenames that are not known everywhere and some names that are shared. "Georgia" is one that we've already dealt with. But yes for common things definitions are bad tag wikis. Dec 18, 2011 at 19:27
  • We don't even have a georgia tag… Oh, it's called republic-of-georgia. I think a synonym would be warranted in this case. Coming back to the topic at hand, the text in the tag wiki doesn't come straight from Wikipedia, and that's good. It has a definition that's appropriate for the site. Dec 18, 2011 at 19:36
  • We did have a "georgia" tag but when we got our first question about the US state we renamed it so as not to favour one over the other. The new one is georgia-usa. Dec 18, 2011 at 19:40

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .