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I noticed recently that the illustrious Affable Geek (RIP) is missing a certain badge, one that seems to describe his work particularly well: Generalist. In fact, no one has it, despite several people apparently meeting the stated criteria.

This is because the badge is not distributed to anyone until the top 40 tags each have 200 questions. I'm not sure that any of the people who would get this badge need another one, but this got me thinking -- this site has been around for a long time, and it still hasn't reached this maturity metric.

One of the reasons for this, I'd suggest, is that out of the ~7,000 questions on C.SE right now, over 1600 do not have a single tag in the top 40 (about 24%). In fact, nearly 1000 don't have a single tag in the top 80 tags.

Note well: I'm not suggesting here that we start consolidating tags. Someday we may have 10 or 20 questions on , so it may be that it's worthwhile to keep the tag around.

Rather, I'm suggesting that we look for opportunities to add at least one "popular" (top 40? top 80?) tag to questions that lack one. Besides getting us closer to the Generalist badge (which, honestly, doesn't really matter), the key benefits are:

  • It's easier to find interesting questions with tags that have more than just a few questions. If a question has only "unpopular" tags, it's less likely to be found via tag browsing.
  • It's easier to use the Favorite, Ignored, and Followed tags features when they only require adding a dozen tags, rather than a hundred, to capture the majority of questions of interest.

Of course, it may be that some questions are so specific that one unpopular tag is all that makes sense. Or, that the only other tag worth adding is also unpopular. That's fine.

Summary: I'm asking that when tagging questions, we consider tag usefulness/popularity as one of the criteria, and avoid unconsciously tagging questions with exclusively low-popularity tags.

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    I'm hesitant to push tags onto questions, rather than let questions suggest their own tags. – 3961 Jul 31 '15 at 22:09
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Whenever a question pops to the front for whatever reason, I always try to reevaluate the tags. It seems to me that quite often they are haphazard. For example, new users tend to tag their question "bible" no matter what and often add no other tags. This doesn't always get corrected. And of course, many tags were created after the initial questions were asked back in 2011(?) In other words, I agree that things could be better organized.

That said, I am also hesitant to "bump" more than a few questions at a time by adding tags. So I guess my answer is "definitely" for new questions, "probably" for questions that were bumped for other reasons, and "yes, but gradually" for other good questions.


For reference, here are the top 41 tags (its a 3-way tie for 39th, and then a significant gap to 42nd) in alphabetical order. Those in bold are below the 200 mark.

  • angels
  • baptism
  • bible
  • bible-translation
  • biblical-basis
  • calvinism
  • catholicism
  • christology
  • church-history
  • communion
  • creation
  • denomination
  • eastern-orthodox
  • eschatology
  • exegesis
  • faith
  • genesis
  • gospel-of-matthew
  • gospels
  • heaven
  • hell
  • history
  • jehovahs-witnesses
  • jesus
  • lds
  • marriage
  • mosaic-law
  • nature-of-god
  • new-testament
  • old-testament
  • papacy
  • pneumatology
  • prayer
  • prophecy
  • protestantism
  • revelation
  • satan
  • sin
  • soteriology
  • trinity
  • virgin-mary
  • +1 and hearty agreement to this approach. – bruised reed Aug 1 '15 at 2:23

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