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As part of the 4th chat discussion, we covered the status of meta tags.

Examples of meta tags are:

The questions we discussed are:

  • Do we need them? Do they contribute anything?
  • If not, should we just eliminate them. (and blacklist them)
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We have decided to eliminate the bigger meta tags for the following reasons:

  1. Meta tags don't add much to the question. It's usually obvious what the question is about.
  2. They are inconsistently being used. Most users don't know they exist so they don't add the tag(s).
  3. They hurt search engine visibility.*

*This last point is important. The final goal for any StackExchange site is to get most of the traffic from search engines. However, in order to do this, the questions need to be searchable.

The searchability of questions is heaviliy influenced by the title that is used.
As a result, SE appends the most popular tag to the question title.

So for example:

  • Title: "Why aren't mages trusted to remove their own limiters?"
  • Tags:

will have a title of: "nanoha - Why aren't mages trusted to remove their own limiters?"

The keyword "nanoha" (the name of the show) is appended to the title to enhance SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

The problem is that meta tags are almost always the "most popular" tags. So we have this situation:

Where the title becomes: "Character Abilities - Why aren't mages trusted to remove their own limiters?"
Which has no indication to the name of the show. People google for "Nanoha" are unlikely to find this question even though it may be relevant.


So we made the decision to nuke the worst of the meta tags. For everything else, we will be manually fixing up the question (either by editing the title, or deleting unnecessary tags) to maximize search engine visibility.


So far we have (or currently are) eliminating the following tags:

More may be added in the future.

  • We should also consider pointless/redundant tags such as meme, analysis, conventions – кяαzєя Feb 18 '13 at 17:22
  • @Krazer all of those tags are only on one question, and there are quite a few non-series tags which only have one question. analysis should probably be killed outright. The others need to be looked at individually, but most of them should probably be merged with existing tags. – Logan M Feb 20 '13 at 17:55

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