Given our community has been growing, and we seem to have a fairly active base, several of us thought now might be a good time to do some house cleaning on the site.

Given cleaning is a never ending task, we thought we'd set the bar low, to start, and take up a re-tagging effort on some of our more popular tags (by use). These were the tags that were selected, per this discussion in the U&L chatroom.

NOTE: users in that conversation: @Gilles, @derobert, @MichaelMrozek, @terdon, @Braiam, & @slm.

The Plan

The outcome of this discussion was to do the following 3 things.

  1. List the tags we're going after
  2. Rewrite their excerpts and wiki entries
  3. Focus on re-tagging Q&A's covered by these tags

Step 1 - the tags

This was the list of tags that were deemed our targets.

Step 2 - Cleaning up the excerpts + descriptions

This one should be reviewed and discussed. I'm thinking these could be reviewed either on this meta Q or in the chatroom prior. Once we have consensus, one of us can make the changes to the actual excerpts and description entries.

One thing to keep in mind when working on this part. The tags should likely start with the following phrases:

  • excerpt should be: "Use this for..."
  • the description can be: "This is...".

In general tags should be viewed as categories with which a question falls into, however keep in mind that ...

"tags describe the question's topic" view leads to the same result as the "tags describe the expert who can answer" view 99% of the time.

So tagging can be something of an art, at times. If you're not sure, it's best to leave it alone, and consult a quorum in the chatroom, rather than guess!

Above all else remember this: WWGT - What Would Gilles Tag    8-)

Step 3 - retagging effort

This step, was not discussed at length, so I'd suggest we get through the first 2 steps and once we've got excerpts + descriptions locked, we'll focus on how to go about re-tagging things.

Additional Information

I'm providing links to additional resources within the meta site related to tagging & re-tagging below. They're broken up into 2 sections. Past re-tagging efforts, and references on tagging.

Past re-tagging efforts

Tagging Reference Material

  • 1
    I'm going to suggest that even better is when they don't start with those phrases ("Use this for..."), but rather imply it, at least in the short description. Space is at a premium in the tag popup description.
    – derobert
    Commented Nov 20, 2013 at 13:45
  • 1
    I like the "Questions about foo" format for the excerpts.
    – terdon Mod
    Commented Nov 20, 2013 at 14:36
  • didn't people work on osx too?
    – strugee
    Commented Nov 20, 2013 at 16:35
  • gui seems to be pretty abused too
    – strugee
    Commented Nov 20, 2013 at 17:52

1 Answer 1


Suggestion for :

Let's limit this one to things only about the shell itself. Probably for Bourne-inspired shells, or maybe even only POSIX shell. Description (at least the long description) would also mention the shell-specific tags (, , , …)

  • Configuring shell variables (PS1, etc.)
  • Configuring shell options (shopt, set)
  • Redirection syntax (how to pipe, not what to pipe to)
  • Keybindings [overlaps with readline, at least in some shells]
  • Shell built-ins
  • Shell language syntax (if, while, for, etc.)

IOW, if it's not appropriate for man 1 bash (or similar), this isn't the tag for you. For example:

  • NOT what options some random command takes (tag with that command)
  • NOT which command you should pipe to (maybe ?)
  • NOT some random error from a command you invoked (tag with that command)
  • NOT solving that *** STOP: 0x000000EA (… error that shows up with a blue background (try SuperUser).

This needs to be written better to become a tag wiki. Not going through the effort of writing well unless you all agree with the direction.

  • 2
    This is consistent with what I've been doing. Also, use shell for questions that are somewhat shell-independent; if a question is only about bash, use only bash, and so on. Conversely, if a question is largely shell-agnostic (i.e. applies to any or most Bourne-style shells), tag it only shell and not also bash zsh …. Commented Nov 24, 2013 at 22:15

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