As the site grows larger, we invariably see the same question asked again and again, often with a single, undistinguishable variation.

We have started compiling canonical Q&As and it occurred to me that it would be much easier to locate these if they shared a tag; .

The downside is that, inevitably, questions relating to Ubuntu may get mis-tagged. I think it is worth the risk.

Prompted by this question, and the niggling feeling I had when I first saw it that it had to have been answered before...

  • I think some SE site uses faq for that, and I think it's a better tag. I don't like the ambiguity brought forth by canonical; seeing the title, I thought this Question was about the company.
    – tshepang
    Commented Nov 26, 2014 at 16:04
  • @Tshepang that would be more confusing as faq suggests a question, whereas canonical denotes an answer...
    – jasonwryan
    Commented Nov 26, 2014 at 19:04
  • 1
    The other downside is its odd to be tagging a question as an answer... This is clearly an abuse of tags, but possibly the least-bad solution. Though there is also the list of frequent questions which is automatically maintained; how much does that overlap?
    – derobert
    Commented Dec 2, 2014 at 19:58
  • @derobert There is some overlap, yes. I see that as a benefit, not a drawback: the ability to easily find the cannonical {question,answer}, for me, outweighs any qualms about tag abuse.
    – jasonwryan
    Commented Dec 2, 2014 at 20:21
  • @jasonwryan I'm not too worried about that tag abuse... It's probably the best solution we have. Certainly better than a meta question full of links. That is, as long as its not just a copy of the frequent questions page, which it sounds like it won't be.
    – derobert
    Commented Dec 2, 2014 at 20:25

3 Answers 3


I don't see much point. “Canonical” isn't so much of a binary thing: there are questions written to be canonical, but also naturally-arising questions with widely-applicable answers. What I prefer, both as a categorizer of canonical questions and a poster of canonical question links, is to record canonical questions in the applicable tag wiki(s). Linking widely-applicable threads in tag wikis is useful in its own right anyway. I've been calling these sections “Further reading”. See for example shell, ssh, sudo, …

  • 1
    OK: given that there is already progress in this approach, this does make more sense.
    – jasonwryan
    Commented Dec 3, 2014 at 16:15

I suggest the boring but unambiguous solution: /


Since might be confusing, and can't we just take something that is less confusing? E.g. for Often Answered Posts¹ But essentially any word that is not a common unix-command nor anything else often used in the Unix/Linux environment will do.

The people doing the searches would have to remember this of course and the tag description clear enough to make sense to people that come across it and are wondering what the tag is for.

Another thing to consider is what to do if such a canonical question already has the maximum of 5 tags.

¹ Originally I considered Frequently Answered Posts, I don't think that anyone would have problems remembering a tag that is an acronym of that, but it might not give the right impression to some visitors

  • 2
    I'm open to alternatives, but we should be tagging the canonical question, not the myriad of clones that will inevitably follow along. What about osot: one source of truth? :)
    – jasonwryan
    Commented Nov 26, 2014 at 23:06

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