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The idea of "tag wikis" that I've always had has been, more or less, just a quick definition of terms, perhaps with a distinction made between the tag under discussion and another similarly named tag with distinct usage.

Mostly there's no reason I've seen for having tag wikis beyond just a usage description, which can show up in the "tag wiki excerpt" just as well.

However, a passage in the description of "trusted user" privileges caught my attention (emphasis added):

What are tag wikis?

Tag wikis are a general introduction to a topic defined by that tag. They're a place to consolidate and form a sub-community around a tag. They contain, among other things, frequently asked questions in the tag, top users in the tag, and best recent answers in the tag.

This doesn't square at all with the idea I had of tag wikis as I described above.

Then I realized that on Stack Overflow, where the big wide world of programming is mushed all together on one site, such a thing would be vitally necessary. Heck, there are a lot of tags on SO that have been the subject of (failed) new site proposals on Area 51!

The disparity of topics available on SO is something like if:

  • aviation.stackexchange.com
  • mechanics.stackexchange.com
  • bicycles.stackexchange.com
  • outdoors.stackexchange.com (because it includes boats, climbing, swimming and hiking), and
  • travel.stackexchange.com

were all combined into a single "transportation" stack exchange.

So sub-communities are probably much more of a "thing" on SO than elsewhere.


My questions:

  • Do we actually have any tag wikis on this site that operate as described in the quoted passage above?
  • Do we really have sub-communities on U&L? (It seems to me like we really just have one big community, mostly consisting of people who occasionally pop into chat, as mentioned here.)
  • Are there any areas where we would benefit from having a sub-community as described above? (If there weren't an "ask Ubuntu" site already, Ubuntu would be a good candidate.)

And another side question that's really off-topic for this site: does anyone know how to find, on SO, which tags really are the basis for communities versus those tags that are just used for question categorization?

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    Top users in a tag are listed in the tag information page automatically (and in unix.stackexchange.com/tags/history/topusers). We don't need wikis for that. There's also a "frequent" tab and a hot questions page: unix.stackexchange.com/tags/history/hot. My guess is that that paragraph was last updated sometime in 2011. :P – muru Jan 12 '18 at 5:47
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    Also, for communities on SO, the chatroom list is commonly delineated around top-level tags: Android, JavaScript, Java, Python, PHP, etc. (Though not explicitly related to a tag in terms of the internal software, I suppose.) – muru Jan 12 '18 at 5:51
  • @muru, I'd love to see an "answer" post from you. This is a "discussion" tag, after all. :) – Wildcard Jan 12 '18 at 6:15
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That looks more like a mistake in the copy on the privilege description really. This paragraph doesn't describe the tag wiki, it describes various features available around a tag. Tag wikis do not contain “top users in the tag” or “best recent answers in the tag”. Tag wikis often do contain frequently asked questions, but that happens only if someone has curated a list.

I don't think “a place to consolidate and form a sub-community around a tag” is a good characterization of a tag wiki. It's a place to consolidate information about the tag and the topic of the tag. Some typical contents of tag wikis include:

  • A short definition explaining what the tag name means and what the tag is about.
  • A general presentation of the topic of the tag, oriented towards typical users of the site (e.g. usage and installation guidance — this is typically quite different from what you'd find on Wikipedia, which has a different purpose).
  • External links to documentation and tutorials about the topic.
  • Usage guidance indicating when to use the tag.
  • Mentions of related tags.
  • Guidance on how to ask questions in that tag.
  • A list of frequently asked questions (typically, these are frequent duplicate targets, and not necessarily the questions with the highest vote or view count).

Depending on the tag, not all of these may be relevant.

I don't see why tag wikis would be more useful on Stack Overflow than other sites. Their usefulness has nothing to do with the number of users.

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My activity nowadays is pretty much1 just the review queue and keeping an eye on and . So, I would say, yes, tag wikis can be helpful, although I doubt that I constitute a sub-community...




1. And answering the odd meta question, obviously.

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    If you’re interested in focusing on a couple of topics, you monitor the tags for those topics.   But how does your answer relate to the usefulness of tag wikis? – G-Man Jan 13 '18 at 0:50
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    I have edited the tag wiki; and I am monitoring the tags so that, over time, the tag wiki will be a richer, more useful resource. – jasonwryan Jan 13 '18 at 3:10

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