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Jeff Atwood made a good argument against using "meta tags", those tags that describe things other than the content of the question. A tag that doesn't really apply to the content isn't very valuable for filtering questions, because they could be added to questions about almost any topic, and only add noise to the system.

For example, look at [beginner]. This could be added to a question like

"How do i take a picture?"

and also to a question like

"I am branching out from portrait and wedding photography into fashion photography, what differences should I expect?"

Both questions would relate to a "beginner", but are about completely different topics.

The [subjective] and [beginner] tags should probably not be used. What other tags should we avoid using?

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  • Regarding the [subjective] tag...should we really not use that? There are some questions that really are mostly or purely subjective... – jrista Aug 7 '10 at 17:24
  • @jrista: That by itself is not a reason to keep the tag. Why would anyone want to filter subjective questions? – che Aug 7 '10 at 19:56
  • It's only useful when you want to ignore these topics. Not sure this is the reason to keep it. I can tell from my own experience that I have to ignore "lightroom" and "aperture", not "software". That is - you have to be as specific as possible, otherwise things will slip under your radar. – Karel Aug 7 '10 at 20:29
  • I guess I can understand that point. I'm fine with removing it. – jrista Aug 7 '10 at 21:02
  • A question that warrants the subjective tag might just need closed... "subjective and argumentative is a closing reason after all. – chills42 Aug 7 '10 at 23:30
3

Down with learning!

I've noticed this on a lot of posts. But the whole site is about learning. It's a pointless, redundant tag in every case.

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  • Education is another that is problematic. All of the questions tagged with it currently are using it in the same pointless sense as the "learning" tag, but it might actually be useful for categorizing posts about photography school or classes. – Please Read My Profile Jan 12 '11 at 14:36
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I reflexively agree with the OP's premise, but I had an interesting experience on a related site I would like to share. A newbie asked a question that was so basic that it really needed an extensive answer covering a lot of ground. Instead, I added the "homework" tag to the question and--after confirming that it referenced useful threads--invited him to explore its links. Job done. So, although tags like "learning," "homework," and their ilk seem so broad as to be pointless, when properly deployed they can serve a useful purpose. In particular, a "beginner" tag, if not overused, might have a role in identifying questions (and answers) that assume absolutely no knowledge of the field and cover material most people--other than beginners--would not be interested in re-reading.

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  • 1
    I understand your argument, but at some point, some of the tags are just too general. Instead of "beginner", most of the basic questions can fall in to more specific tags, like "camera-basics" or "technique" – chills42 Jan 11 '11 at 18:27
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should go — or else be applied to every question!

is similar; it's sometimes used in the same way as (that is, badly), but it's also used to mark (usually-CW) questions which specifically ask for collections of little bits of wisdom. I don't think those questions are usually successful, but people seem to like them, so I think that one should stay.

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