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hippietrail has already done a good job of adding descriptions and excerpts to tag wiki and there are many still in queue (which I regretfully can't approve because I have a daily approval limit :(). His edits are consistent and most tag wiki excerpts and descriptions begin with "Questions about X" where X is the description of whatever the tag refers to. It seems to me like a good enough scheme, but most edits by other people don't follow it, and I think it's better if we have a standard.

Looking briefly at other SE sites, it seems to me like the situation is different in each site. I think actually I prefer Stack Overflow's approach, which doesn't use introducing phrases like "Questions about..." or "This tag marks topics about..." for tags that simply refer to terms such as C++, Java, networking, etc. It's obvious that the users going to the tag wiki for these tags want to know what these things actually are, and they don't need the introducing phrase, since it's kinda obvious that the C++ tag refers to questions about whatever C++ is and the same things goes to the loanwords or verbs tags.

Now, I don't think adding these introductions would be so bad, but if we do, I think we should at least be consistent about it.

  • Hmm when I started I thought I tried to copy the dominant style at the time. There were only a couple at that stage though. I'd also previously done some tag wiki editing on SO, SU, and EN L&U so I'm sure I blurred over some of what I had already inferred there. – hippietrail Jun 16 '11 at 0:23
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I would say leave the prefix out of the excerpt, but it can be in the full wiki description.

I know I originally started modelling my excerpts after some of the existing ones, but then I stopped doing so because it seemed redundant and just made the tag tooltip larger and more wordy. I think the excerpts work best as a lightweight quick summary of the topic, and the more unnecessary words there are, the harder it is to read. Especially on the more complicated tags that already are long because the topic is hard to describe.

  • I personally think it's superfluous in the full wiki too, but I agree that it's even more wasteful in the excerpt. – Boaz Yaniv Jun 15 '11 at 19:29
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Update: As observed by Amanda, the tags page sometimes removes the beginning of a tag wiki excerpt, and because of this trick, some excerpts are currently broken on the page. This is silly, but it might be better to always add “This tag is …” at the beginning of the excerpt (which will be removed on the tags page). Anyway I will wait before editing excerpts further. (Not that I have edited many so far.)


Glancing at the tags page, the “tag wiki excerpts” of many tags start with one of:

  • Applies to any question asking about …
  • Questions about …
  • A term which covers …
  • Related to …
  • Refers to …
  • For …

and all of them look unnecessary. Because the tags page is already fairly crowded, I think that shorter tag wiki excerpts are better in general.

In tag wiki body, I agree that these phrases are unnecessary, but I doubt that we should care a lot about consistency. While consistency across different tags is definitely nice, we are not writing a book, and consistency is not mandatory. So it is good that you have brought this issue on meta, but we should not worry too much about it.

  • Good to know! I'll now be more careful about my tag excerpts. I just hope we're going to have enough 4000+ rep. users soon, so fixing all of these can be a breeze. Right now, the suggestions queue only gets longer and longer. :( – Boaz Yaniv Jun 16 '11 at 6:59

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