Request for comment: structured tag cleanups

This is a call for proposals for the Structured Tag Cleanup Initiative.

Provide one proposal per post

A tag cleanup proposal is a tag, or a collection of highly related tags (e.g., tags all sharing the same stem) that needs to be dealt with en masse. Besides naming the tag or tags to be handled, your proposal must specify:

  1. What the problem is. Why does the tag need to be dealt with? What problems has it caused? Why can't it be handled by a tag merge/rename?
  2. What the solution is. Does the tag need to go away and replaced with set of new tags? What are those tags? Does it just need a quality review to make it less of a honeypot?

Discuss and vote on proposals

Use the comments on the proposal to discuss any improvements that can be made to the proposal. Be bold and revise proposals based off of those discussions.

Vote up proposals you think should be done this round, and vote down proposals you don't think have merit, or should not be handled yet.

Clean up!

On February 22nd, 2012 at 00:00 UTC or when a proposal gets a 5 score, whichever comes last, this call for proposals will be closed. We will then handle each proposal with 5 score or higher one at a time in order of their score. A new post will be created that will detail the cleanup activities for the cleanup.


  • This is not the place to discuss the merits of or improvements to the Structured Tag Cleanup Initiative. If you'd like to propose changes to this process for future rounds, please do so on the RFC for the initiative.
  • This is not a to-do list for unilateral action. The purpose of the Structured Tag Cleanup Initiative is to be more transparent and organized about cleaning up tags. In order for this to work, it's important we work within the framework and achieve community consensus.
  • Proposals should be reasonable in scope and clearly defined. "I think we should do something about low quality questions" is not a proposal. "Here's 50 tags someone should do about" is too broad. "I think X tag should be handled but I don't know how" is too vague. Use chat to flesh out an idea.
  • Any proposals that don't meet the threshold can be suggested on later cleanups. Once the proposals from this round have been handled, a new call for proposals round will begin. Use the time in between to refine and improve any proposal that doesn't make the cut.

3 Answers 3


Proposed tag

, 626 questions


Programmers is not a general career advice site, but this tag has routinely been a honeypot for low-quality, broad, and general career questions; from career advice to workplace politics. We've attempted to clean this tag up a number of times in the past, and while we've made a significant dent in it (down from a high of 1,400 questions in July 2011), we still have a lot of work to do.

Previous attempts to clean up the tag:


  • Many questions in the tag are off-topic here and should be closed.
  • There are a number of highly upvoted—but closed—questions in the tag that need a final resolution: heroic edits to be reopened or deletion
  • The questions that do belong here need to be disambiguated:

for questions about taking steps to improve one's programming career and requires the unique insights of a programmer
for questions about interviewing for a software development position
for questions about hiring programmers and other software developers
for questions about the prospects or what one needs to do to get a specific job in software development
for questions about what a specific type of software development job entails
for questions about managing the scope and requirements of a specific project
for questions about working within a software development team

...and other, more specific tags as needed.

Cleanup question: Structured Tag Cleanup: [career]

  • is workplace.stackexchange.com the new home for these types of questions? can we get any new questions with these tags to be closed as "belongs on Workplace"?
    – user7433
    Commented Oct 11, 2015 at 15:03

Proposed tag

, 343 questions.


Programmers — Stack Exchange is a site for professional programmers who are interested in getting expert answers on conceptual questions about software development.

It's possibly the worst on topic tag we have. Every question is (or should be) about software-development, hence redundant. Furthermore the tag is oftenly coupled with other troublesome / ambiguous tags:

So, ~ 21% of questions attracted other clean up worthy tags. Also explicitly mentioned in the "The Death of Meta Tags" post.


  • Most open questions are perfectly on topic and otherwise appropriately tagged, appropriately retagging would suffice.
  • There are about 30 questions that are only tagged , those are going to be tricky ones. I went through them and the topics discussed on most of them are clear, so we can easily retag.
  • There are 75 closed questions that may or may not be salvageable. The tag may be bad, but it's mostly used on topic questions, so the closed ones are clearly problematic.

When the tag is no longer used, we should ask SE to blacklist it.

Cleanup question: Structured Tag Cleanup: [software-development]

  • Every question should be about software-development, however every question is not. In part it is because the scope of this site was not originally meant to be solely about software-development.
    – Rachel
    Commented Feb 9, 2012 at 17:20
  • 2
    @Rachel I don't understand your point. What questions here (that are still open) aren't about software development in some way?
    – Thomas Owens Mod
    Commented Feb 10, 2012 at 1:58

Proposed Tag


This tag is too vague to be meaningful.


This tag should be removed and replaced with more specific tags that more adequately describe what the question is about, whether its a methodology, a lifecycle phase, and so on. We already have several tags for each of these, but they are too numerous to name all of. A few examples:

Cleanup question: Structured Tag Cleanup: [software-engineering]