A relatively new user has created the tag fins. Ordinarily I would not notice this, or much care, but he has twice edited a question of mine to add his new tag, which I have twice rejected.

See Pros and Cons of Different Types of Snorkeling Fins. I think the tag gear is sufficient. If we add fins as a tag, why not add goggles, defogging agents, wet suits, underwater cameras, waterproof watches, sunscreen, and so on? Oops: I see that we do have several of these as tags. I suggest merging them into gear (seriously).

If fins had been a well established tag, I would not have had a problem, but, as far as I can see, it has been very recently created by this user. See (1) this; and (2) this one and (3) The third one.

I thought our practice was to merge little used tags into an umbrella tag (e.g. gear), and to create new tags very sparingly.

4 Answers 4


Tags are created as needed and once there is a use case for at least two questions to have them. If they only apply to one question I will usually just burn them. It's also appreciated when creating new tags if the users go do the tagging instead of just creating them and leaving others to tag the other questions.

As for the tag in question, is so broad (+500) questions that it's essentially useless for either searching or finding related questions. On the other hand tags like , , etc help users quickly find related questions and help me find the possible duplicates quicker.

In the current situation, is perfectly fine and fits in well with the rest of the tags. Having tags for a specific piece of gear doesn't really hurt anything. I thought the was fine and went to add it to the questions mentioned above before I saw that you rejected the edits (worth pointing out that you seem to be the only one with a problem with that tag.

It is not current practice to merge smaller tags into larger ones and if it ever was that was long ago.

  • Charlie, I was probably the only one who noticed that this was a newly created tag. These are all old questions. I will continue to reject the edit on my question at least because I strongly believe the the tag is neither necessary nor useful. If there were many, many snorkeling questions we might want to index every piece of snorkeling gear, but as it is, snorkeling plus gear should serve. Gear by itself, of course, is useless; there has to be a tag that tells the user what activity the gear is for, such as snorkeling, or diving or bicycling.
    – ab2
    Aug 25, 2019 at 20:36
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    I approved the edit to add the tag fins on several posts. Aug 26, 2019 at 12:46
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    @JamesJenkins Going against the express intent of the author without providing any kind of reasoning why you do it is rude (I mean that regardless of whether I think it should be approved or not).
    – imsodin
    Aug 29, 2019 at 15:12
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    @imsodin I approved the edits prior to seeing the meta post here. Once an author rejects, I believe they fall out of the review queue. Adding tags is normally not controversial. Aug 29, 2019 at 15:15
  • @imsodin it's also frustrating for one user to say that their posts get tagged in a special way. Tags are a quick way of finding other questions and one user deciding they don't like a certain tag on their questions but not in general. Right now there should be 5 instead of 3 fins Aug 29, 2019 at 15:20
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    Also just a reminder that the OP does not "own" the post. Everything posted belongs to the community. which is just an aside to the real question about tags, and ab2 does raise a valid question Aug 29, 2019 at 15:26
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    @Charlie Brumbaugh I think there should be zero fins instead of three. :)
    – ab2
    Aug 29, 2019 at 16:53

I just want this to be (down- and up-)votable, thus the second answer instead of all the commenting:

We don't need a tag creation policy, even if a tag were useless (which we can't agree on if it is) it won't hurt. Conversely we also don't need a policy on deleting tags, as we also can't agree on whether very broad/narrow tags are useful or not. Lets just keep all the tags and don't push agendas and thus benefit both parties. And most importantly, lets stop wasting all our time on this non-issue.


Unfortunately I couldn't find many examples, but this topic has come up times and times again. By "this topic" I mean whether more specific or broad tags are better. We never got to a community consensus, with some favoring specific tags and others favor tags with lots of questions.

I myself am still of the opinion that a combination of broad tags provides more utility than many very narrow tags (e.g. and over ) unless the narrow tags aren't actually narrow or have a huge audience (>10 questions or so).

In the only question I found I proposed a middle-way of adding both tags: Adding specific identification tags to existing identification questions

I still think this is a good way forward, as it caters to both opinions by using both broad ( and or whatever) and narrow () tags. In this case I agree that a less specific new tag like or would be preferable though to (there's just three question right now).

  • Thoughts about filtering on multiple tags like outdoors.stackexchange.com/questions/tagged/swimming+gear instead of creating a new tag swimming-gear ? Aug 29, 2019 at 15:33
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    @JamesJenkins Sure, that's one of the arguments in favor of multiple broad tags instead of a single "combination type" narrow tag.
    – imsodin
    Aug 29, 2019 at 16:21
  • Lets not use two tags where one single tag would do, i.e. using both fire and wood instead of firewood or climbing + shoes instead of climbing-shoes Aug 29, 2019 at 16:57
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    @CharlieBrumbaugh I know that's your stance, but why? I agree in some cases specific tags make more sense, but I don't understand why it should be an a-prior imperative to always use more specific, combination-type tags.
    – imsodin
    Aug 29, 2019 at 17:49
  • Because it helps me search that much faster and find the other similiar questions. Both are useful when I make sure that something isn't a duplicate. Aug 29, 2019 at 18:20
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    What about JamesJenkin's comment above: outdoors.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/1551/… How does keeping both general and specific tags hurt your use-case?
    – imsodin
    Aug 29, 2019 at 18:38

As individual active members of the community we don't really have control over tag creation.

Maybe a better question is; "What is our policy on deleting low usage tags?" for example has one question, I think we can all agree that does not really add value.

We are not a new site, we have 5,000+ questions. If

I propose that at least for now, any tag with less than 5 questions should be deleted/removed.

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    +1 I agree. (1) The tag zebras does not add value! (2) The criterion less than 5 for deletion makes sense to me. Also, we should judge newly created tags by new users, who have an incentive, however tiny, to edit, with caution.
    – ab2
    Aug 29, 2019 at 16:47
  • Let's not just because if it ever does get to over 5 then we have to go put it back which makes more work and edits and is more disruptive then just letting it be Aug 29, 2019 at 16:49
  • Thats why I burned the belay-stance tag but won't burn the italy tag, there are plenty of questions that need the italy tag while the belay-stance wasn't going to end up on multiple questions Aug 29, 2019 at 16:51
  • It is easy enough to add the tag to existing questions if appropriate. If 1/1000 of our questions don't work for a tag, it does not add value Aug 29, 2019 at 17:00
  • Deleting tags means tags can't be created "organically", as every new tag will at first meet the deletion criterion. I'd rather think about whether a tag makes sense and has potential to grow, not just numbers. Zebras from that point of view could be removed, as having a tag for every major animal clearly wouldn't scale.
    – imsodin
    Aug 29, 2019 at 17:47
  • @imsodin Having one tag per major type of animal is already being done, We have deer,elk,moose,rock-mountian-goats,horses,cougars etc. Zebras is fine Aug 29, 2019 at 18:21
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    I most certainly won't start an argument over that, as I don't see any downside in keeping it, but my personal opinion aligns with the others: That's bull(horse-, zebra-)shit.
    – imsodin
    Aug 29, 2019 at 18:39

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