I think we could do with some more people taking an interest in writing wiki entries. We've got quite a list of tags without wiki's. You also get rep for writing approved wiki's so it's a good way to get some more unicorn coins.

Also we've had a few poor wiki write up's recently that have had to be rejected. Please bear in mind the Wiki writing advice

  1. The excerpt is the elevator pitch for the tag. You only have ~500 plain text characters for the excerpt, so don’t feel obligated to cover everything in it! Save that for the 30,000+ character Markdown tag wiki. The excerpt should define the shared quality of questions containing this tag — boiled down to a few short sentences.
  2. Avoid generically defining the concept behind a tag, unless it is highly specialized. The “email” tag, for example, does not need to explain what email is. I think we can safely assume most internet users know what email is; there’s no value in a boilerplate explanation of email to anyone.
  3. Concentrate on what a tag means to your community. For “email” on Server Fault, mention the server aspects of email including POP3, SMTP, IMAP, and server software. For “email” on Super User, mention desktop email clients and explicitly exclude webmail, as that would be more appropriate for webapps.stackexchange.com.
  4. Provide basic guidance on when to use the tag. In other words, what kinds of questions should have this tag? Tags only exist as ways of organizing questions, so if we don’t provide proper guidance on which questions need this tag, they won’t get tagged at all, rendering the tag excerpt moot. Think of it as a sales pitch: in a room full of tags screaming “pick me!”, what would convince a question asker to select your tag?
  5. Some tags are common knowledge. Most tags require a bit of explanation in the excerpt, even if it’s only 3 or 4 words. But if the tag is common knowledge — that is, if you walked up to any random person on the street and said the tag word to them, and they would know what you were talking about — then don’t bother explaining the tag at all. Stick to usage of the tag within your community in the excerpt.
  • 2
    Some of the tags we have now could be improved easily as well - I know some I've made in the past could - but from our chat today in base camp we definitely need to heed the above when posting tags :)
    – Aravona
    Jan 20, 2015 at 13:32

1 Answer 1


As long as we're talking about tag wikis and their excerpts, I have this review of the the most common missteps folks encounter in creating these excerpts, so I offer this to help assure your efforts are productive.

Tag Excerpts should describe usage, not definitions

Tag excerpts are the popups that tells users when to use a particular tag, but users often enter simple dictionary definitions of what the word means, rather than describing how a tag should be used. So too often you end up with a tag page filled with entries that look like this:

a method of exchanging digital messages from an author to one or more recipients

That's not very helpful. Wiki Excerpts should contain usage guidance for when the tag should be used. See What should a tag wiki excerpt contain?

Sometimes users argue that is a bit silly or redundant to describe the use case for an obvious tag, but if we do not keep up this format, it's easy to forget what tag wikis are for, and then fail to provide guidance in tags that need it. Users imitate what they see, so let's not forget that tag excerpt describe usage… not definitions.

Copied Content

Wiki excerpts are the elevator pitch for the tag, but tag wikis are a more-extensive writeup which can (potentially) become a valuable resource to the community. But too often, folks hear wiki, and they simply copy the content of Wikipedia over to this site. While perfectly legal, that is not what tag wikis are for. Tag wikis are designed to create an original and valuable resource for this community specifically. So don't fill your wikis with content copied from elsewhere simply to fill in that space. Once a wiki has been created, it is much less likely someone will circle back and creates something more useful to this community specifically.

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