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In my opinion tags are very important on this side. It helps to find questions. Especially as we grow this gets more important. Currently we have some disorder in tags and it is not always easy to decide, which tags should be added to a question. Thus inconsistent tagging can arise. This came up looking at .

Currently there are some "subordinate tags" (number of questions in brackets)

In the style of the last two there could be any kind of tags like "tent-equipment", "surfing-equipment", "archery-equipment", ... . Such composite tags are bad. They are redundant with the "parent tag": Do you need to use on a question already tagged ? It is redundant but without it will be harder to find. Currently many questions tagged do not have .

It would be much more consistent and easier to decide on what tag to use, if we had only simple tags. So is &, is &. Thus it is possible to search [equipment] and find everything related to equipment, search [equipment][trekking] for stuff related to trekking equipment, search [trekking]-[equipment] to get trekking topics not related to equipment, ...

When writing a question there will be clarity as well: When starting to type equipment only is shown, so you do not have to decide between and . If it is about caring for equipment, can be used as well and by synonym, would become .

There are of course useful composite tags. is a boarder case ("improvisation" could be used in relation to other things) and or are certainly viable ("freeing" or "aiding" on their own would be quite useless tags). Still I think it is correct to use e.g. both and , not just the latter.

So what I am asking here is: Do you agree with this generally and/or in the shown example?

If so I will go ahead with retagging questions and suggesting synonyms. I really think this is beneficial.


On a side note: Please upvote the rucksack -> backpack synonym if you can.

  • Related Tag naming conventions – user2766 May 31 '16 at 10:51
  • Just signed... +1 – OddDeer May 31 '16 at 11:17
  • We should also consider stuff like [surfing] and [wind-surfing] or [archery] and [bow-hunting]. These two example should be more like [surfing], [wind-driven-sports] (<- etc.), [archery] [hunting]. – OddDeer May 31 '16 at 12:25
  • @imsodin -- I don't really think 5 votes was enough of a community consensus to go on a tag changing binge across the site. I may have missed some discussion in chat though. – Russell Steen Jun 12 '16 at 15:59
  • @RussellSteen I may have taken it too far too fast, but as there was no opposition (in fact not much reaction at all, basically just StrongBad) I thought it was not very important to the community, but ok. Now I did something and suddenly people come up and say something about having general tags is good (remember, that was my opinion too, just that the only participant StrongBad brought argujent against it). Anyhow, apparently it is considered a bad thing so I will stop it now (was anyway just a side project of watching the bouldering WC). – imsodin Jun 12 '16 at 19:42
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Tags are not about taxonomy and it's okay for things to overlap. If someone can find an answer they are looking for by searching "backpacking tent" or "backpacking gear", that's a good thing.

Some users may want to filter by tags, and that's also fine. But having both a general a specific tag does not cause any harm whatsoever. If you only want to see a very specific topic, then filter by the specific topic.

If tags are truly the same, or unclear - use synonyms or fix them. If one is a subset of the other then there is absolutely no need to remove the more general one.

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I think, should be kept as kind of an umbrella tag. If I have a question about hiking boots, I would tag it & ( and maybe even ). If you replace by the more specific tags, it will be hard to find a lot of questions. Also, like imsodin mentions in his answer, a lot of questions don't fit well into smaller categories. I would not like to miss on a question like "What do I need for a climbing trip?"

tldr: Keep , but break up the composites like suggested in the question.

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    Agree. Umbrella tags are good and nothing is hurt by having both tags. – Russell Steen Jun 12 '16 at 15:44
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Regarding the tag, I asked about it in chat before creating it in chat. The idea was to have a tag related to "keeping" equipment dry and not about equipment to be used in wet environments. That said, I did not create a tag wiki or retag anything else.

I think the tag is not particularly useful since it is too general. I would propose a big retagging effort to remove it and then blacklisting the tag. I would propose that the [tag:equipment-*] tags be limited to things things related to equipment (e.g., purchase, replacement, care, and drying) and not the activities that the equipment is used for (e.g., trekking and climbing) or the type of equipment (e.g., tents, clothing and footwear). In this respect tags like should be replaced by and some other tag(s) that are more descriptive about the equipment aspect.

  • While I like this idea and I see your point that equipment is broad, as we do not have that many questions overall, I consider broad tags a good thing at the moment. And there will always be the odd question that does not clearly fit into such a category, e.g outdoors.stackexchange.com/questions/1013/… is equipment related but which subcategory? Therefore getting rid of equipment entirely (which is essential if this strategy is taken) will be really hard. – imsodin May 31 '16 at 21:08
  • @imsodin to me boots is a "subtag" of equipment and I would argue that equipment could be deleted without any loss of information. – StrongBad May 31 '16 at 21:15
  • Right and to include the socks "clothing" could be added. I get to like your suggestion more and more. – imsodin May 31 '16 at 22:11
  • Equipment (now Gear) is actually quite useful, even if it's not particularly useful to you, other users (and people searching in google) do use it. – Russell Steen Jun 12 '16 at 15:46
  • Also regarding blacklisting -- That should be reserved for things link "maintenants" which are clearly just invalid, rather than things some portion of users just don't like. – Russell Steen Jun 12 '16 at 15:53
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EDIT regarding the reaction (finally) after I started retagging:
It seems my going ahead with the suggestion below was not wanted by the community. But at least I finally got a reaction. And so far it seems that those who reacted are of the same opinion as I was at the beginning: Keep the general equipment tag, just (maybe, maybe not) break up compound tags in favor of two general tags.

As an edit to the question would hardly get any notice, I write an answer. It is however an idea of how to proceed, so please go ahead and vote on it to show your (dis-)agreement.

My suggestion (explanation below):
Replace by something more specific like whenever possible. Do not introduce composite tags like "equipment-purchase" but use or better a specific tag together with a "purchase" tag. will live on, but its use may be discouraged by mentioning more specific tags in tag wiki and retagging if applicable.

As StrongBad pointed out, is extremely broad and can often be substituted by something much more specific like , , , ... However I tried to find out how many questions already have such more specific tag. The following search

[equipment] -[kayak] -[flashlight] -[headlamp] -[crampons] -[carabiners] -[packs] -[electronic-gear] -[sunglasses] -[tents] -[footwear] -[backpack] -[rope] -[knives] -[sleeping-bag] -[shoes] -[canoe] -[boots] -[clothing] -[stoves]

still returned 328 questions. I probably missed some tags, but this number will not decrease drastically. Some of these questions can be improved by a specific tag, but many cannot for a number of reasons. They may ask about a specific item that does not fall into a nice category like , they may ask about a number/list of items, they may be very general questions, ... So the only options would be leaving out without a proper replacement or start having a whole bunch of tags like "climbing-equipment", "trekking-equipment", ... which is bad as explained in the question (rather use and ).

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    I don`t agree that equipment should be replaced by more specific tags. – Paul Paulsen Jun 12 '16 at 15:31
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    This appears to be sorting for the sake of sorting. There's no harm in having both tags. – Russell Steen Jun 12 '16 at 15:48

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