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As detailed in the Redesigned Tags Page blog entry, our tag wikis are an essential map of what our community is, and is not, about.

Tag wikis should explain how the tag is expected to be used on our site, not try to be a Wikipedia entry for the subject.

As such, all tag wikis entries should live up to the following expectations:

  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.

It is also recommended that since anyone can edit or suggest edits to tag wikis, they are the best place to add lists of resources such as recommended reading materials, but this is very much a secondary function.

If you have other suggestions on what material could be put into our tag wikis to make them more useful, an answer here would be a good place to gauge the community reaction.

  • Note: If too many of your suggested tag wiki edits are rejected, then the system will automatically ban you from making further edits.
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  • $\begingroup$ Maybe this could be a topic for a chat or site event, to create/edit/refine some of the tag wikis. We can meet in Asimov's corner and everyone can volunteer for one tag wiki that they write in the next hour or so, while getting everybody else's input from the chat room. At the end of the hour, everyone submits, and the moderators go crazy approving them all ;-) $\endgroup$ – ThomasH Jul 1 '13 at 21:35

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