Adjective tags are bad because they generally cannot be used on their own, requiring a noun to define. I found a few examples of such tags which I'd like to clean up.


We currently have 37 questions tagged with . "Common" is only meaningful when paired with a noun describing what is common: , , , etc. Most of such composite tags already exist.


There's also with 12 questions, which refer to either a (or, more generally, ), or to NFC tags lacking a power source. Perhaps we need a tag?


Another ugly adjective tag is , which hosts 11 questions. Here, I would suggest to replace it with when the question is about stability in terms of control theory, otherwise simply remove it and add an appropriate tag (e.g. ) if possible.


includes 24 questions which almost exclusively refer to resistive load, and eventually to resistive networks or brake resistors. Perhaps we should change that tag to and remove it where it doesn't apply.

inductive / capacitive

and mostly refer to either inductive / capacitive load or inductive / capacitive coupling. However, these tags are quite popular so I expect there will be plenty of exceptions. I suggest we start retagging these questions with appropriate tags such as and see what remains.

linear / non-linear

Then there are and tags. These are more complicated because many more questions are using these tags, and 5 people currently watch . Most of these questions refer to two distinct topics:

  • linear systems / LDEs
  • linearity as a property of ADCs, amplifiers, etc.

I believe we should retag all questions in the second class with , dedicate that tag to the property it names (and make that clear in the description) and eventually change to . I'm afraid it won't be so simple though, as edge cases will pop up.


is a very popular tag, which can as a first approximation be split between wireless communication (which IMO is just a cool name for ) and wireless power transfer including . I think we should eventually change it to (and maybe make it synonym with ), but before that questions which are not about communication need to be identified and retagged.

I would like to contribute to the cleanup, hopefully without disturbing the site too much. Any advice on how to proceed?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Uggghh, tags... \$\endgroup\$
    – Voltage Spike Mod
    May 15, 2019 at 22:08

3 Answers 3


Background: There's 2 "permanent" ways and a third "temporary" way to mitigate bad tags from popping back up. I'm starting here as we don't want to be having this discussion in a few months again (for the same tags). There are:

  1. Blacklisting the tag, which must be coordinated with StackExchange Community Managers
  2. Tag Synonyms, which map the "bad" tag to a "good" tag, which can be done by 2.5k rep users or moderators
  3. Removing the tag from all questions, which will raise the threshold for recreating the tag to 300 rep, which is practically nothing.

There are also 3 methods for removing a tag from all questions:

  1. Getting a Community Manager to delete the tag from all question. This does not fill the active question list with activity, but there will likely be some questions where the undesired tag was the only tag. These questions will be re-tagged with , and must be manually retagged.
  2. Merging tags - A lot of the time, this is done with making tag synonyms. This will blindly change the original "bad" tag to the new "good" tag. This does not contribute to the activity tab. I believe a moderator is required for this action.
  3. Edit the tags on questions. This is the most flexible method for changing tags. A lot of the time, these "adjective" tags come from users inexperienced in selecting descriptive tags, so a general re-tagging is probably a good idea. The obvious downside is that each question will show up in the active questions list, and each question requires manual intervention.

Let's also make some definitions for the size of tags. These are somewhat arbitrary, but they're based on site parameters. The thresholds also aren't meant to be absolute, just useful for estimating effort/impact.

  • Small Tags: Less than 10 instances. These are easily handled by edits
  • Large Tags: More than 200 instances. This is about a day's worth of new questions, and need Meta.EE action/help.

What would help the most right now is for you to categorize the type and amount of effort required for each of these tags to be nuked. In general I agree, but is pretty big, for example.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ What I plan to do is manually re-tag about 5 questions per day, starting with the smaller tags. If my motivation lasts long enough, I'll analyse one of the more popular tags (starting with inductive) and ask a separate question on meta so that it can be merged with its most common better-looking tag (e.g. inductive-load), while questions using the tag in different sense can be manually re-tagged. \$\endgroup\$ May 15, 2019 at 8:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DmitryGrigoryev Sounds good, I'll plan on taking a look at proposed tag synonyms in a few days. 5-10 questions is a good level without making too much noise. \$\endgroup\$
    – W5VO
    May 15, 2019 at 15:40

I would strongly encourage EE to follow the procedures used by our sister-site Stack Overflow (SO), since they have tons of experience here. From SO meta:

What is the process for tag removal (burnination)?

Why not adapt their system instead of re-inventing the wheel?

They have a special tag "burnination-request" used on meta, to flag candidates for tag removal. The post is then left open for discussion for a while, and if there's reasonable consensus, tag removal can proceed.

SO uses two different methods as outlined in the above link, one "small burnination" that can be carried out by high rep users alone, and one that requires moderator assistance.

The most important part when doing tag clean-up is to review the question as whole. Is it on-topic in the first place or should it be closed? Are there other problems we should fix while editing? That is, once we've decided to "disturb" the site by editing a lot of old posts, we should make sure to fix as many problems as possible at the same time.

Now what SO has but EE lacks, is the luxury of countless high-rep users. Even in specific domains: meaning that clean-ups can even be done by domain experts. We won't have that luxury, so we have to be far less picky about who performs the clean-up. It is probably sufficient if the user has high rep.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks, that sounds like a good idea. I will keep manually cleaning up the 4 first tags in my list, and someday (I or someone else) will post separate questions about the larger tags so that we can have a vote. I don't think we will ever get 20 votes on a tag cleanup request, but I think it'll be enough if a mod checks out our votes after a week or so and takes a decision. \$\endgroup\$ May 20, 2019 at 11:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ This is interesting, I hadn't seen this before. Now I'm not sure everything will scale to our site, as SO has about 10x the active users as we do, and the scale demands a bit more formality. \$\endgroup\$
    – W5VO
    May 21, 2019 at 2:42

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It's a fairly non-ambiguous term

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ ??? Has this been posted at the intended place? What is this supposed to mean? \$\endgroup\$
    – dim
    May 15, 2019 at 5:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm OK with this if others agree, but bear in mind that it will remain a problematic tag forever, because people will keep using it in questions which have nothing to do with mains. For this reason I would prefer to have a tag which can't be mistaken for an adjective. \$\endgroup\$ May 15, 2019 at 7:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ @dim just pointing out that "common" makes sense without more description. \$\endgroup\$ May 15, 2019 at 11:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DmitryGrigoryev yes -- it's been used, presumably a mixture of correctly and incorrectly, 37 times over many years. \$\endgroup\$ May 15, 2019 at 11:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Scott. Ok, I didn't understand you were specifically speaking about the "common" term. But then, well, I disagree. The "common" term alone is meaningless, can't really qualify a post, and its meaning is highly dependant on the context. Within context, it may be non-ambiguous, but how can you make sense of this word, used as a tag? It's like having a "red" tag: look, you have a red wire in your picture, so it isn't ambiguous in this context, but how a "red" tag would be useful? \$\endgroup\$
    – dim
    May 15, 2019 at 11:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ @dim -- it's no more useful or useless than the "ground" tag. I've pretty much reconciled that tags have somewhat limited utility. I draw my line at meta-tags. \$\endgroup\$ May 15, 2019 at 11:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ But unless there is context describing this as AC, you would have no clue what "common" meant. The tag cannot stand by itself. \$\endgroup\$
    – Lundin
    May 20, 2019 at 9:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Lundin I told them not to change the platform to allow only one tag, but they didn't listen. ;-) \$\endgroup\$ May 20, 2019 at 10:52

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