There is an automatic job that deletes single-use tags after 6 months. No attempt is made at determining whether the tags are good and should remain, or whether the tags are a variant name of another tag and should be renamed or made synonyms. No attempt is made to retain tags that have proved their worth, for example with a tag wiki. There is no way to explicitly declare a tag as good. Even beta sites, where it is expected that the tag system is still evolving, are not exempt.. This job is not subject to any review, not even after the fact: one day the tags are there, the next day they're gone.

This has already been shown to cause harm on Computer Science: at some point we had untagged questions because their tags has expired. (And yes, the untagged questions were due to tag expiry, none of them had been tagged with our sole burninated tag.) Untagged questions are only the tip of the iceberg: there is no way to know that a question had a tag deleted if it still has a non-deleted tag.

Please either:

  • turn off the job that deletes single-use tag, and provide a log of past deleted tags so that we can add them back where appropriate; or
  • provide evidence that the deletions were beneficial to the site (I don't know what form the evidence could take other than a log of past deleted tags so that we can ascertain that the tags were indeed useless in a vast majority of cases).
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Seconded, with strong emphasis on transparency. $\endgroup$
    – Raphael
    Nov 26, 2012 at 0:53

2 Answers 2


It is now possible to protect a tag from this silent deletion by [writing a tag wiki] (Do not expire single-use tags that have a tag wiki).

So that's one more incentive to write a tag wiki when you create a tag.


A single use tag is quite useless to classify questions. I'd want tags that lead me to all (hopefully many) questions that touch on what interests me (and it might even be that the tag applies to a particular answer, not even to the question, i.e., the tag applies to a particular solution technique).

Sure, have an intelligent, knowledgeable, rational being doing the weeding and reassigning would be ideal. But we know how many of those are around, and how much time we can ask them to donate to the site...

A middle ground might be to point out untagged questions to the community for retagging, or even shovel questions with sparsely used tags there?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Questions that lost their tag to tag expiry are tagged untagged. So they can be found if you're in a maintenance mood, but not if you're looking for questions about <obscure topic with a clear name>. $\endgroup$ Oct 25, 2015 at 11:40
  • $\begingroup$ tags are all created by users in a folksonomy, so all tags start(ed) out as "single". single use tags can just be seen as possible/ potential multi-use tags. $\endgroup$
    – vzn
    Oct 26, 2015 at 18:57

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .