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I know that tags have been discusses in the past (why they are limited to a fixed set, some requests to add more etc). Still, I’d like to point out two little issues for someone who only joined the site after these discussions have been off the main page for months.

  • when posting a new item it wasn’t clear to me at first why “machine learning” or “functional programming” weren’t allowed, maybe the submission guidelines could be expanded with “only existing tags are ok”
  • a side effect of this is that if I don’t think “compsci” is appropriate for an article on why immutability is cool, I’ll just not submit it cause I can’t find any appropriate tag
  • there is no clear (to me) process to actually suggest tags

My 2c: it would be nice to rename “Filters” to “Tags”, and add there a minimal popularity contest (submit or upvote new tags), or at least add a link to the old thread with proposed tags so new users can suggest more.

Or even better, add a “suggest new tags” to the submission form; even if these are not visible in the main UI the admin could check them out and decide that, yeah lobste.rs has no tag for SML or OCaml but these submissions still make sense and the tags could be added.


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    I like the idea of democratising the addition of new tags, I’ve also run into cases where I just don’t post stories to Lobsters and I think it’s ultimately detrimental to the site’s variety.

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      I’ve filed a couple of programming language stories under “compsci”, which isn’t nice. I’d also like to see a Haskell tag but maybe “functional programming” would be enough.

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        Adding more tags means more to consider when tagging a submission. For example, there’s an OpenBSD and a Unix tag; should every OpenBSD article get both tags? A Rails tag could be added for those that just want to see Ruby but not Rails, but then every Rails article now needs two tags or they won’t show up if someone’s browsing /t/ruby. I already do a lot of cleanup of submissions to add additional tags because a lot of people only pick one tag and submit it.

        I’d like to avoid adding tags for very specific things that will rarely get used and rarely get filtered. “compsci” is a decent generic tag that can be used for programming that doesn’t have a specific tag (although “philosophy” is getting over-used to apply to articles that don’t really have anything to do with philosophy) until enough submissions show up about a certain topic that a tag can be added.

        As for voting on tags, if you want to write all of the code to do voting on tag recommendations and submit a pull request, I’ll consider it, but otherwise just create a meta post or send me a message to suggest a tag.

        As for the specific examples cited here, I’d have a hard time saying that anything about machine learning, functional programming, immutability, and Haskell are not compsci or not appropriate for being posted here.

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          thanks for the reply. I feel it’s ok that sending a message to you, or a new meta post, is the standard procedure to propose a tag (or use a permanent link to a post “tag proposals” as I tried to suggest, requiring no additional server side logic).

          I just believe it’d be nice for newcomers to know how it works and we could have this spelled out in the submission guidelines.

          I understand your issue about tag overproliferation and overlappings. Maybe a solution is letting more “power users” have an editing chance on that, StackExchange sites work ok-ish in this regard imho, but surely you’ve put more thinking on this than me.