I've had to reject a lot of the suggested edits for tag wiki excerpts, probably leaving a lot of people wondering why.

The most common problem I've see is tag descriptions that simply define the word behind the tag, but not describing WHY you would use that tag. Tag wikis excerpts are designed to clarify why an author might want to use that tag, not just to define the meaning of the tag text.

For example:

Juniper Networks, Inc. is an American manufacturer of networking equipment founded in 1996.


This doesn't describe why someone would use this tag or what type of questions it would contain. Is it for questions about the company? Its products? Employment? I can speculate, but that is not the purpose of tag wikis.

Here is a better example of a tag wiki excerpt:

This tag is for questions about the Cisco proprietary VLAN Trunking Protocol (VTP), which defines VLAN propagation on Cisco switches.


Not all tags have to begin with "This tag is for questions about…" but this example gives clear guidance about the purpose of having the tag and what questions belong.

Here is some advice about how to write smart, effective tag wiki excerpts: From Improved Tagging.

  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 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 on Server Fault, mention the server aspects of email including POP3, SMTP, IMAP, and server software. For 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.

You must log in to answer this question.

Browse other questions tagged .