TRE will be held at $\ldots$? Famous final words

The Retagging Event (TRE)

What good is in working so much on cleaning tags if they're not applied to questions? I thought, we should do something extraordinary. Oh no


Editing questions bumps them up; and somehow surprisingly, there's a good portion of chem.SE users who only use the 'active' tab. Thus, bumping too many questions would stop newer questions from getting the needed attention. Thus, the frequency of retagging must be small.

But people just can't keep up with editing 1 question every ten minutes. They can't be consistent, and they're not to blame. Hence, if the only way we can keep editors helping is by flushing down the 'active' tab, let's do it in an organized way, in a small frequency.

What we do at TRE

Simply put, in an effort to coordinate chat and meta activity more, we now will have a chat event, preferably at 15:30 UTC which lasts for 90 minutes and happens every Friday in which we hunt and then retag a bunch of questions. (Friday is my holiday and the last weekday where you live, so it would be optimal)

What we do at episode 1

We'll hunt and retag questions with only one tag. One possibly broad tag. They are candidate number one for a poorly tagged question, and our werewolf hunter gun will be this query.

What are tags good for anyway?

This question has been brought up and asked many many times, and the usefulness of tags has been proven. Trust me. If you don't trust me, I can prove their use to you, but not here, in chat or somewhere else. Please.

What else?

I'll try to make sure it's fun enough to keep y'all interested, and you can bring some snacks. (Though we're not responsible for damages done to keyboards) Please let me know what you think in the answers:

  • How can we improve user experience in this event?
  • What time do you suggest the event to be?
  • $\begingroup$ If there's a whole bunch of us retagging questions at the same time, how are we going to avoid cluttering up the active questions tab? $\endgroup$ – bon Sep 24 '15 at 17:21
  • 1
  • $\begingroup$ Please prove the usefulness of tags to me. Actually, I believe the usefulness of tags. Please demonstrate that the effort put in to these retagging crusades is worth (1) the effort and (2) swamping the front page with old questions. $\endgroup$ – jerepierre Sep 25 '15 at 0:38
  • $\begingroup$ @Jere tags are representatives of your question. People search for questions using tags, find questions to answer using tags etc. We have 54 other meta discussions on tags, most, if not all, resulted in a new tag being created, or a tag scope being expanded. But due to whatever reason not many of those tags ended up being applied to all/most of the questions they should be on. Good examples are the recent tags 'smell', 'amines', 'esters', 'equipment' and so on. [...] $\endgroup$ – M.A.R. ಠ_ಠ Sep 25 '15 at 5:59
  • $\begingroup$ [...] So I've observed that although we have a strong tag system, not all editors are diligent in applying them to the questions, probably because there's usually something else to edit. This event is intended to clean up the tags on the questions - scratch that, on good questions - so that we won't end up with redundant and obscure tags. It's necessary to do this for the sake of site's health, since we have suddenly observed a huge boost in our traffic. $\endgroup$ – M.A.R. ಠ_ಠ Sep 25 '15 at 6:05
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    $\begingroup$ Can we make sure that when editing old questions we don't just edit the tags but also clean up anything in the body of the question and ideally in the answers as well. $\endgroup$ – bon Sep 25 '15 at 11:10
  • $\begingroup$ Will there be a TRE tomorrow? $\endgroup$ – wythagoras Dec 3 '15 at 18:44
  • $\begingroup$ @Wytha no. We're gonna try to get more organized and begin episode 2. $\endgroup$ – M.A.R. ಠ_ಠ Dec 3 '15 at 20:13

TRE stats:

  • Episode 1 — scene 1 (Friday 2015/10/02, 15:30 - 17:00 UTC):

    • 187 edits
    • No more nonclosed questions with only the tag.
    • 120 questions tagged only with were retagged.
    • 8 people participated
    • 88 edit reviews

    • Here's the chat log for the whole event.

  • Episode 1 — scene 2 (Friday 2015/10/09, 15:35 - 17:05 UTC):

    • 115 edits
    • Less than 76 posts left with only the tag.
    • 6 users participated
    • 93 edits reviews

    • Here's the chat log for the whole event.

    • $\color{#006600}{\text{Note}}$: People were very busy, so the TRE will be held one hour later.

  • Episode 1 — scene 3 (Friday 2015/10/16, scheduled 16:30 - 18:00 UTC)

    • 129 edits
    • No posts left with as their only tag
    • was applied to all the questions it should've been
    • 6 users participated
    • 52 edit reviews (We got @Ortho to 2k; yay!)

    • Here's the chat log for the whole event.

  • Episode 1 — scene 4 (Friday 2015/10/23, scheduled 16:27 - 18:16 UTC)

    • 103 edits
    • No posts left with as their only tag
    • 7 users participated
    • 53 edit reviews
    • and a couple of closed questions . . .
    • Here's the chat log for the whole event.
  • Episode 1 — scene 5 (Friday 2015/10/30, scheduled 16:32 - 18:07 UTC)

    • $\approx$180 edits
    • No posts left with as their only tag.
    • No posts left with as their only tag.
    • No posts left with as their only tag.
    • Refined the queue from the newly added or remaining -only questions.
    • 7 users participated (and 3 users reviewed the edits without participating in the event itself)
    • $\approx$130 edit reviews
    • $\rm\color{red}{WOW!}$ This TRE was awesome.
    • Here's the chat log for the whole event.
  • Episode 1 — scene 6

    • $\color{#006600}{\text{Note}}$: This is the end of episode one. However, the love for teh retagz doesn't end$\,\ldots$

$\color{red}{\text{To be continued}\ldots}$

  • $\begingroup$ Was people like me included in the number of participants? Also, aren't there still questions with the homework tag only? $\endgroup$ – TanMath Oct 10 '15 at 19:48
  • $\begingroup$ @Tan 1. No, I just included the people that were active retagging during that period of time. 2. There might be closed questions with only the tag. We don't edit them because it's not worth it. $\endgroup$ – M.A.R. ಠ_ಠ Oct 10 '15 at 20:30
  • $\begingroup$ I got to 2k! Yay! $\endgroup$ – orthocresol Mar 26 '17 at 11:48
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Ortho and only a little bit over it. If you try harder you might even get to close votes! $\endgroup$ – M.A.R. ಠ_ಠ Mar 26 '17 at 11:51
  • $\begingroup$ Still a long way to go... I'm 16,000 rep away from close votes T_T $\endgroup$ – orthocresol Mar 26 '17 at 11:54

TRE notes and tips

  • Don't edit closed questions! (This is covered with my query, but just in case) The rationale, if you ask, is an SE slogan saying "$\color{red}{\mathcal{don't~polish~turds}}$". Enough said I guess.
  • Don't edit questions that you voted to close/flagged for closure. For the same reason I stated above.
  • Please make substantial edits. Think of it like this: You are gonna edit tags, but are going to try very hard to edit other stuff as well.
  • These are the tags that need to applied to more questions: , , . These are tags that possibly need to be applied to more questions: , .
  • These are the tags that possibly need to be removed and be replaced with better ones: , , , .

Here's how TRE will be done:

  1. I'll give the people that participate a query, or a search link.
  2. Then they'll flip a table, because that's the custom. Like this: (/¯◡ ‿ ◡)/¯ ~ ┻━┻
  3. Then they'll give me a number: "I'll retag 30 questions", for instance.
  4. I'll tell them: Pick the first thirty questions! You should edit from this question: <a link> to this one: <a link>
  5. They'll start editing from the second question to the second question from the last.
  6. They'll finish editing by editing out those "milestone" questions.
  7. Start again from 1.

$\color{red}{\text{Important tip:}}$ Please open the links to the questions you want to edit in a new tab. If you open the link in the same tab and use the 'back' button, your results wouldn't be the same as the list and finding which questions you should've edited becomes hard.


A useful tool for finding questions that should be, but are not, tagged with a particular tag is the excluding search parameter -[tag]. Just add this parameter to some search terms that are likely to identify questions of the relevant tag.

For example, searching for

kinetics -[kinetics] is:question


rate -[kinetics] is:question

can find potential candidates for the tag.
(Usually, it is advisable to sort the results by relevance.)

Some questions are very short and might not contain the words that you are looking for. However, the corresponding answers might be longer and might contain the relevant search terms. Therefore, it may be worth a try to include the answers:

kinetics -[kinetics]


rate -[kinetics]

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Good idea. We have enough to do for tomorrow, but this can be considered for future Fridays. $\endgroup$ – M.A.R. ಠ_ಠ Oct 1 '15 at 18:31
  • $\begingroup$ You might like to throw this idea to be heard in the new meta post Loong. $\endgroup$ – M.A.R. ಠ_ಠ Feb 2 '16 at 17:37

When you are reconsidering the application of a tag, could you please also check whether its usage guidance (tag wiki excerpt) is (still) in accordance with the intended use of the tag?

Unfortunately, the current usage guidance for many tags introduces or explains the topic, e.g.

Unicorns are legendary animals that have been described as a horse-like animal with a large, pointed, spiraling horn projecting from its forehead.

However, the usage guidance, or tag wiki excerpt, actually shall be a short blurb that describes when and why a tag should be used on this site specifically, e.g.

For questions about the structure, properties, and reactions of unicorns and unicorn products. For questions about narwhals use .

To edit the usage guidance, click the relevant tag and then click improve tag info.

See also our advice on writing great tag wikis.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Great suggestion, but not something we should do during TRE. TRE's based on retagging, and I believe its main focus should be that. We set a specific time to be disturbing the active page only shortly, but tag wiki edits can be done at any time without any harm. BTW, an IRL example of a needed update for tag wiki is the wiki for acid-base. $\endgroup$ – M.A.R. ಠ_ಠ Oct 3 '15 at 12:01
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ That unicorn-chemistry needs to state whether unicorns with wings should appropriately be labelled as unicorn-chemistry, pegasus-chemistry or both. $\endgroup$ – Jan Oct 4 '15 at 13:08
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Jan that very much depends is it a unicorn with wings or is it pegasus with a horn? $\endgroup$ – Martin - マーチン Oct 16 '15 at 8:56

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