Jeff Atwood has discussed meta tags, which he (via Aaronut at Cooking.SE) defines as follows:

Meta-tags [are tags which] do not describe the content of the question. They describe some other aspect of the question, like the author's skill level, or the author's motivation for asking it, or generally what "kind" of question it is (poll, how-to, etc.).

For a while now, I've been mulling over the thought that is actually a meta-tag. The linchpin of our critique guidelines is that critiques must specify a particular goal for the critique. What I'm coming to believe is that if a question is capable of defining a clear goal, then the important tag should be related to the goal, leaving as a superfluous meta-tag.

Consider Stack Overflow. You don't differentiate there between questions which ask about a particular snippet of the OP's code, or questions which are more generic. Why would you? Instead, you divide by subjects - and some questions are "why is my code having trouble with X?", while other questions don't depend on a particular snippet.

I think this distinction has the potential to solve a major problem for us: the difficulty of critique questions from newcomers failing to follow our guidelines. We're frequently called upon to convert "how can I improve this?" questions into "how do I achieve the following specific goal?". Correct tagging gets this across: you cannot ask a question if you can't find a category to place it in. You can ask critique questions; they just need to be assigned to a particular tag.

How would newly-tagged questions look? Some examples:

To summarize, I propose eliminating the tag entirely, while continuing to allow properly-scoped critique questions. What say ye?

  • 1
    Could you post some example retags of what would be appropriate tags instead?
    – justkt
    Commented Apr 12, 2012 at 15:11
  • @justkt: posted.
    – Standback
    Commented Apr 14, 2012 at 21:15
  • It's worth noting that questions about critiques themselves should have an appropriate tag. For example, it would be appropriate to tag this question with "critique" or something similar. Commented May 1, 2012 at 18:26
  • @NeilFein: I've been tagging getting feedback with "criticism," though I guess that could have a different interpretation as well.
    – Standback
    Commented May 1, 2012 at 19:21
  • The process of getting feedback? I guess that makes sense. Commented May 1, 2012 at 19:24
  • Ah, I see this has been specified in the criticism tag wiki. I updated the critique tag wiki to indicate it's soon to be depreciated. Commented May 1, 2012 at 19:27

2 Answers 2



Blacklist it as a meta tag.



It adds value, like a language tag on SO or a country tag on Money. Keep it.

You must log in to answer this question.

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