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 critique 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 critique 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:
- Something different: Help me find the unnecessary words. , one of our long-standing classics, could be tagged with editing or revision
- Question such as How to write a powerful but uncomplicated conference biography? or Does my story structure for an ensemble zombie story sound effective? could simply drop the critique tag, since their other tags are sufficient and descriptive.
- Our perennial "Does this hook the reader?" questions, e.g. Will this opening and dialogue grab the reader's attention? And how can I improve it? or Does this beginning hook the reader? , might warrant a new tag - say, hooks and/or openings.
- Recently closed critique questions include:
- How to improve the ending of my short novel (mostly dialogue)? - asks for general improvement; hence would have difficulty finding an appropriate tag.
- https://writers.stackexchange.com/questions/5349/water-sprinkles-usage - would be looking for a tag such as word-choice which we disallow.
- https://writers.stackexchange.com/questions/5256/what-grammar-and-language-style-to-use-for-a-blog-post - would be looking for a tag such as grammar (which we disallow) or style (which... he would find, but that tag is a whole 'nother question).
To summarize, I propose eliminating the critique tag entirely, while continuing to allow properly-scoped critique questions. What say ye?