In the past few days, the review queue had a load of edits where "obvious" tags where being added. I have my doubts of whether those are really useful – though I see the point of the resp. editors.

One example is the tag. Making up an example: If someone asks for a camera app for Android that is able to work offline, to me that almost sounds like asking for wet water. Adding the tag as the only edit action would then mark the "wet water" as "containing H2O".

Do we really need that?

Similarly: OP asks for a web-based genealogy software, so he can work on his ancestry with family members – tagged web-apps and genealogy. And edit simply adds the tag here. I'd think that be obvious for a web-based genealogy software to be intended-for/capable-of collaboration tasks, so I'd not even think of that tag in a search.

Maybe it's just me being confused here. I didn't reject any of those edits (just skipped them), but to ease my confusion I'd like to know where the community stands: Do we want those "obvious tags" – and if so, when/what rules to apply? What would be the reasons supporting them – and also, what speaks against them?

  • 1
    Agree with Timmy. But what bugs me is when someone just searches for 'offline -[offline]' and doesn't look at the question, but just tags it anyway... Commented Mar 30, 2015 at 11:30
  • Giving frequence and concentration of those tag additions, that's the impression one might get indeed. I explicitely kept names out here (my intend is not blaming someone I even appreciate, but to find "clear grounds"), and will keep it that way – though I was hoping for a statement from that end. It could well be I missed something, get new insights otherwise, or even "be converted" :)
    – Izzy Mod
    Commented Mar 30, 2015 at 13:56

2 Answers 2


Despite being obvious, these edits could still be useful for people who use tags to:

  1. Narrow down their search results,
  2. Get an idea of what the question is about without reading the body, or
  3. Generate a "favorite tags" RSS feed for questions they are interested in or could answer.

It's difficult to define what an obvious tag is since it's mostly subjective. I tend to draw the line at tags that only summarize the strict requirements of the question when accepting these changes. For example, when the software has to be able to install and run on an isolated workstation with no internet access, then the tag is relevant. (Equivalent to when the water has to ONLY contain H2O and no other molecules in your analogy, then "containing H2O" is a relevant, albeit obvious tag).

On the other hand, adding the tag to a question that only requires some data to being stored offline, while the software itself isn't, is misleading and should therefore be rejected on grounds of being not relevant enough.

  • 3
    That's the way I'd put it, too. But having the offline tag on a question for a sync tool (just because the sync'd content should then be available offline), or the firefox tag on a question for a web-app, just because the OP mentioned using Firefox – that doesn't seem to make sense to me. If you agree with that, and have it included with your answer, I'd "accept" it (not that it would mean much to you in rep, though ;)
    – Izzy Mod
    Commented Mar 30, 2015 at 8:53
  • @Izzy I agree, and I've voted to reject the edit you're referring to. The acceptance can wait if you think the discussion could use other opinions
    – Tymric
    Commented Mar 30, 2015 at 9:09
  • 1
    So did I (I mentioned those in the comment only, as I've encountered them only after posting my Q here). Full ack now, and check-mark set – which does not mean "discussion closed" (and the check-mark still can be moved). I still like to hear from more people on this – both sides, of course, for a "full panorama" :)
    – Izzy Mod
    Commented Mar 30, 2015 at 13:59

(I’m assuming here that we need all these tags, which I’m not so sure about yet.)

I think such "attribute tags" (does this name work?) should only be added for attributes that are not common for the seeked software.

(Similar to why should not be added if the software has to be , unless OP knows that there are Open Source solutions for their case that are not available gratis.)


If looking for a text editor that works offline, the tag should not be added, because it’s the norm for text editors to run offline. Reasons for adding could be, for example:

  • it has to be a hosted web-app that works from the browser’s cache
  • it has to run on an OS that typically consists only of online applications
  • the OP has tried several text editors which are no matches only because they don’t work offline for some reason


If looking for a CMS to build a website as a team, should not be added because it’s very common for CMS to support multiple users (with similar exceptions as in 'offline' case above). Instead, it should only be added for software that typically doesn’t have this feature, e.g. a self-hosted feed reader.


A question looking for a whiteboard does not need the tag (as, I guess, this is almost expected of whiteboards) (again, with similar exceptions as in 'offline' case above).
But a question looking for a text editor that allows collaboration (same document, same time) should have this tag, as it’s rare for text editors to support it.

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