A tag is a word or phrase that describes the topic of the question and helps categorize your question with other, similar questions. Tags are a means of connecting experts with questions they will be able to answer, by sorting questions into specific, well-defined categories. Tags can also be used to help you identify questions that are interesting or relevant to you.
Tags can be applied in many ways. We've found that many communities share a few common categories of tags that:
- Identify a language.
- Draw attention from a particular department.
- Label a product.
If you have any questions about how tags can help you organize your content and make relevant questions more discoverable to users, reach out to us. We can set up a time to learn more about your needs and help you improve your community.
Use tags on a question
Whether you're writing the question, updating it, or editing someone else's question, adding and removing tags is a useful tool that should always be used to add valuable information to the question and replace obscure or difficult-to-understand tags with well-known and popular tags. Simply start typing into the Tags box and you should receive some suggestions on tags that match what you've typed so far.
Note that up to six tag suggestions will appear at a given time, sorted by the most relevant match. The text you type can match anywhere in the text of a tag, and hyphens are ignored completely when finding matches. Tags that are specific to your team will display in your team's color, whereas tags inherited from the public site will display as normal tags. You'll also see a short description of the tag if one is available for that tag.
With the suggestions visible, you can hit tab to select the first matching tag, or use the arrow keys to move between different tags. Press enter or space to insert the currently selected tag into the box.
Remove a tag that has been inserted by clicking on the small "x" icon at the right side of the tag.
Tags in titles
You should not force a tag into your title. Because the tags appear below the question and tags are indexed by search engines along with the content of your question, you can trust that other people will be able to find your question based on tags they follow or search for. Additionally, tags appear on the question page, so other people will take them into account when answering your question.
The only time you should use tags in your title is when they are organic to the conversational tone of the title. Avoid inserting tags into titles when they do not help to form a complete sentence.
Create a new tag
A tag cannot exist without at least one question where it can be applied, so the first step is making sure there is a question that covers the topic. Create new tags when you feel you can make a strong case that your question does cover a new topic that nobody else has asked about before, such as a new technology that was recently released. Don't create tags for the sake of creating tags, though. Strive to use existing tags as much as possible.
There are two methods for creating tags in Stack Overflow for Teams. The first is available to all users, and the second is a tag administration page accessible by Admins on a Team.
When asking a question, any user can enter a tag into the tags box the same as any other tag. Make sure to hit space to ensure it gets formatted correctly as a tag on the edit screen. Once the question is submitted, the tag will automatically be created. When creating a new tag, keep in mind that the maximum tag length is 35 characters, and tags must use the following character set:
This information applies to: Business
Team admins can access various tag administration tools by visiting Manage tags under Settings.
Add new tags individually by clicking Add new tag, then provide a tag name and an optional description.
Add tags in bulk by clicking Upload CSV, and uploading a CSV formatted with the following fields: Name (required), Description (optional), and Wiki Body (optional)
You can also Edit and Delete existing tags from this list.
Tags that are added to your Team using the tag management page will not be a part of the nightly tag cleanup, which clears out any tags that are no longer used on questions.
This information applies to: Basic, Business
Once a tag is created, it will be available for everyone to use via the tag suggestions.
How tags are formatted
Tags use all lower case letters, and any upper case letters inserted will be changed to lower case. Spaces should be replaced with hyphens (-) to combine multiple words into a single tag, and other punctuation should be avoided as it can make it difficult to use the tag in a URL. When naming a tag, think about how someone would search for that subject. In most cases this means typing out the full name, but you may also want to use the abbreviation if it is more commonly known or the full name is too long.
Define the tag for others
Each tag has two pieces of editable text: an excerpt and a wiki. These are both used to help define what the tag means to your company, as well as provide guidance to other team members on how to properly use the tag. Any member can edit both of these by clicking on the tag to visit its tag page. Depending on if the tag already has usage guidance, you'll either click on help us create it or Improve tag info to be taken to the edit page.
The excerpt, or usage guidance, is a shorter description of the tag. This is the text that will appear below the tag in suggestions when asking or editing a question, as well as in the popover box when you are hovering a tag. It is limited to 460 characters total, so keep your guidance short and direct.
Note: If the tag is inherited from the public site, the guidance will also be inherited until such a time that someone on your team writes custom guidance for the tag.
The wiki is a larger body of text that can be used to provide a more thorough explanation of a tag, dump links to relevant resources, or whatever else you might want to be readily available for a user viewing the tag's description.
Watch or ignore a tag
Watching and ignoring tags have some benefits to viewers. A watched tag will appear highlighted in your list of questions to make them stand out from the rest. An ignored tag will be faded in your list of questions so they are less visible.
In addition to highlighting questions in tags you've watched, you can also receive notifications of new questions which use a watched tag, every fifteen minutes or every day. Those notifications will be sent to your current verified email address, which can be changed in your email settings.
There are multiple ways you can watch or ignore a tag:
- When viewing a list of questions, there will be boxes for watched and ignored tags in the right sidebar. Use the buttons there to manually add a tag to either list.
- If you've just stumbled across a tag you'd like to watch or ignore, you can hover over the tag to view the popup or click on the tag to visit the tag page. Use the corresponding button to watch or ignore the tag from there.
- While editing your profile, you can view a list of all your watched and ignored tags across all your teams and the public site by clicking on Tag watching & ignoring under Email settings.
Subject matter experts
Easily identify the experts for a given tag in your organization by assigning subject matter experts to them. Anyone assigned as an expert for a tag where they are answering will have a badge added at the very top of their answer, so other viewers know that this answer can be trusted more than ever.
You can also view a list of all subject matter experts for a given tag by clicking on the tag to visit its tag page and then clicking on Show all next to the number of subject matter experts at the top. If a tag doesn't yet have experts assigned, no mention of them will appear on the page.
Only team admins can assign subject matter experts. If you think you should be added as one, contact an admin for your team and direct them to the Assign subject matter experts documentation.
Create a synonym
Sometimes through routine use, multiple tags will be created for the same purpose. For example, coffee and espresso might both be created for questions about the availability of caffeine in the lunch room. Tag synonyms allow you to set a way to redirect all of these to a single tag that points to content concerning caffeine. If a user starts to type a tag synonym, the appropriate tag will be suggested instead and automatically corrected if the tag synonym is typed out in full.
Administrators can create tag synonyms by navigating to the list of all synonyms. Visit any tag on the team by clicking on it, and then click on Synonyms at the top right of the tag page.
This screen will list all the existing tag synonyms for this tag. To add a new one, click on see all tag synonyms to be taken to the next page, which lists all the existing synonyms across the team. Then click on Create synonym at the right and then filling out the information in the popup. You can also opt to perform a merge of the tags while creating the synonym. See "How can a tag be merged or renamed?" for more information.
A tag synonym can be removed on this page by clicking on the "…" to the right of any synonym and then selecting Delete.
Delete a tag
There is no direct delete functionality for tags. Instead, you can indirectly cause the deletion of a tag by removing the tag from all questions. Tags that are not associated to any questions will be removed from the system during automated maintenance, which may take up to a few days. However, this won't prevent a user from recreating the tag on a future question.
If you want to assure a tag won't appear on another question, the best thing to do is merge it with another tag and create a synonym. The tag synonym will make sure future attempts to create the tag are redirected to the appropriate tag.
This information applies to: Business
Administrators are able to delete individual tags from their team by visiting Tags under Settings. Each tag listed on this page will have a Delete option available at the right. Please be careful when utilizing this feature. It will delete the tag from all questions and all history, as if the question never existed. The action cannot be undone once completed.
This information applies to: Basic, Business
Merge or rename a tag
Sometimes, multiple tags are created in the system before synonyms can be created. For example, there may be ten questions tagged coffee and ten tagged espresso, when the community is best served by a caffeine tag.
Administrators can merge one tag into another, causing all instances of the source tag to be rewritten to the target tag. You can also use this tool to rename tags by specifying a brand new tag as the target tag, which will be created as a part of the merge. Visit any tag on the team by clicking on it, and then click on the Merge link at the top right of the tag page.