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We have a helpful list of standard Q&As, which makes it easier for questioners to find out what they want to know, and write non-duplicate questions. The list also helps with identifying duplicate questions, and with figuring out where the dupes should point.

I would like to make this list even more useful by tagging each such question (on the main site). The possibilities for a tag (or two tags -- some sites make a distinction) that I've seen from other sites are

(sometimes this has an S on the end)

I personally think it's less scary to set out to write a "common-question" than a "canonical - anything." Canonical is a somewhat intimidating word. But I'm flexible.

This would involve adding a tag to at least 14 main site questions, maybe more -- so I wanted to check here at Meta before I dive in. Also, if possible I'd like the tag we end up with to be pink so it will stand out better. I can't create a pink tag myself.

Some sites have canonical questions and/or common questions, with a special tag added to the individual comprehensive, reusable questions: Physics, Chemistry, Law, ELL, superuser.

At Meta we already have faq-proposed, faq (pink), and canonical-question -- but we don't have anything on the main site.


Edit 4/2/18 9 pm ish (EST): Thanks to some discussing with Wrzlprmft, I am now able to refine the proposal somewhat:

It seems that pink is not possible (sniff).

I'd like to suggest that the created tag include some prominent instructions, that only moderators are to bestow this special tag on a post. We ordinary mortals would be permitted to post on Meta to request that a candidate post be given the canonical tag (or whatever we might decide to use -- I myself lean toward "common-question").

  • So, you want something similar in function to this: cs.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/599/…, basically? I think that reference-question would be a decent tag name here as well. – Discrete lizard Apr 2 '18 at 8:28
  • If there is such a tag, it should NOT have the word "reference" in it, as there are already tags for "reference-request" and references related to citations and references relating to recommendations, and people choose the wrong ones. (Some tag disambiguation and clean-up is in order there, I think.) – cactus_pardner Apr 2 '18 at 23:54
  • @Discretelizard - I agree with cactus_pardner. I'd rather use one of the tags already used by some other SE site. (In addition to the reason given by cactus.) – aparente001 Apr 3 '18 at 1:09
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I do not consider having a tag for this a useful idea:

  • We already have a list of canonical Q&As on Meta. For frequent close voters this is a better resource than a tag, because it can be structured, curated, etc. Just save it as a favourite.

  • The proposed tag is a meta tag. It thus confuses automatisms based on tagging (which assume a connection of topic).

  • There is no mechanism for special tags on the main site, i.e., tags that can only be applied by users with certain privileges and have a special colour. In particular this means that anybody would be able to apply such a tag.

  • No matter how we name the tag, new users will misuse it. Be it due to auto-completion or because it pops up in the suggested tags for some reason.

  • There is no mechanism to point new users to this tag. Most of them already ignore all the guidance we throw at them. And this is not even thrown at them. The best we can do is to incorporate a link to this tag in the How to Ask blurb or help/on-topic, but there we could also link to the above list (which then should arguably be hosted under a different question, but that can be easily arranged).

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    I forgot about that list of canonical Q&A list. I just add that meta question in my favorites. Thanks for the reminder. – scaaahu Apr 2 '18 at 11:48
  • Hmm, accidental or misguided overtagging doesn't seem to be a problem on the other sites where I explored the use of this type of tag. // I like your idea of putting it in the How to Ask helper. For completeness it could go in the help/on-topic too although that probably wouldn't have much impact. – aparente001 Apr 2 '18 at 12:30
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    accidental or misguided overtagging doesn't seem to be a problem on the other sites – Keep in mind that as long as somebody takes care that the tag is removed, you probably wouldn’t notice. Also consider that tagging on this site is more challenging than elsewhere on the network and thus new users often select bad tags. However, most importantly: Have you found any site which has such a tag and a post on meta where somebody really found the tag useful? The only thing I see that cannot be done with a meta post are complex searches, but that’s nothing we need with our number of canonicals. – Wrzlprmft Apr 2 '18 at 15:54
  • Anyway, if you want to change our how to ask blurb, better make a separate meta post for that. – Wrzlprmft Apr 2 '18 at 16:23
  • "Keep in mind that as long as somebody takes care that the tag is removed, you probably wouldn’t notice" Even so, I never saw it being misused on CS and I've been a regular on the queues for a while now. But perhaps the tagging situation here is trickier. Then again, as 'academia' doesn't really have 'reference material' like a specific field would have, the tag would be a bit strange. And most of it would work without the tag. – Discrete lizard Apr 2 '18 at 21:26
  • @Wrzlprmft - Anyway, if you want to change our how to ask blurb, better make a separate meta post for that. I think it's premature for that since we're still in the stage of figuring out whether the link in How to Ask would point to the Meta post or to the set of posts with the proposed special tag. – aparente001 Apr 3 '18 at 1:13
  • @Wrzlprmft - Have you found any site which has such a tag and a post on meta where somebody really found the tag useful? Yes. // Note, I'm not saying that my proposal would permit the software to do something that it currently can't do. I'm saying that my proposal would permit human beings to do something that they currently aren't aware they can do, or forget that they can do. // This is minor, but may I also point out that SE is built on the concept of tagging; having a list buried somewhere in Meta is inherently kluge-y. – aparente001 Apr 3 '18 at 1:15

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