I have observed .3k users creating a lot of new tags that often in the end have to be manually remove again, which are time consuming for editors, and which, in turn, create unnecessary extra traffic on the front page. Phys.SE is now 3.3 years old. It seems reasonable to assume that we already have most of the tags that we need now.

Should we raise the privilege limit for tag creation from .3k to 1k?

Our sister site Math.SE has recently done this. For users without enough reputation, it will still be possible to suggest/propose new tags, e.g., via meta posts or in chat.

Note that this meta post is only about the privilege limit to create new tags. The post is not about merging/synonymizing/deleting tags.

  • $\begingroup$ I have yet to actually create a tag (though I've wanted to a few times), but this does seem a reasonable proposal. $\endgroup$
    – Kyle Kanos
    Mar 13, 2014 at 16:27
  • $\begingroup$ What sometimes happens is that people end up accidentally creating tags by just typing what they think already exists as a tag in the box. I've done this too, it's hard to track down and best avoided. $\endgroup$ Mar 13, 2014 at 20:22
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Since my answer would really just be "I agree" and my upvote already expresses that, I'm not sure how to "answer" the question. $\endgroup$
    – tpg2114
    Mar 14, 2014 at 1:59
  • $\begingroup$ Can you point to specific examples? $\endgroup$ Mar 14, 2014 at 12:02
  • $\begingroup$ I guess I could, in principle, if I dig. However, I would much prefer to keep the issue general rather than focus on some recent arbitrarily chosen examples that may or may not be representative. It is possible that SE Data Explorer or the SE team have relevant data. $\endgroup$
    – Qmechanic Mod
    Mar 14, 2014 at 12:11
  • $\begingroup$ @EmilioPisanty - I had understood, I believe thru an automated "next privilege" remark, that I would be able to add tags when my reputation exceeded 300. After it did, and within the past month or so, I requested the addition of an "Einstein-Cartan" tag, although plainly an "ECT" or "ECSK" tag would do as well. None of them currently exist, and my reputation is currently 394. I have only a sketchy understanding of some aspects ot that theory (which I understand to be extremely complex), but those aspects seem important in cosmology. $\endgroup$
    – Edouard
    Jul 27, 2020 at 13:55
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Hi @Edouard: This thread is not the place for your "Einstein-Cartan" tag proposal. Consider asking first in the hbar chat room. Also study the outcome of previous similar meta discussions for pros & cons. Finally, if no response, open a new thread on Phys.Meta. $\endgroup$
    – Qmechanic Mod
    Jul 27, 2020 at 14:23
  • $\begingroup$ @Qmechanic -Meta Stack Exchange sent me to Physics Meta Stack Exchange, where I pinged Emilio Pisanty. If I get no response in the hbar chat room and feel the meta discussions to leave the need for an ECT tag advisable, upon which "meta" do I open the new thread? $\endgroup$
    – Edouard
    Jul 27, 2020 at 15:37
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Edouard Out of curiosity, why did you decide to ping me, and what made you think it was appropriate? My only involvement in this thread is a tangential comment from six years ago. What is it about that comment that suggests that I'm here to troubleshoot your problems with creating a tag about a subject I have no involvement with? Sorry to be blunt, but this type of ping is simply not appropriate. $\endgroup$ Jul 27, 2020 at 22:27

1 Answer 1


Let's look at some data:

In the past 365 days, 15 tags have been created by users with less than 1000 reputation at the time of creation and then used more than once:

Name                      Used User Link                      Created    RepOnCreation 
------------------------- ---- ------------------------------ ---------- ------------- 
klein-gordon-equation     70   Dimensio1n0                    6/26/2013  675           
absorption                18   MahderT                        10/15/2013 686           
optical-materials         15   WetSavannaAnimal aka Rod Vance 7/26/2013  712           
coupled-oscillators       11   yankeefan11                    11/20/2013 357           
scale-invariance          10   user6818                       4/24/2013  737           
leptons                   6    riemannium                     9/9/2013   520           
soft-matter               6    FraSchelle                     6/14/2013  801           
ballistics                6    Adnan                          9/30/2013  574           
humidity                  4    Adnan                          9/30/2013  574           
laser-interaction         4    MahderT                        10/15/2013 686           
nucleation                4    Nanite                         12/11/2013 425           
anderson-localization     3    becko                          4/18/2013  680           
blackbody                 2    garyp                          3/4/2014   533           

5 additional tags created in this period by users with < 1000 reputation currently exist but are only used once on the site.

For contrast, here are the 30 tags created during the same time period and used more than once by users with >= 1000 reputation:

Name                      Used User Link       Created    RepOnCreation 
------------------------- ---- --------------- ---------- ------------- 
resource-recommendations  340  Qmechanic       12/10/2013 24196         
resistance                143  Qmechanic       8/20/2013  19452         
stars                     133  Qmechanic       8/1/2013   19212         
exoplanets                36   Qmechanic       8/1/2013   19212         
pions                     20   Ben Crowell     5/4/2013   4632          
beyond-the-standard-model 19   Ali             7/23/2013  1028          
conductors                16   Emilio Pisanty  10/21/2013 11691         
born-rule                 15   Dan             8/7/2013   3162          
dirac-matrices            15   Emilio Pisanty  12/3/2013  13517         
thought-experiment        14   udiboy          10/24/2013 2088          
black-hole-firewall       13   Brandon Enright 5/3/2013   1340          
time-dilation             12   Emilio Pisanty  2/6/2014   15455         
identical-particles       8    Qmechanic       11/1/2013  22626         
short-circuits            6    Emilio Pisanty  9/4/2013   9667          
charge-conjugation        6    Emilio Pisanty  10/3/2013  11272         
plasmon                   5    JoeHobbit       3/31/2013  1198          
image-processing          4    Dan             7/3/2013   2913          
type-i-string             4    Dimensio1n0     9/18/2013  2711          
zener-diodes              4    Emilio Pisanty  10/13/2013 11489         
ionization-energy         4    Anthony         10/17/2013 1102          
canonical-conjugation     3    Emilio Pisanty  10/29/2013 11828         
deformation-quantization  3    Qmechanic       9/7/2013   20027         
dimensional-reg           3    Hunter          3/1/2014   1368          
ground-state              2    Idear           1/8/2014   1132          
heterotic-string          2    Dimensio1n0     9/18/2013  2711          
nebulae                   2    Qmechanic       8/1/2013   19212         
affine-lie-algebra        2    user6818        3/25/2013  1166          
non-linear-schroedinger   2    Dan             3/28/2013  1839          
enthalpy                  2    Mostafa         10/21/2013 2051          
large-n                   2    user6818        2/9/2014   1208          

13 additional tags created in this period by users with >= 1000 reputation currently exist but are only used once on the site.

A total of 316 tags were destroyed during the same time period. I've no good way of determining when they were created or who created them, however it is reasonable to assume that most were created during the same time period.

My thoughts:

High-rep users are already handling the bulk of the tag creation. We could raise this limit with only a minor negative impact, provided users with the privilege are able to step up and handle cases where a question is posted without an appropriately-specific tag.

So I've raised it. Step up!


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