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As I have mentioned before (and also mentioned by Tim Post ♦ ), I believe Tag Wikis should be developed right from the start. Good tag wikis will help new users to learn the basics and the intermediate users to learn about the more advanced topics. It will also help in reducing the noise on the site thus making it an even better resource.

Of course, for Tag Wikis to be useful they should have consistent content throughout, and should be readable (good formatting).

So, what should be the format for Tag Wikis ?

There is no network standard here, so Tag Wikis are a clean slate.

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I think a good Tag Wiki should cover the following topics :

  • Definition

    The technical definition and a basic overview.

  • Background

    Why was the technology/technique/product needed, who developed it, when was it created.

  • Detailed Exploration/Explanation

    A detailed description covering the various facets of the technique/technology.

  • Applications / Application Areas

    Domains where the technology is used.

  • Related Tags

    List of all the related tags for further exploration.

  • Frequently Asked Questions

    The most common questions asked within the tag.

  • List of Tools/Software

    The tools and software that is used for the technology/technique.

  • List Of Books/References segregated by targeted skill level (Beginner, Intermediate)

    A curated list of books (ebook, print, free, paid), online references and tutorials.

  • External Links/Bibliography

    Links to all the sources referred for the various areas of this Tag Wiki.


While writing a Tag Wiki, certain points should be covered first and only then should you move to other topics.

In the first phase, the focus should be clearly define what the tag is for and what it should be used for. The parts of the Wiki that should be covered first are Definition, Related Tags, Frequently Asked Questions and External Links. For certain tags, this should be enough, as there might not be more subject matter to explore.

Once these have been covered, the next stage of the process should be to expand on the subject matter. The aim should be to write a detailed description of the tag in a way that the concept becomes clear to new users* who may read the tag wiki. The topics that should be covered in this phase should be Detailed Explanation and Applications. If possible a short Background should also be provided. However, Background is optional as it may not be possible to explore this area for every tag.

In the last phase, the writer should work with other users to develop a List of Tools that are used for that concept, and a List of Books/References for the different expertise levels of users. This should be done via a meta post and should be kept updated. This should not be done simply on the basis of personal experience.

Once all of this has been covered, share your work proudly for everyone to see!

*By new users, I mean beginners of the subject matter, not the site.

  • so how do you edit them? You are making good points here, but I wonder where these get edited? Is this something only available from a given rep? – 0xC0000022L Apr 3 '13 at 17:24
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    @0xC0000022L Hover your mouse on a tag, and click on “help us edit this wiki” (if there's no wiki yet) or “info” then “Edit Tag Wiki” (if there's one already). Or click on the tag, then on “help us create it” or “improve tag wiki”. – Gilles Apr 3 '13 at 19:03
  • @Gilles: thanks. But no way to see an overview? One can only see individual tags, right? – 0xC0000022L Apr 3 '13 at 19:06
  • @0xC0000022L You get an overview of sorts on the /tags page. – Gilles Apr 3 '13 at 19:11
  • I don't think tag wikis can be one-size-fits-all. Those are good bullet points, but they aren't always all applicable, and they should often not be presented as separate bullet points (e.g. definition/background/exploration isn't a clear cut, related tags usually belongs in the introduction with the definition). – Gilles Apr 3 '13 at 19:14
  • @Gilles Of course, there will be variations from tag to tag, but there should be some degree of consistency. If I open a random Tag Wiki,I would expect to see some basic topics, similar to the general pattern there. Tag Wikis should have subsets of these topics, and all of them where possible. – asheeshr Apr 4 '13 at 5:39
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    To gilles point, we don't want to make the format to strict or intimidating. We want to encourage people to make and keep these up to date and they may find that to be too ambitious based on the format you show. Maybe we indicate different levels of importance? – amccormack Apr 4 '13 at 16:51
  • @amccormack See additions – asheeshr Apr 7 '13 at 5:58

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