Does it make sense for us to have a tag on non-meta to flag the canonical questions with?

I know that, for me, it would be easier to search for that tag than search for and reference the Canonical Canonical Question.

Update

Sounds like a good idea.

  • 2
    Hmm.... it would make them easier to find, but meta tags suck... In two minds... – Mark Henderson May 9 '12 at 23:28
  • 3
    Aww; don't be all fundamentalist. – wfaulk May 9 '12 at 23:30
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    What do we do about questions that are canonical but have 5 valid tags on them already? – MDMarra May 11 '12 at 20:22
  • It turns out that this very idea was brought up on MSO earlier this year and was received poorly (though not as poorly as to earn invective) meta.stackexchange.com/questions/118935/… – sysadmin1138 May 13 '12 at 2:17
  • @bighomie, this doesn't need a feature request, we could (and still can) do it ourselves. However, the community agreed at the time not to do that as meta tags suck. This is why we have a faq tag and the list of cannonical questions meta.serverfault.com/questions/1986/…. – Iain Jun 12 '14 at 21:09
up vote 11 down vote accepted

If we manage it right (and we have so far) bookmarking this:

a.k.a.: https://meta.serverfault.com/questions/tagged/faq

Will give you the list of meta-questions that are part of the FAQ. As of this moment we have 4 of them, one of which is the canonical-question-question.

The way the system is designed right now, canonical questions should get upvoted to the heavens so they show up at the top of the tag-question lists. Some of them are, some haven't made it yet.

While it would be nice to have a question tagged with the subject and [canonical] for ease of searching...

Canonical Search

We really, really don't want guerrilla-tagging of that tag. It would have to be a meta-style red-tag, which is a that'll have to be built in.

  • I'm assuming that a read canonical tag could only be applied by mods, which would be a good thing. – John Gardeniers May 16 '12 at 5:38
  • Oops, that should of course be "red" tag. – John Gardeniers May 17 '12 at 2:20

Although meta tags are generally seen as a bad thing canonical questions are hardly the run of the mill stuff either. I personally find it very bothersome to have to go over to meta and then search for "canonical" just to find the list (there are probably quicker ways but this is the method I can always remember). I believe there is more in favour of a canonical tag than there is against it.

  • This is definitely something I can get behind -- I think if this answer manages 10 upvotes we can justify the tag :) – voretaq7 May 10 '12 at 15:57
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    Agree. While its a meta tag and they're not usually a good thing, I think that the 'rule' against them should be a guideline, not something we're slaves to. – Rob Moir May 10 '12 at 21:05
  • I agree with this. Being able to search on such a tag and then a keyword would make it easier to find them. – TheCleaner Jul 25 '13 at 19:52

The only reason I haven't created one is because it would be a meta tag, and as Mark pointed out, Meta Tags Suck. (Sure, this one seems like a good idea, but then it's only a matter of time before we start getting and such).

I do however agree that it's easier than searching the Canonical Questions question here, and it might be a valuable resource for newbies...

  • 2
    We need a Red canonical tag, like the featured or faq tags on the meta site, but for the main site. – Chris S May 10 '12 at 15:43
  • @ChrisS Is that possible on the main sites? Where are the developers when we need them? Bring Ballmer to do the dance of developer summoning! – voretaq7 May 10 '12 at 17:07

As a point of reference, it is worth reading this blog post which is an argument against "meta tags". As an excerpt:

The reason meta-tags are a problem is that they do not describe the content of the question. They describe some other aspect of the question, like the author’s skill level, or the author’s motivation for asking it, or generally what “kind” of question it is (poll, how-to, etc.).

Meta-tags are actually a subset of a larger problem that I usually call dependent tags. These are tags that don’t say anything by themselves – you can’t tell what the question is about unless they’re paired with some other tag (or several of them).

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    I understand the argument against meta tags but believe the questions we have identified as canonical are exceptions to various rules (most would be closed were they not canonical), not least of which is the idea of meta tags. Hard and fast rules are more detrimental than beneficial if there are absolutely no exceptions. – John Gardeniers May 12 '12 at 7:30

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