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.


Sounds like a good idea.

  • 2
    Hmm.... it would make them easier to find, but meta tags suck... In two minds... Commented May 9, 2012 at 23:28
  • 3
    Aww; don't be all fundamentalist.
    – wfaulk
    Commented May 9, 2012 at 23:30
  • 1
    What do we do about questions that are canonical but have 5 valid tags on them already?
    – MDMarra
    Commented May 11, 2012 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 Mod
    Commented May 13, 2012 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/….
    – user9517
    Commented Jun 12, 2014 at 21:09

4 Answers 4


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. Commented May 16, 2012 at 5:38
  • Oops, that should of course be "red" tag. Commented May 17, 2012 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
    Commented May 10, 2012 at 15:57
  • 1
    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
    Commented May 10, 2012 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
    Commented Jul 25, 2013 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
    Commented May 10, 2012 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
    Commented May 10, 2012 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).

  • 4
    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. Commented May 12, 2012 at 7:30

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