I have a simple question, per the title, that I'd like community feedback on before venturing over to Stack Exchange meta and/or bugging one of the Stack Exchange Community Managers.
Should the rep requirement for creating tags on Server Fault be raised? (And if so, to what?)
Currently, it's at 300 for Server Fault. By contrast, at Stack Overflow, 1500 rep is needed to create new tags. I think our threshold is too low, and believe that the lower threshold here is the reason that we have literally hundreds of garbage tags with only a handful of questions in them. Because I stumbled across them within the last few minutes, outbox, rotating and sender come to mind immediately as tags with absolutely no value that had one or two questions in them, and were created by users with low reps. (Not to say that all tags with few questions are necessarily garbage tags, but there is a strong correlation, from what I've seen in my retagging efforts.)
I am of the opinion that increasing the quality of our tags, and maintaining a certain quality is important (otherwise, why have tags at all?), and that doing so would be greatly aided by increasing the minimum rep required to create them in the first place. I can go through and remove the hundreds of tags that ought not exist and have only a question or two in them, but that does little good if hordes of low-rep users come in behind me and decide to tag their questions with what are essentially 3 or 4 important words from their particular problem. Off the top of my head, I think I'd place the tag creation privilege at or near the tag synonym creation privilege, which is 2,500.
On the off chance the purpose of tags is not clear to anyone, tags exist to categorize and organize. We currently have over 5,000 tags. Over 1,000 of those have only a handful of questions (5 or less), and the median number questions per tag is approximately 16. To me, this indicates that at least a large number of our tags are of poor quality.
IT is a huge field, but I find it hard to defend a categorization system which divides it into over 5,000 categories... and all the more when thousands of those thousands of categories only apply to a handful of questions out of the >180,000 questions we have on the site.
The only explanation I have is that we have a very large number of tags that should not exist, because they are not actually IT-related categories. (To borrow from my bad tags thread, "fixed" is not a category related to IT. "Width" is not a category related to IT. Nor is "rotating," "outbox," or "social." Not even if the question is about fixing the width of your rotating inbox while remaining social with your co-workers.
The problem with having large numbers of poor quality tags is that they defeat the benefits of categorization that tags exist to create in the first place. Searching through 5,000 categories is harder and more time-consuming than searching through 4,000, and if those "extra" 1,000 tags don't have any value, then you've just inflicted increased cost and effort on everyone for no reason.
Having said all that, what does anyone else have to say on the subject? I'm thinking I should request of the Stack Exchange CMs that the tag creation reputation threshold be raised to 2,500 for Server Fault.
Yes? No? Too high? Too low? Don't Care?