There was an tag, until a few days ago, that I was tagging my questions about HP's Server Automation Software suite with. Someone went through and replaced it with .

Today, (~7 hours ago) I re-tagged the questions I had previously tagged it with, and supplied a tag wiki. But as of a few minutes ago, the tag is gone again, and replaced with again.

Who is doing this, and why?

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    You're too emotionally invested if you're using phrasing such as "corrupting the site in this manner". Disagreement is fine, so is bringing a perceived problem to the attention of the community. But please check your indignation at the door.
    – Andrew B
    Commented Feb 18, 2015 at 22:25
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    meta.serverfault.com/questions/7880/… is probably relates. What is hpsa and why is hp not good?
    – user9517
    Commented Feb 18, 2015 at 22:26
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    I have only recall coming across one of those questions serverfault.com/questions/138836/…, which had no connection with HP whatsoever. In order for a tag to be useful, it has to be clear to everybody what it means (ambiguous tags are not useful). And it has to be used correctly.
    – kasperd
    Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 8:13
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    @HopelessN00b Some of your points would actually be better addressed by hierarchical tags. I don't know if such a thing exists on stackexchange or whether there is a feature request for it. But it surely would be useful if all the tags for individual windows versions could be nested beneath the windows tag.
    – kasperd
    Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 18:11
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    @kasperd Stack Exchange does not support hierarchical or nested tags, no. Quite a shame, if you ask me. It would solve a lot of the tagging problems I'm currently trudging my way through. Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 18:14

2 Answers 2


I googled up and got a screenful of "Health Professional Shortage Area." I'm pretty sure isn't that. It could be "HP Service Activator," or it could be "HP Smart Array," or it could be "Hippo Party Sunday Afternoon," although that last one seems unlikely. ;)

It's possible that you might need a more descriptive tag, like or (or the thing that the tag really refers to that I guessed wrong). That would be more useful, and also less likely to be deleted by HopelessN00b.


Well, I did. Because the tag was an awful mess, and is a poor tag to begin with. Related to this thread, of course.

At the start of the year, Server Fault had just shy of 5,200 tags. Think about that for a second. 5,200 tags. And what are tags? They are labels/categories/an organizational aid. By grouping similar things together, you make it easier to find stuff.

Think of the whole thing like putting physical items in boxes, if it helps. If you're organizing something in the physical world (the junk in your house, your desk, your office, whatever) and you use too many boxes to put things in, you don't really help organization, because instead of an unorganized pile of things, you have an unorganized pile of boxes, which is no improvement. On the other hand, if you use too few boxes, you also don't help organization, because instead of one pile of things, you have a bunch of piles of things with categories that are too big to be be really useful.

So, the key to tagging, as in organizing, labeling, categorizing, and most everything else, is striking a proper balance. You need to make your categories big enough that they aren't more specific than is useful, and small enough to be useful for the purpose collecting similar things. For the purposes of a website on IT or systems administration, you could probably think of them as topics of conversation. Is (the *nix utility) really a category/topic/that's going to be useful to anyone on a generalist sysadmin site? What about ? What about ? How about ? And yes, these are all real tags that existed as of whenever the hell I got into work this morning. And those aren't even the worst of it.

My favorite really awful tag has been:

enter image description here

So, back to what I was saying about the number of tags Server Fault had a month and a half ago, we had (and still do) have too many boxes that are too small, and in an effort to organize the site, making it more useful and easier to navigate, I'm increasing the box size and decreasing the number of boxes... as well as just smoking a lot of really awful tags. (There is a very substantial minority of people who seem to think tagging consists of putting 5 important words at the bottom of their question, among other atrocities.)

And awful tags is where I encountered . When I came across it for the first time, it was being used to mean 4 distinct things, so it was too ambiguous a topic, and it had around 20 questions in it, so each usage of the tag was too specific to be useful, with a handful of questions or so each. The four different things it was being used to mean were: hpsa, the Linux driver, hpsa the RAID controller (HP Smart Array, I guess), hpsa the HP Server Automation tool and hpsa, the HP Support Assistant (which looks like it's some web script/applet to help end-consumers navigate the abomination HP calls a website). The one thing those four distinct meaning had in common was , so that's what the mess got pushed into, in the interests of eliminating a bad category that was doing more harm than good (to the site in general). When I saw it again today, I didn't see one either, not withstanding the fact that you did create one, so I smacked it again, working on the assumption the connectivity glitches of the time had resurrected it, or saved it from my mighty modhammer, or whatever.

And, for what it's worth, as a matter of personal opinion, I don't really think that HP Server Automation software is a big enough topic to be useful as a tag. I don't really see the distinction between a hardware platform and the vendor-supplied tools for administering that platform, in the context of this site. However, if you still really want it after considering this post (tags are site-wide categories for every visitor, not personal bookmarks), I will give it a chance, provided you do the following: (And this applies to all tags, really)

  1. Name it properly. Follow the hyphen between words convention, and make it as unambiguous as possible. To that note, it should be hp-[word1]-[word2]. Tags have a 25 character length limit, which shouldn't be an issue here. hp-server-automation is 20 characters, so hp-server-automation-tool would fit as well. And just for the record, "HPSA" was not a standard acronym that I recognized, nor was it one that our resident HP expert recognized either.

  2. Give it a concise wiki excerpt so people know what you're talking about from the hover text. If more detail is needed, or desired, add it to the tag wiki body. No, the people who need to won't read it (I just got done cleaning up the DOS tag, and despite a proper wiki, and an explicit, ALL CAPS instruction not to use it for Denial of Service, rather than Disk Operating System, more than half the questions were about Denial of Service)... but that's OK. The tags are for the window licking morons who need halp to be servering, they're for the people who actually use the site and will benefit from a more organized tagging scheme.

  3. Give consideration to whether the tag is a systems administration topic or not, and keep in mind about what I said about striking a balance between not being too narrow in scope, and not being too broad in scope.

  4. Remember, it's a site-wide tag, not a personal bookmark.

Do that, and I'll be happy to leave it alone, while I concern myself with all the low-hanging fruit that's out there in terms of poor tags and tagging. As of the time of this post, the median tag size is 23 or 24, so there are literally thousands of small tags, most of which have no wikis or even any justification for existing... so as long as you provide a good wiki, an unambiguous name and more than a handful of questions, your tag will survive my foreseeable retagging efforts.

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    I for one would like a vote on re-instituting the scrub tag. Clearly it is relevant for systems administration and just didn't get no love from the community.
    – Reaces
    Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 8:56
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    @Reaces To be honest, I laughed when I saw it, and almost left it alone just for that reason. Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 9:01
  • While coming of as a joke, I'm actually half-serious. Easter Eggs, that are obviously Easter Eggs, can bring some sorely lacking levity to otherwise serious environments. I would gladly favorite the tag, and monitor it to make sure that any question that uses it is edited and the tag replaced by a relevant one (or removed).
    – Reaces
    Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 9:12
  • @Reaces I agree, but with ~5,000 tags to get through, and as a result of the recent connectivity glitches, 10,000 questions in need of my attention somewhat quickly (damn you, SE!!!), I don't really have time to consider leaving Easter Eggs around. Right now, I'm more interested in undoing the 49 Server Fault experts on off-topic that my efforts, coupled with the connectivity glitches have created. <sigh> Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 17:30
  • I understand, I'll keep it in the nice to have queue for "maybe someday". You can expect me to probably create it back in a few months when the cleanup is hopefully done. If there are no objections at least.
    – Reaces
    Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 17:33
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    @HopelessN00b I'm sorry, I probably shouldn't laugh, but I find the idea of being an expert in "off-topic" HILARIOUS. I was disappointed to not find myself there. :) Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 19:17
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    @KatherineVillyard Purely because you haven't been around long enough to have a bunch of answers in questions that were once tagged war-stories or career and such. If it were a real tag, I'd be happy to fiddle with question tags to make you an off-topic expert. :) Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 19:23

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