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There is an automatic job that deletes single-use tags after 6 months. No attempt is made at determining whether the tags are good and should remain, or whether the tags are a variant name of another tag and should be renamed or made synonyms. No attempt is made to retain tags that have proved their worth, for example with a tag wiki. There is no way to explicitly declare a tag as good. Even beta sites, where it is expected that the tag system is still evolving, are not exempt.. This job is not subject to any review, not even after the fact: one day the tags are there, the next day they're gone.

This has been shown to cause harm on Security. We currently have three untagged questions. What were they tagged as? No way to know. Untagged questions are only the tip of the iceberg: there is no way to know that a question had a tag deleted if it still has a non-deleted tag.

Please either:

  • turn off the job that deletes single-use tag, and provide a log of past deleted tags so that we can add them back where appropriate; or
  • provide evidence that the deletions were beneficial to the site (I don't know what form the evidence could take other than a log of past deleted tags so that we can ascertain that the tags were indeed useless in a vast majority of cases).
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By definition, a single-use tag is useless.
(assuming it remains single-use for a long enough period of time, e.g. 6 months.)

The purpose of tags is similar to categorization, or rough groupings. That is to say, "this question is loosely related to these other set of questions".
Obviously, this has several purposes - searching within a tag, following a tag, finding other questions that might have information regarding my question, etc.

What purpose would a tag have, if there is only one question using it?
To declare that This Question is Unlike all other questions....?

Sure, if another question pops up in the same subject, it would make sense to automagically discover this other question that is loosely related. But after 6 months (or however long), I think it's safe to say that it's not popping up so soon. If/when it does, it could make sense to search manually for other candidates for the renewed tag.

But as it stands, I am very happy that some of the useless (by definition) tags are cleaned up automatically, it sure makes tag housecleaning easier.

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    A single-use tag may or may not be useless. It is useful if it's a tag that people would naturally use when searching for the question. Of the sites I visit often, I think Information Security is the one that's the least prone to them, but they still need review (for confirmation or renaming), not silent deletion. The presence of untagged questions shows that the script has been up and at it. Knowing what tag was removed would be better than this removal of information. – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Nov 25 '12 at 22:09
  • @Gilles I agree about the silent deletion. It would be beneficial to be able to review them, and/or have the untagged q's pop up. But overall, I am for the tag removal, it just might need to be done differently. – AviD Nov 25 '12 at 22:12
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    oo, perhaps another review queue - for tags. Single use tags and new tags should be reviewed? I like that idea. – AviD Nov 25 '12 at 22:13
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    Yes, that would be helpful. The present system is pure hindrance and no help. – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Nov 25 '12 at 22:17
  • oh nice, I hadnt seen that one. – AviD Nov 25 '12 at 22:21

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