We currently use the tags , , etc. to categorize questions according to the 2013 version of the course syllabus. However, the syllabus changes from year to year; for example, the 2014 version removes the Game of Fifteen problem set and moves the Breakout problem set from into .

As a result, we need a new tagging convention to categorize questions in a way that will continue to make sense as the syllabus changes.

  • Simply add year tags. The people can see that the question is for 2014/2015/2016 etc. (PSET1)(2016) two separate tags.
    – Nick Young
    Jan 22, 2016 at 17:07

1 Answer 1


The goal of any tagging convention is to make categorization and searching as simple and intuitive as possible. My suggestion would be to avoid separating the current, numbered tags out into a distinct set for each syllabus year, as that would only create more complexity. We should expect that most users will be concerned with a single syllabus year only, and make it easy to find the specific problem within a set, even if it means we no longer have a single tag that applies to every problem in a set.

For example, can currently be used to tag questions about , /, a few and newly introduced concepts like . But as should be obvious here, we have tags for each of these specific elements. I don't see any reason that we need to be able to categorize them all under one umbrella tag like ; in fact, I think we should actively discourage that sort of tagging because questions should be limited to separable topics/concepts in the first place.

So, my suggestion for a new convention would be:

  • Remove all numbered "pset" tags and replace them with tags representing specific concepts or problems.
  • If the specification for a problem changes so much that the answers to older questions in that tag would be misleading or wrong when applied to the newer problem specification, create version-specific tags for that problem only. This would be a separate discussion.
  • Tag questions about specific , or with the appropriate tag, but not a "pset" tag, leaving it up to the asker to make clear in their question exactly which video they're referring to (if necessary).
  • Avoid using tags like ; they're not useful as the only tag on the question, any benefit of following or browsing them would be de minimis and having version-specific tags would make them redundant.

Implementing this as a new convention would mean searching through the "pset" tags for potential orphans and questions that need additional tags. There are about 700 questions altogether in those tags. Manual retagging would take a while, and might not be feasible if we're flooded with new users in January when the next course cycle begins on edX, but given the absence of active moderation on this site it may be our only option.

  • I like your suggested tagging conventions, but the idea of manually retagging 700 questions isn't appealing. Did you mention the absence of active moderation just because more hands would make lighter work, or because you know of ways to automate some of the retagging? Dec 19, 2014 at 21:21
  • Stack Exchange staff can delete tags wholesale but there's a mostly informal process to go through first, described in more detail here. I believe the role of site moderators is mainly as intermediaries, to filter out frivolous requests and only request intervention from staff when appropriate.
    – Air
    Dec 19, 2014 at 21:35
  • If we do get a lot of new questions in January, they're sure to be focused in the first few tags, which are the more popular ones anyway. I'm less worried about dealing with the tags for pset4+; they have no wiki entries and fewer questions, we could make short work of them by approaching the task in small batches over an extended period.
    – Air
    Dec 19, 2014 at 21:41
  • I'm not convinced we should remove the pset tags but maybe don;t allow it as the only tag?
    – Tim
    Mar 19, 2015 at 17:01
  • @Tim There is no way to enforce that restriction. The "pset" tag in any case is useless. It should at least identify which problem set is the topic.
    – Air
    Mar 19, 2015 at 17:25
  • Yes, i was wondering if that were possible. Hmm
    – Tim
    Mar 19, 2015 at 17:30

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