Welcome welcome fellow puzzlers, to the Second Sesquiannual Puzzling Tag Cleanup!

Another year and a half has slipped by, and my, look at the tags! Er. Time. Tags have a nasty way of accumulating detritus in the corners, nooks, and crannies of the site, and hey, guess what? It's time to clean 'em out again!

So get your tag-thwackin' brooms ready. It's time for some cleanin'. If you see a tag that needs cleaning up, needs to be obliterated, or otherwise needs changes like synonymization, post it here!

Here are some things to look for:

  • Meta tags. These are tags that describe the question's context, rather than the question itself. My personal litmus tests are whether the tag can fill in the blanks for a question here:

    This question is a question about/on ________.
    This question is a challenge question structured like a ________ [question].

    Examples of meta tags include "beginner," because there is no such thing as a question about "beginner." An example of something that isn't a meta tag would be "trivia," because there are such things as questions on trivia.

  • Tags that are misnamed or would be better under a different name.
  • Tags that need to be synonymized into a more appropriate tag.
  • Tags that should be changed or utterly destroyed, never to be seen again, for some other reason.

Please note: tags that have no questions in them are removed automatically by the system every 24 hours without intervention.

If you see one of these, post an answer below containing the tag, what should be done, and a little blurb on why it needs to happen.

If you see answers below that you can do something about, please feel free to do so! For instance, if someone posts a meta tag with only a couple questions in it, you're more than welcome to edit the tags out of those questions, then edit into their answer.

While editing, please do try to be thorough. Instead of simply retagging, please scan the post quickly to see if there's something else that can be fixed up while you're there.

If it's something that requires a moderator to handle, we'll take a look at it and fix it up. Answers here will be deleted when they are completed to keep the list tidy, but will be undeleted when the tag cleanup is finished.

Thanks, and happy cleaning!


5 Answers 5


I'm sure that at least one other notable puzzler would agree, that:

iq-test should be removed

  • It has 41 questions, out of which 6 are closed and 2 duplicate
  • The tag does describe a specific genre of questions, however IMO these questions don't really contribute to the Puzzling community that much (then again I'm only a 4k user and haven't been around for long)
  • Most of these questions could be tagged alternatively, without much loss of information
  • Anyone wanting to find these questions could search 'IQ test'
  • Another big problem is the multitude of possible answers for one question, and no-one usually knows what's right except by Ockham's Razor.

Question sample (click on the image for origin):

Sample question

  • This could be tagged , , etc.
  • No-one will be helped by the correct solution (which has not been confirmed) except those who encounter that exact problem again.
  • The only solution (by Rubio) relies on iffy properties that don't give a strict rule. Apart from this no-one else has been able to find a good answer.
  • Anyone not sure of the answer can just click on an answer that they think is right, and see whether it is! That's the whole point of IQ tests, if there ever was one.

So... I think that should definitely be removed.


  • Vote and comment on this post to show your opinions
  • If this post gets to +10 and stays there for 24 hours, I will (slowly) start cleaning up the tags - feel free to help!
  • If this post dips to +9 or below, I will stop again
  • (Note that others can do whatever they want, I'm just setting out a guideline for when I will do it so I'm not biased)

Edit: I'm going to slowly start cleaning out this tag - as of 10 Apr 2017 I've noticed that this post has a score of +12 (+14/-2)

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ At the moment the tag's description says it's for puzzles that come from IQ tests. That's definitely a so-called meta tag, and while I don't altogether understand the SO community's collective hatred of meta tags there's no question that it's a strike against the tag. But if we take it to mean "puzzles of a kind usually found in IQ tests", I think it has some use. (Puzzles in that category are mostly terrible puzzles, but that isn't a reason to remove the tag.) $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan Mod
    Commented Mar 7, 2017 at 12:05
  • $\begingroup$ Searching for "IQ test" will only find puzzles whose text includes those words, which it often doesn't. (E.g., in the example given here.) The puzzles are commonly too broad but that means they should be closed rather than that the tag should go. In maybe 99% of puzzles here, no one will be "helped by the correct solution". The reasons given here for removing the tag are mostly reasons for closing or downvoting individual questions with the tag. $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan Mod
    Commented Mar 7, 2017 at 12:07
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @GarethMcCaughan Searching for IQ test will only find puzzles whose text includes those words, correct. But if your question comes from an IQ test, you NEED to provide a source, because it's NOT yours. $\endgroup$
    – boboquack
    Commented Mar 7, 2017 at 20:25
  • $\begingroup$ Yup. But that might be e.g. a link with the words "online test". $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan Mod
    Commented Mar 7, 2017 at 20:26
  • $\begingroup$ @GarethMcCaughan So far, no puzzle with iq-test has included the words "online test": puzzling.stackexchange.com/search?q=online+test+%5Biq-test%5D $\endgroup$
    – boboquack
    Commented Mar 7, 2017 at 20:27
  • $\begingroup$ I know you're speaking in general, but I think it would be okay to remove the tag, just attribute source or explicitly edit 'IQ test' into the questions with the tag but not the words. There are 16 posts with 'IQ test' as words without the tag iq-test $\endgroup$
    – boboquack
    Commented Mar 7, 2017 at 20:30
  • $\begingroup$ You do understand that "e.g." means "for example", right? I just looked at the most recent 10 puzzles with the iq-test tag. They're all wretched puzzles that the site would do just fine without, of course. Number with both "iq" and "test" in the text: 3. Number with "iq" but not "test": 3. Number with "test" but not "iq": 2. Number with neither: 2. Some (by no means all) link to their sources, often with informative text like "link". $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan Mod
    Commented Mar 7, 2017 at 20:32
  • $\begingroup$ For the avoidance of doubt, I don't disagree that there's a problem somewhere in this vicinity. But I think it's more "puzzles with this tag tend to be bad" than "this tag is not informative". $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan Mod
    Commented Mar 7, 2017 at 20:33
  • $\begingroup$ @GarethMcCaughan, I do understand the "e.g." means for example. But if we do a manual retagging, we can clean up whatever words the questioner has used. $\endgroup$
    – boboquack
    Commented Mar 12, 2017 at 0:03
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ It may be worth noting that the existence of the tag might be enough to encourage some people to post these types of (sub-standard) puzzles. Burninating it may help to discourage these types of (sub-standard) puzzles, which would be a good thing for the site. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 24, 2017 at 14:53
  • $\begingroup$ @GentlePurpleRain Agreed. One of the main criteria for when to burninate tags is "Is the concept described even on-topic for the site?" If a tag describes something we don't really want to encourage on the site, then burn it with fire. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 24, 2017 at 15:03
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ If we are deleting this tag, should the matrix-like puzzles be collected under an other one? $\endgroup$
    – elias
    Commented Mar 24, 2017 at 16:54

Sort out the and tags

See We have a problem with the [english] [language]. Although this retagging could in theory be done by hand, it would be much easier with the help of mod intervention. Here's my suggested plan of action:

  • Go through all questions with the tag and make a list of the ones which aren't about the English language (said list could be included in this meta post).
  • Ask a friendly mod to merge into .
  • Retag the questions on the above-mentioned list by hand, to something like or .

Alternatively, if we want instead of to be the main tag, we could simply ask the friendly mod to merge into and have done. But I think there's usually a noticeable difference here between puzzles based on the English language and those based on other languages, so splitting the tag into (which would then be by far the most popular language tag) and (or perhaps different tags for different languages, though that might be a level of granularity which isn't really called for yet) would be preferable.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ This is all based on the supposition that you can find a "friendly mod"... :P $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 24, 2017 at 14:50
  • $\begingroup$ I am voting this up, but I think it should also be noted that some puzzles that are currently tagged language might have been much easier to solve had they been tagged non-english-languages, because figuring out that a non-English language was being used was part of the challenge. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 24, 2017 at 14:51
  • $\begingroup$ @GentlePurpleRain Good point, but the retagging with non-english-languages will be done by hand, so we can use our good judgement when doing it, and maybe use enigmatic-puzzle for some of them instead. Or, of course, there's always the alternative proposal of keeping language as the main tag and merging english into that. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 24, 2017 at 15:01


I posted a separate post to change to , which is now .

However GPR posted a much more popular answer suggesting we burninate the tag instead. However this was never done, so I think this is a perfect time to get rid of it.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ In comments to one of the answers there someone says something like "in chat we reached a consensus that we should go with humor/humour and burninate if it doesn't work out". So before burninating it would be a good idea to look at the questions so tagged and see whether it seems like the tag is being used appropriately and whether it's actually any use. $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan Mod
    Commented Apr 9, 2017 at 12:48

I looked at every tags one by one and here are some tags I believe should be removed/merged.

The tag might be better off merged inside or or .

The tag is very specific and might be better off merged into the tag.

The tag is mostly unused and contains no explanation. It might be better off deleted.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Agreed on point 1: magic-the-gathering is too specific. Disagree on point 2: the blue-eyes tag describes a specific type of logic puzzle which we've had a lot of questions about and variants of. Point 3 is status-completed: the series tag is no more. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 23, 2017 at 12:44

Just throwing random stuff I fell on while browsing :

The tag seems very specific, it could be renamed (or merged if there's any other tag with the same meaning)

The tags and mean pretty much the same to me. Could they be merged?

What's the difference between and ?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Disagree on point 1: imgur-maze describes a specific type of puzzle which we've (perhaps unfortunately) seen a lot of here. Also probably disagree on point 2: you might need to find a strategy for doing something which doesn't involve optimising anything. Re [trivia] and [knowledge], see this meta post. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 23, 2017 at 14:03

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