It seems like simply changing the tags for a question shouldn't cause it to be active for three reasons.

  1. There isn't really any activity on the question. Some metadata that I suspect most people don't even read changed, but nothing important. (I realize some people think tags are of supreme importance, but hopefully you'll agree that they're not integral to asking and answering questions.)
  2. It allows gaming the SE system whereby a poster can mistag (or add nonsense tags to) a question and thus potentially have the question reappear at the top of the active list once someone retags it.
  3. It is really annoying to see a huge list of old questions scroll the new questions off simply because they were retagged, as just happened.

3 Answers 3


This is [status-bydesign], I'm afraid.

  1. Activity: the issue is that tagging is itself something that plenty of users want to keep track of. I'd like to see there being a user-local option to not have these edits cause bumps, but there isn't.
  2. Gaming: This is why a question can only be edited a limited number of times before it gets changed to CW.
  3. Mass retaggings should be done by synonyms, which I think do not bump the questions.

Retaggings aren't smaller edits that, say, changing punctuation or spelling. Wikipedia allows editors to mark their edits as minor, here we can't.

  • 4
    I think that the important thing is that anyone who feels like going on a "tagging spree" should be aware of your point 3. Mass retaggings are a bit irritating and sometimes (not always) it's possible for moderators to do this without bumping everything to the front page. Commented Aug 27, 2010 at 12:42
  • 3
    I'd be shocked if more than a handful of users cared that the tags on a question changed. My second point was that the edit causes the post to appear as active, effectively giving it twice as much time on the active page and this is triggered not by their own actions, but by the actions of someone else retagging.
    – TH.
    Commented Aug 28, 2010 at 7:20
  • 2
    Gaming is possible without tags, too. You can simply write a bit sketchy question first, then later fix some typos, then later add some context, etc. Each time your question gets some time on the front page. Commented Aug 28, 2010 at 11:38
  • Oh, sure. 2 was a fairly minor point. It's just less obvious than constantly editing your own post to fix some typos.
    – TH.
    Commented Aug 28, 2010 at 12:05

At the moment, the behavior is (slightly) irritating. But, if the site gets big, I think it would be welcome, at least for tag additions. If you didn't see a question that you might well be able to answer when it was first posted, perhaps in part because it was poorly tagged, having it appear as active now that it has that shiny new tag that will catch your eye if only you notice that the activity has occurred is a good thing.

  • 1
    I'm not convinced that a significant fraction of people actually use the tags. I don't read every question, but I base the decision to read or skip a question solely on the question title.
    – TH.
    Commented Sep 3, 2010 at 6:27
  • @TH I am not convinced either way. But, your scepticism seems to be based on a sample size of 1. Also, it may be hoped that one day the volume of activity may make your current strategy unworkable.
    – vanden
    Commented Sep 4, 2010 at 17:31
  • Sample size of two, I think. See Andrew's comment to this question. You make good points. Certainly c.t.t has more posts than I can read (or at least it did back when I had a usable news client). Still, I suspect that if there are too many, then I'll probably just read the titles for as many active ones as I care to.
    – TH.
    Commented Sep 5, 2010 at 8:31

I would name it "Error-by-Design".

Generally the different possibilities for editing the question or only the tags should be used for a different handling of both:

  • Editing the question makes it active (of course that could be a important edit worth to be recognized at once).

  • Editing the tag(s) should the question do not make active. Tags are usefull for users following them or clicking on used tags on existing questions to get fast a list of simular questions or question for the same theme ...

Because there are two different entry points it should be doable (more or less easy, depending on the used code to realize that) ...

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