If I have a question about the TwentyTen theme, or the WordPress.com Stats plugin, should I label them [themes] [twenty-ten] and [plugins] [stats], or [theme-twenty-ten] and [plugin-stats]? I like the latter more, since they reduce confusion by being more explicit (this is not just about all kind of stats, but about the plugin with the slug "stats"). You can still search for all plugin- or theme-related question by using a wildcard.

Update: It seems we are split on this. We already have a large number of plugin-specific posts, and it would be much clearer if they could be re-tagged. Currently I have not done this because it seems there is no real majority (Doug, Mike and tnorthcutt like separate tags, EAMann, kevtrout and I prefer combined tags). I would however modify my proposal so that the plugin names comes first, to improve the autocompletion. So [twenty-ten-theme], [stats-plugin].

After we have done this we could promote plugin-specific feeds to the plugin authors, so they can place them on their blogs and support areas (or even replace their own support forum with WordPress Answers). Thisof course does not depend on combined or split tags, but we need a decision so we can start re-tagging.

(But is this the best way to "vote" on this? I propose everyone leaves a comment, it gets confusing if I leave a comment and vote another similar comment up, then we won't know how to count that. Original commenters should maybe vote again, otherwise we don't know whether they have changed opinion. Or just create a new question?)

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    I like the former. Adding tags to the search to drill down to the answer feels more natural (e.g., search for "stats", then search for "stats, plugins" if needed). The latter requires learning a new syntax and who has the time?
    – Doug
    Aug 17, 2010 at 13:35
  • I'd vote the latter. If you've ever used the core code to address a plug-in or theme hook, you're used to things like admin_footer-{plugin_page} ... so extending that kind of slug behavior to a site discussing WordPress is only natural. That, and we can use the wildcard lookups to find all plugin-* questions.
    – EAMann
    Aug 17, 2010 at 15:28
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    @Jan: I'm with @Doug. I've been using Delicious for many years now and I started tagging with the latter and found over time that my tags ended up being extremely inconsistent so I reverted to single tags. And that's just with one person doing the tagging; I expect most will use the simpler layouts which means we'll have to do tons of editing to keep up with the more complex taggin. Sep 12, 2010 at 11:35
  • @Mike: Of course, on Delicious you are the only one doing the tagging, so if it gets messy you don't have much incentive to clean it up. You would probably spend more time on WPA than on Delicious (which is a springboard to external sites). Here you re-tag when you read the question, which you probably do anyway. And I think this proposal is so narrow (only theme and plugin tags) that I think the usual tagging issues do not apply. [twenty-ten-theme] can only be that, it's not like the usual "did I use [information] or [documentation] for these things?" questions.
    – Jan Fabry
    Oct 28, 2010 at 6:58
  • @Jan Fabry - I'd spend a lot more time on Delicious if it were half as fast as StackOverflow! Delicious is painfully slow. I tried to retag my own but gave up because of how slow Delicious is. Been thinking I might write a tool to do in bulk, when I have free time. :-) Agree on the narrowness. What I think we need for this to work would be a document that explains these things in depth. I really don't think that StackOverflow gives us the tools we need for those kind of things. They need pages that can be full wikis. Oct 29, 2010 at 7:32
  • @Mike: I assume you're not talking about the per-tag page wikis, but instead something like an extended FAQ or about page?
    – Jan Fabry
    Oct 29, 2010 at 8:06
  • @Jan Fabry - Exactly, like an extended FAQ. I've used Meetup.com a lot in the past and Meetup has the ability to add pages to a meetup group. Few people use them but they are handle for stuff like "rules" about the group (or in this case, about the site.) But, it's moot since SE doesn't have them... Oct 29, 2010 at 8:10
  • Great to see how old this discussion actually is
    – cjbj
    Jun 20, 2016 at 20:21

2 Answers 2


I like what Jeff wrote about tags in SE sites. To paraphrase:

"Tags should be able to stand alone. Does the tag you create adequately describe the question if there were no other tags?"

In light of this, I like your [theme-twenty-ten] style suggestion. [theme] and [twenty-ten] are less descriptive by themselves.

  • Hey @kevtrout: Have a link to that comment by Jeff? I googled and could not find. Sep 12, 2010 at 11:36
  • @Mike: In The Death of Meta Tags, he said "Every tag you use should be able to work, more or less, as the only tag on a question." This was about tags like [subjective] and [beginner], I don't know whether you consider them as (un)informative as [theme] and [plugin].
    – Jan Fabry
    Sep 12, 2010 at 13:41
  • Tags can also be specific to our site, though, and in this context, I think [twenty-ten] does stand on its own. Sep 22, 2010 at 3:21
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    [Twenty-ten] does work on its own, given that it is the default theme name, and very well known. Other less-popular theme names may translate into wierder tags. ie: [light word], [the erudite], [mystique]. They would obviously be theme tags by incorporating the keyword "theme" ie: [theme-light word], [theme-the erudite], [theme-mystique].
    – kevtrout
    Sep 27, 2010 at 17:15
  • @kevtrout and @Jan Fabry: I think you two are taking Jeff's comment out of context. He comment was related to subjective tags [beginner], [best-practices] and [subjective] (the latter being a bit meta...), and I think not about objective things like plugins or themes. FWIW I started using delicious.com with standalone tags for my own personal use only to find that it quickly became unworkable because of a proliferation of tags that meant the same but were different so I moved to singular tags which are used combined with others. I really think that's the best approach. Oct 19, 2010 at 19:30
  • I'm playing around with them right now, and from what I can see it looks good so far.
    – hakre
    Nov 10, 2010 at 15:09
  • Just running over this: Oops! Your edit couldn't be submitted because: 'plugin-google-xml-sitemaps' exceeds maximum tag length of 25 ---- so to keep in mind ...
    – hakre
    Nov 23, 2010 at 20:10

I propose that we not combine tags (i.e. [theme-twenty-ten]), but instead keep them separate (i.e. [theme] [twenty-ten]).

  • themes released in 2010? Seperating does not help to locate stuff always ;)
    – hakre
    Nov 10, 2010 at 15:08
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    I was using "twenty-ten" as an example since that's the name of the theme that is included with wordpress. Nov 10, 2010 at 15:39
  • I think that in general, names on their own (so to say w/o context) have the tendency to be misleading. I mean you write that twenty-ten by knowing it's a theme. But not everbody has that knowledge and then some might look for twenty ten, the year. That's just what I wanted to point to.
    – hakre
    Nov 14, 2010 at 23:38

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