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Tagging with topics

Stack Overflow allows you the use of up to five tags to indicate what your question is about. It’s important to pay attention to these tags because it helps others find questions on topics they know about. Many active community members use tag filters to find new questions of interest, so good tagging makes your question more visible to experts.

Tags are topics, not keywords

Do not add a tag just because you used that word in your question somewhere. A tag indicates a topic of interest, typically a programming language, framework, or technology.

When adding a tag “X”, it should fit into one of the following sentences:

  • My question is primarily about “X”.
  • This question requires knowledge about “X”.
  • I am using the tool or API “X” to solve the problem described in my question.

Community members will often edit a question to correct tags on a question. Pay attention to those edits to better learn how to tag correctly.

Read the tag description first

Before you add a tag to your question, be sure to read the description to see if it’s appropriate. Many times a tag name sounds appropriate, but is actually not related to your problem at all. The tag description will clarify how it’s supposed to be used. For example, the tag “collections” has this description:

Collections APIs provide developers with a set of classes and interfaces that make it easier to handle collections of objects.

However, people use it to tag questions about Firestore, which structures documents into groups called “collections” for querying. These collections are not at all the same thing.

Also, some tags very simply state not to use them at all. Here is the description for the “web” tag:

Do not use this tag. For questions related to an aspect of the world wide web, use a more specific tag for it, such as [uri], [html], [http] or [w3c].

To be perfectly honest, using this tag at all gives the impression that you’re just not paying attention or not putting in reasonable effort to construct a good question.

Don’t tag your editor or IDE

There are tags for various IDEs and editors out there. Do not use these tags unless your question is specifically about the use of that software. This is typically the case if you’re building a plugin for it, or you are trying to use one of its features. Here is the description for the “android-studio” tag:

Use for questions about using Android Studio, an official IDE by Google targeted at Android app development. Do NOT use for questions about programming for Android in general; instead, use the [android] tag.

The description is very clearly suggesting when not to use this tag, and suggesting an alternative. Other similar tags are “xcode” and “visual-studio-code”.