has 16 questions at the moment, and I'm a bit concerned about it. Last year, Jeff wrote this nice blog post about Meta Tags, which are tags that describe the nature and identity of the question, rather than the actual content of the problem.

The ultimate goal of a Q&A site is not just to solve the original author's problem, but to solve the problem for all people who have the same issue. Certainly, knowing the background of an author will help answerers determine the best course of action. The divide in experience is not important to classifying the question, however, and that is the purpose of tags. Whether someone is fresh to the subject, or has been brewing for years, that is easily something covered by the body of the question as part of the background detail.

Do we have any strong arguments for retaining this tag, or can we get rid of it? I think that having this kind of tag is problematic, both because of its non-categorical nature, and because it fosters a divide on the level of questions when it comes to experience level.

2 Answers 2


Here's an action item — Look at these questions tagged newbie. What do you do about this? Cleanup on isle 7.

See if you can tell what any of these question are about from the tags:

  • [first-time-brewer] [newbie]
  • [newbie] [getting-started] [first-time] [first-time-brewer]

Some of these are just mistyped and should have been caught and fixed by now.

  • [beginner] [newbie] [first-time] [buying] [guide]
  • [bottling] [newbie] [priming] [techniques]

I'm going to start cleaning these up, but you have to learn to moderate your own site to control these issues, or Google searchers are never going to find your content. Most of these tagging issue look like inexperienced users who don't know how to to use the tagging. That's what community self-moderation is about; vetting and helping these users from making a mess of your content. Please try to keep on top of this.

When a new post appears, give it a sanity check.

  1. Is the title clear? Give questions better titles.
  2. Is the text clear and concise? Edit to improve formatting and content.
  3. Can a comment help the author improve the question?
  4. Do the tags describe what the question is about (no meta tags).

And don't forget to up-vote great posts!

  • 1
    The next time something like this comes up, could you leave it for one of us to do the work? I just recently started moderating and don't really have my head around the tools. I saw that you were going through editing a bunch of tags, but had no clue why because regularly checking meta isn't yet in my daily habit. Thanks for the cleanup, though.
    – baka
    Commented Dec 31, 2011 at 14:15

people say 'newbie' because they don't want neurotic trolls belittling them.

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