Providing tag wiki excerpts is helpful to the community. As explained here:

The tag excerpt is the first, and sometimes only information about a tag that users see when tagging a question. If users can use them appropriately when they're composing their questions, then that saves time for everyone in the long run, as we won't need to edit those questions.

Also, later down the track, it'll save a lot of time as gold tag-badge holders can single-handedly close questions originally tagged with their gold tag badge. This doesn't work if people are using the wrong tags.

However we should try to maintain some consistency within our tag schema. This answer provides excellent guidance (as does the applicable help page):

  1. A good tag excerpt is as short as possible.
  2. Preferably don't prefix excerpts with variants of “For questions relating to ….” That's just noise.

I propose that we follow these standards. Clarifications and amendments (if any) should be posted as answers here.

Convention for Jurisdiction Tags

See new proposed convention below.

In general, jurisdiction tags do not need definitions. E.g., it's safe to assume that everyone knows that is a country. If you think it would be useful to put a bunch of legal and regulatory details in its wiki that's fine. At that point you have to put a 20-character excerpt in order to save the wiki content. However the excerpt should be trivial and minimal – "For questions specific to Canada" is adequate. Again, the goal is to minimize noise in the excerpt.

Examples of jurisdictions where an excerpt is needed and appropriate:

  • : The U.S. state of Georgia. For the country, use the georgia-country tag.
  • : The U.S. state. For questions pertaining only to the city use the new-york-city tag.
  • I think one thing that could be helpful would be to broaden the tags a little bit, and only add more tags as the need arises. It will likely be easier for you guys to organize and get a good start when you're much lower in activity. That's just a quick suggestion off my part.
    – Zizouz212
    Commented Sep 17, 2015 at 1:02
  • @Zizouz212 - can you give an example of what might be excessively narrow tags?
    – feetwet Mod
    Commented Sep 17, 2015 at 2:44

4 Answers 4


Jurisdiction tag excerpts should be treated just like any other tag excerpt: provide the information needed for someone to decide if it's the correct tag or not: what jurisdiction it covers, and which other jurisdictions they might be interested in. For example, a excerpt:

United States federal jurisdiction. For state jurisdiction, use the appropriate state tag instead.


For the jurisdictional tags could we use excerpts like:

"State of California, United States Jurisdiction" for

"City of New York, New York, United States Jurisdiction" for

Doing so gives at a glance the purpose of the tag while avoiding the "For questions specific to..." language.

  • 1
    Didn't all your tag excerpt edits include "For questions specific to"? :-)
    – cnst
    Commented Sep 1, 2015 at 21:11
  • Guilty as charged. Commented Sep 1, 2015 at 21:12

The guidelines in the /help centre are very web developer specific. It makes sense that "HTML" tag shouldn't say "Hyper-Text Markup Language", because it doesn't stand for anything else at SO, and if you don't know what "HTML" is as-is, then you're probably in the wrong place anyways. There, it does make sense to provide further instructions on using individual tags within html (yet, surprisingly, if you look at HTML Excerpt History over at SO, they don't appear to do that on StackOverflow, either!).

Here at law, we have tags like "TAA" and "Canada".

Why would anyone from outside of Texas know that "TAA" stands for "Texas Apartment Association"? (Why does it stand for Texas Apt. A.? Well, because questions with such meaning were the first ones to grab it, plus it goes in line with them being the owner of http://taa.org/, so, it is justified to have such a tag for such a rather prominent association in such a big state as Texas.)

So, what about the "Canada" tag? Let's take a look at Canada tag excerpt revisions:

Questions specific to Canada.

  1. Duh. What else tags are for if not for "questions" that are "specific to" the tag?

  2. What if I'm looking for answers? Is browsing this tag useless for me? No answers under such tag, just the unanswered questions?

  3. So, if I live in Oklahoma, in Canadian County, or in Canada in Kansas or Kentucky, this tag is for me? Do we all share it?

Canada is a country in North America, consisting of 10 provinces and 3 territories

I think this is the best excerpt of the 3, yet it's against the rules in /help, because it simply describes what it is. Yet it does provide further direction and hints that the provinces and territories likely have their own laws (and tags!). (Why not say it explicitly that provinces have their own laws? Well, let's be a little bit more civilised here, and not assume that everyone is a complete fool.)

Jurisdiction of Canada

  1. In Kansas? Kentucky? Oklahoma?

  2. What else would "Canada" stand for on Law SE if not for a jurisdiction? (At least this tag doesn't try to exclude questions that have answers, too!)

I think we should avoid having any sort of excerpts like "Jurisdiction of [tag]", "Questions specific to [tag]", "For questions related to the [tag-unabbreviated]". It makes little sense to point out obvious facts — that tags like "Canada" are the jurisdictional ones. What else would they be if not jurisdictions? Likewise for mentioning the fact that a tag is for "questions" that are "specific to".

I think it makes much more sense to actually describe the jurisdiction, what it consists of, and what are the major city / capital etc.

  • 1
    Those are some good arguments and guidelines. Insofar as "Canada" could be confused with something other than the country I guess the excerpt should explain that. But regarding your last sentence: This isn't Geography.SE, so I don't see why we would give any sort of almanac description of a legal jurisdiction in the tag wiki, much less in the wiki excerpt. In the full tag wiki maybe it's worth listing parent and child jurisdictions, as well as particular legal notes (e.g., constitutional monarchy, generally adheres to British "common-law," etc.). But what belongs in the excerpt?
    – feetwet Mod
    Commented Sep 1, 2015 at 21:53
  • @feetwet, whilst I agree with you that we shouldn't have an overfly descriptive excerpt, a single mention on the number of provinces and territories as in the Canada example is IMHO hardly something that's distracting from the theme of this SE (if we're having excerpts at all, I think that'd probably be the shortest most useful excerpt there could be)
    – cnst
    Commented Sep 4, 2015 at 7:49
  • It could help to rename tags like so: [canada] -> [canadian-jurisdiction]. I've tried that up at Open Source though (e.g. [gpl] -> [gpl-license]) but that didn't work. Anyways, renaming the tags could help solve this, and leave your excerpts to more creative, informative options that you suggest.
    – Zizouz212
    Commented Sep 13, 2015 at 23:53
  • @Zizouz212, yes, absolutely -- we should rename canada to canada-jurisdiction-law-tag-for-questions. Otherwise, it's not clear to anyone what the name refers to. Maybe someone wants to asks questions about geology or topology, then canada-law-tag-for-questions should be a catch-all for that, unless we decide to have canada-geology-law-tag-for-questions, too.
    – cnst
    Commented Sep 14, 2015 at 0:20
  • @cnst I've actually posted an answer below to the extent of what I recommend :D
    – Zizouz212
    Commented Sep 14, 2015 at 0:21

Here's a standard for jurisdiction tag excerpts based on the only practical consideration that I can see mattering:

The wiki excerpt is used in three places:

  1. On tag mouse-over
  2. On the Tags page
  3. During auto-complete of tag entry

Here is an example of the third place, which is arguably the most important place for the tag wiki to do its job:

Sample tag auto-complete screenshot

Whether on the Tags page or during tag entry, users are either looking for a jurisdiction tag, or looking for non-jurisdiction tags. We should make it as easy as possible to find or ignore that tag class. Therefore:

The proposed standard is:

  1. Start all jurisdiction excerpts with "Jurisdiction of "
  2. Repeat the jurisdiction name
  3. Provide minimal details necessary for disambiguation, so as to maximize the visual coherence of the jurisdiction tags


  • Jurisdiction of California (U.S. state)
  • Jurisdiction of New York (U.S. state; use new-york-city instead for the city)
  • Jurisdiction of Georgia (U.S. state; use georgia-country for the Caucasian country)
  • Jurisdiction of Canada (country)
  • I think you're still trying to solve a problem that's not there. Your example, however, does illustrate the fact that only 2 out of the 6 of these tags do have a non-ridiculous description. What would be wrong if "canada" were to say "Canada is a country in North America, consisting of 10 provinces and 3 territories"? What actual tag did your sample test was meant to find, and why do you imply an expectation that such tag has to be found with only 2 characters? It's not like including "Jurisdiction of" in the excerpt makes it possible to search for jurisdictions anyway, is it?
    – cnst
    Commented Sep 14, 2015 at 0:47
  • Maybe there is a way to computer search on excerpt (@jimsug?), but the problem I'm addressing is a lack of standardization (maybe I took boot camp too seriously? ;) and maximizing the ability to human-search the tags. When I'm not looking for a jurisdiction tag it's easy to visually skip over everything that starts "Jurisdic...." You could very well be right in the extreme, meaning the jurisdiction excerpts could have absolutely no impact on the usability of the site. My preference is for some normalization. If I'm the only one I'll just up my OCD meds ;)
    – feetwet Mod
    Commented Sep 14, 2015 at 1:44

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