Insert Bob Villa joke here. Also, obligatory link to what Burnination is

Saw someone editing this into a question. This is the very definition of a meta tag

The reason meta-tags are a problem is that they do not describe the content of the question. They describe some other aspect of the question, like the author’s skill level, or the author’s motivation for asking it, or generally what “kind” of question it is (poll, how-to, etc.).

Meta-tags are actually a subset of a larger problem that I usually call dependent tags. These are tags that don’t say anything by themselves – you can’t tell what the question is about unless they’re paired with some other tag (or several of them). These tags are a problem because people don’t realize this and will often use that as the question’s only tag.

The problem is that we don't need to know if the house is old or not to answer the question. If you have old wiring/plumbing/walls that can be part of the description of the problem, but there's no need for this in a tag. What defines "old"? What does it refer to? These aren't defined, so people are just using this tag to describe anything not "new", which makes it irrelevant.

A previous request to make "era tags" was rejected: Tag for era of house (not just "old")

Let's burn this [old-house] down.

  • 3
    I haven't used this tag (yet), but if I had known about it I probably wouldn've. It's the 1 tag that's the common theme to most of my questions. While the numerical definition of "old" is admittedly unclear, there are a lot of common problems that aging homes face which is distinct from problems associated with new architecture. Users who live in an old home may wish to follow that tag. Having eras make sense if there's really enough interest and activity volume, but if not I think old-house is an OK tag.
    – Hack-R
    Dec 10, 2017 at 16:37
  • 1
    @Hack-R The problem with this is that we want people to describe problems, while meta tags describe circumstances. This can also be highly misleading. Take, for example, a person who has an "old house" with a wiring problem. What does the wiring problem entail? Are we talking knob-and-tube? Aluminum? And what if we find out that the house was fully rewired 10 years ago? So is this still an "old house" problem? That's the real problem with meta tags: they don't help you find or understand the problem, so you get a solution.
    – Machavity
    Dec 11, 2017 at 13:31
  • But Bob Vila isn't associated with This Old House...
    – TylerH
    May 17, 2021 at 14:30
  • 1
    @TylerH Say wha huh? Robert Joseph Vila (born June 20, 1946) is an American home improvement television show host known for This Old House (1979–1989)
    – Machavity
    May 17, 2021 at 14:53
  • @Machavity Wha... insert mind blown emoji here. I thought "Bob Vila's Home Again" was his first TV show... I have seen a lot of This Old House, but apparently not anything pre-1990 if he was on it then... I'm surprised the clips of the current hosts from back in the 70s and 80s don't also show him if he was on the show then...
    – TylerH
    May 17, 2021 at 14:56

1 Answer 1


old-house should be changed to just house and new tags, apartment and condo should be created. Knowing that you do or don't own the property is good.

If not just burn it. Except if you burn it, is the information lost that says it was once tagged house?

Is there a way to keep those existing questions tagged as such, but disallow further use of the tag?

Make it do something useful while we have the opportunity. Knowing it's old doesn't matter, but knowing it's a free standing single family home, does.

  • 7
    I'm not sure how [house], [condo], etc would help with ownership. You can rent houses and own condos. Burnination seeks to remove the tag from good questions and close/delete bad ones. Meta.SO has a good rundown of the process
    – Machavity
    Dec 1, 2017 at 23:39
  • 1
    Well there goes that idea. How do you determine the date a house was built? has [building-regulations] and [old-house]. If that would be fine w/o [house] then burn it I guess (I just hate losing meta data; posterity and all). From a quick look, the rest of the [house] questions seem pretty self-explanatory from their titles alone.
    – Mazura
    Dec 1, 2017 at 23:50
  • 2
    "old-house" -> "house" seems OK. Suggest new tags "owner-occupied", "rented" if they don't already exist and if this is what is specifically useful. N.b. apartments and condos are primarily US terminology (UK: "flats", whether rented or owned) so inference of ownership is iffy. Dec 3, 2017 at 17:01

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