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Background

I've noticed that we have users suggesting text for our tag wikis and wiki excerpts. This is great! We also have plenty of users ready (and apparently willing) to review these suggested edits. This is also fantastic!

Unfortunately, I have just had to reject several edits to our tag wikis. These suggested edits consisted of dictionary definitions of the terms. This doesn't help our users, since we know what most of the terms mean — or else we wouldn't be here.

This has happened before and Robert's note is a great start. So, here goes on making this an official FAQ question (that sounds redundant, but I think it works).

Question

So, how can I write a helpful tag wiki or wiki excerpt that will not get rejected?

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Step 1

Read Jeff's blog post, "Redesigned tags page" (gripping title, I know).

Step 2

Instead of searching the dictionary, put yourself in a new user's shoes. I always find it a bit easier to understand a problem in context, so let's take Communication. A dictionary definition might look like this:

Communication is the activity of conveying information through the exchange of thoughts, messages, or information, as by speech, visuals, signals, writing, or behavior.

But most users know what communication is, what they might not know is when should I tag my post with "communication"? After all, don't most workplace issues involve some kind of communication?

Great question! (Why thank you. You're welcome!) So how do we do that?

Look at posts already tagged with that phrase to help put yourselves in the user's shoes.

Here are a couple examples (maybe not the best, but highly voted at least):

These questions all have a common thread. They are situations when communication is more difficult or complicated than average.

So, let's try something like that:

Wiki:

Communication in the workplace occurs in many different forms and between many varying parties. For example, communication may take the form of:

  • Meetings
  • Email communication
  • Phone calls
  • Hallway talk
  • Sales pitches
  • Presentations

It also may take place between many varying parties, each with different goals, objectives, and cultural or social rules:

  • Group Meetings
  • Informal one-on-one conversations
  • Formal one-on-one meetings with a manager or direct report
  • Phone calls or face-to-face meetings with clients

Good communication is often considered one of the most important workplace skills, and is regarded as having many potential benefits.

Communication can become difficult in many situations, such as in times of poor workplace morale, with new team members or bad-tempered co-workers. It also may simply be difficult when a new and unfamiliar situation arises.

Excerpt:

Questions about addressing difficult or complicated communication issues in the workplace. Communication in the workplace may take place in many forms (email, phone, face-to-face, IM) and between a variety of parties (coworkers, managers, reports, clients).

Putting yourselves in the user's shoes and thinking about what they might not understand when tagging their question is most important — but also, remember how these are displayed to users. The excerpt is the most important, because it is display in the hover card, the tags page, and the top of each tag's own page. If a user has a question about using a tag, they are mostly likely to see the excerpt first. You should pay most attention to it, and it should be clear, concise, and quickly explain how the word/phrase relates to our community and questions in particular.

Step 3

Ask others for help! Of course, my suggestions here may not be as helpful as they could be, and should not be the final copy — I encourage you all to hack, slash, and constantly improve every tag wiki, especially those on the first page or two of tags, as mentioned by Jeff in his blog post.

Step 4

For uber-meta points, also edit this answer to make it even better! I've made it community wiki.

Finally, I've also put these changes in place:

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