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We have quite a few tags, but not much descriptions yet. The question of what should be in a tag-wiki has been discussed quite a few times on MSO, but no hard rules are set. From this discussion on MSO, and this blog.SE post, some general good practices are:

  • Tags should describe what kinds of questions should have that tag. It should (if applicable) also mention what questions are off-topic (for e.g., make it clear that questions on maintaining trees belong on and not )
  • It should have a basic introduction or a brief paragraph on the subject (the key word being brief). The word "wiki" in tag-wiki shouldn't be taken to mean Wikipedia, and we shouldn't have long, detailed and overly technical descriptions of common terms.
  • Some links to good, on-topic questions with that tag will be helpful (the site is still young, but we can revisit and add better questions as it evolves).

The point of this post is to have a discussion on how to make the tags most effective for this community. Any and all suggestions are welcome :)

  • Noted: I've been trying to fill out the wiki definitions for the more popular tags. I see you quoted two of mine (below) as examples of what they shouldn't be :-) I'll put less into the actual definition of the word/phrase. Seeing some of the other entries (esp. for species/varieties), I think photos are a good idea but I've been skipping these because I generally don't have photos with suitable copyright. – winwaed Jul 3 '11 at 20:59
  • @winwaed: Firstly, thank you for taking the time to edit the tags! I didn't check to see who wrote those, and I happened to pick out both of yours by coincidence! I feel photos might not be necessary, because of copyright, and also because it probably just makes it too much information in too little a space... Anyway, it's not what just I think that matters, and I wanted this to be a community discussion and perhaps arrive at a consensus. So please do put that down as an answer and we'll see what everyone thinks :) – Lorem Ipsum Jul 3 '11 at 22:59
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    @winwaed - As far as photos go, you can search on both google images and flickr for photos that have a CC-BY-SA (or similar) license. A fair amount of what I find on wikimedia is CC-BY-SA. I think using CC-*-NC here would be inappropriate. – bstpierre Jul 5 '11 at 0:04
  • @yoda, but I think the third example (the good one) was mine + edits from others. @bstpierre - thanks - I found a Mimosa picture on Google Images for the Mimosa/Silk plant question. Not ideal - I might have to try and take a picture of my own tree. – winwaed Jul 5 '11 at 13:40
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Two things that might be good to include in all tag wikis:

Clear and free photos

At least one good shot of the plant, fruit or vegetable so we all know what we're talking about. The gooseberries tag wiki info was just added with such.

You can use Flickr and set the search to: Creative Commons-licensed content for commercial use, adaptation, modification or building upon. Remember to source images that allow reposting and don't forget to attribute the creator.

Alternate names/pronunciation hint

Some fruits and veggies are known by various names, we should note that at least in the tag wiki to broaden the scope of what we're talking about and again to have an easy reference. This should also help when you come across lupine situations.

An example is in the scallions tag that lists a few of the name variants. There is also a pronunciation tip just as an extra note.

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If I checked out 40 gardening references from the library and quoted at random, would that be considered fair use?

I really like Rodale's Ultimate Organic Gardening Encyclopedia, it has entries for most of our gardening oriented tags and the first paragraph of most of the entries is probably exactly what we want in a tag wiki.

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    I think that would be fine. Perhaps if it's an exact quote, we could have a link to the book. What I really think we should focus on, is not having entries like this or this, which look like a mini wikipedia entry. This is a good example of an informative tag wiki entry. – Lorem Ipsum Jul 1 '11 at 17:31
  • @yoda - You should post an answer including your comment and some of your answer-in-the-question. I modified the vegetables entry based on your question above and some of the meta.SO discussion threads that you linked to in your question. – bstpierre Jul 5 '11 at 0:01

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