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While editing tags I noticed that some don't show the beginning of the excerpt when viewed on the tags page. For example "banns" is missing the first five words when shown on the tags listings (hovering over it gives the full content).

Many (most) other tags do have all words displayed on that page, for example Alsace. It doesn't seem to be related to the length of the excerpt (those are about the same length). So what causes it? Most of the time, it's because the first word repeats the tag, but not always, there's something else.

In some cases, it can make the resulting description over-terse, such as for "alien" or "gendex".

Alien contains:

A mostly American term for somebody who is not a citizen of the country.

shows:

not a citizen of the country.

Gendex contains:

Contraction of GENealogical inDEX used to describe a specification for data exchange.

shows:

describe a specification for data exchange.

(it's the same on this meta site, click on the Tags link here and see the way the "dscussion" tag is missing the first few words until hovered over, yet the "bug" tag is OK).

Discussion contains:

The question you're asking is designed to solicit opinions or best-practices on a particular topic, with the goal of reaching community consensus.

shows:

designed to solicit opinions or best-practices on a particular topic, with the goal of reaching community consensus.

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  • I see what you're talking about, but my guess is that it's a feature rather than a bug (there's not really much difference between the two). – American Luke Dec 10 '12 at 13:47
  • It means that anybody looking at the tags page doesn't see the beginning of some of the descriptions, for no apparent reason. In other words, they see an incorrect description. If there's a reason, it's a feature. If there's no reason, and no purpose, it's a bug. :-) – Rob Hoare Dec 10 '12 at 19:44
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Tag wiki excerpts that are redundant are automatically trimmed. See Should the first letter of tag wiki excerpts be capitalized or not? for more details.

Original:

banns
The Banns of Marriage are a public statement of intent to marry in a church. Commonly associated with England and some British colonies. Alternative procedures (such as a Licence) were available to those unable or unwilling to comply with the requirements of the Established Church.

Changes to:

banns
a public statement of intent to marry in a church. Commonly associated with England and some British colonies.

Regex is used for this calculation, so it's not always correct. They look for phrases like "is", "are", and "used to".

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  • FWIW, I'm really glad they did this. – user47 Dec 10 '12 at 19:54
  • I've added some more examples to show that although it's usually where the term is repeated at the beginning (as I mentioned, such as for banns), it's not always. I appreciate though that what is redundant information is subjective, and that what's left does sort-of make sense, if you ignore the way the sentence fragment has become uncapitalized. Guess I'll have to re-work descriptions until they don't get truncated like that. – Rob Hoare Dec 10 '12 at 20:54
  • @RobHoare I updated my answer to explain the other occurrences. – user47 Dec 10 '12 at 21:07
  • Thanks Justin. Interesting that Mechanical snail and others on that Regex page point out it's a bug, yet nothing has been done. A simple regex doesn't understand English. Looks like the word "is" is what trunacated alien, and "used to" for gendex. I'll reword them to work around the feature. – Rob Hoare Dec 10 '12 at 23:58
  • I reworded some of the tag descriptions to avoid that regex, they look better now. I removed any "is", "are", "used to". Thanks again for pointing out that answer with the regex, makes it possible to work around it. – Rob Hoare Dec 11 '12 at 2:19

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