People are asking questions on the site in order to help them make progress in their research, which is great. However some of these questions are coming with tags like and , which aren't particularly helpful to getting the question answered.

I would submit these questions should be retagged as questions and just assume the person is blocked by the fact they are asking a question in the first place.

  • 4
    If research ends up as the consensus, it would make sense to set road-block and brick-wall as synonyms of research.
    – bstpierre
    Oct 11, 2012 at 23:44
  • We need to be cautious about loading up "research". It is already the most frequently used tag and has a range of interpretations. However I support the idea of removing tags with negative connotations.
    – Fortiter
    Oct 12, 2012 at 0:26
  • Based on Robert's answer, I'm for removing the tags and not making them a synonym for research. If when removing them there are no other tags left we should add appropriate tags for the question being asked - If that happens to be research then ok.
    – Justin808
    Oct 12, 2012 at 7:53

2 Answers 2


Proper tagging can be tough when you are first getting started. But this community is far enough along that I would start questioning the usefulness of these tags at all.

Having an overused, catch-all tag on a Genealogy site is like having a tag on Stack Overflow. What does it actually tell you about the question? It's largely ubiquitous.

Tags are supposed to tell you what the question is about. Tags like and do not tell you what the question is about. Saying "I'm stuck" only tells you why a question is being asked. In Stack Exchange terms, these are called "meta tags" and are explicitly discouraged.

The Death of Meta Tags

Unless you expect a lot of questions about "road blocks" and "brick walls," you should try to start editing these out. Tags should organize and categorize the topics being asked. These meta tags will only mislead users into a false sense that they have adequately described their question without actually helping with the topic organization. You'll end up with a bunch of tags like [im-stuck], [hard-question], [poll], and [advice-needed] — and these questions become exceedingly difficult to discover.

  • Robert makes a good point here. My thought is that this is a good tag only when it supplements other tags of a descriptive nature. Ala, why a brick wall.
    – GeneJ
    Oct 13, 2012 at 19:59
  • @GeneJ - but surely if it "supplements other tags of a descriptive nature" it is tautologous anyway?
    – Andrew
    Oct 15, 2012 at 7:30

I have some of the same concern as @Fortiter here, in that we might easily end up with an overloaded tag, "research."

  1. I see no reason to have road-block and brick-wall. We could certainly miss those. I am more familiar with brick-wall.
  2. If we just merge the two right now, can't we also then revisit this in a few days when we have more experience?
  3. Another reason to keep a brick-wall like tag is offer a little more oversight on those questions and either keep them on topic for this site or close them off.
  • +1 for your 3."more oversight on those questions and either keep them on topic for this site or close them off". Oct 12, 2012 at 5:43
  • Tags should be taken quite literally. A tag called "brick-wall" makes me think that someone is asking a question for a bricklayer, and "road-block" makes me think I stepped into a site for Police Officers. :) A better tag might be "emmigration" or "documentation" perhaps. Then we know the person is either stuck on an emmigration question or has a question about how to use a document as evidence. Another good tag example is "death-certificate". :)
    – jmort253
    Oct 13, 2012 at 4:24

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