spiceyokooko brought up an interesting perspective regarding acronyms/abbreviations as tags in this comment.

From a North American standpoint, it may be widely understood what , , , and stand for. However, from a international standpoint, as with for example, it may not be widely understood what it stands for (English Premier League or European Premier League).

So, thoughts? Do we use acronyms/abbreviations (leave such tags as-is) or not? If not, I can see the tag names becoming extremely long (). Is there a compromise between using an acronym/abbreviation, the descriptive name, or the full name of a league?

  • Why has this 4 year old question been bumped on to the featured list?
    – CodeNewbie
    Apr 25 '17 at 5:35
  • 2
    @CodeNewbie In chat, there was a reasonable point regarding abbreviation of tags that the accepted answer doesn't cover (namely abbreviations that can have more than one generally accepted definiton). Added to featured to reassess our stance on said matter.
    – user527
    Apr 25 '17 at 11:42
  • I will point out that tag-names cannot be longer than 25 characters, so national-association-for-stock-car-auto-racing would have to be shortened.
    – Martin
    May 3 '17 at 7:30

I think the solution to this problem is already implemented in the StackExchange software: the tag wiki. I agree that tagnames should be short and unambiguous. But, any possible unclarity with a tag, should be resolved in the tag-wiki, where the short description can already be seen by hovering the tag. This is something people will naturally do, when they do not know or recognize the tag.

I think , et cetera are self-explanatory even to people from Europe or further away from North America. would not be easily understood, even for people from Europe, so for Nort-American users it would be even more problematic. However, if the tag wiki provides information like "The English Premier League is the top football league in England", this explains everything.


You wouldn't have to retag all your Meta tags if posters (both questions and answers) followed standard English rules for dealing with acronyms and abreviations. Perhaps something could be added to the FAQ on this?

Those standard rules are that whenever you use an abreviation or acronym you spell it out in the first use instance.

Eg. Which player was considered the best value in the Indian Premier League (IPL)?

Which team has statistically the best quarterback in the National Football League (NFL)?

Do you think Giles Clarke the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the English Cricket Board (ECB) should be the next Chairman of the International Cricket Council (ICC)?

You only have to mention it once, then everyone knows what you're talking about!


Good question, I have to admit I did not pay much attention to the fact that an abbreviation might not be very obvious, internationally speaking. I think it's up to the OP to make it clear enough what the tag refers to in the question title, or question body. That, together with the the demand that we allow only already established abbreviations should provide for enough guidelines for dealing with abbreviations as tags, I think.


Abbreviation is a tool that allows writers to condense a phrase without losing meaning; the letters removed are unecessarily redundant because the information can be transmitted equally well without them.

This relies on the writer and the reader/listener having an equivalent understanding of what the abbreviation means. For the simplest example of how easily this can go wrong, ask yourself: could you run a distance of 100 m in a day? Your answer is very different depending on whether you understand the unit m to be metres or miles.

Stack Exchange supports a global community, to its great benefit. This means there is a responsibility to serve all of the community equally. Online communities frequently devolve to a USA-centrism, even when this is not justified, and tags with abbreviations is one more area that this bias could easily slip through, to the detriment of inclusion and understanding for everybody.

Therefore, if an abbreviation is to be used, it must pass those two tests:

  1. It is a common and established abbreviation for that group, event, action or idea for the people who use it; and

  2. It is not a common or established abbreviation for a different group, event, action or idea for other people using it notably elsewhere.

Failure on either point means the abbreviation is not common enough to be understood alone, making it pointless, or that it cannot be fairly used just for a single one of its multiple possible meanings, and the full phrase or a non-abbreviation short form must be used, as appropriate to the case and respecting limits of tag length.

You must log in to answer this question.