These guidelines are offered to assist GIS SE users to tag and find categories of ArcGIS questions consistently.

ArcGIS is a huge platform of software and over many years the most generic tag was first burninated and then blacklisted - see What to do with ArcGIS tag after burnination?. When no more specific alternatives are available, an appropriate tag for generic ArcGIS platform questions is .

The case for doing this is now history:

In the early days of GIS Stack Exchange the use of a generic tag made sense because:

  1. There were far fewer ArcGIS questions so opening each one tagged to find out if it was for Desktop, Server, Online, Pro, Engine or something else was not so onerous
  2. ArcGIS was more or less synonymous with ArcGIS Desktop and its ArcMap application
  3. There were far fewer specialists available to answer and wanting to focus on a subset of the ArcGIS platform

As ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS Pro questions increase it becomes clear that commonly means different things to different people, so it has the hallmarks of a meta-tag.

Fortunately, explicit tags are already available for most, hopefully all, of the main products and applications that make up the ArcGIS platform e.g.

For an ArcGIS question I recommend always using one or more of these tags so that it shows up in the tag favourites of people who specialise in them rather than in a much bigger bucket.

ArcGIS typically has a number of versions in general use at any point in time and we currently have version tags like , ... , . For a long time I was a proponent of version tagging but I now recommend that version tags should not be used. Instead, I think it is very important to mention the version(s) being asked about in the question body.

ArcGIS has three license levels and we currently have tags for these: Basic (), Standard () and Advanced (). However, my recommendation is to not use them, and instead include such details, when relevant, in the body of the question.

Some other, more developer/administrator oriented, components of Esri Products are:

These seem to be useful - they are both focussed and frequently used.

Likewise for:

The tag list above is not meant to be exhaustive, just to cover the main cases.

Some other relevant Meta Q&As (that should align with this one and vice versa) are:


4 Answers 4


Only disagreement here is about the deprecated versions. If a question has been unanswered for months with no activity from the original poster then it should be closed regardless of what tags they used or what version of software (if applicable) they used. It doesn't make much sense to go digging up old questions unless the goal is just to close them so that the Community user doesn't perpetually auto-bump them.

Similarly, if a user is using deprecated software, that is their choice, and they probably have a good reason for doing so. I don't think that they should be compelled to test the issue with newer versions of the software, because the question was about the specific version, and they may not have the ability or willingness to do so.

TL/DR: I don't think it's our job to dig up and investigate old bugs or misbehaving software. Just let them lie and close them if they are getting bumped with no activity.

Everything else jives closely with how I like to see ArcGIS questions be tagged, so good job summarizing it.


I propose that when an ArcGIS version is Retired that we should review all Unanswered Questions with that tag i.e. Unanswered 9.2 now to try and encourage their posters to retest and see whether their current version still has the problem.

I'm with @blah238 on this one. If the question is abandoned, we should not dig it up simply because there is a new version.

I think that if one is certain that the problem is fixed in the new release, one should just post a new answer. But let's avoid bumping up abandoned old questions.


This makes sense to me, this is consistent with SO, which has so many tags for Visual Studio.

There are separate tags for Visual-Studio-2008, Visual-Studio-2010, and so on ...

The differences between versions of ArcGIS are just as great - if not more - than differences between versions of Visual Studio.

I haven't searched meta-so, but I bet there was a similar struggle over there.


Generally speaking I favour tag chains over tag specifics. For example, + is better than the monolithic , ditto for + versus . Using combinations allows subscriptions to be specific for those with focused interests, without hiding the specifics from general watchers. (Though I'm likely guilty of infractions as I'll use what comes up in the auto-suggest!)

I don't know if chaining would also work for versions, + . I'm open to trying. If we do decide to try we I think we should move slowly to keep churn to a minimum, and only retag things which are already active for other reasons.


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