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Retagging questions currently moves them to the top of the active questions list. (I'm not sure, but I think this move may be a result of the retag function having been merged with the edit function.)

It may be reasonable for normal edits to appear at the top of the active questions list because they edit the actual content of the question. Moving content edits to the top of the list helps maintain an element of peer moderation.

However, moving retagged questions to the top of the list is problematic for two reasons.

  1. It buries questions that have had their actual content changed, including posts that are completely new. If used properly, tags should only help to find questions, not to change their meaning, so there's no need to place them in this queue.
  2. It enables users to get a couple of free votes just by retagging one of their questions or a question for which they have a popular answer. (I've done this sporadically, and I've seen others doing it as well, but I don't think it should be possible to game the system in this way.)

My feature request: questions that have only been retagged (but not otherwise edited) should not be moved to the top of the active questions list.

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Retagging posts has always bumped them up the active questions list, it's not a new feature.

To be honest I think I disagree with you that it's undesirable.

Retagging questions should bump them up to the top of the page. The reason for retagging questions is because they have the wrong tags in the first place. If a question has been tagged incorrectly then it is likely that it's not been suitably answered yet because people may not have been able to find the question. (for instance perhaps there is a guru out there who comes in, filters for all questions with that tag and give great answers to all of them. If a RWD question existed that wasn't tagged as such then they might not notice it.

Adding the correct tags to posts bumps them up the list and grants them the attention they should have got when the question was originally asked.

People will always look to 'bump' questions that aren't getting the attention they think they deserve, if retagging didn't do this then just any trivial edit would give the same result. In fact it's harder to do a trivial retag because it'd get noticed pretty quickly if you're tagging questions with unrelated tags just to get it more attention.

The only possibly issue is with bulk retagging, where the front page is flooded with retagged questions. Thankfully people here don't really tend to do this outside of the weekend (weekends are good times for general maintenance as the site is pretty quiet so it's inconveniencing less people doing it here). If bulk edits are happening during the peak traffic periods when lots of new questions are being ignored then that should probably be alerted to the mods to slow this down, but in general it's not really a problem as far as I see.

Additional:

There is another benefit to bumping retags - preventing abuse. If you were able to retag a load of questions without it really being visible to anyone then there is quite a potential for abuse here, be it removing all questions that are tagged with X except your one so that yours get the most attention, or adding a new tag promoting your product and attaching it to loads of questions. Having retags and other edits appear at the top of the active list acts as a quality filter too to increase the chances of such abuse being detected.

  • I disagree that The reason for retagging questions is because they have the wrong tags in the first place. Sometimes a question has four perfectly good tags, but you know of a fifth that would be a good fit and decide to add it. That's hardly cause for cluttering up the active list. It makes it hard to watch for actual content changes that can be responded to. – Graham Herrli May 21 '13 at 14:34
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    If that fifth tag isn't actually required then there's no need to add it on. If it is required then that means it wasn't tagged correctly to start with. By 'incorrectly tagged' I don't mean that the tags on it were wrong, just that the tags assigned to the question didn't provide the correct picture. – JonW May 21 '13 at 14:45
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This is not a new feature. The reason for bumping edits (even tag edits) is transparency. Imagine if a disgruntled user were to start retagging a bunch of old posts with something nonsensical… or if someone was simply reorganizing a bunch of tags in an ill-advised way.

Users should not be able to edit things without anyone noticing. That's why they are bumped.

  • It wouldn't be hard to have separate lists for (a) all activity and (b) the type of activity that most users care about. That would maintain transparency. Or alternatively it could just be made easy for a mod to revert a series of edits from a single user. If a user really did try to mess up a large number of posts, surely someone would notice one of them and flag it, and the mod could mass-revert the posts. – Graham Herrli Sep 21 '13 at 1:45

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