We have two tags for sitemaps:

  • a list of pages of a web site accessible to crawlers or users.

  • XML files created to make it easier for Search Engine crawlers and other bots to efficiently and fully crawl a website.

Suggestion: Let’s only use (and add as synonym)

The Sitemaps Protocol specifies multiple formats: XML, RSS feed, Atom feed, plain text. For most questions, the format is irrelevant. For questions where the format is relevant, it can be added as additional tag:

If we want to keep , we should

  • introduce equivalent tags for the other formats (, , …), if the need arises, and
  • clarify that only applies to the XML format, and not also to the Atom/RSS formats (although they also use XML), and
  • remove from questions were the format is irrelevant (e.g.: when asking if noindexed URLs should be listed, there is no need to specify the format as tag).
  • If I recall, we had intended that sitemap be for HTML sitemaps. There may be another meta discussion about this. Apr 2 '18 at 10:36
  • 2
    Maybe sitemap should go away and we should only have html-sitemap and xml-sitemap? That way it's never ambiguous.
    – John Conde Mod
    Apr 2 '18 at 11:57
  • I support the motion unless there's more valid reasons to keep it as is.
    – Michael d
    Apr 2 '18 at 14:28
  • I remember such a discussion, but couldn’t find it. -- For HTML sitemaps, I would suggest to use sitemap-page (like contact-page). And then sitemap, or maybe even sitemaps-protocol, for sitemaps as defined by sitemaps.org.
    – unor
    Apr 2 '18 at 15:07

I'd prefer separate tags for various types:

Then we could get rid of .

The biggest draw back of this approach would be that editing all 600 posts to remove the tag would be a lot of work.

  • 1
    The problem I see here is that users can’t easily browse (and filter with additional tags) all sitemaps questions, unless we use a second tag for the sitemaps spec itself. Most of these questions are not about the format. For example, a question about which URLs should be included in the sitemap. It wouldn’t make sense to tag it rss-sitemap just because OP is using the RSS format (question not even showing code, and no answer about code). A reader that uses the one sitemap format might not expect relevant answers behind the tags for the other formats.
    – unor
    Apr 2 '18 at 16:12
  • 2
    That is true. I wish stack had tag hierarchies with implied tags. Apr 2 '18 at 17:12

(New suggestion after reading the comments by Stephen Ostermiller and John Conde.)

Sitemaps for humans

These sitemaps are primarily intended for human visitors. They are part of the site’s information architecture (like navigation, search etc.), and typically linked on the site.

Suggested tag:

I don’t think we should have "html" in the tag name. We also have the tags and . If the question is about the markup for such a page, + should be used.

Sitemaps for machines

These sitemaps are primarily intended for crawlers. They are typically not linked on the site. They conform to the Sitemaps Protocol (sponsored by Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft).

Suggested tag: (or )

I don’t think we should have "xml" in the tag name (for the reason mentioned in the question: the same spec also defines other formats). If the format is relevant, the tag for the format should be used in addition (i.e., +, or +)

Nice things about :

  • It refers to the specification, making clear that the tag is not for any kind of sitemap, but only for those sitemaps as defined by sitemaps.org.

  • In the future, there might be alternative specs, possibly by other organizations. Each spec could get its own tag.

  • Not having a tag will lead to less wrongly tagged questions. When users enter "sitemap" in the tag field, they can only choose between and . A tag would likely also be added by users asking about sitemap pages, ignoring the tag description.

  • I don't like just sitemap because folks tend to use it thinking that the type of sitemap they have (page, XML, whatever) is the only thing in the world. I often have to ask them to clarify. Apr 2 '18 at 16:00
  • Another possibility for the tag name for the protocol/specification could be sitemaps.org like we do with schema.org. Apr 2 '18 at 16:01
  • sitemap-page doesn't seem adequately descriptive to me. HTML sitemaps are often many pages. Apr 2 '18 at 16:08
  • @StephenOstermiller: I don’t think that paginated sitemaps make the sitemap-page tag inadequate. If the aspect of having multiple pages itself is relevant for the question, sitemap-page+pagination or sitemap-page+navigation could be used. When we get an about-page tag, its name would still make sense for complex about pages that consist of multiple pages, in my opinion.
    – unor
    Apr 2 '18 at 16:25
  • I could live with sitemap-page I suppose. Apr 2 '18 at 17:13

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