I hate to say it, but I find the "graffiti" tags useful. Things like "international snooze", "hit and run" and "do my homework", are usually pretty accurate tags.
Useful for what? In order to identify topics of little value? Because voting them down would also do that and tagging them makes them more prominent on the site, which increases the likelihood that more such content will appear.
If just for fun, which is a use in a sense, I get it though. But by making this thread the person responsible noticed the unintended side effect and actually removed all the tags fixing the problem (though another person is doing the "hit and run" ones that now replaced it).
I understand the problem you're running into with tags like this, but I don't see a way around it. Users evolve to fit the system available to them. This is our environment. We have adapted.
Who's we? This is being done by a couple of people. But yes, the users "adapted" but will continue to adapt. You might be beyond convincing but others might not be and I already outlined two things we can do about it.
1) We can code the related tag algorithm right to begin with, right now it ranks related tags merely by total times it's been used with another tag. So if one single member always tags two tags together they have this effect. We need to rework all the data so that we are counting and using unique user tag pairs as well in the related tag rankings so that this doesn't happen.
There is a lot
of other things we need to do to improve how we display the "wisdom of the crowd" but at the same time the crowd can also give more wisdom so:
2) For those who feel so inclined, tagging can help the community, and this thread is an appeal to tag more helpfully. It worked beyond my wildest dreams when the member removed all their uses of this tag, which I thought was a suggestion too forward to make myself. I was just hoping to get a reduction in future use and better yet it's retroactively removed.
If others want to help, and I understand that may not be for you, here is how to do it:
1) Tag topics you find worthy of sharing. In the future your tagged topics will bring you recommendations, you are telling the software that you like the topic and that you recommend it to others.
2) Use useful tags that categorize the topic instead of comments about the topic. More tags are better than fewer tags, and the perfect ideal would be to mix more inclusive tags with more specific tags. E.g. first use a tag that is one of our main forums, then get more specific ("politics, obama, health care"). The more you use multiple tags the better we can determine related tags.
Making this appeal made our crowd wisdom better, this is
one thing we can do about it.