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Prevent users from creating new tags?

Prevent users from creating new tags?


I don't want users to be able to create new tags. It's a nightmare — they wind up creating tags for things tags already exist for. Not to mention typos in tag names.


How strict does Jira make this and how do I set that up? I couldn't find this in settings.

1 answer

1 vote

Remove the labels field and add a tag custom field of type "multi-select list".  Only admins will be able to add entries to that list.

Jack Community Leader Dec 09, 2019

yes it is a nightmare and one we deal with here in the Community. :-)

Like Eiren Smith likes this

It is impractical to advise "create a custom field and hide the labels field" when labels already exist, in some cases against hundreds of tickets across multiple projects.

Why doesn't Atlassian provide a feature to restrict who can add, edit, delete labels? 

Like Eiren Smith likes this

They have - it's called "using the right field type"

Converting can be a right royal pain though, especially if you have a lot of labels.  But you can do the housekeeping while copying the labels into the new field.

Jack Community Leader Dec 10, 2019

agree Nic.

the Labels field is designed to be a free form text filed that gives users the freedom to use as they will. This is both powerful and slippery. Peter Parker Principle - "With great power comes great responsibility." ;-)

I've seen a system recently (I forget which one) that lets you have a tag/label/keyword field just for yourself — you're not sliming other people with your invented entries. Maybe it was in Bugzilla's Bugzilla at Not sure.

I'm surprised Atlassian wouldn't just put an option in administrators' control for not letting users create their own tags/labels/keywords. Simple.

In fact, if I were going to approve a tags/labels/keywords feature and I had the artificial constraint that I could only choose to implement it one way or the other (admins can create list entries or anybody can), I'd choose admins. More power to users and all that, but letting them make their own labels/tags/keywords and subjecting other users to those sucks often enough that it ought to be fixed (by offering optional administor oversight).

Incidentally, that artificial constraint I mentioned isn't a mental exercise: It fits the evidence for Atlassian's design for this feature — an artificial constraint. And they landed on the wrong side of it from my point of view. But there's no obvious-to-me reason for the constraint. Just let admins lock the list optionally.

> yes it is a nightmare and one we deal with here in the Community. :-)

@JackYou would think that Atlassian would take what they learn about in Community and roll it back into the product.

Jack Community Leader Dec 12, 2019

@Eiren Smith, actually i think the two use cases are a bit different and I think the labels in Jira achieve what they were designed to do. I think that the solution that Nic presented is the best solution for controlling tags. Leave folks to use labels as they see fit but use a controlled custom field for the controlled use case.

Please forgive me if this ends up as an essay, I'll try to bullet-point instead...

  • The whole point of labels is that people can put in whatever they want.  Jira's label field goes with that.
  • As someone who uses systems with labels, I find a choice of 45,000 useless.  A system with more than 5,000 labels is probably wrong.  Totally with you on the idea of consistency.
  • The desire to control labels is natural, but also wrong.  As a Jira/Confluence/Bitbucket admin, I do not want to restrict my people. 
  • A locked list of labels is absolutely the wrong thing to do, as a label.  As a category, group, relationship, collection, similar-articles - oh heck yes, do that.  In Jira, the best way to do that is to use custom (multi-)select lists to provide (admin curated) options.  Then let people use labels for their personal tags.

@Nic Brough _Adaptavist_, Thanks for your reply. I'm not convinced that exposing all users to a list of labels anyone can add to (and also showing them those labels when somebody sets them in a ticket) is a great way to run. Maybe a system where someone could request a label (suggesting its name and providing a use case for it) that an admin could check occasionally would be nice though.

It's just the idea of exposing other users to the weird labels of others is... weird. If a user only saw the tags HE (or she) put on a ticket and only saw the tags HE created in his list of available labels, that makes more sense to me (for user-created label values).

The idea of everybody seeing everybody's labels is just a Wild West scenario, in my mind. Maybe there's some use case where this makes sense that I just don't see? I'm truly interested to know about this — I'm not being snarky at all. I don't want to see other users' labels, because when I have they have been really bad. Like just totally loony bad.

When I've seen users allowed to create their own labels (like in our Trac instance), we've uniformly gotten absolute garbage.

When I've seen only admins allowed to create labels (in our Bugzilla and called "keywords" there), I've uniformly seen useful labels that aren't duplicating each other, are consistently named, etc. Naturally, this puts some burden on the admin to deal with label management, but in that case (for us) we don't create a lot of these and we don't want to.

I don't have any problem creating a multi-select pulldown list. I just don't get why people would want to see other people's labels.

Update: I just tried this in Jira. There's an important difference here between the "Labels" field and the custom field type "Select list (multiple choices)" is that a user can click on auto-hyperlinked Label names and see all issues with those labels. That's a lovely feature. This auto-hyperlink thing does not happen with "Select list (multiple choices)" list entries in a ticket. Bummer.

My reply keeps showing after creation and after editing, then disappearing on refresh. So I keep posting it. Maybe this is a moderation feature? If so, why does it show until I refresh? Makes it seem like it's evaporating.

Re-posting the same thing is a huge flag to the anti-spam system, it pretty much says "same thing, kill it" without considering anything else.  Why your first post disappeared though, I do not know, as there's nothing in it that I would expect the spam-bot to get.  But, it's been un-spammed.

The reason for labels being shared is simple - people find them useful.  There are hundreds of labels in all of the Atlassian systems we have in our organisation, and they make it easy for all of us to find things.  It doesn't matter who put the labels on, we all know that a search on labels will get us relevant things, often stuff other people have labelled simply because they know we all search and they want their stuff to be found when we do.

Really simple example - I know a lot about SSL and certificates.  Most of my colleagues do not.  I wrote a short doc on how to set up apache to do SSL with your own certificates (because a couple of our clients use certificates instead of the less secure username/password idea).  I've labelled it with ssl and certificate.  No-one asks about it, because typing "label = ssl" into the search lands them on that page.  If labels were private, they'd be useless.  

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