Tags are no longer working as expected

Thanks for taking time to read this. Any help is greatly appreciated.

After January 19, 2024, I have begun having problems with tags.
new tags stopped showing up in the tag pane on the right side of the window,
and one nested set perpetually expands.
The tags in question have stopped showing their associated note quantities, and the quantities that do show are not accurate.
Tags are also not auto-completing when I type them in the note itself.

I’m using Obsidian v1.5.3 on Windows 11 v23H2 Windows Feature Experience Pack 1000.22681.1000.0

I have the following plugins installed/enabled on the vault in question:
Command palette
Daily notes
File recovery
Note composer
Page preview
Quick switcher
Unique note creator

Charts View
Natural Language Dates
Tag Wrangler

What I’m trying to do

I use Obsidian for my implementation of The Secret Weapon(TSW) Getting Things Done(GTD) productivity system.
Part of the system is tagging notes with context. The parent tag will be like #what, #when, #where, etc., and each will have appropriate children tags like #what/task, #when/1-now, #where/work. Of these contexts, there are nested date tags in the form of #yyyy/mm/dd.

The date tag is used to track when a note was created. Typically, this tagging system provides a list of tags that are naturally sorted by year, then month, then day. The quantity of notes at each tag level typically displays to the right of the tag’s name.

The parent tag of #yyyy only shows zero, whereas it used to show the total number of notes for that nest. The pic below shows the quantities issue as well as the ever expanding month of January this year.


I have been successfully using this system on Obsidian since 2022. Of course a few of the plugins are newer than that, but I haven’t changed anything other than keeping the system updated for at least 8 months now.

Things I have tried

I’ve tried rebooting both the system and Obsidian.
I have checked for and installed updates.
I have looked through the settings for something that might relate to tags.
In the TagFolder community plugin I tried enabling “do not treat nested tags as dedicated levels” and disabled “reduce duplicated parents in nested tags”. Neither of these settings had an effect.
I thought the auto-completion issue was perhaps due to not having any notes with those tags, but I have several notes with common tags that are not showing up when typed. I created a master note with all the tags to test this.

What I think is going on

I think there’s a new bug in the way Obsidian handles tags. Since many of my issues revolve around the use of integers as names it may be related to that.
However, The auto-completion of tag names effects all tags, but not consistently. One or two of each tag within a nest still works.

You’re not showing how you define your tags, which is most likely the key to your issues. So please show us some example of tag definitions you’re using.

In particular you shouldn’t use the # in the frontmatter, so here is a simple example showing proper tag definitions:

tags: 2024/02


Note that tags need to have at least one non-numerical letter, see tag format.

Also note that if your properties/frontmatter includes other non-valid formats, the entire section is disregarded, so make sure by looking in reading mode or live preview that you properties show up.

Thank you holroy.

After reading the link you provided I see that the use of tags has been changed. I do not use tags in YAML (what you call frontmatter) and the original criteria did not require letters with numbers.

I really appreciate that info. I will down grade my Obsidian.

This is really sad to learn since my switch to Obsidian came after using Evernote since their inception when they did something similar that broke the TSW methodology. I really hope I don’t have to quit Obsidian now too.

Thank you so much for your help.

To be clear here, we never supported purely numeric tags, since the beginning. There was no change.

The / is recognized as a non-numerical letter, so #2024/02 is legal, but #2024 on its own is not legal.

I promise you WhiteNoise, however it worked, it worked. Life was good. Tags were great. That is not the case anymore.

I’m not saying you’re wrong, just saying that wasn’t the reality.

I stuck with Evernote about 2 years longer than I should have fighting with work arounds and other creative solutions. I don’t have that energy any more.


There was a bug that allowed forbidden characters to work in tags in some situations, and that bug has been fixed, so that might explain your experience.

That bug was in YAML/frontmatter, and mperedithe wasn’t using it. I think holroy intuition regarding the use of / is more likely.

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