What are the uses of tag status?

I understand project status (active, on hold, completed, dropped), but I’m wondering about the meaning of a tag’s status (active, on hold, dropped). Can someone give examples of how you might want to use them? What does it mean if a project or action has a tag with a different status. Eg, an active project has an on-hold tag, or vice-versa?

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Here’s one. Tags often represent contexts, such as a physical place of work. If you had tasks that could only be done in the workplace, and you tagged those items with “Workplace”, then it would probably make sense to keep that tag on hold while we’re all working from home.


When you assign a tag which has the ‘On Hold’ status to an action, the action becomes unavailable (ie. ‘remaining’ but not ‘available’).

This is useful for putting individual actions on hold (ie. unavailable) without moving them to a project which is on hold (such as a project for ‘Someday/Maybe’ potential tasks) nor building a sequential action group nor setting a specific defer date. You could create a generic tag called ‘On Hold’ for this purpose.

You could also create on-hold tags to represent specific reasons why actions are unavailable. The advantage of this is that you can apply them to multiple actions spread out in various projects; when the circumstances change you can make a whole set of actions available again just by changing the status of a tag to ‘active’. For example, you could be waiting for somebody to do something or an external event to occur (‘After lockdown is lifted I can…’!).

On-hold tags do not change the status of a project to which they are added, only the status of actions.

Changing the status of a tag to ‘Dropped’ means that it won’t be visible in the tag hierarchy. It’s a way of saying you won’t use the tag anymore without deleting it (and losing it on the actions which have it). This should not be confused with dropped actions — dropped tags do not affect the status of actions, with one exception: an action which has only dropped tags becomes unavailable (see the release notes of OF 3.4 for the updated rules for action status).

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I use on hold for my waiting for tasks.
If I have something to talk with my boss, I tag the task with Boss. If I talk with him and now I’m waiting for a reply then I tag him also with waiting for.
This allows me to see what is active on my side, and what is on the other side, with polluting my views

I assign contexts for places that I visit on an irregular basis, and I place them on hold if I’m not going to be there for a while or can’t easily get there. For example, I visit Paris every 1-3 years, so if there’s something I want to be reminded to do (or at least consider) while I’m there, I’ll use my Paris tag and place it on hold. As a historian, I use similar tags for material that can only be consulted in a specific library or archive.

If you put tags on hold, it’s important to have a regular project review cycle, so you can identify whether a project is stalled due to an action that’s unavailable because the tag is on hold. If a project is increasingly urgent, you might need to either make the tag available (e.g., book that flight to Paris) or figure out a workaround (in my case, that might be to ask a colleague or pay a grad student to go to a library and examine a document for me).

Similar to above—I have a tag called “WOSE” (Waiting on someone else), which has “On-Hold” status.

I’ll use it to tag actions in projects when I can’t progress until someone has got back to me with some information.

I just discovered today an exception to that rule: if an action has a tag that is “On Hold,” and it has a due date (its own or inherited from a project or action group), it will be unavailable until its due date enters the “due soon” window as set in Preferences.

I like this behavior, because when I set a due date on a task, it’s almost always a hard due date, and I want to be reminded that the task is available, even if the only thing I can do is renegotiate a new due date. But it might surprise some people.

I’m not seeing that behaviour. In the Projects perspective with the ‘Available’ setting, or a custom perspective that filters on ‘Availability: Available’, an action with an on-hold tag which is ‘due soon’ or overdue doesn’t appear.

What I have noticed is that the formatting of an action that is both unavailable and due soon/overdue changes: its text colour changes from lighter grey (unavailable items) to normal. I suppose the display logic promotes a due soon item to the formatting with more emphasis along with displaying the orange/red date pill (but this does introduce an inconsistency and makes it harder to identify these items; if I have a bunch of due soon tasks that can’t be completed before some other task, I want to know this).

The Forecast perspective doesn’t have an Available/Remaining/All filter. It displays all items with a due date regardless of their availability.

That’s the behavior I was seeing. I was presuming that the change in formatting (from gray to black color) corresponded to a change in status, but I have to admit I didn’t verify that. I was in the Tags perspective but it was set to show Remaining items.

There you go, you were mislead by the inconsistent formatting!

I set up an on-hold tag called CovidOnHold for those tasks that are on hold because of the quarantine. When the quarantine ends, I can activate them all by changing the state of the tag.

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