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Regarding this SO question:

Toggling visibility of divs using javascript

The post contains a JavaScript question, JavaScript Code and no mention of "jQuery". However, it was originally tagged with "jQuery".

A user came along and removed the "jQuery" tag on the OP sometime after two jQuery dependent answers were posted.

Then others come along, myself included, and see answers pertaining to jQuery where they don't seem to have relevance to the question.

I considered adding the "jQuery" tag back into the question to make the answers relevant again. However, I stopped myself since I can't know what the OP really wants. After all, we routinely remove "Java" tags from JavaScript questions, although that error is usually more obvious. (Sometimes a tagging mistake and sometimes the OP believes Java=JS.)

In my opinion...

1) The OP should only be using tags relevant to the question as posted. In other words, if he's open to a jQuery solution, he should actually reference jQuery within the question. Otherwise, somebody may remove his jQuery tag since the question only includes plain JavaScript code.

2) The Responders should probably not rely on tags alone to know what kind of solution the OP is wanting. Perhaps comments should have been made asking the OP to clarify his use of the jQuery tag. Otherwise, maybe start their answers with, "Since you tagged your answer with X, here's an X solution..."


Are tags allowed to be used as an enhancement to the question* thereby the original tag in this example should not have been removed? Or should tags simply describe the question as posted**, where Responders should only read the question and not use the tags as additional guideline for their solutions? I'm heavily leaning towards the latter.


Clarification Edit:

Yes, as per the FAQ thread, tags are supposed to be for categorizing the questions.

*"enhancement to the question" - Should the categorization be arbitrarily based on what kind of responses the OP wants?

**"describe the question as posted" - Should the categorization be based on the content of the question alone?

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1 Answer

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Tags should describe the question as posted, as they are attached to the question. This is what most people expect when using tags as filters and search material - a question with means that the question is about jQuery, not that jQuery is simply applicable. Tags on a question based only on the answers - expected or otherwise - are a bit off-kilter.

If the user is expecting certain kinds of answers, that content should be a part of the question in the first place. In which case, tagging on that avenue is quite appropriate. If I state that I want a solution that uses jQuery, then by all means, should be on the question. In that scenario, the fact I want to use jQuery is a part of the problem, it ceases to simply be applicable.

But if the questioner did not expect that a certain answer would be solveable through a method that happens to have its own tag, or if the user simply doesn't desire any restriction or narrowing in that aspect, that doesn't warrant that the question is about that subject. The important thing is that the question contains enough data to attract a solution, and that the tags reflect this data.

For example, I once asked a question, which happened to have a simple LINQ answer. It's not a LINQ question, though - the problem being solved is about data retrieval from collections. Putting would be misleading.

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