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The tutorials tag on Stack Overflow seems to attract quite a few problem questions.

On one hand there are the:

And on the other hand there are the:

  • Some people treat it as a blessing to post full on tutorials.

I do not think this tag is adding much, should we ban/remove it?

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2 Answers

The tag should probably be removed from most — probably all — of those questions as a meta tag. Those questions are not about "tutorial" but tagged that way to describe the purpose of the post (i.e. a meta tag).

If a user wants to post a tutorial to share something they learned, that should be fine. Those questions should be tagged by subject of the post.

If the question is requesting a tutorial, that's not generally a good question for Stack Overflow anyway. It's still not a good tag for the question.

About 172 of the 1,964 questions tagged have already been closed. The rest seem to be mistagged or really poor questions… so it's been demonstrated to be a problem.

Perhaps banning the tag outright will give them enough pause to avoid asking the question outright. wishful thinking

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All tags are meta tags, eventually there won't be many useful ones left. –  Lance Roberts Oct 31 '11 at 1:06
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@LanceRoberts: I'm sorry, I don't understand what you are saying. The "Death of Meta Tags" post linked above talks about a very specific class of tags we explicitly discourage. –  Robert Cartaino Oct 31 '11 at 1:42
    
I'm not sure what you don't understand. All tagging is a way of categorizing something, which is a meta activity. They're all just labels that tell you what's in the post, and not the content of the post. Specifically in this case, tutorial can easily be applied to any post and denote the content. –  Lance Roberts Oct 31 '11 at 2:39
    
You would have to match it up with another tag, but you'd have to do that with excel and vba for example, if you needed to denote that specific circumstance. If your search for java right now you end up with 171,100 questions, but if you searched for that with tutorials you'd get down to 1964. I don't understand why you guys who hate the category tags want to make it so hard to search, and cut flow from the search engines. –  Lance Roberts Oct 31 '11 at 2:40
    
Search is already broken on our sites, please don't keep making it harder. –  Lance Roberts Oct 31 '11 at 2:40
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I think should be kept, so that those who want to search just for tutorial oriented posts will be able to bring them up. The point of having a tag system is so that you can find what you're looking for, if we keep getting rid of general category tags, we just make it harder for a user to search for what they need. We also cut down on the search engines finding those posts, therefore cutting down on traffic to the site.

So, if we have Q&A that either are tutorials or are asking for references to them, we should have the tag. Whether we should have those kind of questions at all is a different topic.

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