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I came across this question which at the time of writing had the tags "c#, windows-phone, windows-phone-7.1, silverlight, camera".

Since the question was about zooming and all 5 tags were taken I was about to change the tags to "windows-phone, windows-phone-7.1, camera, zoom".

Notice that I would remove the language specific tags. Of course there is a certain language involved, but the question is more about the API. So maybe even an "api" tag would be ok.

What is your take on this? When asking about how to do something in general - should the language specific tags be added or not?

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Do you think there are people who are following the "zoom" tag who would now see the question after the retag? Or people who are ignoring the "zoom" tag whose lives would be improved by having this question hidden? Or people who are browsing the zoom tag to see how to zoom across languages? I say no to all 3, and that means adding the tag serves no purpose. Since it also drives you to drop a tag that would answer yes to at least one of those, adding it is actively wrong. IMO. –  Kate Gregory Nov 10 '11 at 20:04
So you say "windows-phone-7, windows-phone-7.1, camera" would be the initial best tagging for this question? From a monitoring-a-tag point of view this would make sense I think. Just monitoring "zoom" wouldn't make much sense. –  Heinrich Ulbricht Nov 10 '11 at 20:13
C# can stay, and possibly Silverlight if the zooming is a Silverlight thing - you need to know the subject matter to tag well. Camera is iffy but if the phone tags are high volume I would leave it. –  Kate Gregory Nov 10 '11 at 20:15
But zooming is a platform thing. The language doesn't matter in my opinion. Does the platform provide any means of zooming the camera? This is language agnostic. At least until some answer says "Yes, the platform allows to zoom, but only from C#, not from XAML". It's like asking "Can you programmatically create folders in windows" and tagging it with "c, delphi, c#, python, script..." It's more the general possibility. At least in the linked question I think to see this. –  Heinrich Ulbricht Nov 10 '11 at 20:18
Not sure I can add anything to what @Anthony Pegram has said. Although most C# questions are language agnostic in reality, that doesn't matter to searchers, answerers or askers. They want to know how to zoom in C#. "The same as in VB" is not an answer even if it's true. –  Kate Gregory Nov 10 '11 at 20:40

1 Answer 1

up vote 5 down vote accepted

API would certainly not be an appropriate tag. That's about as vague as you can possibly get.

I would leave it tagged as is. The code sample in the question is C#, he will be looking for answers using C#. Using the criteria that it's "just coding to an API, the language is irrelevant" would mean that most questions would have their tags removed unless it was specific about language constructs or syntax, and that is not what we're after, either for the user asking about C# or the person searching in google and including C#.

We don't want to add tags where they are not appropriate (ie., spamming a question with tags for languages that are not actually involved), but removing tags for involved languages should also be discouraged.


From your comment in the question

This is language agnostic. At least until some answer says "Yes, the platform allows to zoom, but only from C#, not from XAML". It's like asking "Can you programmatically create folders in windows" and tagging it with "c, delphi, c#, python, script..."

Yes and no. The answer may very well be language agnostic, but the context of the question is not, either from the perspective of the asker or from potentially other viewers.

Using a different example, if someone asked "How can I find the position of 'b' in the string "abcdefg"" and tagged it c#, string, index, would you remove C#? (You shouldn't.) The fact that something can be done in multiple languages (.NET or otherwise) does not mean the specific language is not useful.

Viewers are looking for language-specific answers. They're searching google for C# string index operations. Removing the language tag is counterproductive towards solving those problems, even if the answer turns out to use the method IndexOf, a .NET base class library method and not a C# method. It would be useful to add .NET, but removing C# should not be considered.

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I agree somewhat, but there are only 5 tags to give. So let's say the windows-phone-7 tags are necessary. This leaves 3 more tags. When talking about zooming a camera the tags "camera" and "zoom" seem appropriate. But this leaves only one slot left - not enough for "c#" and "silverlight". So should only be one included? Or am I off track thinking that "zoom" should be added? And for api: the question very specifically asks about the possibility of zooming. That's mainly an API issue. If the answer is yes, it is possible then the language might even be irrelevant. –  Heinrich Ulbricht Nov 10 '11 at 20:07
The API being windows phone APIs, not just some vague "API" term that means absolutely nothing. Will people follow an API tag? Will people filter on an API tag? Regarding "zoom," I think @KateGregory sums it up nicely in her comment. I would simply leave this question alone. Certainly do not remove C# or Silverlight, they are pertinent and useful. Do not add API. It's completely useless. Add value to the site by simply moving on and addressing another question. –  Anthony Pegram Nov 10 '11 at 20:15
Sorry if I offended you. I edited nothing (and won't) but asked here first to get a better understanding of this specific matter. If I just move on my question remains, that's why I am pressing the point. I just don't see anybody having an advantage by using the "c#" tag. If I monitor this then a question about zooming a camera on windows phone certainly won't interest me. Silverlight is another topic. There I see the point, since it is more specific to the platform. But if we can't find a consensus it's ok too. Then my takeaway is at least to continue being careful in this matter. –  Heinrich Ulbricht Nov 10 '11 at 20:32
Thank's for bearing with me. I read your edit. So what would you say about all the questions that have just a "windows-phone-7" tag? Clicking the tag shows at a first glance that about half of the questions have no other tag. Should they include a language specific tag (if some code is shown in the question)? –  Heinrich Ulbricht Nov 10 '11 at 20:37
You didn't offend me, you simply need to consider the context of the asker and those that might search in google and what they might search by. There are plenty of technically language agnostic questions, but people are not searching in language agnostic ways. Adding C# increases visibility on the site and on google, and it is not an inappropriate tag (it is actually in the question). Let it remain! –  Anthony Pegram Nov 10 '11 at 20:37
And just to mention it: I am very conservative when it comes to re-tagging questions because it often is not easy. So no worries. I won't retag everything coming my way just for the sake of it. You have a point with your google search. Although I could argue that "windows phone 7 zooming camera" is what I would search for. –  Heinrich Ulbricht Nov 10 '11 at 20:40
Regarding adding language tags, if you think they are helpful and appropriate, yes! Remember, it's not going to make the question less visible in google or searches here, but will certainly increase visibility for those searching by C# (or whatever the appropriate language is). –  Anthony Pegram Nov 10 '11 at 20:40
I can agree to that. Increasing visibility is important. Having the c# tag certainly increases it, probably more than "zoom". No not probably. Certainly. Because "zoom" is contained in the question text, but "c#" isn't. So removing c# really would do harm in this regard. (Well this question is an exception because it contains "c#" in the text, but most questions don't.) –  Heinrich Ulbricht Nov 10 '11 at 20:44

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