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may be a problem. It has a few possible legitimate meanings.

  • "find" is a filesystem search tool on various flavors of *nix.
  • "find" is also a filesystem search tool on various flavors of DOS and Windows
  • "find" is also the name of a jQuery method.
  • "find" also can be found in the name of a family of methods in ActiveRecord.
  • "find" is also function in the C++ standard template library.

These seem to be perfectly legitimate uses. Unfortunately, the word "find" is so horribly generic that it's being used by many of the questions to indicate that the asker is trying to find something.

What can we do to clean things up?

I can't see any hyphenated tags working here. *nix find varies wildly in both origin (GNU, POSIX, BSD) and use. ActiveRecord uses "find" as the first word in a method, so probably won't work. Only jQuery might be able to handle a tag. C++? ? eww. And Windows/DOS find? ... yeah, we have questions about it. Need I go on?

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Thanks, added those. Windows 7 also has a find tool. Sigh. –  Charles Jan 27 '12 at 15:22
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I added a Tag Wiki. Hopefully that clears things up a bit. For the hyphenated tags, you can always add a reverse synonym to make the tag more discoverable, as in [find-jquery] --> [jquery-find] –  Robert Harvey Jan 27 '12 at 20:30
    
If only users would read the tag wiki excerpt when tagging their questions. –  Charles Jan 27 '12 at 20:33
    
For all filesystem finds, [find-tool] or [find-utility] would probably suffice. –  Robert Harvey Jan 27 '12 at 20:44

1 Answer 1

My suggestion is:

  • Do nothing for the 3 bullet points, because the combination with other tags like Unix, jQuery will clarify the context
  • Remove it as tag for questions, just searching for an answer
  • In question about search-algorithms, replace find with search.

Other tags have the same ambiguity, like Float, which exists for C and C++ and Java and ... and computing in general.

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Yes, but float really has only one meaning (more or less), regardless of the language. The current community gestalt is that tags have a single meaning, and your suggestion fails that test for bullet points 2 and 3. –  Robert Harvey Jan 27 '12 at 20:22
    
A float can be 8, 16, 32, 64 bit and so on, depending on the language/platform. It can have additional methods like toString in Scala which don't exist in C. So looking just at the Float-tag isn't enough - the same phenomenon like for the find question: You might need consider additional flags to decide, whether you might be fit to answer the question. –  user unknown Jan 27 '12 at 20:41
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Which is why I said "More or Less." A file system tool and a jquery method are not at all the same thing. –  Robert Harvey Jan 27 '12 at 20:42
    
I still don't get what you want. What shall be used, if the user searches for find in the context of jquery, or for find in the context of file search? Start an initiative to rename find here and there? –  user unknown Jan 27 '12 at 22:00
    
I am only pointing out that your assertion about tag ambiguity is not correct, as currently stated in your answer. float works because everyone generally understands what it means. find has multiple, distinct meanings. –  Robert Harvey Jan 27 '12 at 22:02
    
Everybody understands find too, in the same way, as an C-Programmer does or does not understand Float-problems in Java, Scala, Smalltalk and so on. Sometimes he will, often he will not. Do you know every possible Float question in advance? Float works, because it is not the only tag. So does find. –  user unknown Jan 27 '12 at 22:07
    
The problem is not so much that you can't search for multiple tags, it's that you can't follow a set of multiple tags. At the moment, trying to follow the [find] tag because you want to know about new [jquery-find] questions will only lead you down a blind alley. I could see following the [float] tag possibly being useful, but not the [find] tag. –  Robert Harvey Jan 27 '12 at 22:09
    
Not if you're only interested in floats, related to C and C++. There is never a guarantee, that all questions, belonging to a flag, will match your hopes. I agree that find looks more problematic in this case than Float, but on the other side you can't force the people to search for find-topics with unix-find, people don't search the tag database before searching. You have to predict what the people will use, and for find, at least the unix file find, I predict, they just search for find. If you subscribe to Java, you will get many Android questions. Live is hard. :) Enjoy. –  user unknown Jan 27 '12 at 23:44

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