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I've been poking at the asker of this question because they tagged both and but the answer could appear in either language (especially since it is asking for the fastest solution). My poking is the result of other comments I've seen in the past to the same effect, and I realized I haven't seen anything officially stating that it is really a restriction.

How would you address the situation?

Personally, I'd be likely to vote to close it as "not a real question".

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

I agree with your poking.

How would you address the situation?

I think you've done fine, perhaps even continued to engage the person longer than you should have. You can't teach people who are unwilling to learn. And it sounds like he just wants to argue or fight with you, rather than taking constructive advice on asking questions and using the tag system, so there's no reason to get into a fight. (Unless you enjoy that sort of thing like I occasionally do, but then the moderators might lumber down from the mist and shake their collective fists at you.) You've offered the best advice you have to give; it's now up to the person receiving it to decide what to do with it. If that decision is to ignore it, well then that's their call.

Personally, I'd be likely to vote to close it as "not a real question".

Yes, I agree. Either that or "not constructive". It sounds like there's no real problem to be solved here, which is a requirement for all questions per the FAQ. There's really not enough information or context provided in the question to make it answerable. And as usual when it comes to "performance" questions, the correct answer is always the same: use the algorithm/write the code that makes sense, then profile it. Only "optimize" if necessary.

But do be careful not to cast close votes out of frustration. I've been tempted to do that before, but most of the time, I think I catch myself before actually clicking. Only cast close votes if you legitimately think that there's something wrong with the question, not just because the asker is stubborn and refuses to take the good advice you're offering. Same thing with downvotes—vote on the substance of the question, not the attitude and/or form of the asker.

There is still ongoing debate/confusion regarding the tagging system and the use of multiple tags. We see this come up a lot when people ask questions about the .NET BCL, and in addition to appropriately tagging , they'll also tag their question with and . When one inquires as to why they've done that, they say that they don't care which of those two languages the solution is in, because they can read/understand both of them. Well, of course—any good .NET developer can.

I think the simple solution to this problem is to follow the rule that the tags apply to/describe the question, not all the [possible] answers. In the above contrived example, the question is about the BCL methods, not the or languages. The answers might include sample code in either or both languages, but that's irrelevant to how the question is tagged. Same thing here.

But all in all, it's rarely a battle worth fighting. The whole point of the tag system is to make questions sortable and to ensure that they reach the people with the best chance of answering them. Lots of smart and prolific answerers follow the tag, so lots of people like to throw this tag on their questions in hopes of maximizing their exposure and getting an answer from one of those people. As long as it reasonably applies to the question, I say there's little harm in leaving it be.

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+1 - It is good advice but definitely hard to follow. In life I'm as far from a hot head as you'll ever meet, but when it comes to things I sincerely care about (especially online which I should really care less about)... that's a completely different story. I agree though, I burned too much time on this specific frustration. – M.Babcock Mar 17 '12 at 4:06
Yes, I know how it goes. (Although I wouldn't call myself a hot-head, I can be very argumentative when I'm convinced that someone is doing the wrong thing in real life, too.) – Cody Gray Mar 17 '12 at 4:07
I'd +1 you again for your update and yet again for the all to familiar cartoon if I could. – M.Babcock Mar 17 '12 at 4:10
Thank you... I'll remove mine now to bring peace to my once calm mind. – M.Babcock Mar 17 '12 at 4:49

I read it as typical "not constructive".

It's very vague, and OP's reluctance to give further information is a red flag that there isn't an actual problem to be solved but he's just curious. Another hint to that is that he doesn't really seem to care what language answers are in. The tags are really the least of the question's problems.

I think you should just vote to close and stop engaging OP in comments, you've done your best to explain and there's really no point in wasting any more time on this. I wouldn't go as far as flagging it, hopefully OP will gather the feedback and revise the question before it gets five close votes.

As for whether a question with two (or more) language tags is acceptable, I don't think there is an official policy or that there should be one. It's certainly a sign of a bad question, however there are questions where multiple language tags would be appropriate - although if challenged on that, I'll probably won't go around trying to find examples ;)

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+1 - My general rule is to stop engaging in comments as soon as they become frustrating... this one happened rather quickly so I figured I'd ask about it. – M.Babcock Mar 17 '12 at 3:54

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