What is meta? ×
Meta Stack Exchange is where users like you discuss bugs, features, and support issues that affect the software powering all 128 Stack Exchange communities.

So I wrote this question this afternoon.

OK it's a not a very deep or difficult question but I got a nice answer which saved me a little bit of hunting through references. And in my defence I don't think it's a duplicate and Googling the question threw up a lot of stuff about setting ReadOnly properties through reflection which is not what I was after.

I added in a basic line of code to show where I was at. The basic line happened to be in VB. Within minutes the question was tagged .

Is it legit on my part to resist this? VB gets fewer eyeballs (I think) and I was quite happy with an answer from any part of the .NET Community. A C# answer would be totally fine. It's really a .NET / reflection question, not a VB one.

So is it legit to not want your question tagged with a specific language flavour?

share|improve this question
Seems legit =) –  jadarnel27 Mar 23 '12 at 16:57

3 Answers 3

It was likely tagged by people reacting out of a learned experience answering questions with C# code when the OP has VB code examples.

My experience has been you get downvoted or angry comments.

I will add the tag which matches the code given by the OP in order to save folks the trouble of receiving downvotes for "using the wrong language". However, if the OP has clearly stated they are looking for a general solution and will accept an answer in any language, I will refrain from retagging the question.

You did the right thing in this case by rewording your question to emphasize your desire for a generic answer and then removing the tag. I think the C# code example wasn't necessary, but could be helpful.

share|improve this answer

I'd be willing to bet money that it was tagged with the tag (and the code reformatted...correctly) in order to get proper syntax highlighting for the code sample you included.

The code formatting engine takes prompts from the tags applied to the question, and since you included code in VB.NET, including that tag is the easiest way to make it format the code appropriately.

Of course, that's not the only way to provide syntax formatting hints. You can also also specify a language hint using a comment above the code block. But users who have never been on the Meta site probably don't know about that, and it isn't very discoverable. Beyond that, it's much easier just to apply the tag and move on with your life, especially for a question that doesn't involve heterogenous code samples. I'm sure that's what someone did, and I have absolutely no problems with that behavior.

I'm not really sure why you reacted so strongly to that re-tagging, either.

VB gets fewer eyeballs (I think) and I was quite happy with an answer from any part of the .NET Community. A C# answer would be totally fine. It's really a .NET / reflection question, not a VB one.

This claim is specious. I can't imagine that very many of the .NET developers actively ignore questions tagged with VB.NET, and if they do, well then they're language elitists whom you probably don't want answering your questions anyway. They'll look down on you just because the code sample you chose at random to include happened to be in VB.NET rather than C#. And of course a C# answer would be fine; that much is obvious by reading the question.

There's a little mini-war going on in the community regarding the application of language-specific tags (like or even , which is done for the opposite reason, to increase eyeballs on the post) to questions that are actually just about the .NET Framework and/or the BCL in general. I've written about this before here, at least once.

And despite my temptation as a detail-oriented person pedant to side with the purists on this one, my reasoned conclusion every time has been that it simply doesn't matter.

Yes, you're obviously free to roll back the edits if you want. But don't get into an editing war with someone about it, don't have a pointless discussion in the comments about it, and don't edit meta-text into your question justifying your choice of tags. It just doesn't matter enough to justify the clutter.

share|improve this answer
I don't actively ignore VB.Net questions, but I rarely answer them due to a lack of familiarity with its syntax, even if I know the answer. Usually the OP's are not interested in C# code.</anecdote-without-supporting-data> –  user7116 Mar 23 '12 at 17:03
@six: That's weird to me, considering translating between them is so easy a machine could do it. Either you could post a C# answer and the asker could translate it, or you could run it through a translator yourself. For most of these questions, the focus is not on syntax anyway. –  Cody Gray Mar 23 '12 at 17:05
I don't disagree with you, I've just not seen that much sharing of the love. I also am posting less from behind a desktop, which keeps me from answering questions I can't "compile in my head". –  user7116 Mar 23 '12 at 17:06
hang on, i didn't react violently or get into an editing war. i rolled back (and edited my question so my rollback made sense) and asked the experts here on meta to check it was OK –  hawbsl Mar 23 '12 at 17:17
+1 for the point about the tag autocorrecting the formatting, obviously that's a factor and worth consideration –  hawbsl Mar 23 '12 at 17:18
@hawb: Hmm, perhaps violently was the wrong word. Change that to "strongly" (and I'll update the answer shortly). My point was just that it meant something at all to you. –  Cody Gray Mar 23 '12 at 17:18
i enjoyed your answer and will reflect on it but eyeballs are important. my Q and A ratios are about even, yours ... not so much, so getting answers (eyeballs) not so crucial to you. –  hawbsl Mar 23 '12 at 17:20

For this specific case, since it didn't matter to you what .net language you got an answer in, I would just let the re-tag go. I can't really see what it would hurt to have an additional tag, and I would spend the (admittedly minimal) effort to roll it back and explain it.

In general, I think that this would hold, as long as it really didn't matter what language is used.

share|improve this answer

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .