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I recently realized that there are several tags that seemingly will almost always lead to a question that is "off topic" for stack overflow because it's not a programming question.

In my example, I asked a question using tags , , and . Now, even if a bit off topic, these could land under the "practical, answerable problems that are unique to the programming profession" section of the FAQ.

So.. is there some other meaning for "legal" and "law" that I don't know about? do you think these tags should just be removed? or should these type of questions be allowed when related to software / web development?

Not interested in getting into the question itself, but just in case someone wants an example, look here (now deleted, so 10k+ users only).

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3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Anyone with at least 1500 reputation can create whatever tag(s) they want, so just because a tag exists does not mean that the topic it describes is on topic for Stack Overflow.

Also note that the scope and expectations of Stack Overflow have undergone some dramatic changes since the site was first launched—growing pains, if you will. Some questions that used to be on topic are no longer allowed, but they haven't all been removed because this takes quite a bit of manual effort. Accordingly, the tags those questions used still remain active until the tags themselves are removed from all questions and/or all questions using those tags are deleted.

Tags can be blacklisted to prevent them from ever being created again, but that's a pretty extreme measure and one that is probably not merited for the majority of bad tags.

You might be interested in the ongoing tag cleanup. If you've come across tags that you think should be removed (because they suggest topics that are always off-topic for Stack Overflow, or are not useful in organizing or classifying questions), you should post an answer there containing your suggestions.

In fact, the tag is already on our radar as one in need of attention. You can use the syntax [tag:tagname] to create an automatic, inline link to a Stack Overflow tag in your answer.

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:O you know, I remember browsing those privileges when I signed up, but I guess some of the high privileges didn't stick in my mind! Totally been assuming that the tags were site sanctioned. –  mikecruz13 May 17 '12 at 12:32

Thing is most people aren't really thinking when they are creating tags, and every now and then we stop everything else and clean all these particularly unhelpful tags. The most recent cleanup effort is documented in The great Stack Overflow tag/question cleanup of 2012, you'll find a lot of useless tags in there, some on blatantly unsuitable topics, some that may be on programming topics but are too broad to be of any use, etc.

My advice is: don't trust the tags. If in doubt on whether your question is on or off topic, read the FAQ, and if that doesn't help, pop in chat and ask.

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Given that Stack Overflow is not a law office I am hard pressed to come up with a convincing reason to keep and . In fact, current questions tagged like that don't have a need for them (IMO) or are already closed (mostly as off-topic).

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