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Does anyone else think that there should be a "debugging-help" tag that should be used for all questions where people require debugging help? This is to separate debugging issues from conceptual issues. Of course, it seems like more then 70% of questions would fall under this "debugging-help" tag.

Also, I want to carefully note the difference between "debugging-help" and "debugging" which I feel is should be related to questions the process of debugging, about IDE's etc. I'm making a distinction here.

It would help people organize all those questions that are like "I'm getting this error and here's my code. Can you help?" These questions are generally helpful in a much different way than conceptual questions, and often only help the person who made a silly typo.

Pro's and con's of this would be interesting to discuss.

Edit: In retrospect, I understand why this question received down votes. However, there is a major issue on SO in my opinion, and that is that oodles of questions are basically nothing but debugging help. That they aren't systematically closed is very inconsistent with the standpoint of SO not being a debugging help site.

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I find it really interesting and sad that this was down-voted so much. I'm definitely not one that wants to help people debugging their code. In fact, my post was for precisely the opposite reason. I want to be able to filter those out. However, the hypocritical part is that there are many many questions where it is purely debugging help, and they are not systematically closed as they should be. –  Chris A. Jun 18 '12 at 18:36
Downvotes on meta mean another thing than on the main site so don't be sad about it. And IMHO adding a debugging tag will only confuse people. –  PeeHaa Jun 18 '12 at 18:38
Yeah, I wasn't taking it as a personal attack. I'm just trying to clarify my idea. Maybe the idea needs distillation, but the fact is that I hate going through pages and pages of questions that are nothing but debugging help –  Chris A. Jun 18 '12 at 18:40
I agree that there are a lot of bad / offtopic questions on SO. I don't know about [matlab], but I'm pretty sure [php] is even worse ;-) The best thing you can do is vote to close when a question isn't suited or when it is really bad flag it. –  PeeHaa Jun 18 '12 at 18:42
I've seen [php] and yeah, it's way worse than [matlab] –  Chris A. Jun 18 '12 at 18:52
What we need is a generic debugging Q&A, with which clear debugging inquires and too localized and unspecific code problems could be closed swiftly. –  mario Jun 18 '12 at 23:38

1 Answer 1

would be a meta tag, since it can't stand on its own, and thus is explicitly discouraged.

From The Death of Meta Tags - Stack Exchange Blog:

From this point on, meta-tagging is explicitly discouraged.

How can you tell you’re using a meta-tag? It’s easier than you might think.

  1. If the tag can’t work as the only tag on a question, it’s probably a meta-tag. Every tag you use should be able to work, more or less, as the only tag on a question. Meta-tags, like [beginner], [subjective], and [best-practices], are useless by themselves — they tell you nothing at all about the content of the question.

  2. If the tag commonly means different things to different people, it’s probably a meta-tag. In a cruel, ironic twist, the meaning of the tag [subjective] itself … is actually subjective. Ditto for [best-practices] and [beginner]. Best practices to whom? Beginner by what criteria? These tags are impossible to define by anything remotely resembling an objective metric. In comparison, the the meaning of tags like [java], [c#], and [javascript] are crystal clear to all but the nuttiest of nutbags.

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It's certainly not case 2, and even though case 1 slightly applies, my point is that that these questions contribution nothing to the primary topic to begin with. –  Chris A. Jun 18 '12 at 18:51
As I said, it's a meta tag, since it can't stand on its own. A well written question – containing the exact error message, caused by and a common mistake – will probably help future visitors. If the question is unlikely to help future visitors (e.g., OP wrote esle), you can already vote/flag to close as too localized. Separating the helpful "debugging" question from conceptual questions might or might not be a good idea, but I doubt creating a tag would be the way to go. This tag would effectively split SO in two. –  Dennis Jun 18 '12 at 19:05

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