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I've noticed that there are many answers to regex questions that don't respect the language tag.
For example, a question is tagged with python yet the answer's regex example isn't written in the python dialect. I would like to see everyone focus on the languages they are experienced with,
since we aren't short on people that are willing to answer regex questions.
I'm confident the answer quality will go up and the confusion level will go down.

The idea would be to have a bit of text over the answer box, for questions tagged with regex, that says:

"This question is tagged with [language tag]; please write examples using this language's regex dialect."


Another idea in the same realm as this would be to have a message appear that says:

"Please consider tagging this question with the programming language you are using."

when you add the regex tag to your question. This suggestion could act as an aid for people who are new to stackoverflow, to help them get a more specific answer.

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See also: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/9731/… –  Mysticial Aug 21 '12 at 6:42
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I agree that [regex] is ridiculous; I don't believe that your suggestion will make a difference at all. The main problem is the questioners who tag something with just [regex] with a title like "Regex not matching" –  ben is uǝq backwards Aug 21 '12 at 8:23
    
Please note that tag triggered nags are not very likely to be implemented, at least historically. I'm not so sure this would help. Would they bother reading that help if they didn't bother reading the question very carefully? –  Tim Post Aug 21 '12 at 10:34
    
@TimPost They may have seen the tag, but they have not been presented with a guideline. Not everyone follows the same logic. –  Honest Abe Aug 21 '12 at 10:41
    
@HonestAbe Well, lets see what comes of the discussion. The regex tag is an unruly mess and I don't want to get in the way of something that might help it, but I'm just not so sure it would help as much as you think. The real hump for this is convincing the devs that time spent on a test implementation would bear fruit .. and (as noted) the historical prospects for that are rather few. –  Tim Post Aug 21 '12 at 10:55
    
I often answer regex questions. I think this FAQ entry stackoverflow.com/help/mcve encompasses the special case of regex questions. –  Alex Feb 14 at 10:56
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2 Answers

If an answer isn't answering the question correctly, downvote it and add a comment.

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The guideline could prevent hundreds of people from having to do that hundreds of times. –  Honest Abe Aug 21 '12 at 10:30
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@HonestAbe: How? People violate "guidelines" all the time. –  Nicol Bolas Aug 21 '12 at 10:33
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People also follow guidelines all the time. It doesn't hurt to try. –  Honest Abe Aug 21 '12 at 10:43
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@HonestAbe: They do? I imagine most people on SO don't know about the "guidelines" tag on MSO. And it's not like there's some official list of rulings and guidelines for people to read and follow. Even if the MSO crowd were to "approve" this "guideline" (note that there is no process for approval), how would it be carried out? By people downvoting answers. –  Nicol Bolas Aug 21 '12 at 12:39
    
I try to follow the guidelines, as presented in the FAQ, and know others who also follow those guidelines. Your comment disregards my whole proposal. –  Honest Abe Mar 1 '13 at 0:38
    
@HonestAbe: Are you going to delete and repost the same comment until I respond to you? Because I was kinda letting your comment go. However, if you insist: the fact that you personally or people you know follow those guidelines doesn't give them any official weight. So you can propose whatever you want as a guideline, but that won't make people in general follow them. It may make some, but it won't make everyone. Or, I'd guess, most people. –  Nicol Bolas Mar 1 '13 at 1:17
    
I decided I wanted to edit that comment... You're arguing against points I never made. I never claimed that guidelines are given "official weight" by me following them; nor did I claim that everyone would follow the proposed guidelines. Instead of sweeping generalizations based on what you imagine "people" will do, I would be interested in reading what you would do. Would you really ignore a banner, above an answer box, which is presenting you with a guideline? –  Honest Abe Mar 1 '13 at 19:46
    
"Would you really ignore a banner, above an answer box, which is presenting you with a guideline?" Um, yes. Just like I ignore all kinds of banners in my daily use of the web. This one is no different. And quite frankly, the last thing we want is to throw banners at people who can't read what tags are on a question. Really, your suggestion is no different from wanting a banner over a question that says, "Please use the language the user asked for". –  Nicol Bolas Mar 1 '13 at 20:41
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The guidelines for upvotes and downvotes are very clear

  • upvote if answer was helpful
  • downvote if answer was not helpful

The answer has no way to be copy-pasteable to be upvoted and/or accepted. It has simply to be helpful enough.

The regex syntaxes are different, but:

  • often only common features are used
  • sometimes the convertion between regex flavours is trivial for someone knowing them good enough
  • even if convertion is not trivial, the answer may anyway give the good idea how to approach the problem, and therefore is valuable and deserve the upvote anyway

The OP is free to ask question about general, not limiting to specific flavour. In that case every regex-flavour is acceptable as an asnwer, and suggestions for language-specific tags would be a noise.

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It seems like you are saying that the language tag can be safely ignored for regex questions. I do not agree. For a beginner, the smallest differences can lead to confusion. I don't see any reason to potentially confuse the person, when there are plenty of people that can answer the question that are familiar with that language. –  Honest Abe Jan 24 at 19:20
    
@HonestAbe no, it seems not. I suggest the language tag should not be obligatory, and your suggestion leads in that direction –  Łukasz 웃 L ツ Jan 24 at 19:48
    
I can understand how you thought that. I intended the last part to be an aid for people who were new to stackoverflow. In other words, I meant it as a suggestion, to help those people get a more specific answer. If anyone wants to ask a question about regex that is not specific to any language, I have nothing against that. –  Honest Abe Jan 24 at 20:03
    
An editor can always add the tag for a specific language if the question diserves it. –  Alex Feb 14 at 10:22
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