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I have been answering a few questions of the recently, and have notice a few which have been tagged , a tag for the R data structure. I had a look into other questions with this tag, of 1200 around 60 which are also tagged pandas/python). pandas also has a data structure of the same name - named after R's.

Some users might miss out the most important tag.
For example this question was missing "R"... possibly the reason it had no answers.

Previously when I saw the data.frame tag on a pandas question I had been removing it, but obviously this is a losing battle!

What options are there for this type of tagging ambiguity?

  1. Should this tag be edited to include the fact it is also the name of the pandas data structure?
  2. Should it be deleted completely as a meta tag?
  3. Seprated dataframe-r and dataframe-pandas
  4. Something else / nothing
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Definitely not a meta tag. Ambiguity != meta. –  casperOne Dec 17 '12 at 3:18
    
No (see my answer), but it's arguably undesirable we have data.frame and dataframes and probably they should be merged - unless a large portion of the R data.frame stuff is things not generically useful to other languages - I haven't waded through a breakdown of it. –  smci Apr 11 at 9:02

1 Answer 1

Where a concept exists (and has the same reasonably well-defined meaning) across multiple languages, as in this case, it is good and proper that it have a corresponding language-neutral tag. This is not ambiguity.

Dataframes are a generic statistical-data-processing concept and exist in R, Python/pandas, Julia, Excel, also STATA, SAS, SPSS ('dataset') and I'm sure other current and future languages.

>Should it be deleted completely as a meta tag?

No, there's nothing 'meta' about it. It's concrete.

>Should this tag be edited to include the fact it is also the name of the pandas data structure?

No, because that isn't where the name or concept came from. Wes McKinney named pandas concepts after the R concepts they derive from. And R came from S. And so on. But the common constructs in languages are just a symptom of common terminology and methodology for data processing.

>Seprated dataframe-r and dataframe-pandas

No, it's terrible practice to split tags referring to the same concept by language - unless there's something different or problematic about it in one language - which there isn't.

Having said that we seem to currently have for dataframes in general, and for R data.frame in particular, which I think is arguably undesirable and possibly a merge candidate - unless a large portion of the R stuff is things not generically useful to other languages - I haven't waded through a breakdown of it.

Anyway, people can and should tag by both language/library and concept: or or 'tag:some-other-language'

>Something else / nothing

Yes, leave it as it is. Only improve its wiki definition, if you can.

By the way, the Wikipedia definition of dataframe is bad and needs radical surgery.

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Clearly this tag has been completely changed since I wrote the question in 2012 (the first edit/creation of the tag now appears as 2013). IIRC it used to be solely used for R questions and IMO was clearly a synonym (with a handful of non-R questions). Saying that, I still think it's a meta tag in the sense that if it's about R it's (very likely) about data.frames, similarly for pandas and DataFrames... if it exists I don't see why the two need to be distinct (rather than using combined tags pandas+dataframes and R+dataframes), similarly to many other topics/ideas which are language agnostic. –  hayd Apr 11 at 15:49
    
Reading back my question it appears part of the premise is how to address the concern of questions being tagged only dataframes /data.frames (when they are about either R or pandas or whatever), hence the "meta". –  hayd Apr 11 at 15:53
    
Why should R be special-cased with data.frame (rather than using dataframes)? –  hayd Apr 11 at 15:54

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