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Lots of people use the tag for things related to HTTP implementation, using HTTP, as well as the specification.

Would it be OK to start recommending people use when they mean the latter? I'd like to start supporting folks who have questions specifically about the specification. (I chair the HTTPbis WG in the IETF.)

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The problem isn't with the tag. The problem is that there are a number of questions that only tangentially relate to http are tagged with HTTP.

We shouldn't use a new tag to solve a problem that can be solved with using the current tag appropriately.

I took just the front page of the newest http questions, and here's what I found:

Out of 50 questions:

  • 40 had nothing to do with the HTTP Protocol itself. Here's just one such example
  • 5 were tangentially related to the HTTP protocol, but the tag could be dropped because the questions actually dealt with a language specific abstraction of HTTP (like the HttpWebRequest in .NET, for instance). Here's an example.
  • 5 could legitimately have stayed tagged with the HTTP protocol, as they dealt with questions that were squarely about the protocol itself.

The problem isn't that we need another tag; the problem is that the current tag isn't being used properly. A tag cleanup is definitely in order.

This is just the most 50 recent uses. I can only imagine what page 296 looks like.

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I think he describes the problem pretty well. He's an expert on the HTTP spec. He would like to highlight questions about the HTTP spec so that he can answer them. But currently the only tag for those is http, and there's so much other stuff tagged with that tag that highlighting it is all but useless. –  Ilmari Karonen Jan 3 '13 at 2:20
    
Yes, exactly. It's not a terribly useful tag right now. –  Mark Nottingham Jan 3 '13 at 3:02
    
@IlmariKaronen He said there's a problem, but he didn't give examples. That's what my post was meant to elicit: If you say there's a problem, back it up with evidence. So, I went and did just that. He's right, there is a problem -- but the question that was posed doesn't give any evidence of a problem. In order to be a constructive meta post, it should have that. –  George Stocker Jan 3 '13 at 3:29
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Oh ick. Yeah, we're going to need a mop so we can put this issue to REST. </rimshot> –  Tim Post Jan 3 '13 at 3:54
    
So, what process / tools are in place to correct this? Is it feasible to police the use of a tag which when the underlying term has such a potentially broad application? –  Mark Nottingham Jan 3 '13 at 5:00
    
@MarkNottingham Once we kick off a cleanup, people will spend quite a bit of time examining questions to remove it where used inappropriately. This will lead to many watching future applications of the tag, removing inappropriate uses of it and 'educating' others a bit when it comes to where it should be used. There's no perfect way to police it, but the 'noise' will diminish quite a bit. That said, I'm not entirely opposed to coming up with a different tag as it would be like holding back the tide with a bottomless bucket. I just worry that both would be equally misused. –  Tim Post Jan 3 '13 at 5:30
    
OK. How can I help? (I have a lingering concern that it's going to be difficult to convince people who have problems with HTTP APIs (for example) from tagging HTTP, but I'm willing to give it a go.) –  Mark Nottingham Jan 3 '13 at 11:56
    
I've started re-tagging things as seems appropriate. –  Mark Nottingham Jan 20 '13 at 9:59

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