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(Short) Introduction for people not familiar with OpenGL at all

OpenGL was first introduced in 1998, versioned 1.1. Up to 1.5, it kept to fixed pipeline design, which was changed in 2.0. That was the biggest and the most essential change in its history. It divides the versions into "shaderless" (before 2.0) and "programmable" (2.0 and up).

The problem with it on StackOverflow

If you go into Tags menu, and type in "opengl", you can find pretty much everything : , , ...

Apart from the most essential one, . Why is that version so special? More often than not, when someone posts code that's 2.0 and up, he falls into the first category. It makes it really hard for answerer, explained below

Why is it so hard?

People posting questions using old, deprecated functions (tagged only ) most of the time do it for one of the two reasons:

  • They just don't know about newer functions, but are eager to learn them and upgrade.
  • It's an university assignment and the old and dusty professor is teaching old and dusty API, and pretty much nothing can be done about it.

As you can see, these two categories have totally distinct requested answers. While it's usually perfectly fine to recommend new functionality to the first one, the second one needs the solution within their limitations. However, it happens to be that the university students fail to tag these questions appropriately.

The question

I am not very experienced in dealing with this type of issues, so I am asking the Meta community - isn't really something that can be done about it? I thought of something like a window popping up after typing in opengl tag, asking if the OP is limited to any specific version or fixed pipeline (thus, or ). However, I suppose that there might be even better ways to do that; better than having to ask in comment every time "Are you aware that the functionality you are using is deprecated?"

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I don't think that a tag-specific popup will happen. But the clean-up tag might be of interest to you. –  Time Traveling Bobby Feb 7 '13 at 12:04
    
No it doesn't. The tag wiki ends "(not retaggings)". –  Lightness Races in Orbit Feb 7 '13 at 12:19
    
Ah. The first part fit perfectly -.- This tag indicates that the question is a call to arms, a cry for help, a request for assistance. –  Bartek Banachewicz Feb 7 '13 at 12:20
    
@LightnessRacesinOrbit: Yeah, I need to reword that some day. What is meant with that is "swapping one tag with another" not "adding tags as appropriate". –  Time Traveling Bobby Feb 7 '13 at 15:18
    
@SulfurizedDemonbobby: Hm. Okay then! –  Lightness Races in Orbit Feb 7 '13 at 17:11

2 Answers 2

up vote 7 down vote accepted

I don't agree.

You should not be asking "Are you aware that the functionality you are using is deprecated?" regardless. They asked a question and presumably presented some source code. Your job is to answer that question, not convert them into rewriting whatever they're doing. You might leave a comment mentioning the removed functionality (also, it's removed, not deprecated. Deprecated means "available but subject to removal later". The removed stuff is no longer part of the OpenGL core profile), but if that's your only contribution to the question/answer, then it's just noise.

You're too focused on this notion of "They just don't know about newer functions, but are eager to learn them and upgrade.". I want to see people not using the removed functionality from OpenGL as much as the next guy, but Stack Overflow is not a place for evangelism. We're not here to judge why you're doing something or to convince you to abandon your code for something we deem is better. If you ran into an issue, we can help you achieve a solution.

Also, I find that your false dichotomy to be, um, false. There are far more reasons to use compatibility features than just "old and dusty professor is teaching old and dusty API". For example, I might be sitting on a 300,000 line codebase written with the "old and dusty API"; I'm not about to ransack that much perfectly functioning code because a guy on SO said so.

In short, this is a problem that is wholly of your own manufacture. Just answer the question or ignore it; don't proselytize.

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Well, thank you for helping me become a better SO contributor yet again. I just wish people actually read what they are reading before starting to write code. –  Bartek Banachewicz Feb 7 '13 at 20:43
    
The distinction between 'deprecated' and 'removed' is a little fuzzy since nVidia at least has as much as said they will never remove the compatiblity profile as long as it's widely used. But I think this is more than just a problem of Bartek's manufacture. Lots of people go out looking for OpenGL information and find tons of tutorials and guidance on stack overflow and elsewhere with no indication that by doing it that way in new code you're basically transporting yourself back in time 10 years. –  Jherico Dec 8 '13 at 22:34

Just tag them .

Ultimately, if a user is not using tags properly, there's nothing we can do about that other than editing them in after-the-fact.

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The point is, I don't know if OP really wants it to stick to 1.x, or if he wants to update! –  Bartek Banachewicz Feb 7 '13 at 12:03
    
@BartekBanachewicz: Ask him. –  Lightness Races in Orbit Feb 7 '13 at 12:03
    
I think it's pointless to do it every time; hence the question in the first place. –  Bartek Banachewicz Feb 7 '13 at 12:04
    
@BartekBanachewicz: If the question is about 1.x, it should be tagged with 1.x. Ideally the answer would provide a solution for 1.x (if possible) and a solution for newer versions which the user can upgrade to. –  Time Traveling Bobby Feb 7 '13 at 12:07
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@BartekBanachewicz: Unfortunately the only way SO can scale is by (a) automation, for which tagging is inappropriate; (b) community edits. –  Lightness Races in Orbit Feb 7 '13 at 12:13

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