What is meta? ×
Meta Stack Exchange is where users like you discuss bugs, features, and support issues that affect the software powering all 122 Stack Exchange communities.

The tag wiki for describes the puzzle sudoku, obviously. However, do we really need meta tags describing the game the asker is trying to make?

As for it being a meta tag, if you saw a question only tagged , you would know it's about C++. Why? C++ isn't a meta tag. With that logic, if you saw a question just tagged , does that tell you anything helpful? No. That's why it's a meta tag.

share|improve this question
13  
I think it would be useful to identify questions where someone is trying to program a sudoku puzzle, so I don't think it should be burninated. –  bluefeet Jul 23 '13 at 18:56
    
But do we really need that? –  Cole Johnson Jul 23 '13 at 18:56
2  
@bluefeet Should there be a tag for any type or category of program someone could be working on? –  joran Jul 23 '13 at 19:00
2  
@joran I am not saying that. I am saying that this tag might be valid. –  bluefeet Jul 23 '13 at 19:01
1  
As a sidenote, none of the questions tagged sudoku seem to get any upvotes--most cut even or get downvoted –  Jim Hurley Jul 23 '13 at 19:11
2  
@JimHurley If you clock on the "votes" tab you can see that almost half of the questions have a total vote count between 54 and 1. –  madth3 Jul 23 '13 at 19:17
2  
@madth3 the one with 54 (now 55) upvotes is because it deals with image processing on a sudoku puzzle. It could easily apply to any rectangle with the lack of code specific to sudoku. –  Cole Johnson Jul 23 '13 at 19:20
2  
Why is this getting so many downvotes? I'm not saying I disagree, I'm just curious what @ColeJohnson did wrong –  Jim Hurley Jul 23 '13 at 19:29
3  
@JimHurley He didn't do anything wrong. People are just disagreeing with his suggestion, that's all. –  joran Jul 23 '13 at 19:31
5  
@JimHurley - On meta, votes are used to show agreement or disagreement. Most voters so far are expressing disagreement. –  JDB Jul 23 '13 at 19:31
1  
@Cyborgx37 so people are disagreeing to burn a meta tag? That's ridiculous. –  Cole Johnson Jul 23 '13 at 19:33
12  
"people see it's downvotes and I'm not a high rep user, so they downvote out of instinct? That's my guess because that's usually what happens on SO" ... I call bovine manure –  Bart Jul 23 '13 at 19:36
3  
@ColeJohnson That's because it's not a meta-tag. –  AndrewC Jul 23 '13 at 19:49
4  
"With that logic, if you saw a question just tagged sudoku, does that tell you anything helpful?" Yes - it tells me it's about sudoko, which has a bunch of associated algorithms. It's very much like the parsing tag - a specific problem domain that has good and bad ways of doing things. It's helpful if you add a language tag too, but that doesn't make the tag a meta tag. –  AndrewC Jul 23 '13 at 19:56
7  
@ColeJohnson You've posted 39 questions to meta, how do you still not understand that downvotes are different here? –  meagar Jul 23 '13 at 21:07
show 10 more comments

4 Answers

up vote 18 down vote accepted

A tag that indicates the problem the asker is trying to solve? BURN THIS HEATHEN TAG!

Naw, just kidding. That's what tags are for.

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.

So far as I can tell, does not meet either of those criteria. It clearly identifies a specific set of problems and folks use it more or less exclusively to refer to those problems.

share|improve this answer
4  
So would chess, checkers, monopoly, scrabble, clue, risk, game of life, chutes and ladders, othello, axis and allies, trivial pursuit and mancala be acceptable tags? –  JDB Jul 23 '13 at 19:38
7  
stackoverflow.com/tags/chess –  Shog9 Jul 23 '13 at 19:39
1  
Lets say I'm a new user. I'm trying to write a PACMAN game. I tag it pacman only. Does that help you at all? No. –  Cole Johnson Jul 23 '13 at 19:41
4  
@Cyborgx37 If they were common enough programming problems I'd say yes. hello-world, fizzbuzz, primes, etc. –  Bill the Lizard Jul 23 '13 at 19:41
1  
@Cole: it tells me your question is about PACMAN. Assuming it is (and assuming it's also a programming question), then you're off to a good start. Most questions can benefit from at least two tags - c++ doesn't say much by itself either - but at very least your first tag should give you a rough idea of the primary subject that your question pertains to. –  Shog9 Jul 23 '13 at 19:42
1  
now [hello-world] sounds like a questionable tag –  Old Checkmark Jul 23 '13 at 19:43
7  
As an aside: I really, really hate the "witch-hunt" aspect of all of these meta-tag discussions. It's very, very easy to identify a bad tag given the criteria outlined above - if you're struggling to apply them, then it's probably either a reasonable tag, or bad for reasons that have nothing to do with its "meta-ness" –  Shog9 Jul 23 '13 at 19:44
    
@Shog9 way to take it literally. I meant, does it tell you you can help me just by looking at it? No. c++ tells me that if I know C++, I can help. pacman wouldn't tell me if I can help or not. –  Cole Johnson Jul 23 '13 at 19:45
3  
Are you saying that there are not people with in-depth knowledge of the rules of pacman, @Cole? –  Shog9 Jul 23 '13 at 19:47
4  
@ColeJohnson I actually agree with you on that point, I just think the "can it stand on its own" rule might be a little bit too strict. "sudoku" is a decent supporting tag. "subjective", "programming", "beginner", etc. are not. They don't really narrow the focus of the question. –  Bill the Lizard Jul 23 '13 at 19:47
6  
@ColeJohnson But if you were experienced in writing sudoko solvers, the sudoku tag would definitely tell you whether you can help. –  AndrewC Jul 23 '13 at 19:47
3  
It tells you what the question is about, @Cole. That's what tags are for -- categorizing questions. –  Josh Caswell Jul 23 '13 at 19:47
    
@JoshCaswell Thanks for putting it so succinctly. –  AndrewC Jul 23 '13 at 19:48
6  
@ColeJohnson No, you would tag that computer-vision. Since that's most likely the clear category there. Sudoku, by the very word, relates to a whole domain of game-specific game theory and accompanying solution strategies for example. Which is what would make it a good and descriptive tag. –  Bart Jul 23 '13 at 20:00
1  
Perhaps the Sudoku tag's wiki should be updated to include how this tag is related to programming, such as listing some of those "game theoris" and "accompanying solution strategies", or at least a description of the mathematics behind the game. –  JDB Jul 23 '13 at 20:23
show 5 more comments

is not a meta-tag. It adds information about the question. The user is trying to solve a problem that relates to their execution of a sudoku puzzle. I see no reason to burninate it.

share|improve this answer
add comment

No, this one is a perfectly fine tag. It tells you one of the topics of the question, just like boolean-logic or code-formatting do.

A so-called meta-tag describes what the question is, not what it deals with. The distinction beteween a meta-tag and a "normal" tag is whether the tag can finish the sentence "this question is about...". Clearly, "sudoku" successfully passes that test.

share|improve this answer
1  
Except that both boolean-logic and code-formatting describe either algorithms or problems unique to the programming profession and can, thus, stand alone in describing an on-topic question. Could sudoko do that? –  JDB Jul 23 '13 at 19:42
3  
We shouldn't have to affix each tag with "programming-" in order for it to make sense, @Cyborgx37 - the programming aspect should be implicit given the site you're asking on. –  Shog9 Jul 23 '13 at 19:45
1  
code-formatting is a tag from Meta Stack Overflow, @Cyborgx37, and tags are not what determine a question's on- or off-topic status. Would you be happier if the tag was automatic-sudoku-solver, which definitely is a CompSci/programming problem? –  Josh Caswell Jul 23 '13 at 19:45
    
@JoshCaswell - I'd love to see an example of an on-topic question which includes only that tag, which couldn't really include any other tag, and which wouldn't be closed as too broad. It would prove, in my mind, that the tag can stand alone. –  JDB Jul 23 '13 at 19:47
2  
"can have no other tags" is not the criteria for a meta tag, @Cyborgx37. It's, "does not need any other tags". –  Shog9 Jul 23 '13 at 19:49
1  
@Shog9 - If a programmer was working on a program to count bunnies and was having trouble with the algorith, "bunnies" as a tag by itself would tell you something about what the programmer is ultimately trying to do, but it tells you nothing about the aspects of the question which are on-topic. Can you explain how "sudoku" is different? –  JDB Jul 23 '13 at 19:54
4  
Because we actually have a term for what you're doing with bunnies - "counting". While [tag:figuring-out-which-numbers-belong-in-a-grid-based-on-sums-of-numbers-alread‌​y-in-that-grid] is waaay too long for a tag, @Cyborgx37 - and already has a more familiar term associated with it anyway. –  Shog9 Jul 23 '13 at 19:57
add comment

Sudoku is a useful tag. So are many other tags for specific games:

None of these should be deleted. They provide a wealth of information on the kinds of problems a question is attempting to tackle. A question tagged is much more useful than a question simply tagged .

share|improve this answer
add comment

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .