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The tag wiki for shows that it can be used to mean a bunch of different things:

There are a lot of different appliances:

If it didn't exist, questions might end up getting tagged more effectively.

In general, is there a consensus on what to do with this kind of catch-all tag?

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We certainly shouldn't have all of percent-encoding and url-encoding, urlencode and urldecode. I'd merge them into url-encoding. – CodesInChaos Aug 14 '13 at 16:34
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Probably yes. On looking through the questions given the 'encoding' tag, there doesn't seem to be enough in common between them for the tag to be at all helpful. If someone's looking for a solution to their problem, the encoding questions alone won't help them.

The only way I could see it helping is if someone had a specific question, but for whatever reason they couldn't think of a specific enough tag name, so by looking through the questions for they found (or whatever) and that helped them narrow their search, but that seems like a stretch.

Now, if we had a hierarchical tag system, whereby was a supercategory and , , , , etc. were subcategories, it would make sense to keep it around. But doing that would create its own set of even more intractable problems (e.g. should URL be a superset, with encoding as a subset, or should encoding be the superset, or should circular relationships be allowed, or...?).

I say kill it with fire.

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