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The prime example is C# and .Net. 95% of C# questions are also tagged .Net. The reverse isn't the case so it's not a synonym. Basically, C# is a child of .Net.

Would it be possible to create some sort of one-way linkage like this?

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Where and how would this be displayed..? –  dbr Jul 6 '09 at 14:58
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we will not be doing trees, in any way, shape or form –  Jeff Atwood Jul 6 '09 at 15:30
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@JeffAtwood in the past year have you changed your stance on this topic? I see you declined it in '10 and I know quite a bit has/can change in a year. –  Scott Chamberlain Oct 3 '11 at 16:41
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4 Answers

up vote 13 down vote accepted

That almost sounds like an automated method of what I have been doing for a while now when it comes to tagging. I will generally tag something in it's broad category (example sqlserver) and then use the other tags to whittle down the specificity (sqlserver2000, sqlserver2005, sqlserver2008). This would allow for someone to subscribe to the broad tag sqlserver and still see my problem which is specific to sqlserver2005.

Your example of C# and .NET I think showcases a lot of examples of people tagging wrong. If their problem is specific to the C# language I believe it should be C# and you shoudln't have to include .NET at all. If your question is a confusion in the actual .NET framework itself (and therefore not generally C# specific, or VB, etc.) The C# tag isn't exactly necessary.

Again, this is generally I how I view it.

One question I have would be, does this automatic linkage mean that the tags will automatically display that are linked, and if so, would this take away one of your five allowed tags?

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There can be a lot of people willing to help with C# but not willing to help with F#, VB.Net, Oxygen, Java for .Net, and the rest. They also probably would not want to solve problems with installing .Net or configuring .Net apps. Those people would not want to subscribe to the excessively (for them) more broad .Net term and get tonnes of spam. –  Arioch 'The Jan 16 at 13:47
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"C# => .Net" is also a good example of why this might not work, thanks to the growing community of mono users.

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I think that makes a good example of something that would work. It's unusual to target mono without caring if it runs in .NET. Unless the question is about installing mono, in which case it would belong on SU or SF instead. –  Perpetual Motion Goat Jul 6 '09 at 15:32
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I don't buy any argument that Mono != .Net. –  cletus Jul 6 '09 at 23:05
    
What if the rule was that any quesiton tag with C# must be taged with .net and/or mono? –  Ian Ringrose May 23 '12 at 13:25
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IronPython is .NET, but it's not C#. And C# questions don't have to be .NET related.

Also, Jeff said in one of the early podcasts (podcast 45) that they specifically decided against a hierachical categorization. I think that makes sense; there's always too many corner cases.

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Currently there is a maximum of 5 tags on SO, and sometimes this could imply restriction on what might go into tags or not. Thus I would suggest some sort of hierarchy, though I think the implies tags should be marked as just implies, so people can sort out which questions are directly related to the tag or not.

An example of extensive tag hierarchy can be shown in jquery-ui. Say we have an question which is related to jquery-ui, and in particular to the plugin "draggable", "sortable", and "droppable" (they can often be asked in unison), the question involves ajax communication using JSON with an PHP server; We then have following possible tag hierarchy:

  • interpreted-language
    • ecmascript
      • javascript
        • jquery
          • jquery-ui
            • draggable
            • droppable
            • sortable
  • ajax
  • json
  • php
  • etc....

Well, perhaps above hierarchy are overdoing it (didn't add programming-languages to the top though), but clearly we would go over our tag limit here if we added all implied tags (even javascript wont be able to exists as an tag here); but if there was something like an hierarchy to imply tags, then probably only one or two tags would have to be removed.

Off course those who is watching interpreted-language shouldn't have question tagged as draggable flashed fully as an question directly tagged as interpreted-language would do; perhaps only the box saying "draggable" should be marked then to show it implies something you are "watching".

Edit: just though if it, and perhaps it's better to have an imply limit, so say "draggable" implies up to "javascript", i.e. three levels, or some other arbitrary number.

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While I like the aim of your idea, I'm not sure a tree is going to work. The problem with trees is that you inevitably end up with tags that logically belong under multiple different parent nodes. Taking your [draggable] example, you can see that it could be referring to [jquery] (as you suggest), but it could also refer to [silverlight], [google-maps], [flash], [cocoa], [iphone], [java], [wpf], etc, etc... –  Alconja Jun 10 '10 at 0:43
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