This discussion is prompted by this question: Why is the 'newbie' tag not allowed?

There are two reasons for not allowing a newbie tag:

  1. It is a meta-tag.
  2. It is often used in a pejorative way.

I'm interested in reason number 2. If a tag is disallowed only for the reason that it might be used in a pejorative way, would it make sense to allow authors to tag their own posts with it? At first glance, it seems to make sense.

[Note that in this particular case, the tag would still be disallowed for being a meta-tag. I'm only using newbie as an example here, I'm more interested in the general principle. But read on for a discussion on meta-ness.]

However: what would the list of such tags be? Specifically, would such tags necessarily be about the author and not the content of the question an thus automatically be meta-tags?

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I have to say, I find the view of "newbie" as being pejorative kind of interesting. Not that I don't understand it, certainly, but these days the people I see who would use it pejoratively are all illiterate and use renderings such as "n00b". Those using the term "newbie" aren't usually doing so in a particularly mean-spirited way. –  Nicholas Knight Aug 13 '10 at 12:17
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@Nicholas Play counter-strike: this will change your mind ;) –  ereOn Aug 13 '10 at 12:28
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3 Answers

up vote 7 down vote accepted

We tag questions, not the skill level or character of the asker.

A tag only available for the asker, does not look like a good tag to describe the content of the question. So skip it!

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This has nothing to do with it being a derogatory term. It is just a stone cold meta tag, belonging the 'beginner' class of tags. It is utterly useless as a tag to filter questions that might be interesting:

  • newbies can ask very interesting questions because they don't know the dogma.
  • I'm a very experienced programmer but will always be a Perl newbie. You don't have to talk slow to answer one of my Perl questions.
  • 95% of all C# programmers are newbies when you use the Jon Skeet Measure.

It's a self-esteem tag. I'm interested in the question, not what you think of yourself.

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Based on this logic, there should be no Intro CS classes or Beginning Python Programming books or Learning Haskell videos or Starting with Vim sites. As a hobbyist programmer, I found the beginner tag very helpful and have yet to find a way to find the same content as efficiently as before the tag was abolished. –  timepilot Sep 17 '10 at 18:12
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To me, a pejorative tag is always subjective (and thus a meta-tag) since you give your opinion.

I see this as a good reason for not allowing them.

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