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Why do the tags use dashes in-place of spaces?

I'm writing a blogging engine and I am looking at Stackoverflow as a reference to implementing a tagging system.

Spaces in tags are denoted by a dash. Tags are separated with spaces. What was the reason behind this? Why not have spaces in the tags and separate the tags with commas?

From what I can tell the net effect would be the same.

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Yes the net effect would be the same.

However, ultimately it's a design decision.

Separating tags by commas means that you can have anything other than a comma in tag, but the user must remember the separator.

Separating by spaces is a bit more natural, but does require you to replace the space by something (dash, underline, comma even).

It comes down to what you think your users will be most comfortable using.

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It's because the people who implemented these sites were secret COBOL worshippers, and wanted to give us a little taste of that cosmic horror.

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IMO commas are ambiguous in a way that spaces aren't, at least for the vast majority of western and near-western languages.

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In a recent core rewrite for my blog engine I decided to use spaces. It's more natural and you don't have to guess what they are trying to segment up as tags because it's done for you. Commas you could use, but I don't think that it is as natural as simply using spaces.

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c++ very important

reads faster than

c++, very, important

because your mind automatically stalls on commas. kind of like having unnecessary stop signs that you know people will roll past, or little speed bumps.

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