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IBM has had a identity problem for their midrange system over the past decade. There are several names for the same system. The tags I see mostly being used now in SO is and . I have been trying to keep them updated to the current name . The actual name for the system right now is "IBM i for Power Systems".

I feel we need a standard name for this system so we can easily find them all. Thoughts? What should we standardize on and can something be done to make sure all tags match in the future?

Here is what I propose:

Main tag:

Synonyms:

This would be on Stack Overflow, Super User, and Server Fault.

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closed as off-topic by Martijn Pieters, random, Monica Cellio, Sompuperoo, Shadow Wizard Jul 18 at 21:50

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I'm pretty sure this is a duplicate of one of the deleted retag request questions Jeff nuked a while back. IIRC, there was some discussion in there. I'll try to dig it up when I get home tonight. –  Jon Seigel Nov 12 '10 at 17:57
    
@Jon Here it is. I even knew the author, but I don't have my diamond here. Should we undelete, or just salvage info from the discussion? –  Grace Note Nov 12 '10 at 18:07
    
@Grace: I'm voting to undelete. Jeff said if I make a list of those requests that got deleted, he'd go through and undelete them. I started on the list, but never finished. –  Jon Seigel Nov 12 '10 at 18:09
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@Jon Then you have my axe. For future reference, the first act was on August 10 2010, and the deletions go chronologically. Today, it currently starts from Page 152. The first sweep ends shortly after page 100, but there are other sweeps so it goes for a while. They all have the same time stamp, which helps sift them from the non-retag-requests. –  Grace Note Nov 12 '10 at 18:10
    
What am I missing for tags? –  Mike Wills Nov 15 '10 at 19:37
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Duplicate of: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/55365/… –  Lawrence Dol Jan 12 '11 at 1:54
    
I tried a couple of times to get these set as synonyms, but they never made it. –  Lawrence Dol Jan 12 '11 at 3:40
    
@Mike Wills: What's the status on this retag-request? Clearly there is no "difference which leads to different questions or different answers to the same questions" on these tags. Also why not make the primary tag ibm-midrange as that's the commonly accepted generalization of the platform? –  JamesA May 25 '11 at 15:11
    
@JamesA That works for me. But we need a moderator to implement. –  Mike Wills May 25 '11 at 15:49
    
@Mike I flagged a moderator several days ago without response. Should we create an ibm-midrange and manually retag? –  JamesA Jun 1 '11 at 20:05
    
Let me try one other thing first. –  Mike Wills Jun 1 '11 at 20:10
    
@JamesA I personally emailed Mr Coding Horror himself on this. Let's wait to see if I get a response. –  Mike Wills Jun 1 '11 at 20:19
    
why do I keep seeing en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Titor all over this? –  jcolebrand Jun 1 '11 at 21:56
    
@jcolebrand Sorry, I don't understand the reference. –  Mike Wills Jun 2 '11 at 3:44
    
@MikeWills ~ It was a dumb joke ... Titor claimed that he was sent back to obtain an IBM 5100 because it could translate several types of computer code. –  jcolebrand Jun 2 '11 at 3:51

4 Answers 4

up vote 5 down vote accepted

All of the various names refer to the same platform, just different vintages based on shipment date really. Also some of the names refer to multiple processor generations while others might only have had just one. Ultimately they are all accurate descriptions since IBM hasn't made any fundamental shift in the architecture through all the different names.

If I understand the synonyms feature correctly, ideally all of the old names would be synonyms of the current name. Unfortunately it would have to be updated every time IBM changes the platform name, but there's not much we can do about IBM's love of name changing.

BTW as I mentioned in a comment, the latest version of the operating system runs on multiple previous "platform names" of the system. For example I currently have an IBM iSeries model 9406-520 that shipped in 2005 IIRC. It originally came with operating system V5R3 but all of the operating systems shipped from IBM since then through the other names (IBM System i and IBM i) run on that older iteration of the hardware. At some point IBM will drop support for that model of system from the OS, but it will have nothing to do with the platform name.

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I didn't directly know about the synonyms but had a feeling something like it existed. I would vote for that. I don't want to fragment the "midrange community" on SO and why I started this. Do we need to come up with a complete list of tags for a moderator to create this? –  Mike Wills Nov 15 '10 at 14:46

Without being able to view the deleted discussion in the retag-request mentioned by Jon, it seems you've summarized the problem quite well. [ibm-i] or [ibm-system-i] does appear to be the logical tag, except for [as400] and [iseries] being more popular with the actual users, but this is explained by the identity crisis. (I remember using AS/400 over a decade ago, and would still use that name myself. ;)

It generally seems "official" names are preferred for tags, even when common usage is (slightly) different.

Tag synonyms are designed to make sure they match going forward, but a moderator will have to propose and accept the synonym, since there are far too many uses of the other tag. (The moderator can then mass-retag, so no reason for you to worry about manually retagging ~200 questions here.)

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From what I've heard IBM say the old names are still "official". (I used to be an IBM Business Partner) Basically whatever is printed on the hardware box is the official name, notwithstanding whatever the "current" name is for new hardware. But honestly most people don't know what their hardware says on the front and don't care. FWIW [ibm-system-i] is not the latest name - that would be [ibm-i]. –  Brandon Peterson Nov 12 '10 at 23:50
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@Brandon: If there is a fundamental difference which leads to different questions or different answers to the same questions (I don't know enough to say), the tags should stay separate. If there's not, then in the face of multiple official names, I think the chronologically last should be preferred, even for questions actually about older systems. –  Gnome Nov 13 '10 at 0:38
    
I'd compare this to [c++] vs [c++0x]: we use the latter for the upcoming standard (tagging both), but we'll soon start using [c++11] or 12, and eventually use just [c++] for the new standard (using [c++03] at that point as necessary) — at least this is how I imagine it'll play out. –  Gnome Nov 13 '10 at 0:39
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@Gnome: There really isn't a fundamental difference - most of the hardware is the same and at best the different names only indicate what generation of processor is in the system. All of the iterations run the same operating system with the exception that IBM sometimes with a new release orphans an older model of hardware. So the latest version of the OS for example runs on the [ibm-i], [ibm-system-i], and [iseries]. I think at this point it does not run on anything branded [as400] because they are a few processor generations removed. All of the different names refer to the same platform. –  Brandon Peterson Nov 14 '10 at 0:23
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I agree. But by keeping the multiple tags, you are still fragmenting the questions. Some will tag iseries some will tag ibm-i and others will keep using as400. You best bet is the synonyms to keep all of those questions linked together. In the end, I want people to be able to find all questions relating to the IBM i/iSeries/AS400/IBM midrange computers. That is my only goal. –  Mike Wills Nov 15 '10 at 14:38
    
@Mike: I may not have made it clear, but I fully support merging these tags and using synonyms as long as there isn't "a difference which leads to different questions or different answers to the same questions". –  Gnome Nov 15 '10 at 17:56
    
Okay, so how do we get a moderator to implement this? –  Mike Wills Nov 15 '10 at 19:33
    
@Mike: Just like you did: posting a [retag-request] on meta. Beyond that, I'm not sure, but you might try raising a moderator in chat if you want to double check that SO moderators have seen this (as meta gets busy at times, not to mention all the time they already spend on SO itself). Do give it time, as it's only been 3 days; sorry I couldn't be more helpful. –  Gnome Nov 15 '10 at 20:07
    
@Mike: As an aside, you might check how the situation is on Server Fault: it would be nice for SO to be in sync with SF here. The synonym system works the same, but each site has a completely separate set of tags and a separate set of synonyms. –  Gnome Nov 15 '10 at 20:13
    
@Gnome Good point, I'll start a similar thread on SF meta. –  Mike Wills Nov 15 '10 at 20:21
    
@Gnome meta.serverfault.com/questions/959/… –  Mike Wills Nov 15 '10 at 20:30

As far as I can tell, only a tiny percentage of actual IBM midrange users call those machines "IBM i" or even "System i". If the goal of Stack Overflow is to provide actual help for actual users, then my vote would be to use the names that those users actually use. Thus, I am strongly in favor of keeping [as400] and [iseries] as tags.

It might be a little different if it were like c++0x, because that tag is easily discoverable. You type c++ in the tag search, and c++0x will quickly bubble up to one of the matching tags. You type as400, and you will never find ibm-i.

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The synonym system allows for this: you tag [as400], and it gets renamed to something else. This even works for searching; e.g. search for [tagging] and you see results for [tags] ([tagging] being synonymed to [tags]). –  Gnome Nov 14 '10 at 7:23
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@Gnome: Hmm... nifty feature. I didn't realize it existed, but now that you've pointed it out, I'd say this as400/iseries/etc. case is exactly what the synonym system is designed for. –  John Y Nov 14 '10 at 22:39
    
In the publications I read, they refer to the system as IBM i. Yes, many of the people that have used the system for years still call it as400, but some generations will call it iSeries. Others will call it IBM, thus the confusion. I like the synonym solution. –  Mike Wills Nov 15 '10 at 14:34

OK, I completed the request in the question. Take a look and see if I did it right -- also the tag wiki will need some loving.

http://stackoverflow.com/tags/ibm-midrange/info

http://stackoverflow.com/tags/ibm-midrange/synonyms

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Thanks Jeff and team! We really appreciate it. –  Mike Wills Jun 3 '11 at 13:10
    
Could that be added to Server Fault and Super User (or better yet all technology focused sites)? –  Mike Wills Jun 3 '11 at 16:29

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