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There is a tag with over 70 entries. Is this just the new tag? Should anything be done about it?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

It's not only (70). There are also (at least) the tags:

These are all part of the more Generic Tag , and I believe they should be removed to avoid confusion.

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I've added synonym suggestions for all of these here. – marcog Jan 12 '11 at 10:15
I don't think these are synonyms. xyz-exercise is a special case of exercise. There are many such tags (like apache2 is a special case of apache). They are really hierarchical tags, and this feature has been declared as a strict no-no by the mods I think. – JP19 Jan 12 '11 at 10:30
If there was an "xyz-exercise" tag for every "xyz" original tag on SO, the number would be doubled. – athspk Jan 12 '11 at 10:39
There's 9 questions tagged "ruby-koans". – Andrew Grimm Jan 12 '11 at 10:45
I agree with what you say. We don't need xyz-exercise badges. They are redundant. As such, one should remove them rather than mark them as synonyms of something of which they are not synonyms. – JP19 Jan 12 '11 at 14:04

No. No difference and we need only one tag.

All pedagogical questions are pedagogical questions.

In some ways I would prefer to because I think it might generate less vitriol and fewer hurt feelings. But there doesn't seem to be any grassroot agreement on that.

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Be that as it may, [homework] is clearly the best choice as a master tag right now; if a moderator wants to rename it to [exercise] then that would be his prerogative. – Aarobot Jan 12 '11 at 15:25
I also prefer [exercise] over [homework], but think there is a difference. [homework] suggests a student looking for help on an assignment while [exercise] may apply to an exercise in any programming book. Lots of programmers read programming books that contain exercises and most of these programmers are no longer students. (Unless one considers all programmers as lifelong students, but that's a rather philosophical opinion.) – Derek Mahar Aug 25 '11 at 15:34

All homeworks are exercises, but all exercises are not homeworks. (An OP may be interested in an exercise which is not her homework. She may not even be a student and still come up with an exercise). Hence these two are not the same tags.

A note about the various comments here:

'A' is a type of 'B' does not mean 'A' and 'B' are synonyms. Synonyms are something which are exact duplicates - like regex and regular-expression. There are many examples of hierarchical tag relationships on SO, and I think the mods have decided to never have any kind of hierarchical relationships between tags.

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Of course it could happen that an exercise would not be your homework, but it could be someone else's homework. In either case, i believe it falls under the general category of "homework". – athspk Jan 12 '11 at 10:43
There exist a writer who is an actor does not mean all writers are actors. – JP19 Jan 12 '11 at 11:39
There exist an actor who is a writer does not mean all actors are writers. – athspk Jan 12 '11 at 13:51
@athspk: Friend, what I am trying to say is all homeworks are exercises and some exercises are homeworks, and but not all exercises are homeworks. Some of the suggestions / comments in this question are as good as saying "blue should be a synonym of color" (in reality, blue is a type of color and SO tags do not support "is-a-type-of" relations). – JP19 Jan 12 '11 at 14:07
This is all very well and good but it isn't a particularly interesting distinction. The number of people who actually care about the difference between homework and a non-homework "exercise" like a Project Euler question is somewhere between vanishingly small and completely nonexistent. The point of a tag is to help potential answerers decide whether or not the question is either interesting to them or within their area of expertise, and there are no notable cases where [exercise] qualifies but [homework] doesn't. – Aarobot Jan 12 '11 at 15:27
Is Stack Overflow an appropriate forum for publishing solutions to exercises in programming books? For example, consider The Haskell School of Expression Blog ( which publishes solutions to exercises from the book of the same name. Do you think SO could better present and archive solutions to these exercises? If so, what tag would best distinguish these exercises from the more common practical programming problems? I favour [exercise] over [homework] because these solutions may interest book owners who may not be students. – Derek Mahar Aug 25 '11 at 15:28

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