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I believe that some of my questions were asked before but I didn't find any satisfying guidance. I just found only this question. I hope senior members will help me to understand the situation and use tags correctly.

I have several questions which are related to following explanation:

  • What is current community's attitude towards version specific tags on Stack Overflow?
  • How to correctly use version specific tags?
  • When is it good to create version specific tag?
  • Should any version specific tags be at least marked as synonyms to version unspecific tags?
  • Should I use version specific tags if I retagging questions?
  • Should I retag questions if I think that incorrect version specific tag is used?

I mainly visiting questions related to two main topics: WCF and Entity framework. Tagging questions in these topics follow very different rules. WCF uses single main tag sometimes combined with currently proposed as synonym to WCF, whereas Entity framework currently have:

and two ridiculous tags (both for CTP5 of EF 4.1 – their meaningful lifetime was about 3 months):

I've already several times retagged questions introducing tag for EF 4.1 RC. Separate problem is in Code-first approach related strictly to where 5 other tags are used to describe the same:

I asked for merging these tags in separate question.

As you can see that EF topic currently contains too many tags to describe the same. There are other related tags to EF but they are mainly used as supporting tags for specific features.

First I thought this is a common situation because ASP.NET MVC uses also new tag for each version even questions usually asks for general problems related to any version but then I was informed by @Richard in this question that EF is probably tag polluted.

I regularly retag questions in EF topic. Currently I'm using:

  • as general topic's tag because I was already informed by @Slauma here that people usually have only this tag between their favorites and I should not remove it. It was a good point.
  • for questions related directly to EFv4 features
  • for questions related directly to EF 4.1 features
  • for questions related to fluent and annotations mapping from EF 4.1

But still I think that and are somehow redundant but I'm not sure if my opinion is shared by other participants in these tags. WCF also has 3 versions and almost twice as more questions than EF and it still uses only single main tag without any problem. I think the used version should be information included in a question.

Are there any general rules? What about version related tags to C#, .NET and ASP.NET MVC? I first thought that it is common and accepted approach to create version specific tags just because users around ASP.NET MVC (strong tag) do the same.

Sometimes I think I received privileges too early and I don't use them correctly. I need some guidance.

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Hey, can somebody give this guy an extra 10k rep? I think he deserves it... Also interested in hearing some opinions about this. The process is not well structured at this point. I get the feeling some major changes for creating/managing tags are in the pipeline, but may not be due for some time... –  Won't Mar 30 '11 at 19:59
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@will version tags are a pox on every site in our network they appear. They spread like weeds once they take root, crushing the life out of other tags. –  Jeff Atwood Apr 2 '11 at 11:32
    
@Jeff but you cannot argue that they do not serve a purpose. For example, I'm working on an application that relies heavily on Workflow Foundation 4. Questions and answers about Workflow Foundation 3 are utterly useless to me. It was a complete rewrite of the framework. Same goes for anybody using version 3, they don't want anything to do with 4. So merging [wf4] and [wf3] into [workflow-foundation] would destroy lots of value. Those versions are very important to me. I'm not arguing the situation doesn't suck, but eradicating them is not good either. We need a third way... –  Won't Apr 2 '11 at 15:01
    
@Jeff and now I read your answer. –  Won't Apr 2 '11 at 15:03

2 Answers 2

up vote 26 down vote accepted
+200

In general, you should strongly avoid creating version tags.

I would only use version tags when the question content is irrevocably tied to a specific version of something and can never be relevant to earlier versions or later versions.

In other words, it is perfectly sufficient to tag your question when it contains c# code. You do not need to say that it is because it uses LINQ features. c# is c#!

The only questions that should use the tag, in my opinion, are those questions which are specifically asking for detail about features that were added in 4.0.

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hm true, what about asp.net-mvc? Many people who post an mvc3 question will only use the asp.net-mvc3 tag (which many people don't even monitor) so should that be also tagged asp.net-mvc. Also, in the case when it is specific to a version the parent tag should also be there right? Like some question that talks about a specific C#4 feature will have both the C# and C#4 tags right? –  gideon Apr 2 '11 at 11:37
    
Ok, perhaps I'm too much specific but for example EF versions differ a lot - EF 4.1 is completely new API but we use ef-code-first for that as well. Same with workflow foundation where version included in .NET 4 is completely different. I'm little bit lost with how to tag / retag questions correctly to make them available to as much users as possible? (I didn't know about wildcards in favorite tags and probably many other users don't know it as well). –  Ladislav Mrnka Apr 2 '11 at 11:39
    
(+ or removed in c#-5.0 (if such a thing exists)) Just expanding your answer :). –  cbroughton Nov 11 '11 at 15:19
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"can never be relevant to earlier versions or later versions". This statement conflicts with "those questions which are specifically asking for detail about features that were added in 4.0". My assumption is that dynamic isn't going to be removed in 4.5 or 5.0. That example wouldn't match your first requirement, but would match your second, and both claim to be the exclusive criteria for using version specific tags. I don't feel I'm being pedantic because I'm trying to figure out tag synonyms for version-based tags - here: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/112864 –  Merlyn Morgan-Graham Nov 19 '11 at 3:52
    
@guideon if both tags should be added is discussed here –  Ciro Santilli Aug 23 '13 at 9:32

Version-specific tags for the latest version should never be used, assuming we follow the reasoning of Jeff Atwood:

I would only use version tags when the question content is irrevocably tied to a specific version of something and can never be relevant to earlier versions or later versions.

If this condition holds true cannot be known for the latest version. Most likely, the condition will not hold true because in most cases, future releases will be reasonably similar to the currently latest version.

Still, version tags are likely to be used, as askers think that saying "I'm using version x" through a tag (with x being the latest version) adds valuable information. Arguably, there is a little information in such a tag, but at the price of leaving us with lots of incorrectly tagged questions when a new, mostly compatible version comes out.

To avoid this problem, we should follow this general approach:

  • Remove & discourage version tags for the latest version of a technology. Instead, tag all questions that apply to the latest version with the un-versioned tag.
  • When encountering a question that does not apply to the current version, take one of the actions proposed here, e.g. re-tag the question with the predecessor version.

IMHO, with this approach, we have the defaults right: By default, questions are assumed to be valid for future versions. And if someone happens to find out that this wasn't right for a particular question, this is easy to fix.

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