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Hello everyone:

Sometimes when you apply tags to a question, and need to specify which operating system, IDE, platform, etc.. the problem is occurring, you are quickly running out of tags to specify aspects inherent to the problem (language, framework, tags that describe the problem.)

My suggestion is to implement one of two things (or both of them):

  1. Categorize these tags (which relate to operating system and the like) in a special type ("environment tags" for example) that exclude them from the restriction of maximum 5 tags per question, giving space for tags that really describe the problem (naming them "problem tags" for example).
  2. Create additional control (optional filing), below the "problem tags" control to place there that "environment tags".

Thanks for your attention.


See the following question for example:
The connection to adb is down, and a severe error has occured

  • There, the "environment tags" would be:
    because problem is happening specifically in that environment.
    This kind of tags would be useful for help users asking questions to quickly get help from savvy users on specific OSs and IDEs, who have added them as favorite tags; without necessarily having to sacrifice some of their tags relevant to the problem they intend to solve.
    Indeed, this special category of tags could be used to search with a combination of tags, for example here: Eclipse Galileo, running on Windows XP

  • On the other hand, "problem tags" for this question are:
    , , ,
    because they categorize the kind of problem it's being managed.

Note that this would be useful to distinguish when an "Android" tagged question actually refers to Google's Android operating system ( as "environment tag"), or it's just a question about Android technology as such, but the problem is not necessarily happening to the user on an Android OS machine ( as "problem tag"), as in this example.

There are plenty of Android tagged questions that actually refer to Android emulators running on PCs. Similar situation goes for questions with tags related to Windows, Linux, Mac, etc

share|improve this question
[windows-xp] [eclipse] [java] [problem1] [problem2]—what more do you need? – waiwai933 May 8 '11 at 6:38
@waiwai933: Please see my update on the matter. – Francisco Alvarado May 8 '11 at 6:58

That would be a meta tag wouldn't it? Meta tags are frowned upon.

In any case, those kinds of details should be in the question itself and not in a tag. If you have too many tags for a question the tag's value is diluted and it becomes less useful. Think of tags as categories.

share|improve this answer
Normally, what people who likes to answer questions on SO does is click their favorite tags to filter question on what matters to them, rather than making a search with relevant terms. What I ask for is a way to guarantee to the user that he/she will always find help from experts in the specific environment in which it is happening him/her the problem. – Francisco Alvarado May 8 '11 at 7:45
@nihcap I understand what you mean. Favored tags are added to Favorites so that the system will do the filtering for you. What I mean is, with environment tags coming to play it will dilute the effectiveness of tags because now the tags need work in tandem with environment tags (Making them work as Android AND Eclipse AND Windows-XP instead of PHP OR JavaScript OR jQuery) – JohnP May 8 '11 at 8:12

I see a lot of meta-tags there. Meta tags aren't just frowned upon, they are disallowed.

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