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I have noticed that many people just loosely ask some question and then toss in "design" and "pattern" and the tag the question as . Maybe they are looking for a function or maybe an algorithm but there is no real discussion of anything I would myself define as the realm of "Design Patterns". Example "I am looking for the best pattern to track the number of dingleberries I pick daily."

Gamma et al became a landmark because they took common design patterns, gave them names, and cataloged them. Now we have a common language we can share, when someone says "Abstract Factory" or "Memento" I know exactly what they are talking about. Can we really even talk about "Design Patterns" if we do not have names?

So, y question is should questions tagged Design-Patterns be restricted to the discussion of named patterns? With perhaps a minimum standard being if someone is not sure about which pattern to use, surely they can present a short analysis of patterns they have considered but do not seem to quite fit?

I guess I am looking for guidance on re-tagging. It seems like there is currently an awful lot of chaff in the wheat on the Design-Patterns topic.

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It seems all the questions that don't deserve the design-patterns tag should actually just be closed, either as Not A Real Question or Off Topic. –  Cody Gray May 29 '11 at 14:17

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Design patterns are quite vaguely defined, if i recall correctly the GoF noted that even object-orientation could be considered one, so it might not be easy to judge if something qualifies or not.

Anchoring this at whether the pattern is named or not however does not make much sense to me, slapping names on things is not a very difficult excercise and even if a (valid) pattern has a name that does not mean that you will know it. For example if you are not very familiar with WPF you might not know about .

So when it comes to retagging i would consider a few aspects which make a design pattern what it is, e.g.

  • Can the supposed pattern be reduced to a method or procedure? (If so it's not a design pattern)
  • Does the pattern provide a level of abstraction which makes it applicable to a generic problem?
  • Can the pattern's area of application, its consequences and side-efffects be properly described?

There are probably a lot more properties that could be demanded but these are some main aspects i consider important. Basically it all boils down to identifying whether the subject in the question meets the definition of design pattern.

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