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...when earning tag badges could be an influence?

(I'll try to keep this short)

I saw this question that was initially tagged , and . It was looking for a simple way to decode some XML strings. It was eventually answered by polishchuk where he pointed to a method that helps with this. It was upvoted and accepted. Afterwards, he retagged the question adding the tag.

To me that looked strange, I wouldn't add tags unless it made the question clearer or is otherwise absolutely needed. In this case, it was redundant since the tag usually implies and there were no other constraints given by the asker. So I looked at his history with the tag and every single answer he has under the tag that I have seen had the tag added by him after he answered. He's only been a member for just over a month and already has a bronze badge. It feels sketchy to me. It's certainly a related tag and is applicable but is it a necessary one?

I have a lot of other answers which I could also retag accordingly and I'd probably earn a lot more badges too. In fact everyone who participates regularly would probably benefit from this. But I feel that doing so would cause badge inflation.

Should we be adding tags like this or should we not?

I generally don't retag questions unless there is something terribly wrong with the current tags or I do it as part of normal editing duties.

I don't want to single this person out so I'm withholding his identity for now. Hopefully my explanation is enough to understand the situation.

share|improve this question
I worry less about the possibility of gaming tag badges than I do about adding noisy or even invalid tags to questions. If the tag belongs there, then the tag badge was deserved. If not, well, then it obviously wasn't. – Cody Gray Jul 20 '11 at 6:40
Other potential (valid) abuses that I know of which leave out the tags often including (but not limited to): [linq-to-*] -> [linq], [xsl] or [xslt] -> [xml], [javascript] -> [web] or [web-development], etc. – Jeff Mercado Jul 20 '11 at 6:43
Please keep in mind that C# is a language and can be used on three different frameworks: .net, Mono and DotGNU. – Time Traveling Bobby Jul 20 '11 at 7:16
Related:… – Shog9 Jul 20 '11 at 7:26
@shog I actually think… is a much better example. – Jeff Atwood Jul 20 '11 at 7:33
@bobby mono and dotgnu are rare enough that they perhaps should be added only as necessary -- 99% of the time when someone says "hey, I have a c# question", guess what they probably mean? – Jeff Atwood Jul 20 '11 at 7:34
I find your example with c# and .net a very poor example, especially without seeing the actual question. Lots of people confuse the language with the framework, and as a consequence tag the question c# because that's what they're using but ask a question about the framework. In such a case the retag would be absolutely welcomed! – Cosmin Prund Jul 20 '11 at 7:51
@Cosmin: I might as well reveal who the person is that I was referring to. I tried to explain as much as I could while trying not to be confrontational. I guess this really needs the example so there is no confusion. – Jeff Mercado Jul 20 '11 at 9:09
Interesting idea... brb, gaming. – Won't Jul 20 '11 at 12:58
up vote 9 down vote accepted

No, you should not add tags that are a superset of the question.

Unless the question is specifically language agnostic and explicitly asks for replies in VB.NET, C#, F#, IronRuby, and anything else that runs on the .NET CLR / DLR -- which is extraordinarily rare -- then you should assume that when someone tags a question they actually wanted C# code in return.

Shocker, I know.

share|improve this answer
I've revealed who dunnit and gave the more precise example. – Jeff Mercado Jul 20 '11 at 9:32
Since this question is less about the C# language and more about the library I think the .net tag is more relevant than the C# tag. And the answer is also relevant for the same question with another .net language. – CodesInChaos Jul 20 '11 at 9:47
@code I agree in this specific case, the c# tag should be dropped and replaced with .net. – Jeff Atwood Jul 20 '11 at 9:51

Adding such tags is not just noise. It can increase searchability.

If someone wants to know how to frobnicate in .NET he might enter "frobnicate .net" into the search box. He might not find a question that doesn't mention .NET and is only tagged . If the question is tagged with as well, then he might find it (and he probably doesn't care too much if the answer is C# or not).

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But the problem is that this was just a generic question that could have existed fine without the tag. Adding the tag adds no value to the question. – Jeff Mercado Jul 20 '11 at 6:57
I have just argued that "being able to find it with a tag that's related" is a value that is added. – Joachim Sauer Jul 20 '11 at 6:58
But you've missed the point however. I've specifically stated that adding the tag would not be necessary (redundant) since another tag implies it. Yes you should tag so it's easy to search for, but that's not what this topic is about. – Jeff Mercado Jul 20 '11 at 9:29
Personally I think stackoverflow should support implied tags. If a question is tagged C# 4 it should implicitly be tagged C# etc. – CodesInChaos Jul 20 '11 at 9:46

While C# is a .NET language, if the question doesn't ask about .NET itself, the tag isn't necessary. However, if the question dose pertain to the library, which is related to .NET in general, the tag probably belongs in the question.

While it would not be useful to add tags that don't directly pertain to the question, one needs to look at each question and see whether the topic specified by each tag is directly relevant to the question.

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