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Popup requesting people to specify a DBMS when they tag a question with the tag SQL?

There are a lot of questions, that are tagged only with sql, but that are not answerable without specifying the RDBMS used (so the first comment usually is RDBMS?). Actually SQL without defined RDBMS makes sense only for theoritical questions and questions about standards (which are actually theoritical). How can we resolve this issue.

If elegant way of suggesting a relate tags to be picked up by the poster, this will resolve other similar issues as well, not only in the sql tag (although I can't think of an example, I'm sure there are other tags that are used, but does not make sense without another tag).

Another option, although I don't like it, is not to have stand-alone sql tag, but sql-theory (or sql-ansii, or sql-standards), and sql- tags, which are synonyms to corresponding rdbms.

Any other suggestions?

  • 1
    One solution would be to burninate the sql tag (and use something like [standard-sql] for general SQL questions. Sep 28, 2011 at 21:31

2 Answers 2


There's a tremendous amount of cross over between RDBMS's with SQL and I've answered a lot of questions that were not specific to a RDBMS and the OP wasn't necessarily look for a -ansi or -standard answer.


Selecting COUNT from different criteria on a table

Finding the largest number in a sequence of numbers in a SQL database

SQL difference between rows

SQL query for finding records where count > 1

I also pay attention to the SQL tag because I can answer questions even on DBs I'm not super familiar with so burninating it would be a pain for me.

Also when it requires a specific answer people usually just make assumptions or ask the OP to clarify and it usually works out.

  • +1, even if they did specify, if it works cross-RDBMS all the better.
    – user7116
    Oct 26, 2011 at 23:06
  • Whether cross-DBMS or not, it's still worth knowing what they're using, so when you see something weird it's easier to place it in context, or their question doesn't have a good cross-dbms answer you can point them to resources for their DBMS. Nov 3, 2012 at 3:09
  • Example 3 doesn't even work in MySQL and was answerable only because the RDBMS was given.
    – AndreKR
    Jan 2, 2013 at 21:54
  • @AndreKR Yes it was given in the question and I missed that, but I think saying it was was answerable only because the RDBMS was given is probably an overstatement just because MySQL doesn't support it. That syntax works in Sql Server, Sybase, Oracle, PostgreSQL, and DB2. I guess I should have probably used a better example like this one where I call out two different approaches depending on what the DB supports. Jan 2, 2013 at 22:16
  • 2
    I rather meant: "It was answerable that way only because the RDBMS was given." And that is a good thing, because now we know how it's done in the most elegant and most performant way in MS SQL 2008 instead of knowing a mediocre but cross-RDBMS way.
    – AndreKR
    Jan 2, 2013 at 22:21

That issue wastes time and good will of many people.

When somebody wants to submit a question tagged but with no RDBMS-specific tag then the system could pop up a reminder that has to be clicked away before he can proceed. That would give people a chance to catch up.

You tagged but no RDBMS.

Please consider tagging or mentioning the flavor of database system.

Much like those user-friendly email programs that remind you of the attachment you mentioned in the text but forgot to attach.

  • The system could also check for keywords indicating an RDBMS out of a list to be created in title / text and only nag if none can be found.
  • Of course that requires a way to categorize tags defining an RDBMS.
  • In the message make "RDBMS" link to an explanation for those who don't know the word.
  • There are other keywords like "query" that could trigger this.
  • I am sure there are other areas that could benefit from a similar reminder, as was hinted in the question.

I would love such a feature! Many would.


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