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Popup requesting people to specify a DBMS when they tag a question with the tag SQL?
sql tag without provided RDBMS

On StackOverflow, virtually every SQL question's first comment is "What RDMBS are you using?" It appears folks that write questions continually do not include this critical piece of information. Is there any mechanism, when they tag a question, to have them be told to specify their database?

  • 2
    Most SQL questions do include this information - normally in the tags, but if not in the body of the question.
    – Oded
    Apr 2, 2012 at 13:20
  • Only after someone has asked and updated the tag to reflect it.
    – N West
    Apr 2, 2012 at 13:22
  • What if I want an answer that is database agnostic?
    – user7116
    Apr 2, 2012 at 14:15
  • @six tag it database-agnostic? Apr 2, 2012 at 14:16
  • @DanielFischer: that's a meta tag, which I believe would be frowned upon; for example, its incorrect usage in this question. If I tag something SQL, I want an SQL answer. Perhaps knowing my db engine could help, but why pigeon-hole an answer if you don't have to?
    – user7116
    Apr 2, 2012 at 14:18
  • @six I wasn't quite serious (though there's language-agnostic, so...), oh and I had no idea it actually existed. Apr 2, 2012 at 14:20
  • There are actually a bunch of related questions on the topic of how to get people to specify more information when asking questions. The problem is you just can't automate it, and if you can, they won't pay any attention to it. Use the normal mechanisms to handle this: ask for clarification in a comment, or infer it from the content if you can and edit the question yourself. If both of those fail, close the question with prejudice (or flag it). Apr 3, 2012 at 3:22

1 Answer 1


I don't think there's any need for special treatment when it comes to tagging SQL questions. That's because this is a more general problem though - poor question-askers.

If a new / new-ish user is asked for clarification in comments, and they respond in the comments, generally one of three things happens:

  1. The user retags the question themselves in response to the comments
    • Awesome. Awesome. Awesome.
  2. Someone retags the question for them, and the user learns from this for future asking.
    • This is also exactly what we want, people learning by example / experience.
  3. Someone retags for them, and the user doesn't notice / doesn't care / continues to ask vague questions in the future.
    • These folks, unfortunately, would almost definitely ignore any level of prompting by the system to further clarify their question in advance.

Another case would be those that never respond to the comments asking for clarification at all. These are often closed as "not a real question" and show a significant lack of effort on the OP's part.

There is already a decent amount of information splattered all over the /ask page (in fact, when you click inside the tags box, you get a special "How to Tag" explanation on the right side of the screen). If someone misses all that, I'm not extremely confident an extra indicator is going to help.

  • Good answer, makes sense that the perennial poor-question askers won't change their behavior.
    – N West
    Apr 2, 2012 at 20:10

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