There used to be a tag on Stack Overflow, which covered the poll family of I/O functions on unix-like systems.

This tag has disappeared, and cannot be re-created because the tag already exists.

Please re-create the tag (here is an example of a question that should have been tagged and not ).

Since the tag is rather unnatural on this question, I suspect that this was the result of a bad merge. This is unfortunate: we have a bunch of legitimate questions that were unwittingly thrown together with a tag that signals questions that should be deleted. Developers: is it possible to undo this merge?

Arguably, is prone to confusion. Would be a reasonable tag name? Any other suggestion?

  • I wonder that the polls tag exists at all. Most (if not all) of the questions tagged as such should be closed as not constructive.
    – Felix
    Apr 30, 2012 at 21:35
  • Related: The [poll] tag is used for too many topics, needs reorganization
    – animuson StaffMod
    Apr 30, 2012 at 21:36
  • @Felix - the tag is probably a very early one, from when polls were tolerated.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Apr 30, 2012 at 21:40
  • @ChrisF: I thought so too. Still, I wonder why it was not cleaned up yet :)
    – Felix
    Apr 30, 2012 at 21:41
  • @Felix - sheer volume of questions. It takes time to go through 400+ questions to check whether it needs closing or not, retagging if appropriate etc. All the while new questions could be being added.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Apr 30, 2012 at 21:43
  • There's been some recent work on this tag as part of The great Stack Overflow tag/question cleanup of 2012. Apr 30, 2012 at 21:45
  • @animuson I'm told developers can unmerge a tag, but with difficulty; there may not be so many questions that it's worth the trouble for them. Do not remove the feature-request since I am requesting at least the creation of the poll tag. Apr 30, 2012 at 21:46
  • @KevinVermeer I know; it looks like something was botched as part of that process, which is why I'm starting a separate thread for this issue. Apr 30, 2012 at 21:47
  • 1
    @Gilles: If that's the case, then it can simply fall under the existing retag-request tag, which also explained that when requesting moderator (or dev) assistance with tags, you should use support.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Apr 30, 2012 at 21:49
  • @animuson That's not what I was told when I became a mod, and I applied on the metas where I mod. Support is asking a question, feature request is asking for intervention. Apr 30, 2012 at 21:59
  • 3
    Why can't these questions fall under the category of [polling]? Apr 30, 2012 at 22:43
  • @Gilles: I'm not familiar with other site's metas because I don't really participate much on other metas, but that's how it's long been done here.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Apr 30, 2012 at 22:50
  • @TheEstablishment - IMO [polling] ought to be for solutions involving general, polling-strategy questions (e.g. polling with javascript, or something). I had that as an option here, but I'm not sure my question got a lot of visibility, and therefore not much feedback on whether or not other people agree/disagreee.
    – Rob Hruska
    May 1, 2012 at 13:27

1 Answer 1


There are many valid functions named 'poll' to which this tag could be applied. I suggest that the most common and best application of the tag would be the Posix function poll(3) (link), but I don't think it's sufficient to call it because no one reads the tag wikis.

Therefore, I suggest that the new tag name be . This would be difficult to confuse with anything else, and other languages or APIs with a function by this name can have their own tag.

  • 6
    100% agreed. Repurposing a vague and abused tag isn't a good idea when we have clearer alternatives.
    – user154510
    Apr 30, 2012 at 21:55
  • 3
    I disagree with posix-poll. Most users of this tag are programming for Linux and may not even know what POSIX is. Maybe with synonyms for linux-poll and unix-poll, but it looks weird even then. Apr 30, 2012 at 22:01
  • 3
    @Gilles polling, as suggested in the comments on the question, seems like the right choice to me, as long as it has a very clear "NOT FOR POLLS" notice in the tag wiki excerpt.
    – agf
    Apr 30, 2012 at 22:50
  • @Gilles if there would be two synonym tags, poll-function and posix-poll, would that be an acceptable solution?
    – gnat
    Apr 30, 2012 at 23:58
  • 1
    @gnatakaspecialagentMulder As I understand it, the objection to poll-function is that there are other platforms with an unrelated function called poll. If so, this is a valid objection against having a poll-function tag altogether. Kevin: what common OS/framework has an unrelated function called poll? May 1, 2012 at 0:01
  • We would then have to re-tag everything tagged epoll (currently 31 questions) to be posix-epoll as well.
    – user50049
    May 1, 2012 at 7:47
  • Ugh, we also need to take a close look at where select is being used (currently 1,069 questions, many don't discuss select()).
    – user50049
    May 1, 2012 at 7:49
  • 4
    @Gilles - For starters, here's a poll function in Java, and here's a Drupal module. It's a short verb and noun which is related to a task common in programming; I don't think my claim needs an exhaustive reference. I think it's as ambiguous as, say, print-function, push-function or open-function. Or select, for that matter. May 1, 2012 at 12:37
  • @KevinVermeer That poll method in Java isn't tag material, people would use the class name. The Drupal module is a better argument. There's nothing wrong with print, push or open to indicate functions by these names, to go alongside a language tag and possibly other tags. May 1, 2012 at 17:00

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