As I understand it, Stack Overflow is about the future, which means suitable searches, and searching in multiple tags is tedious.

The whole MS Access area is pretty small and MS Access is a smaller part off that. There is no point in having not only tags for every edition of Access, but also tags for every version of VBA. A great deal of VBA is common to all Office applications and most MS Office (all?) can be referenced from each other, so all VBA is relevant to a VBA search.

In particular, the tag is pointless and just encouraging people, especially new editors, to subdivide an already small area into ever smaller chunks. Where does it end? ?

See also:

VBA : Increasingly Specific Tags
Is tagging a question [excel-vba] preferable to tagging it [excel] [vba]?
Why did my tag-synonyms disappear?

  • Side note : check out the Office tag pretty large mismatch between tag name and the questions in it
    – Andomar
    Commented Jun 30, 2012 at 9:45
  • It has been mentioned that synonyms are losing information. Questions are being retagged to remove the VBA and MS Access tags and replace them with Access VBA and version-specific MS Access tags. This is also losing information - the information that all VBA is related and, for example, VBA that may seem specific to Excel can easily be used in MS Access with little change, occasionally no change. This includes references to rows and worksheets. Also, nearly all MS Access questions are not version-specific.
    – Remou
    Commented Jun 30, 2012 at 14:37

4 Answers 4


As I understand it, Stack Overflow is about the future

No. Stack Overflow is about helping programmers - now.

That you see Access VBA as a niche does not mean we should marginalize those who use it. Should we also remove ? Or ? What about ?

We could add synonyms of all specific Office VBA tags to point to the tag, but for those only interested in the sub set (say the Access object model), this would be a disservice.

  • I pretty much only post in MS Access. I am not trying to maginalize it, I am trying to make it easier to find information.
    – Remou
    Commented Jun 30, 2012 at 13:07
  • Yeah, and creating such a synonym tripped someone up before. See also, Joel's answer about desynonyming them in the first place.
    – Tim Stone
    Commented Jun 30, 2012 at 13:33
  • I will guarantee you that a question tagged access-vba will take twice as long to get an answer as the same question with the tags vba and ms-access. The access-vba tag has tripped up one subscriber, it has tripped up anyone asking a question with the tag, because they have had to wait much longer for an answer in a relatively new tag with a low subscription level.
    – Remou
    Commented Jun 30, 2012 at 13:44
  • 1
    As an aside, if SO is not about helping people tomorrow, what is the point of keeping questions? The people being helped today are benefiting from the past, so they are the future.
    – Remou
    Commented Jun 30, 2012 at 14:16
  • @Remou - These questions can be tagged with both vba and access-vba. And helping someone today can easily help someone tomorrow. My point is that we shouldn't ignore technologies that are "obsolete".
    – Oded
    Commented Jun 30, 2012 at 18:17
  • Where does obsolete come into it? My argument is that these questions are not being tagged both access-vba and vba. There are solely being tagged access-vba, or worse, retagged access-vba, thus removing them effectively from searches. Certainly the ideal is main tag, other main tag, sub tags, but that is not what happens. This means that people operating within the MS Access tag spend a great deal of time adding the tags ms-access and vba to ensure that new questions get an answer and that these answers are easily available to people searching.
    – Remou
    Commented Jun 30, 2012 at 18:24

Here are some related tag frequencies:

 tag           questions/month
 vba           125
 excel-vba     65
 ms-access×    80
 access-vba    50
 ms-office     35
 office        25
 word-vba      13
 outlook-vba   11

I expect every follower of vba to be interested in access-vba. And question askers would have an interest in a broader pool of answerers.

Perhaps there is support in the tag system for a rule that access-vba implies vba ?

  • If you work in an MS Office application, you will quite likely wish to automate other Office applications, which makes Access, Excel, Word and Outlook VBA of interest. A generalized VBA tab is relevant to searches, as is a generalized office tag. the access-vba tag is a very new introduction and helps to isolate and marginalise each area of Office, when all these applications are designed to work well together. Microsoft otself dropped word-vba, access-vba etc some years ago. Have a look at the total stats, I think you will find more of a difference.
    – Remou
    Commented Jun 30, 2012 at 13:11
  • What is happening is that MS Access questions, to cite one example, are ending up tagged, say, ms-access-2003, or access-vba. A person arriving and wishing to search for an MS Access question will then miss answers in both these tags, even though they may be the very answers needed. There are 551 followers of the MS Access tag and 941 followers of the VBA tag. There are only 157 followers of the Access VBA tag and a mere 35 followers of the Access 2003 tag.
    – Remou
    Commented Jun 30, 2012 at 13:21

I hope I didn't inspire this question. :)

There are questions specifically about VBA in Access, they should be tagged to indicate that the code will only work for/in Access.

Questions about VBA code that could be used in any VBA-aware program (ex: FSO, WMI, Windows APIs) should simply be tagged .

Unfortunately, because some people are sticking with prior versions of some Office programs, the questions keep coming.

I think there should be a master list of tags and some kind of visual tagging guide for the Office suite.

  • Where would that leave questions about using MS Access with c#? Also, what about people searching? The original tag was Access, which is what people would expect, but unfortunately that is ambiguous, so it was changed to ms-access. This is now established on SO. The access-vba tag is marginalizing MS Access because of its very low following. Questions are getting answer incorrectly and not getting answered at all. I have been waiting for several hours for an edit to clear on a question tagged access-vba. ...
    – Remou
    Commented Jul 2, 2012 at 17:35
  • Oops, there goes my tunnel vision.
    – JimmyPena
    Commented Jul 2, 2012 at 17:36
  • ... It may never clear. Questions are not getting marked duplicate, are not moving to Superuser and are not closing. The smaller the area and the fewer followers the worse the whole situation gets.
    – Remou
    Commented Jul 2, 2012 at 17:39
  • @Remou Can you update your question with an example?
    – JimmyPena
    Commented Jul 2, 2012 at 17:40
  • An example of what? I can update with an example of a bad answer, but I do not wish to implicate the guilty.
    – Remou
    Commented Jul 2, 2012 at 17:41
  • I would personally tag (or retag) with vba, access-vba, and access so that those all possible searches would pick it up.
    – Gaffi
    Commented Jul 2, 2012 at 17:42
  • The [access] tag has long since been deprecated and removed. It is totally ambiguous. Disk access, etc etc.
    – Remou
    Commented Jul 2, 2012 at 17:43
  • Retagging certainly solves the problem, but it gets tedious. I can guarantee a question tagged access-vba only will wait twice as long for an answer as a question tagged ms-access.
    – Remou
    Commented Jul 2, 2012 at 17:45
  • Correction, sorry: ms-access Point being, if you tag something with access-vba unless it explicitly does not apply also to vba, then I see no reason not to have both.
    – Gaffi
    Commented Jul 2, 2012 at 18:01
  • @Remou A question tagged access-vba that shouldn't?
    – JimmyPena
    Commented Jul 2, 2012 at 18:09
  • I did not say that questions were being tagged access-vba that shouldn't, I said that it is dividing an already small area into ever smaller areas. There are very few followers of the access-vba tag, so there are few people to answer, so incorrect answers are not spotted and bad questions are not noticed. It also means that a person has to wait longer and search in more tags for an answer. ...
    – Remou
    Commented Jul 2, 2012 at 19:24
  • A lot of people are infrequent vistors and have difficulty deciding between vbscript, vba and vb.net, they are unlikely to notice that their vba questions is common to all applications. Furthermore, due to the way that automation can use any Office application, pretty much all VBA is common to all Office applications.
    – Remou
    Commented Jul 2, 2012 at 19:25

I have found that many questions have been taged with excel and vba or excel-vba. It would seem to make sense to me to depreciate the excel-vba and access-vba tags and keep the application tags and the vba tag.

You could search for the application and/or the use of vba. E.g. if I wanted to specifically look for excel vba questions specifically you could search with [excel][vba]. At present this could filter out many questions tagged as [excel-vba], which doesn't seem to make sense.

On my not very thorough investigation of the 15 most recent questions tagged with [excel] and [vba] only 4 had the tag [excel-vba].

Of the 15 most recent questions tagged with [excel-vba] only 5 were also tagged as [excel] and 7 were tagged as [vba].

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