I noticed the tag was not a synonym of , I tried to create a synonym but actually I'm not "powerful" enough on Stack Overflow, but then I read a message saying version numbers of tags cannot be synonyms, maybe I'm being short sighted but in a lot of cases this versioned tag be it , and I'm sure to come are being used wrongly or at least unnecessarily.

Maybe I should just edit the tags where appropriate.

I understand that a question maybe really only for , but somehow I think the reputation someone gains on this kind of versioned tags should cascade somewhat into the main tag for purposes of reputation.

For example, I may have 89 up votes on ios, 33 on ios5, 48 on ios4. Maybe I have 80 up-votes for C, my profile is reflecting that I'm as competent in C as iOS when in reality I am far more knowledgable for iOS.

Can anyone give me some insight into this?

  • Having answers in multiple tags does not influence reputation gained from said answers in any way. – BoltClock's a Unicorn Aug 13 '12 at 22:08
  • I'm sorry I wasn't referring to reputation in the send of your profile reputation, I am referring to the tags section on your profile, which can in some cases not reflect the true knowledge base of a user at a glance. Maybe I'm being picky, but if I have a question concerning objective-c, what's to stop me using the objective-c-2.0 tag rather then the objective-c tag? Both are correct, but splitting these tags just makes the tag score on the profile very fractured. – Daniel Aug 13 '12 at 22:14
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    Version specific tags really make sense in the context of "this behavior in version Y is different than that in version X" or "I'm trying to implement Foo, how can I do so when I'm stuck on version Z?" Too many people use version specific tags when they aren't asking anything specific to the tagged version, but flattening them isn't really the answer here. Further, the version tag should be an accompaniment to the main tag, not the sole tag about that thing. – Charles Aug 14 '12 at 1:20
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    I agree it should be used in compliment to the main tag. Maybe there could be some kind of automation here, if the user used already 5 tags, there could be some kind of system tags adding the necessary ones to the question. – Daniel Aug 14 '12 at 1:24

A synonym means that when a question is tagged with, say, , it will be automatically retagged with at the time of posting. So we'd lose all semantic information from having the version in the tag (i.e. that the question contains something specific to version 5).

So you'd effectively just have the tag.

Whether or not it makes sense to have version-specific tags in the first place is probably a separate argument.

  • I think you're right... "Whether or not it makes sense to have version-specific tags in the first place is probably a separate argument." – Daniel Aug 13 '12 at 22:15

Version-specific tags certainly make sense in the SQL Server world, where I spend most of my time. In fact most of the time when someone asks a question with just , and the question has anything to do with syntax or version-specific features (or I can see that the potential answers will be affected by what the target version is), I have to insist that they specify the version.

For example, someone who doesn't tag a specific version and asks for a specific solution, we have to know (and the question can be significantly impacted by) these cutoffs:

  • if it's 2000 or 2005+, because the metadata catalog had a complete overhaul in 2005
  • if it's 2005+ because things like CTEs, ROW_NUMBER(), and MAX types were introduced there
  • if it's 2008+ because MERGE, DATE and table-valued parameters were introduced there
  • if it's 2008 R2+ since Unicode compression was introduced there (a stretch but still possible)
  • if it's 2012 since FORMAT(), IIF() and CONCAT() were introduced there

THese are just a few examples; I could produce a more exhaustive list if desired.

So I would argue that you can't make all version tags across a particular technology synonyms of the base tag. For some technologies the version-suffixed tag is extremely important and valuable. I talk about this a bit under the "tag effectively" heading on my blogoverflow.com blog post:

Help us help you : keys to getting good answers

As for the reputation/badges thing, I've found that in a lot of cases the question is tagged with both and . And in a lot of cases just - and it's fine to stay that way because the question/answer might involve a concept that is present in all versions, hasn't changed since the 90s, is more conceptual in nature, etc. So I don't think in this specific case at least that anyone is losing out on badges etc. because of version-specific tags.

Sorry to go so deep on a particular subset of technology but wanted to make sure I brought a counterpoint : we don't all want synonyms and we don't all want the technologies where we focus collapsed into a single bucket.

  • Thank you for your thoughts. I can only agree with you now, I think there is a need for version specific tags independently of the main tag. Maybe add the main tag if the version specific tag is present. Anyway, cost me 2 down votes to see clear. Thanks – Daniel Aug 14 '12 at 2:15
  • @Daniel for what it's worth, I did not down-vote, I think it's possible that in some technologies the version-specific stuff is unnecessary, and some technologies take it way too far - haven't people tried to create tages like php-5.3.4, just because that's the exact build they happen to be using? Imagine if every SQL Server question had tags like sql-server-2008-r2-service-pack-2-cumulative-update-1? <shudder> – Aaron Bertrand Aug 14 '12 at 2:17
  • haha sure thing, hey sorry I wasn't being ironic about the down votes by the way :) I think people need to use the tags better, there's no point in someone asking how to animate a UILabel in iOS and tag it ios5 ! – Daniel Aug 14 '12 at 2:19

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