I have noticed a disturbing trend: Every day I am retagging posts about iOS that have the tag in them.

The tag should only be used for questions about the IDE itself, not about programming questions, API questions, or submission questions.

From the Xcode tag wiki:

This tag should only be used for questions about the Xcode tool itself, not for programming questions for which you happen be using Xcode.

So, I propose that we:

Clean up the tag with the following rules:

  1. If the question is about the IDE itself, the tag stays. For example:

    I'm trying to figure out how to import this framework. How do I do it in Xcode X.x and iOS X.x?

  2. If the question is about why a certain crash occurs, the tag goes.
  3. If the question is about App Store submission, use your judgement. 'Why doesn't this archive' might be OK, but 'they didn't accept my app' is NOT.
  4. If the question is about how to do a certain thing in iOS, the tag goes. "How do I make my UITextField not editable' should not have the Xcode tag.

For example, this question, a 'property not found error', should NOT have the tag. It did, and I retagged it. But this question, on the other hand, about using two developer accounts on a Mac, should be allowed to keep the tag.

Sure, there's a lot of them, but if 1,000 of us work together, we could chew through them fast!

I'm going to say that if the vote count for this passes 10, we should start.

  • 3
    See also: Xcode is just an IDE. Good luck trying to hold back the ocean. – Brad Larson Apr 30 '13 at 15:44
  • @BradLarson Build a big enough dam we could - imagine 10,000 users watching for this. – Undo Apr 30 '13 at 15:45
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    It's not just iOS that have this problem. It's every language; "I'm using tool "blah" to develop my code so it must be relevant to my question". Not. The only way to deal with this is an active community in that tag who stop it from happening as soon as the question is posted... – ben is uǝq backwards Apr 30 '13 at 15:48
  • @benisuǝqbackwards Yep. We made SO what it is, right? So we can fix minor problems like these, right? There are 20k of us with Retag privileges... – Undo Apr 30 '13 at 15:49
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    @Undo: And there are like 1% of them actually participate in the mass-retagging effort. – nhahtdh Apr 30 '13 at 17:14
  • @nhahtdh 200 people can't retag 50 questions per day for a total of 10,000 questions per day? 10k per day is nothing to laugh at. – Undo Apr 30 '13 at 17:17
  • @Undo: If it is only retagging - fine - 50 questions can be cleaned up very quick. But if it involves editing other mistakes in the post, review for closing or deletion (which is the standard and correct procedure) then 10 questions is enough to make me give up. – nhahtdh Apr 30 '13 at 17:19
  • Agree with @BradLarson that it amounts to trying to stop the ocean. So while it is close to admitting defeat, maybe your idea of inventing a new tag for the IDE-related questions will prove to require less work and be much easier to maintain? Leave xcode to cover anything Xcode-related (iOS/osx dev broadly), and let xcode-ide handle the IDE aspects (build environment, debugger, etc.) – Monolo Apr 30 '13 at 19:16
  • And BTW, if anyone decides to launch this campaign, do remember that Xcode also incorporates Interface Builder (to a degree that it isn't really IB any more, just the UI editor in Xcode), which means that your point 4. above (setting properties in UI controls) can be handled in Xcode, with no coding required. Haven't checked if it includes the editable property from your example, but if memory serves, it does. – Monolo Apr 30 '13 at 20:05

In your commendable quest for order in the tags related to Apple technologies you seem to forget that they also carry some very useful meta information.

Assuming a run-of-the-mill coding question regarding functionality from the standard framework (Cocoa/Cocoa Touch), a rough taxonomy of tags looks like this, in my personal and one-eyed analysis:

The user thinks of their task in terms of the tool they are using.
Abstraction level: Bottom

The user thinks of the development task in terms of the thing the final product is going to run on.
Abstraction level: Low

Thinking in terms of execution environment and/or user interface. Quite likely able to tell the difference between hardware and software.
Abstraction level: Medium

This person knows that what they are doing is expressing their design in terms of an abstract language, which translates a model in their mind to a working (sooner or later) application. They are able to distinguish between a computational task and the language with which you accomplish it. The distinction between a framework or library and a programming language still somewhat blurred, though.
Abstraction level: Decent

This person knows that they are building an app based on well-defined frameworks, which provide general services and that the developer's task is to transform data and user behaviour from the app-specific realm to the general services of the basic and abstract framework.
Abstraction level: Good

Now, in many technical disciplines there is a strong correlation between the abstraction level that a person has developed through a combination of study, practical experience and exchange of insights in professional forums and their understanding of the issues at hand. If you are so inclined you could say it somehow hints at how smart they are in the field.

In short, the tags a person uses on a question is a good predictor of their depth of understanding of a the topic, and as such it helps a potential answerer decide if they want to work on a question and maybe how to shape the answer.

If you clean up the tags around the Apple technologies you'll lose all this information, and since meta tags are not allowed on SO there is no other simple way to filter your home page according to the abstraction level you wish to see on any given day.

  • I almost never use the cocoa-touch tag, only ios, but I certainly understand that I am building on top of frameworks. Good answer, though. +1 – Undo Apr 30 '13 at 16:55
  • And you gave me a good idea for how to find the easy questions :) – Undo Apr 30 '13 at 16:56
  • @Undo Yeah, I am not claiming that my home-brewn taxonomy is scientific or even 100% accurate :-) Among other things, it breaks down when somebody actually has a question about Xcode (the IDE). – Monolo Apr 30 '13 at 17:02
  • I think people don't care or don't know about the framework when it is included by default (like Cocoa Touch Framework - correct me if I'm wrong). They are usually more familiar with the specific API/classes in Cocoa touch. – nhahtdh Apr 30 '13 at 17:07
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    Maybe we should have an xcode-for-real tag. – Undo Apr 30 '13 at 17:08
  • @nhahtdh I am sure you are right, but I also think that this is exactly a point that shows the difference in abstraction level that various types of people work on - and employ when they ask a question on SO. If they don't care about the difference between language and framework just because it is all included in the same package as you put it, then I believe that it is an indicator of their level of insight into their chosen field. – Monolo Apr 30 '13 at 17:18
  • @Monolo: The thing is: If you develop an app for iOS/OSX, it is almost always the case that you write in Objective-C, use Xcode and use Cocoa Touch/Cocoa framework to do the task (when I look it up, Cocoa framework has very wide coverage: audio/video processing, network, UI, graphic etc.). Xcode aside, when you mention iOS/OSX with some code attached (is there other OS that use Cocoa?), or Cocoa/Cocoa Touch (is there other framework?), or Objective-C (is there other language to dev for iOS/OSX?), they are usually synonymous (they are not actual synonym, but will almost always appear together). – nhahtdh Apr 30 '13 at 17:28
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    @nhahtdh I think we understand each other, but just FYI: Cocoa (OpenStep) on *nix: GNUstep, non-Objective-C: C# for iThings, Frameworks for OS X Notice Carbon (now deprecated, but still in use) and everything for the command line/daemons. Plus Delphi, AppleScript, Python, etc. – Monolo Apr 30 '13 at 17:41
  • @Monolo: I think OSX has quite a number of options. I have doubt about iOS, though. – nhahtdh Apr 30 '13 at 17:51

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