I was looking around in the tags when I noticed we have several "language conversion" type tags. Among them:

Do these tags really serve a purpose? I've noticed most questions tagged , for example, are also tagged and (as well as )

The tag wiki states:

This tag topic is about converting C# code to F#, or learning F# from the perspective of someone with C# background.

Now my understanding is that most code conversion questions are off-topic ("Here, turn this into C" style) and learning F# from the perspective of someone with C# background doesn't deserve it's own tag (IMO). Information concerning your C# background should go in the question body, not the tags.

What do you think?

Are tags supposed to be used for this purpose?

  • Those questions are on-topic if the OP tried converting the code himself and is stuck at a specific point.
    – juergen d
    May 15, 2013 at 23:10
  • 6
    @juergend: The questions might be on-topic, but I think separate tags are unnecessary. Burn them all!
    – hammar
    May 15, 2013 at 23:17
  • @juergend Right, but that isn't a code conversion question, that's a regular Stack Overflow question. A code conversion question, to my definition, is a question along the lines of "Here, convert this" or "How do I convert this". (hint: really broad)
    – ɥʇǝS
    May 15, 2013 at 23:24
  • Information concerning your c# background probably has no place in the question whatsoever.
    – hayd
    May 15, 2013 at 23:29
  • 4
    kill them with fire
    – Doorknob
    May 15, 2013 at 23:32
  • @hayden I was thinking of "background" along the lines "how do I do this in f#. Similar to this in c#".. but otherwise I agree with you.
    – ɥʇǝS
    May 16, 2013 at 1:46

2 Answers 2


Completely agree. If you have F# code that does [this] and need to write C# code that does [this], then your question is, how do I do [this] in C#. The F# code may be useful for helping others help you out, but there's no reason to limit your question to that; F# programmers who aren't also C# programmers aren't going to be of any use, anyway.

The tag screams Too localized, and that's not necessary. Ask a C# question, answer it as a C# question, and it is helpful to C# programmers everywhere.

  • 1
    Excellent - a counter argument posted as an answer :) You have a good point, but how do you accomodate that different languages can have different constructs, especially when converting from an imperative language (C#) to a functional language (F#)?
    – slugster
    May 18, 2013 at 6:49
  • 1
    The ultimate problem is still How do I accomplish [X] task. The previously existing code is not important, except to provide background details to help understand the full problem; basically similar to example data.
    – Joe
    May 18, 2013 at 16:11
  • 1
    And tags aren't the place for that background information.
    – ɥʇǝS
    May 18, 2013 at 17:15

Yes they may be appropriate. Sure, a lot of the questions tagged with them will be of the type "O halps! Can you convert these codez from VB.Net to C# for me? Kthxbye!", but there is also likely to be a small subset of good legitimate questions as well.

The way to find out is to trawl the list of questions using them, and flag/close/delete the questions that are poor or not desirable. Once those questions have been actioned by the community or moderators (as applicable), if there are no questions left using the tag then it will automatically be culled from the ecosystem.

While I do think these tags can have a legitimate use, I do believe the wiki description for needs to have the phrase or learning F# from the perspective of someone with C# background removed - the tag should be for translating C# constructs to F#, not for learning F#.

Further edit:

people, please stop arguing semantics in the comments, I haven't got time for stuff like that. If you think my answer is incorrect please post your own answer stating why these particular tags are worthless. Don't take the "bad until proven good" approach, instead you should do the opposite.

Yes, we know good questions can have bad tags. Yes, we know tags get used incorrectly. That is not in dispute. The question is do language conversion tags have a legitimate use?

So, do the questions currently using these tags need a good clean up? Yes they do, that also isn't in dispute. But you don't just go and burninate (eliminate) a bunch of tags without first showing why they should go - to date nobody has provided any conclusive reasons for this.

  • 5
    Good questions can have bad tags. May 16, 2013 at 1:05
  • 1
    I agree with Keith above me. Just because a question is good (or bad) doesn't have anything to do with the tags...
    – ɥʇǝS
    May 16, 2013 at 1:42
  • 1
    @KeithThompson Of course, that goes without saying - the presumption is that the tag is accurate to begin with. The answer still stands - you don't just eliminate the tag, you go through and process the questions, closing/flagging/retagging where necessary. At the end if nothing is using the tag it will automatically expire.
    – slugster
    May 16, 2013 at 2:30
  • You seem to be suggesting that the tag should remain if there are good questions with the tag. I suggest that the tag should remain only if there are good questions for which the tag is appropriate. The trawling process in your second paragraph should also include removing the tag from good questions for which that particular tag is not helpful. May 16, 2013 at 21:16
  • @KeithThompson Sorry but I'm puzzled by how you came to the conclusion that I'm suggesting the tag stay simply because it's a good question? Of course it should be removed if it's inappropriate for the question, no matter how good the question is - that is Tagging 101.
    – slugster
    May 17, 2013 at 0:09
  • @slugster: It seemed to be implied by your second paragraph, which mentions "flag/close/delete" but not changing or removing tags. May 17, 2013 at 0:29
  • I disagree. If it's a bad tag you kill it. Regardless of the questions tagged with it.
    – ɥʇǝS
    May 18, 2013 at 1:50
  • @Seth of course you kill bad tags, but it is just your personal opinion that these particular tags are a "bad tag". When you have a solid understanding of the syntactic and constructive differences between the languages being talked about then you will be in a position to determine whether they are bad tags or not. This is why I suggested that the list be trawled to ensure there are no constructive questions that are legitimately using those tags.
    – slugster
    May 18, 2013 at 3:05
  • @Seth If you are convinced they are bad tags then post an answer and explain exactly why they are not legitimate. Try and answer the actual question that was posed: are they constructive? Post a counter argument. Don't just piously state nothing statements like "if it's a bad tag kill it" - we already know that.
    – slugster
    May 18, 2013 at 3:06
  • Whoa whoa whoa. I'm only saying "If it's a bad tag kill it" because your whole first and second paragraph say the exact opposite, as others have stated.
    – ɥʇǝS
    May 18, 2013 at 3:29
  • 1
    @Seth yeah maybe I've come across a little strong (sorry about that), but I think people have misread the point I was trying to make: the tags themselves are not bad, but they have indeed been used badly, so the answer is to do the usual clean up on the questions rather than eliminate the tags. (Funny thing: I just noticed that you are the OP, here I was answering like you were a third party to the discussion).
    – slugster
    May 18, 2013 at 3:35

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