The tag appears to be a meta tag much in the same way that homework was - it indicates where the problem came from but does not seem to aide in searching or tagging. It seems to be much the same as an excuse for poor "fix my codez" questions (that in many cases are left without other useful tags).

Should this tag be destroyed much in the same way that homework was?

Consider from Death of Meta Tags

The reason meta-tags are a problem is that they do not describe the content of the question. They describe some other aspect of the question, like the author’s skill level, or the author’s motivation for asking it, or generally what “kind” of question it is (poll, how-to, etc.).


How can you tell you’re using a meta-tag? It’s easier than you might think

If the tag can’t work as the only tag on a question, it’s probably a meta-tag. Every tag you use should be able to work, more or less, as the only tag on a question. Meta-tags, like [beginner], [subjective], and [best-practices], are useless by themselves — they tell you nothing at all about the content of the question.

tells you that it is a programming problem, but then nearly every question on SO is a programming problem.

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    if question.score <= 0: question.delete() – ben is uǝq backwards May 27 '13 at 19:32
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    I disagree. Problem source can certainly be helpful. What about project-euler? Burnination should only be used when a tag absolutely indicates a question is low quality - this tag doesn't make the questions bad by definition. – user206222 May 27 '13 at 19:33
  • I understand where you're coming from but it's not quite the same @Knights... there's a lot of crap on that tag. I'm not opposed to the tag remaining (just to clarify) but I'm going on a close-voting spree... – ben is uǝq backwards May 27 '13 at 19:36
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    @KnightswhosayNi Useful in what way? Say a question is only tagged [spoj], what does that tell you about the problem presented in the question? – yannis May 27 '13 at 19:37
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    @KnightswhosayNi Indicating homework as a source is just as useful as spoj. One can indicate the source in the text of the question, but using it as the only or an excuse for a poor "fix my codez" question, much the same homework was. I would feel much the same addressing the Project Euler questions. A question should be able to stand on its own without the "this is where I got the problem from" tag. – user213963 May 27 '13 at 19:39
  • That's fair. A tag cleanup is a much more appropriate solution, methinks. @Yannis: I can't think of a question which only fits into one tag. All of these questions should have more than one tag, because you're right, [spoj] by itself says nothing. That doesn't mean the questions are bad, though. The tag can also be useful for searches. – user206222 May 27 '13 at 19:39
  • @MichaelT The difference is, nobody knows what your homework is. Many people have participated in spoj, just the same as Project Euler. There is shared knowledge in spoj, but none in homework. I agree - these questions should not have one tag. But I don't think the tag is useless. – user206222 May 27 '13 at 19:40
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    @KnightswhosayNi Hm? This question is about killing the tag, not the questions (although a lot of them should go away as well). – yannis May 27 '13 at 19:44
  • @Yannis It's descriptive in that it's both useful for anyone searching about spoj, and that it describes a target audience. That's what tags are for, really. They target groups of members. – user206222 May 27 '13 at 19:45
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    @KnightswhosayNi No, that's not what tags are for. Tags should help categorize the problem presented in the question, not the target audience. – yannis May 27 '13 at 19:47
  • @Yannis And a question tagged as [spoj] is useful for anyone searching or answering questions about spoj. It's a categorization of questions, and one which may very well be useful. (By 'target audience' I mean anyone searching or answering) – user206222 May 27 '13 at 19:49
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    @KnightswhosayNi There is no such thing as "questions about spoj" (in the context of SO), it's not a technology, a platform or a programming tool. Think about it this way: What makes one a spoj expert? – yannis May 27 '13 at 19:51
  • @Yannis Hmm, while I see your point, I disagree with the principle. I think this comes down to a disparity in the way we view tags. To me, it looks like categorization by tags ultimately has the functional purpose of allowing answerers to find appropriate questions, and searchers to find what they're looking for. While yes, I agree with you - one cannot be a spoj expert - pragramtically, it seems to me like the tag still has a purpose. – user206222 May 27 '13 at 19:55
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    @Kni It does have a purpose, but it's a purpose we want to discourage. There's little value (if any) in allowing tags that help categorize questions based on "target audience". The prime example was the [homework] tag: The people who would be more suitable to answer those questions, were ignoring the tag (so, not only did it generate crap questions, but also crap answers from less qualified answerers). More often than not meta tags are just plain noise, but sometimes they can be actually harmful. Also: blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/08/the-death-of-meta-tags – yannis May 27 '13 at 19:59
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    @Yann There's a difference between [spoj] and [homework] - nobody knows anything about your homework, but people do know something about spoj. However, I can see your point. While I don't think it's a useless tag, I can see it having the capability to produce bad questions and answers. So, I would understand if we decide to remove the tag. I'm just trying to think of a better solution... – user206222 May 27 '13 at 20:05

No, it's not a meta-tag. It tells you the sandbox in which the program will run, and it's possible to develop the program exclusively within the sandbox. Of course, ideally users will also compile and run at home, but theoretically, you could develop this on a guest account on your aunt's ancient PC in which you can't even install cc or gcc or a decent text editor, submit it, and have it run only on their servers. In answering these questions I have found this information is relevant.

I would only support destroying this tag if we had much clearer evidence that it was being abused as an excuse for poor questions - to the extent that this overwhelms its accurate use as a platform - but I'm pretty sure the low quality of these questions is just because they come from novice and ESL users. I feel the "homework" tag was much more a statement of, "it's okay to post homework questions here," which, while true, had a connotation we couldn't really get rid of, to the extent that even if it weren't purely a meta-tag, there would have been (and was) a serious case for burnination.

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    There's actually some "I'm looking for an algorithm to solve this SPOJ problem" questions, which transcends levels of insanity and laziness that I'm ill equipped to encompass. Though they may be novice or ESL users there is no excuse. – ben is uǝq backwards May 27 '13 at 20:31
  • "tells you the environment/platform that is the target of the program" -- could you please describe it? I spent a while checking through their entry page, tutorials and faq and could not figure "environment/platform that is the target of the program" – gnat May 27 '13 at 22:30
  • @gnat I'm talking about the SPOJ service, not necessarily OS or anything. You know their program is one that has to pass certain tests. A solution involving opening a connection leaving the system you can reasonably infer is off-limits, for instance. – djechlin May 27 '13 at 22:35
  • "one that has to pass certain tests" -- fine, could you please just describe these "tests" then? – gnat May 27 '13 at 22:36
  • @gnat SPOJ is an online grader. I can't tell you much about it since I never used it. You can try submitting something to learn the process. When answering questions in this tag I kept in mind that the program would be running on a remote server and the user had very little control over it. – djechlin May 27 '13 at 22:39
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    @gnat: Users upload code to SPOJ which then compiles, runs and validates their solutions. Therefore, there are limitations on execution time, memory consumption and what kind of I/O you can do. Basically, it can be useful to know that the code has to run in a certain sandbox. – hammar May 27 '13 at 23:45
  • @hammar "sandbox," that's it, thank you. Updated answer. – djechlin May 28 '13 at 0:04