Not the languages themselves of course, just the tag, which has 3,672 posts attached and must be the most meta of meta tags. The excerpt reads:

A programming language is an artificial language designed to express computations that can be performed by a machine, particularly a computer.

I don't see much point in a tag stating that the question is about a programming language on a site dedicated to... programming.

There are 48 additional tags with programming in the name, some of which may be useful, other's not so much.

Additional ones that should probably be burninated are:

  • - 149 posts, This tag is used for questions involving game programming. Before using this tag, consider whether your question would be a better fit for gamedev.stackexchange.com. was burninated, twice.

  • - 73 posts, no wiki. That'd be everything then.

  • - 69 posts, no wiki. A paradigm is a typical pattern, i.e. a canonical example, so hopefully everything.

  • - 66 posts, Pair Programming is an agile software development technique in which two programmers work together at one work station. I can't imagine there are any code problems specifically related to working in pairs.

  • - 32 posts, Programming pearls are unique problems or solutions that might puzzle a programmer, they have grown from real problems that have irritated real programmers, just as natural pearls grow from grains of sand that irritate oysters. The excerpt says it all...

  • - 31 posts, Almost always Not Constructive - try: https://codegolf.stackexchange.com/. Ditto

  • - 28 posts, no wiki. Seems to be used as a synonym for "I think this might be an easy question"?

  • - 48 posts, no wiki. Either it's a good question or not, the only purpose this might solve is to stop people yelling that the OP is cheating, but if the OP is actually cheating and uses the tag I don't see what difference it makes.
  • - 4 posts, no wiki. Please can someone help :-(, also if a few people want to take a close/delete run at the last 16 questions that'd be nice!

There are a load more but I'm not the person to tell whether they might be useful or not.

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Though I'm not sure I don't really see the need for these:

  • - 84 posts, Extreme programming is a Software Development Methodology from the '90s, nowadays considered a subclass of Agile Programming. It involves typical features such as pair programming, YAGNI, and very iterative programming. ????

  • . I know that other tags completely cover this one so I don't see why it's needed.

The following could be merged:

  • 2
    What if you have a question about developing your own programming language? How is this different from Should we burn sudoku?
    – JDB
    Jul 23, 2013 at 20:54
  • If that's the case then you're not using the tag for its intended reason @Cyborgx37, according to the tag-wiki. You can't honestly say that people have been using it for that (and it's unpoliceable due to the number of questions) and maybe new-language-development would be a better tag? Jul 23, 2013 at 20:55
  • 1
    You can't just burninate tags because they contain the word programming!
    – AndrewC
    Jul 23, 2013 at 23:10
  • 8
    Plenty of these in your big list mean something specific, and are useful for categorising questions. You need to explain why these questions are bad or why it's unhelpful to use these tags if you're going to suggest a blanket ban on using the word programming in a tag. This is extreme.
    – AndrewC
    Jul 23, 2013 at 23:14
  • 1
    Example: dynamic programming is an algorithm used on a directed graph by working backwards in stages from the destination. It's a well-defined, well known technique, known by the phrase dynamic programming.
    – AndrewC
    Jul 23, 2013 at 23:17
  • Example: jvm allows you to specify that your question has something to do with the JVM, maybe involving issues that cross languages. Similarly, logic-programming or functional-programming can give useful information about the content of the question that crosses programming languages.
    – AndrewC
    Jul 23, 2013 at 23:31
  • 2
    I'm concurring with @AndrewC here. For C++, template-meta-programming is a valid technique that you could have googled and gotten the answer in less than a second.
    – Rapptz
    Jul 24, 2013 at 2:47
  • 5
    People are aware that "programming languages" is a field of study with a defined scope of inquiry, right? There's an ACM Journal devoted to it. There are many, many books about it. If you go to a respectable CS program, there will be a course about "programming languages" that talks about them in the abstract, where you learn about actual solutions to actual programming language problems. I'm honestly baffled that anyone would support this -- it'd be like saying we should remove "bitwise" as a tag because computers operate on bits. Jul 24, 2013 at 2:56
  • 1
    You'll note that I'm not advocating the big list at all... Probably shouldn't have posted it @AndrewC Jul 24, 2013 at 5:38

3 Answers 3


Not all questions about driving are about car engines, and not all questions about car engines are about driving.

Questions I can think of that should have the programming-languages tag:

  • Why do some languages coerce the || operator to a boolean type, but not others?
  • What closed-form solution, if any, exists to solve overload resolution in the presence of arguments that can be strongly contextually typed?
  • Can a language lack covariance and still preserve sound typing?
  • How are private fields handled in a structural type systems?
  • What is the correct initialization order of class members in languages using prototypal inheritance?

This isn't to say all the questions with this tag are using it properly, but it's quite a stretch to say there aren't questions that apply to the concept of programming languages themselves in the abstract.

  • 1
    These don't look very on-topic to me. 'opinion-based' .
    – Rosinante
    Jul 24, 2013 at 1:03
  • 1
    @Rosinante 2,3,4 and to some extent 5 (although I might concede that one is on the fence) are asking for concrete facts, so they don't really seem opinion based to me.
    – user200500
    Jul 24, 2013 at 1:30
  • 1
    Okay, so they're bad examples. Doesn't mean that the tag is useless. It still applies to questions that are generally about the design and study of programming languages. It's clearly not a meta tag. Jul 24, 2013 at 4:20
  • I'm aware that programming languages are a field of study, yes. I'm afraid I still don't see the need for the tag... I would like to add that have you been through and seen what this tag is used for? I would accept that you could use it for this meaning but you'll need to change the tag wiki in the first instance so it's not so generic and then go through all 3.6k questions removing those such as this one which get tagged with it. It doesn't matter whether you're right or not if 99% of the questions with the tag shouldn't have it, cc @CodyGray. Jul 24, 2013 at 5:48
  • "It doesn't matter whether you're right or not if 99% of the questions with the tag shouldn't have it" Naturally, I disagree. Just because people are using something wrong does not mean that we should prevent anyone else from using it again. I'm very much in favor of editing some tag wikis and questions. That's very different from a massive tag obliteration. The point is that if the tag could serve some useful purpose in describing questions, it should stay. Jul 24, 2013 at 5:52
  • I would agree with that @Cody :-). The problem with it being used incorrectly and not rigorously policed is that if you want to use it as a proper tag, you'll now never be able to find what you want. A quick browse through is useless to you and no-one will ever be bothered to clean it up. Jul 24, 2013 at 5:54

There seems to be a general trend towards burninating any and all tags that are not fully understood or that are not specific to a particular language - that seems to have culminated in this post, which is suggesting the removal of many good tags, mixed in with a few that are questionable.

Another concern is the tenancy to post a suggestion such as this, and have people immediately start taking action on it. I would not be surprised if people have already started taking action on many of these tags, without fully appreciating that many of them are perfectly fine.

I suggest that this entire question should be rejected, and if anybody wants to pull the tags that really are bad out of it, they should be raised as new issues which can then be discussed on their individual merits.

  • 1
    Yup. Just because you post on Meta does mean that you can violate the basic rule of only asking 1 question per question. Jul 24, 2013 at 5:30
  • language-agnostic is for questions that are code related but not for a specific tag. Fair enough on the second half but I think people would have got extremely bored with 10 of these... Jul 24, 2013 at 5:44
  • P.S. on the started taking action, there's 3.6k questions with a lot of crud thrown in... no one can make a dent without an automated tool. Jul 24, 2013 at 5:56

I burned game-programming and programming-techniques, and merged system-programming into systems-programming.

The rest of these need further consideration, and I don't think a massive list is the way to go at it. In particular, be aware that some of these tags are the proper names for various tools, techniques or fields.

Please care for the widows and orphans.

  • 1
    Just for fun, remind me again why [game-programming] is a bad tag. Surely there's more of a reason than "we already have a Game Development site", but it doesn't seem like a meta tag to me. Jul 24, 2013 at 5:50
  • Yeah, posting the big list was a bad idea... as I say I don't know whether they're useful to other people. Thank you for doing this. Do pair-programming or programming-pearls really need consideration though? If I'm going about this all the wrong way I'd like to understand what I'm doing wrong. Jul 24, 2013 at 5:50
  • @Cody: it wouldn't have to be a bad tag (nor would game-development for that matter). In practice though, these tend to be used on questions that have little or nothing to do with gamedev - IOW, questions that wouldn't be on-topic on Game Development. That just ends up making for a very weak tag.
    – Shog9
    Jul 24, 2013 at 5:56
  • 2
    @ben: I haven't looked at the questions in those tags, but the former is the name of a technique and the latter is the name of a book
    – Shog9
    Jul 24, 2013 at 5:57

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .