By super tagging I mean for example adding tags such as visual-studio to a question tagged visual-studio-2010.

Why this would be desirable:

  • it is easier to ignore / follow a single super tag rather than every single new version that comes out.

    I can't stand anymore ignoring visual-studio versions (visual-studio, visual-studio-2010-sp1, ...) or every single library for a language that I don't know like javascript (node.js, angular.js, backbone.js, etc.).

    EDIT as Doorknoob mentioned, one can ignore with asterisks as visual-studio* to ignore all visual-studio tags. This would not however work for example for language vs library as in python vs django.

  • Employers who want to measure how much visual-studio you know have to add up all visual-studio-XXX without counting duplicates. That would be hard.

Also the top answer for this question at the time of writing says that sub/super tagging is good.

So how do we ensure that super tagging gets done?

Alternatives I can see so far:

  • accept retag edits and give people repo for that.

    Dangerous, because I got 200 rep today by adding visual-studio super tags, so even a bot could give someone 2000 rep in 10 days. This would however ensure that super tagging gets done.

  • accept retag edits and don't give people repo for them, or give them little repo. I am not sure this is possible, but probably has been suggested (please link to if you know where).

    Of course, if you don't give people repo, many questions will go without proper supertags.

  • suggest somewhere that askers supertag and give examples of valid supertags.

For the three abouve options to work, reviewers or askers would need guidelines to what counts as a good supertag, and any such guideline will have many edge cases and be very hard to decide on.

Or should we reject all supertagging edits, since all of the above have problems? But then, how do we decide what counts as a supertag and what does not? If we decide everything that is not a supertag, wouldn't that be the same as deciding what is a supertag?

EDIT when I asked this I had in mind for it to be a conditional discussion: if we want to add super and sub tags, how should we do it, and not if we should do it or not (true, the way it was asked was very partial). I suggest the question of should we add both tags be moved to this older question which as far as I understand already discusses that. Thinking about it now, this could even be marked as a dupe, because it we decide that we should do something, then we should also decide how at the same time.

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    I think we should just burn those tags and keep only the "super" tags. We don't really need to know what version they are using – Cole Johnson Aug 21 '13 at 16:32
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    @ColeJohnson But what about version specific bugs/issues? – FalconC Aug 21 '13 at 16:33
  • @ColeJohnson how would we burn them? – Ciro Santilli 新疆再教育营六四事件法轮功郝海东 Aug 21 '13 at 16:33
  • @FalconC then you mention it in the post. – Cole Johnson Aug 21 '13 at 16:34
  • @cirosantilli Maybe tag synonyms? I am glad you made a post about this issue, I wanted to do the same. – FalconC Aug 21 '13 at 16:35
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    @ColeJohnson: Version tags are a pretty well-thought out concept. Everyone pretty much understands why they are here. If I were asking a question about Linq, and I was targeting .NET Framework 3.5 (which eliminates certain capabilities), I would include the .net-3.5 tag in my question. – user102937 Aug 21 '13 at 16:37
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    You seem familiar...didn't your massive retagging already come up today? – Bart Aug 21 '13 at 16:37
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    @Bart it is me, I don't mind geting rep reverted, I just wanted to call attention to this point. – Ciro Santilli 新疆再教育营六四事件法轮功郝海东 Aug 21 '13 at 16:39
  • @Bart Here: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/194114/… – user213634 Aug 21 '13 at 16:39
  • I would suggest this: imgur.com/a/9v3NR. The balloon shouldn't be red, but blue or something (I made the picture really quick). I believe this is possible, but I need confirmation on this from a SO dev. – FalconC Aug 21 '13 at 16:40
  • Ah yeah @AndersUP in these comments. I had a terrible sense of deja vu there for a moment. – Bart Aug 21 '13 at 16:40
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    You seem to be suggesting tag hierarchies. It's been discussed before – user102937 Aug 21 '13 at 16:44
  • @RobertHarvey But apparently not to total agreement: meta.stackexchange.com/q/41206/213634 – user213634 Aug 21 '13 at 16:45
  • @RobertHarvey But these hierarchies seem to be strict. I am a supporter for only version hierarchy. – FalconC Aug 21 '13 at 16:46
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    @FalconC: Version hierarchies are too specific. If you're going to make a hierarchical system of tags, you might as well generalize it so that it is useful for more than just versioning. – user102937 Aug 21 '13 at 16:47

Don't enforce use of super tags.

They're unnecessary. They add no extra information. And, in fact, by squeezing out other more useful tags, they remove useful information.

I won't be using tag formatting for most of this post because it does pretty ugly stuff to paragraphs. I'll just be doing [this] instead to indicate a tag.

Another Stack Exchange site has already learned lessons here

Over on Roleplaying Games (for tabletop RPGs, not video games) we deal with this kind of thing in almost every question. We have tags like [dnd-3e] for questions about Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition. We also have [dungeons-and-dragons], which is used on questions related to the entire D&D franchise, and [d20], which is used for the d20 system which D&D 3rd Edition runs on. Both [dungeons-and-dragons] and [d20] are considered parent tags for [dnd-3e].

When a question comes along about D&D 3rd edition, it's tagged with [dnd-3e] and not the other two. Those other two are already implicit, and won't add any new information. They'd just waste two more of the five tags a question can have, and that's about all they'd do.

A case against enforcing super tags

What about when a question is asking about both [dnd-3e] (super tags [dungeons-and-dragons] and [d20]), and [dresden-files] (super tag [fate]), and is also asking about [spellcasting] (super tags [spells] and [magic]) in those systems?

  • With enforcement of super tags, the total relevant tags are:

    Ouch. Something gets squeezed out somewhere. A system gets dropped (very bad), the spellcasting tag and its parents get dropped (also bad but not as bad), or we can't enforce the usage of super tags (making them unreliable, which is bad).

  • Without, the question is tagged:

    That's it. You have everything you need to know. How nice is that?

This is not unwieldy for searching

Those looking for questions about all versions of D&D have a tag to search, those looking for questions about the d20 system have a tag to search, and those looking for questions about D&D 3e have a tag to search - and people looking for any of those three can just use an 'OR' statement in their searches.

Plus, to help people with searching: the dungeons-and-dragons tag wiki contains a list of all D&D tags on the site, the fate tag wiki does the same, and we'll continue to do so for other tags in the future which cover a broad selection of tags.

Maybe you could do something similar with your visual studio tag wiki.

  • I understand and agree with your arguments. I suggest you post this answer here instead, since that would centralize the to sub tag or not to subtag question. I meant this question to be more like: supposing we want to sub/super tag, how to do it? I will make this clearer on the question. – Ciro Santilli 新疆再教育营六四事件法轮功郝海东 Aug 29 '13 at 11:44
  • This isn't about subtags, though. This is about super tags. – doppelgreener Aug 29 '13 at 11:47
  • I am in doubt if they are dupes, but I think while the question I linked to talks about sub tags in the title, the thing he asks is the same: when should both tags be given. I am not sure. – Ciro Santilli 新疆再教育营六四事件法轮功郝海东 Aug 29 '13 at 11:58
  • I just read through that question and its answers - it's bringing up something related but very different to what's being asked about here. This answer isn't really appropriate there (though some parts of it may be), but it's very appropriate here. – doppelgreener Aug 29 '13 at 13:00

Ah, time to resurrect my good old Implicit tagging hierarchy suggestion: While a question about is obviously about that specific version of , using the latter tag additionally is nonsense to me - it wastes space for a tag that is already implicitly present, but everyone has to use a visual-studio* wildcard (which fails to render correctly when typing [tag:visual-studio*] by the way...) and this is not possible for other tags where the implied hierarchy is not visible in the name, e.g. in . That's why I suggested an implicit tagging hierarchy, where adding a tag for which unambiguous parent tags exist (a question in should require the tag explicitly since it could also be e.g. or , while both and are implicit parents) those tags should be treated as present on search/ignore/favorite queries but not be explicitly waste one of the five tag slots.

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    I agree with the statement about the extra tags wasting space & being nonsense. Over on Roleplaying Games (which covers tabletop RPGs, not video games), we follow this philosophy. If a question is tagged dnd-3.5e, we already know it's Dungeons & Dragons - we don't also need the dungeons-and-dragons tag, or the d20 tag. Those are already implicit. Adding super tags would mean using up three of the maximum five tags! I'm not so sure about your suggestion for treating tags that way in search engines, though: new uses might emerge for those tags. – doppelgreener Aug 29 '13 at 10:26
  • @JonathanHobbs Precisely! It's similar over on ArQAde where no-one would tag questions to a specific game with its series, or e.g. with the platform it runs on unless specifically relevant, yet e.g. someone ignoring PS3 games in general most likely won't be interested in questions on games that are exclusive to that. Concerning search engines, I guess the implicit tag could be shown somewhere more or less invisible to users, and while we're at it that might also be a good idea for tag-synonyms... – Tobias Kienzler Aug 29 '13 at 10:49
  • Your example case sounds like it'd require people to curate a list of all games on PS3, and somehow you'd be able to block things exclusively on PS3 but not things on PS3 as well as other platforms (which blocking would block anyway, since the PS3 tag's implicitly there). I don't think the SE tagging system is built to support something like that. (Or that people will curate a complete and accurate list, so it'd be unreliable enough I wouldn't want to rely on it or be affected by it) – doppelgreener Aug 29 '13 at 13:49
  • @JonathanHobbs Adding which game is available on which platform is a more trivial edit than its tag-wiki - and a PS3 block would only apply if a game is exclusively on PS3; or more general ignore filters would only apply to supertags if all supertags are ignored, implying its subtags are just as uninteresting – Tobias Kienzler Aug 29 '13 at 15:13

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