This question revealed to me a category of tags which serve no purpose, which are useless and ineffective, and which should be destroyed on the spot.

I kindly request that we retag/burninate all of the punctuation tags and blacklist most of them. Punctuation tags are very likely to return (somebody's going to use again, you just know it), so blacklisting may be necessary.

"This isn't a problem." Isn't it?

No longer living:

can we please kill the punctuation we should blacklist these it would make teh site soooo much better please can we

  • 6
    Also underbar and underscores.
    – Kara
    Nov 18, 2013 at 6:21
  • 2
    @Kara underbar has died.
    – user206222
    Nov 18, 2013 at 6:23
  • 2
    I just found braces
    – Kara
    Nov 18, 2013 at 7:08
  • You should also google around in case there's products called e.g. Slash
    – user172164
    Nov 18, 2013 at 7:21
  • @darvid I'm leaving slash because that's not what the tag wiki reads.
    – user206222
    Nov 18, 2013 at 7:28
  • 2
    > "teh site soooo much better please can we". Okay...
    – sehe
    Nov 18, 2013 at 7:58
  • There's also quote (rename?) and smart-quotes - related question - Quote tags cleanup. Nov 18, 2013 at 12:31
  • minus is a SQL operator... not that I think it's generally used well. Nov 18, 2013 at 20:56
  • @ben Compare this with this; I agree, not a very good success rate.
    – user206222
    Nov 18, 2013 at 22:18

1 Answer 1


Hyphenation is the process of adding hyphens to printed words, using heuristics or a dictionary. So that one stays.

Checking , it appears to be used mainly as a reference to negative numbers. "Minus three" is colloquially equivalent to "negative three," even according to some public curricula. So that could be migrated to .

Those are the only two I clicked, but in general I don't see the issue. Spelled-out punctuation marks don't address specific issues in themselves, but combined with a language tag they do acquire meaning, and it's notoriously hard to do textual search for punctuation.

Many other common terms like are the same. In my neighborhood of C++, punctuation marks even form names to identify generic functions.

  • 2
    The fact of this is, tags like these don't actually say anything about the question. If you see a question tagged c++, you know what the question is about. If you see sorting-algorithm, you know what the question is about. If you see double-quotes, it doesn't really help clarify the question, and doesn't serve as good metadata.
    – user206222
    Nov 18, 2013 at 7:30
  • 3
    I think the point being made here is e.g. if a user wants to know what the period operator in objective-c actually does, they might search "objective-c period" or "objective-c dot". Having the question tagged period might help in this case.
    – user172164
    Nov 18, 2013 at 7:33
  • 1
    @Emrakul You're only speculating from ignorance. In fact, the 2011 revision of C++ introduced a new way of quoting double quotes. If someone asked "I have so many double quotes, how can I quote them more easily in C++?" then the answer would involve a new language feature created for exactly that use case. Likewise "javascript semicolon" together identify a specific, well-studied issue. Nov 18, 2013 at 7:34
  • Ah, you're right. While I object to "You're only speculating from ignorance," @Potatoswatter, as I happen to have some experience with programming in a multitude of languages, I agree that there are edge-case uses of these tags.
    – user206222
    Nov 18, 2013 at 7:40
  • 3
    Actually wait, no - Meta has had this discussion before. It doesn't matter if something couples with other tags to form meaning; if the tag doesn't have inherent, obvious meaning, it isn't good. I stick by my main post.
    – user206222
    Nov 18, 2013 at 14:58
  • @Emrakul Also bear in mind that all questions are by policy required to have a language tag if possible. So such combination will essentially always happen. Nov 19, 2013 at 0:31