A recent post on SO Meta mentioned this:
[...] we are in the early exploration phase of:
- making it possible to label individual answers with technology versions — for example, [python-v2] vs. [python-v3].
I think this feature could be beneficial to other sites on SE. As a Code Golf regular, I'll list possible benefits and implementation considerations mainly for this specific site, but some general ideas may apply to other sites as well. (I can imagine some sites may not find this helpful; in that case, it could be made an opt-in feature per site.)
Categorize answers (obviously), and search answers by label.
On Code Golf, each question (challenge) has many answers in different category (language). The benefit is not very obvious by itself, but if we get related features like "search answers by label" or "filter answers by label on question page", it would be much better. Especially search answers by label: plain text search doesn't help much when the language name is a common English word, is very short, or contains special symbols. (I do this kind of search a lot when I pick up a new language, mainly to check out existing solutions on the site in that language, or to check if a given challenge already has an answer in it.)
Other possible categories/labels on other sites might look like these (just some ideas):
- SO: language versions (already mentioned in the SO meta post), maybe "meta-categories" such as outdated, good/bad practice
- Puzzling: [no-computers] vs. computer-assisted answers, post-mortems a.k.a. "creation-of" answers
Allow gathering statistics per answer label.
Probably this part was already in mind in the SO meta post, since it is mainly about gathering statistics about answers and user actions on them. For general use, I think a new column in the Posts table on SEDE and/or an extra field in the API would be a great addition.
We use various scripts and/or SEDE to gather data about answers, but pattern matching on the rendered HTML (as the post body currently is) is a mess. HTML formatting can change and scripts break. All the different heading formats people use make it even worse. A separate field indicating the label solves the issue neatly; we don't need to try to parse HTML at all.
Separate answer labels from question tags
Some existing tags may overlap with some nice answer labels, but they serve different purpose. On Code Golf, the distinction is significant: each answer category will represent a language, but usage of language tags on questions is generally discouraged. (No, blacklisting is not an option, since their usage is justified in [tips] questions for example.) I'm not calling answer labels "answer tags" because of this point.
Do not bump posts on answer label edit
We have hundreds of thousands of posts (if not millions) to add labels to answers accumulated so far. Bumping every post on every answer label addition would make the site unusable.