See the revision history on this question, where the tag was edited in (and subsequently edited out after I started this discussion). I think, by adding this tag, you're making assumptions about the OP which they could find a little bit offensive. Particularly with this question, there's no mention of the level of PHP knowledge — it's more a math question than it is a programming question.

Someone could be excellent at a particular language whilst not being particularly great at math, so isn't it a bit insulting to make the assumption they're a beginner?

It's also interesting to note the question count for the tag tag, which currently stands at 7,784 on SO. Compare this to , which only has 18 questions, most of them being "discussiony." Why do users retag questions as "beginner" but not "expert"?

UPDATE, , we barely knew ye.

Tag Cleanup Request: Please get rid of “beginner”
How about a difficulty rating for questions? (thanks @Ralph)

  • 14
    No, I can't see any point at all in using this tag.
    – nb69307
    Commented Jul 30, 2010 at 11:19
  • @Neil - I usually remove that tag if the original author did not use it.
    – user50049
    Commented Jul 30, 2010 at 11:37
  • @Andy - Looking at expert, I see no reason for that tag to continue living.
    – user50049
    Commented Jul 30, 2010 at 11:50
  • the point is that some questions are so ... basic that they are not even real questions. simple google or SO search will give him millions of good answers.
    – IAdapter
    Commented Jul 30, 2010 at 12:04
  • 3
    @01: then why not just mention that in the comments? Retagging a question [beginner] doesn't even nearly say "Have you tried searching on google?"
    – Andy E
    Commented Jul 30, 2010 at 12:12
  • @01: Googleability isn't grounds for disqualification. Read the friendly FAQ. Commented Jul 30, 2010 at 12:17

4 Answers 4


I don't like the idea of a beginner tag for two reasons:

  1. People's standard for what constitutes a beginner question differs from person to person.
  2. The question asker might get offended by having his labeled as a beginner question.

Besides, I don't see the value of a beginner tag really. It doesn't seem to serve any purpose.

  • 1
    The beginner tag should only be added by the OP. And the point is to maybe walk the OP through the code instead of just throwing a wall up there
    – TheLQ
    Commented Jul 30, 2010 at 18:34
  • Question asker == OP.
    – Cole Tobin
    Commented May 26, 2013 at 1:54
  • One way how this tag could be useful is by adding a "don't show me beginner questions" option.
    – user626528
    Commented Jan 7, 2018 at 22:51

I would point you to this question here. It is about a qualification system of beginner, advanced, expert.

It can be

  • very hard for the person to put herself into a category
  • very discriminating and absolutely wrong to brand somebody with a category

But even more dangerous. People could start to phase out certain categories:

  • an advanced person that is looking for reputation will only be after the beginner questions and easily filter them out
  • an expert might be tired of the badly put beginner questions and phase them out, missing the great questions that are really helpful on the way

Having said this, I strongly support the request to ban beginner, newbie, advanced, expert from the tag system and just hope that there aren't any products around with these names.

  • So you do enjoy seeing questions like "how to convert double to int", etc. all over again? using "beginner" tag here is offensive to beginners only(since OP is not even beginner).
    – IAdapter
    Commented Jul 30, 2010 at 11:57
  • 2
    @01 No, I don't. But the title tells me what to expect and I can skip the question if it really is that obvious. But I have seen questions that would have been absolute beginner questions but proofed very helpful to me - most the time not in my field of expertise. The only way to filter out beginner questions is to have them in the ignored tabs, but that way I lose all these helpful hints in other areas as it is not possible to ignore tag combinations.
    – malach
    Commented Jul 30, 2010 at 12:08
  • The way to avoid all the duplicate beginner questions is to educate them to search for already asked and answered questions by closing duplicates, a good set of proposed similar questions, hints and help texts that lead in the direction of search before you ask.
    – malach
    Commented Jul 30, 2010 at 12:08

Recent meta discussions have convinced me that the beginner tag is just too toxic in a public forum. I'd favored its use, because when I asked a completely nooberiffic linux question, I wanted the [beginner] label to serve as a shield that said, "I'm linux-impaired, sudo be gentle and use small words."

It never occurred to me that people would think the label was supposed to apply to them instead of their question. Or that people would use it as a form of attack. Perhaps this knife should not be left laying out on the counter.

I like Zephyr's idea of a fundamentals tag, and I still think such a tag could be used for good (e.g. a beginner who wants to read all the [fundamentals] questions to gain a variety of basic knowledge quickly.


I don't think skill should be a tag. Here's a meta question:

Hi, I can't get the following C code to compile, can someone help me?

for (i=1; i<10 i++);

Please note, I am a beginner with C and am trying to work through some exercises and tutorials.

This really obsoletes the use of tags for the same, with the exception of the ability to quickly find beginner questions in any given tag, but the search provides the same functionality.

Humorously, I strongly recommend against labeling yourself as expert when asking a question, the irony and subsequent down-vote is just too hard to resist.

Its up to the original author to let people know if:

  • They are at a beginning / novice level - which tells us that the person would appreciate an in depth explanation of a relatively simple concept.
  • A language barrier exists - combined with novice, this tells us that the person would appreciate an in depth explanation that is devoid of idioms, slang and other colloquialisms

Usually, even if not explicitly noted, we're able to figure out if you are a beginner or a little rusty with your English.

  • While you were writing this answer I edited the post counts into my question for beginner and expert tags. The difference is huge.
    – Andy E
    Commented Jul 30, 2010 at 11:40
  • 2
    @Andy - You may want to make a proposal to nuke the expert tag altogether. Its even less useful than beginner
    – user50049
    Commented Jul 30, 2010 at 11:48
  • proposal made - meta.stackexchange.com/questions/59085/…
    – Andy E
    Commented Jul 30, 2010 at 12:10

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