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The tag 'free' on stackoverflow is used with very different semantics:

  • The Standard C free() function to deallocate memory
  • Free software, books, ...
  • Other uses I may have overlooked

What is the procedure to disambugate these?

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We could change tags for the second usage of free to free-as-in-beer. ;)

On a more serious note, we could start employing a gratis tag to cover the second case, but how many users are actually going to use it, or search for it, or even understand it? The tag free is a more natural tag to use, and yes, this means that there will be some ambiguity because there are other meanings (like the free() function, etc.).

I don't know that there is any good way or pressing need to disambiguate the different uses. Users can just focus on the question title or the other 4 (potential) tags on the question to figure out which free the question is about.

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  • The only issue with leaving it ambiguous is what to write in the tag wiki. That feature increases the importance of getting tags down to single meanings. 'Course, I don't intend to write that wiki, so it's all the same to me. Apr 14 '11 at 23:48
  • @dmckee: I guess you could just add both uses to the tag wiki. Apr 15 '11 at 0:15

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