I see no reason to distinguish and . They should be synonyms. There are already 2 votes to synonymize them, but it's a rarely-used tag, so it apparently doesn't get much attention.

Edit: comments also suggest we ban burninate these very vague tags. While arguably some questions could be "why" or "when", an extremely large portion could be labeled "how", rendering the labels meaningless.

  • 5
    Shouldn't these be banned instead?
    – Arjan
    Apr 30, 2011 at 22:27
  • I added howto to one of my questions and someone almost immediately removed it. Wouldn't hurt to ban, since they are rather vague I suppose.
    – Dan Burton
    Apr 30, 2011 at 22:35
  • 4
    These definitely should be banned. What possible purpose could they serve on a Q&A site? They're equivalent to a question tag. BURNINATE THEM! May 1, 2011 at 6:25
  • 2
    Look at it this way: the "howto" tag is a good starting point for flagging, editing and retagging ;-) Sep 2, 2011 at 15:40

1 Answer 1


Personally I see no reason to keep tags that go against the whole purpose of a Q&A site.

Since howto or how-to usually translates into "Do this for me!" or "Can some one guide me step by step to achieve this", they with no doubt should be burninate!

Take the very essence of howto:

Giving basic instructions to the layperson on how to do or make something.

This is not the purpose of a Q&A site, as stated by the FAQ, where it read on the first paragraph:

You should only ask practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face.

howto always ends up referring to a guidance on a broad subject, not to a practical problem at hand.

There are at this date 451 questions using the howto tag, and after some analysis to the existing questions, many of them have the title starting with "How to ...", but the question itself refers to a particular issue.


This question was tagged like:

javascript jquery internet-explorer bugs howto 

Looking at these tags, having the howto present, I get the idea that this user wants to learn how to create bugs on internet-explorer using jQuery. Doesn't make any sense, the howto is just causing confusion!

The question is titled:

IE bug with global variables. How to bypass this bug?

Give a better clear idea that a bug exists and the user needs a solution to go around it.

So, yes, please BURNINATE this tag(s).

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