See previous topic: What did happen with “xpathengines” and “xqueryengines” tags, and why?


An unknown moderator performed two tag merges. A few users frequenting the tag objected. Other moderators and other SO users tried to help explain the decision to those users.

The primary argument in favor of the merge is that having a tag just for all implementations of xpath/xquery reduces the visibility of those questions. Questions placed under the tag also had very little to no relationship to each other. The tag did not help categorize the questions in a way that would assist question askers.

The primary argument against the merge seemed to be that the objecting users simply don't want questions in the xpath/xquery tags that aren't completely dedicated solely to those tags. This seems to be an argument about semantic purity.

While using the 10k tools page, I noticed some new xpath-related tags spring into existence. It seems that some questions that were previously tagged xpath are now having that tag removed and replaced with . Some other xpath-related questions are being un-xpath'd and being given other xpath-related-but-not-xpath tags, like (e: only question retagged by a moderator) and (which I have removed from the one question that was retagged, in favor of tagging that will make the question findable by Zend Framework people).

This tag replacement is effectively the same thing that was previously undone by the moderation team. It's clear and obvious that xpath-implementation and xpath-2.0-implementations tags are simple copies of the previous -engines tag.

I'd like to get a clear message from the moderation team in regard to:

  1. whether or not these new horribly-inspecific tags should exist, and
  2. whether or not xpath/xquery-related questions should be removed from the vanilla tags in favor of the specific tags

It's my opinion that these new tags should not exist, and xpath/xquery-related questions should not be purged from the vanilla tags. I'm more than willing to simply go through and revert the retags, but I expect that doing so without some diamond backing is going to result in an even larger drama explosion/trainwreck than the creation of this question will.


Tags are not hierarchical. You can set up wildcard searches to produce questions across similar tags... But this is more useful as a way to search/watch questions in related tags: making wildcards necessary to find all questions that fall in the domain of a single tag defeats the purpose of having that tag.

But set ops work just fine for limiting yourself to a subset of questions in a given tag: want all XPath questions that involve Java? No problem! Hate Java? And C#? Loathe PHP and despise JavaScript? Hey, you can exclude those just as easily!

What you can't do is remove a relevant tag from all the questions you don't want to see. If you see this happening again, flag for moderator attention.

  • Thanks for the reply. Does this answer speak for the moderator team? I'm sure that you're going to be perceived as biased by certain other involved parties, so stating that the moderation team backs your answer is probably going to be important. – Charles May 8 '11 at 19:24
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    @Charles: I fully agree with Shog9's interpretation. All of the new tags you described above are too specific. – Robert Harvey May 8 '11 at 20:14
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    In this particular instance, I'm speaking for SE Inc., reiterating what was already discussed in previous threads (both the one you linked to and others). – Shog9 May 9 '11 at 0:55

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