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I've seen a number of questions tagged recently.

This is a meta tag which doesn't add anything to the question or site.

What benefit, if any, does anyone think that this tag brings?

If there is no benefit I propose to remove the tag from all existing posts and re-tag any posts left in the process.

UPDATE

The tag has been manually removed from all posts, seemed an appropriate replacement in a number of circumstances.

  • learning might be a suitable replacement for several of them. I support banning the beginners tag. – Nicole Apr 22 '11 at 21:09
  • junior-programmer might be a good one for some of them as well, as in the case of this question where "beginners" was not a meta-tag at all. – Nicole Apr 22 '11 at 21:12
  • The learning tag also adds no value as all posts should be tagged as 'learning'! – Gary Willoughby Apr 27 '11 at 18:22
  • @Gary - it's slightly better than "beginner" but you're free to suggest a tag edit if you feel it's warranted. A few more up-votes and you'll be able to do it yourself. – ChrisF Apr 27 '11 at 20:55
  • It's not slightly better, it's worse if anything. I don't mean to be rude, it's just that all questions on all stack exchange sites could potentially be marked as 'learning'. You understand what i mean? The questions should be tagged strictly as per their content, not by perceived benefit for users. P.S. i don't care about my rep here, only the stackoverflow one matters. ;op – Gary Willoughby Apr 27 '11 at 21:27
  • @Gary - I do understand what you mean. – ChrisF Apr 27 '11 at 21:35
  • @Gary If you browse through the questions, you'll see what is meant by "learning". You can learn from all questions, but those questions are about learning. Like Chris said, you're free to suggest a different name, but the grouping is good. – Nicole Apr 29 '11 at 0:09
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Does this even mean anything when used correctly? Mark notes that since programmers themselves are on-topic for the site it could be used to refer to questions about beginners...

...But who is a beginner? The kid typing his first "Hello world" program? The freshman about to attend class? The new graduate starting his first real-world project? The polyglot programmer trying to make sense of Ruby? Beginner as a description for a person means very different things in different contexts, much more so than a role like .

A similar tag is , where a disturbing number of the questions tagged are concerned with defining what it means...

Mark argues that beginner could be useful for a person starting their professional life to find questions about other people in the same situation. But Renesis suggests the tag for this, which is probably a better choice seeing as I can only find a couple of questions tagged "beginners" that actually fit this criteria.

Regardless of how it could be used, is primarily used as a meta-tag. They're not questions about beginners, they're questions from beginners! For the vast majority of the questions currently tagged beginners, , and are all better choices.

Let's get rid of it.

  • OK - what's the best way to proceed? There are currently 36 questions tagged with beginner which is probably just about manageable for a manual retag effort. Or should we just delete the tag from the database (can mods do this?) and then retag specific questions later? – ChrisF Apr 26 '11 at 14:29
  • @ChrisF: let's just manually retag them, shouldn't take long. In most cases, the tag can simply be removed, but there are a handful with only [beginners] (or [beginners] and one other tag). – Shog9 Apr 26 '11 at 14:42
  • Right I'll make a start. – ChrisF Apr 26 '11 at 14:55
  • You guys are making the 'feature' of no distinction between an edit, an answer, and a new question on the front page to be very (annoyingly) obvious right now... – Jonathan Khoo Apr 26 '11 at 15:09
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    @Jonathan: it's like ripping off a bandage... ;-) – Shog9 Apr 26 '11 at 15:10
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Programmers.SE has a somewhat unique mission in that we're about being programmers instead of doing programming.

So, the one use I can see for it is for questions that are about starting out as a professional programmer. If I'm a tenderfoot programmer, it stands to reason I'd be interested in questions about starting out as a programmer in and of themselves, which would make not necessarily a meta-tag.

Some of the questions are used in that sense, but some aren't: a tag wiki might help clarify the intended use. Otherwise, it might be worth exploring another tag under which to categorize those questions.


Potential Tag Wiki Excerpt

These questions are about being an entry-level or beginner programmer.

Potential Tag Wiki Body

Todo, should include examples of tag misuse

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    Good point. If we can come up with a good tag wiki for it then... – ChrisF Apr 22 '11 at 18:33
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    After looking through the highest-voted beginners questions, I agree with this, though in this use, is it a synonym of junior-programmer? – Nicole Apr 22 '11 at 21:16
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I'm trying to think of a reason I would want to see all questions tagged as 'beginners' and I can't think of one.

Perhaps it's the several decades that have passed since I was one but I can't for the life of me see why that would be useful.

  • It's been...less time for me, and I agree. – Michael K Apr 26 '11 at 17:40
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These tags were actively being deleted as they add no value. I would of though this one wants deleting too.

http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/08/the-death-of-meta-tags/

Can't keep a good tag down!

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