So, I went about it exactly the wrong way in the first place. Does anybody have any objection to tagging questions hearkening to the "best" of things and the "worst" of things with two tags.

Whatever the tag is, it shouldn't imply "this is the best question on programmers.se" nor should it imply that it is unto itself a worthless question. Nor should it encourage people to ask questions like that to gain rep, by definition the first comment should be to such a question "Make it CW, please" (not "HEY, don't you know anything? This should be CW").

This also, runs counter to the way people have thought about programmers.SE though, when I asked the Programming Plant question - I made it CW and people said that wasn't the right reason to make it CW. But I think a good reason to make a question CW is to show in good faith that you're not rep farming, even though you have an overly broad question.

"Best Delphi XE Reference" is in a different category than "Best Programming Condiment", but that's why there are 5 tags.

Maybe it's just as worthless as the subjective tag on SO was. But as so much vitriol has been spilled about this subject it seems like it better be discussed.

Please note, this is not meant as a repeat discussion of Programming Pickles. For better or worse, that's been pretty much settled. I'd like to see what the community thinks about tagging the questions that do remain, so that the ones that come up in the future will have a better chance of being seen by the users who have the right to see them and not have them immediately quashed by the powers that be.

2 Answers 2


[best] and [worst] are meta tags and as such have no place on Stack Exchange sites

Jeff wrote a blog post on The Death of Meta Tags. The key bit in this case is clause 1:

  1. If the tag can’t work as the only tag on a question, it’s probably a meta-tag.

So just having the tag [best] on a post really tells you nothing about the post. Best what?

Therefore don't create these tags.

  • BTW, did you read meta.programmers.stackexchange.com/questions/58/… ? Apparently some meta tags are kosher. Maybe [bests] could be a more succinct synonym for [poll] or used in conjunction if there's room. Oct 4, 2010 at 3:54
  • @Peter - Yes, but I don't agree with the site being used for polls. Though if the community wants them then I'll abide by that decision.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Oct 4, 2010 at 11:00

Now, I think ChrisF is generally right and so do a few other people including the framers.

But consider the paradigm - this is the land of subjectivity. It's not anti-SO because the powers that be won't let it, maybe it's Bizzarro-SO, maybe this is the only place where what we considered a meta-tag is the butter between the [best] bread.

But I wouldn't use [best] either, and I wouldn't suggest inventing a word either - that doesn't get much traction.

Actually, doing a query for 'best' reveals a lot about the way Search works on SO. It brings up a whole horde of synonyms 'good', 'better', 'best' - But, it's not complete and there is no tag that binds all those concepts. It also doesn't work for the filter tags, since it's not a tag!

The tag behind the concept is not [best] because the concept is not an adjective [best]. It's a noun [bests] or [worsts] (or a better term) - which tells you as much about the question as [Delphi] but obviously more than [Mr-Snodgrass], because in order to properly search for [Delphi], you need to search for "[Delphi] my list view got broke" - but you could also search for "[bests] pointing device" and maybe, just maybe the search would show you the best mouse, the best trackball, the best tablet, the best trackpad, the best laptop with the best trackpad, the best little red thing in a Thinkpad, the best finger to point with, the best thing to point with instead of a finger (for programmers).

The point is, there's no reason not to put a tag behind something we find to be so taggable. We're programmers, so we should be able to define what Meta-data is.

  1. Timestamps
  2. Size of the thing
  3. Creator/Owner/Group
  4. Context* (Archived, Read only, locked, etc...)

*It's the context in which the question is asked. The mood, if you will, that is the thing in question. I whole heartedly agree that the context is Subjective - but the context is not "Give me your best", that is the question.

To further exacerbate the already (probably) moot point: If Programmers.SE were on my hard drive, I might create a folder called "Keyboard Related" and a folder called "Mouse Related". I could also make a folder called "Best Hardware", then put symlinks to the appropriate files in the "Keyboards Related" and "Mouse Related" folders, this would be grand.

That's it - I don't feel too strongly and won't cry too much if for some reason you don't like this idea either. But I'm a DB guy at heart so I hate seeing multi-variable attributes used at all. I prefer the IS-A relationship and that's what I think when I think about seeing [bests], this is a [bests] list, better think of something with universal appeal quick so I can get my golden [bests] badge. When I saw subjective on SO, I thought, oh no this'll be dumb. Here, I can't say that I like the idea of [bests], but after tagging 57 questions [bestsestes], being horsewhipped for it after apologizing profusely, I can't say that I don't still feel that we should at least try inventing such a tag, even if it flies in the face of settled law. I'm certainly not going to do it on my own again, I'm not exactly sure why the system would even let me do something like that if it were so frowned upon.


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