I just noticed a recent change on this old question:

How to apologize when you have broken the nightly build

Some "senior" member of Programmers added , while (to me) the question has nothing to do with http://www.xkcd.com/1305/.

Now, what to do? Can someone please explain the relation?

  • xkcd-1305 is fun – amon Mar 8 '16 at 21:45
  • I suspect that wagon had to hitched somewhere to avoid falling into the grand canyon. – user22815 Mar 8 '16 at 21:46
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    @amon - it may be fun - but we hate fun – ChrisF Mar 8 '16 at 21:49
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    @ChrisF that blog post is about questions, not chat or tags. Also, and I quote, "A world without fun is like a world without waffles and ponies. And what kind of monster would want that?" – user22815 Mar 8 '16 at 21:55

I've removed the tag. That was vandalism, plain and simple.

If you see it edited in again, flag for moderator attention.

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    Wow, downvotes. See, this sort of nonsense is why Programmers.SE has a tragic reputation. – Lightness Races with Monica Mar 8 '16 at 22:10
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    At least meta rep is even more ephemeral than main site rep. – user22815 Mar 8 '16 at 22:14
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    No wonder. Taking unilateral action on a question being discussed on meta? Complaining about downvotes on a meta-question tagged discussion? On discussion questions, votes denote agreement/disagreement, not usefulness. – amon Mar 8 '16 at 22:16
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    @amon: You wanted me to wait for the conclusion of a meta debate before removing the tag xkcd-1305? From a question which has nothing to do with XKCD whatsoever? Don't be absurd. There is an obviousness line and this tag was waaaaay over it. If you guys can't see that, you should have your tagging privileges revoked. – Lightness Races with Monica Mar 8 '16 at 22:18
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    @BarryTheHatchet the thing is, I can't tell if you are being serious with your post/messages here -- or completely trolling. Because of that it shouldn't be surprising this got downvotes. – enderland Mar 8 '16 at 22:24
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    @enderland: Specifically which statement here do you think is "trolling"? And what does your unfounded personal attack have to do with downvotes on a perfectly factual and reasonable answer? – Lightness Races with Monica Mar 8 '16 at 22:25
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    I see no ambiguity here: this is not a troll answer. Clearly, Lightness/Preference/Barry disagrees with the reasoning behind adding the tag. That is fine: we are all entitled to our opinions. Trolling would not involve overtly disagreeing and proactively removing the tag. – user22815 Mar 8 '16 at 22:48

I'm not at all happy about that tag.

What purpose does it serve?

It may be a “fun” tag, but does it help anyone find questions more easily? Does it tell you anything about that question?

I'm happy to be cast as the villain in this, but I don't think that tag should exist.

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    I placed it, and did so under the belief that frankly that question doesn't belong to begin with. By all rights it should be deleted, so if we're going to keep deleteworthy content around, what difference does the tags on it make? My apologies if this was deemed inappropriate; I really didn't intend to rankle feathers and am glad to have the tag removed. – Jimmy Hoffa Mar 8 '16 at 22:06

That is part of the attempt in our chat room The Whiteboard to make the link to the actual XKCD instead of a non-existing tag on the main site. Unfortunately, the tag gets deleted when no question is tagged with it, so for unknown reasons that question was chosen to carry the tag.

  • So, do I get that right: A couple of members make the main site their playground and try to make an in-joke from chat persistent by adding unrelated, arbitrary tags to antiquated questions where they hope nobody would notice, or which they deem obsolete for some reason? – Murphy Mar 8 '16 at 22:39
  • @Murphy I'm giving the explanation for what happened. Whether it was right or not is up for debate. but that is what happened. – enderland Mar 8 '16 at 23:09
  • @Murphy to be sure, they are deemed off-topic by the site's actual scope. As for the reason they're "obsolete", there's a huge can of worms regarding this site previously had a completely different scope. You can find many discussions about all of that through meta, here is a good starting point – Jimmy Hoffa Mar 8 '16 at 23:13
  • You did, and I can't and wouldn't want to judge what part and intention you had in this. However, my comment is trying to summarize my impression from all answers and comments so far, and it had to go somewhere. My apologies if you feel falsely accused. – Murphy Mar 8 '16 at 23:14
  • @JimmyHoffa Thank you for the warning; I was already suspecting that after I've read a more recent discussion during the last hour, and I think I've got enough for this evening. I think I can sincerely state that I don't like the smell of that all... – Murphy Mar 8 '16 at 23:20
  • @Murphy not a warning- I'm not mod, just a (mildly) active community member. This place is run by the community (under the guidance dictated by SE - which has empirically turned out to be good), that means you too. I was trying to have a touch of fun with that tag, but I understand it could be seen to be in poor taste. The fitness for this site of that question though, that's fairly well established. We have lots of those old zombies floating around on our site because the reality is high-view Q's like that play an important role in the site's google rankings, so they aren't removed. – Jimmy Hoffa Mar 9 '16 at 1:32
  • @Murphy if you wish to discuss this further or site direction, you're welcome to post here on Meta for discussions or just join The Whiteboard where we're always happy to talk about site activities, or how to formulate posts for Meta for this topic or the site in general. – Jimmy Hoffa Mar 9 '16 at 1:35

To sum up my mind about this:

The affair has the smell of a broken window to me. It's been called fun, but IMO that's the kind of "fun" juveniles have when snapping car antennas; it doesn't match the otherwise (ultra-)professional expectation and attitude of the main site, that's usually demanded from questioners and respondents. And it doesn't match the claim to be an archive of questions and answers of interest for programmers, having been closed years after the original event for new reasons or not.

I hope it has been a single event. I think @BarryTheHatchet did the right thing about it. Thank you for listening.

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