In Douglas Crockford's "The Better Parts" lecture, there was a drum being beaten again and again:

  • It took a generation for us to realize that high-level languages were a good idea.

  • It took a generation for us to realize that pointers were bad.

  • It took TWO generations for us to realize that lambdas are a good thing.

And quite a few more; I decided to only list three.

I have a post at What would a more Pythonic, POLA approach be? to remove the "attention to the irrelevant" detail that if you are mixing buffered and non-buffered IO, you will unlikely get output in the sequence provided in the code.

I would appreciate if someone could make an "it-took-a-generation" tag, and apply it to my post.

1 Answer 1


Tags serve to categorize questions, so that:

  1. questions become easier to search, and
  2. users may filter for a particular topic they are interested in.

Therefore, we have tags for certain technologies like , tags for areas of software engineering like or , and tags for certain software engineering concepts like .

In contrast to those examples, a “it-took-a-generation” tag is not helpful:

  • It does not describe a well-known concept, technology, or sub-field of software engineering. Instead, it describes a rhetoric device used by a single author. Other concepts that were invented by an author have since been picked up by the wider software engineering community, for example the SOLID principles. “It took a generation” is no such widely accepted idea.

  • It does not help users when they are searching for a solution. I.e. I see no scenario where someone would research a problem but would like to limit the search to posts tagged it-took-a-generation.

  • This tag is unlikely to have its own community, e.g. people who are only interested in answering questions tagged it-took-a-generation.

To emphasize: This site is about software engineering questions and answers. The questions ask about a software engineering problem, and answers suggest solutions. “It took a generation” is not a useful tag for problems. It would be a good tag for a blog full of “thoughts” and “musings”, but that's not what a Q&A site is about. Please read What topics can I ask about here? and What types of questions should I avoid asking? for further details.

You have not explained convincingly how that tag would be useful for on-topic questions. It is not even clear to me how the suggested tag would apply to your question on the main site.

For all these reasons, I am thoroughly opposed to the creation of such a tag. Thank you for your understanding.


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