and seem like the most useless things to me. They fail the adjective test (or whatever it's called): a question tagged with nothing but / tells you nothing.

Can we burninate these tags?

  • 1
    Yeah, I was deleting delete, but discovered that deleting delete was too confusing semantically speaking.
    – Braiam
    Apr 22, 2014 at 6:47
  • 2
    BTW: I suggest we add remove to the list. That's of course NOT rm, which is a reasonable tag.
    – derobert
    May 1, 2014 at 16:41
  • 2
    Update: I have just retagged the final question with the delete tag. The delete tag is now finally empty! Next up, remove.
    – derobert
    May 5, 2014 at 23:54
  • Update: There is a remove question in the deletion queue, it's the only one left. delete has been purged. BURNINATION COMPLETE.
    – derobert
    May 6, 2014 at 22:28

3 Answers 3


I've removed a bunch of them, where the other tags (or some tags I can readily think of and add) convey enough.

Questions can indeed be about (as Gilles mentions) deleting something. But that's not about "deleting" because they're all different. "Deleting" means very different things across different somethings.

Take some examples, from the current list of things tagged delete:

  • Deleting files/ directories.
  • Preventing deleting of files/directories.
  • Un-deleting files.
  • Deleting email messages from an IMAP server.
  • Delete empty comments with sed

I submit that:

  • The expert in deleting files is someone who is an expert in file management. We have a tag that fully covers that already. . You could conceivably have an expert in . Preventing those files from being deleted is probably similar, but also adds in experts in backups, Samba (if applicable), and also even UX and training.

  • The expert in un-deleting files is the expert in . Or backups, but OP probably didn't have any.

  • The expert in deleting mail is the expert, or maybe the expert, etc.

  • The expert in deleting comments with sed is the expert.

None of these people are the expert. The expertise in one doesn't carry over to the other; a person could know a ton about IMAP, but be a novice at Unix file management (huge IMAP servers often do not use file storage directly or at all; they use other data stores) or recovering deleted files.

I take it as a given that when you go through the effort of retagging a question, you ought to make an effort to fix all tag problems, not just remove the one tag you're looking at.

  • 1
    haha... "OP probably didn't have any backups". +1.
    – strugee
    Apr 28, 2014 at 6:12

We have and , which have indistinguishable meanings.

Please refrain from indiscriminately removing these tags. While they are perhaps not right, they do carry some meaning — the question is about removing something. They are somewhat useful in searches, at least. They don't really fail the “adjective test” — a question can be said to be about deleting something, which isn't that far from being about deleting.

Before removing these tags, we need to work out what kinds of things are being removed and what tags to use instead of these generic tags to convey this (if getting rid of the generic tags is indeed the right way).

  • okay, I'll buy all that. I would still advocate with getting rid of the generic tags; they aren't very useful. I'd be fine with replacing them with something else, though.
    – strugee
    Apr 23, 2014 at 23:49
  • @strugee Check my answer
    – Braiam
    Apr 24, 2014 at 14:03

Following Gilles, let me see if we can reach an agreement:

  • If your question is about deleting an array of files using the command line, remove delete/remove and use command line. This is because I could turn the question around and say that I need to create an array of files using the command line, and in principle, it would be almost the same procedure just with a different goal. Case point:

    • remove all files named asdf001 through adsf050.
    • create all files named asdf001 through adsf050.
  • If it's about removing an specific file which can't be removed, I would say that filesystem can be applied to the question, maybe kernel.

  • If it's about removing specific lines of a file, it could have text processing. If it's about removing specific lines of a files using X tool, it should have the tag of the tool.

  • 1
    I disagree at least partly with your first examples. Deleting files can often be done with wildcards, whereas creating has to enumerate the exact desired names, plus creating has to provide content. Removing a file is rarely difficult due to filesystem or kernel issues, usually it's about name or permissions. In any case, generic statements aren't very useful, we need specific examples. Apr 24, 2014 at 14:13
  • On the other hand, deleting is not the only thing that can be done with wildcards. Apr 28, 2014 at 6:53

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