The tag is used for several unrelated meanings.

It is used for:

  • “format a drive” = make a filesystem → (should we have a more discoverable synonym for people who are new to unix?)
  • “format a drive” = partition a disk →
  • file formats →
  • text markup →
  • printf formats → [retagged 3]
  • date formats → [retagged 3]
  • ?

There are 50 43 36 23 4 0 questions with this tag. We're done.


2 Answers 2


I think the use of to mean creating a file system is going to be hard to eradicate. As you point out, most people won't know what mkfs is while format is a household term. This is always going to be a hard tag to deal with since it can be used to mean so many different things.

The best solution I can see would be to blacklist the tag. Then, when someone tries to use it, we give them a message like:

                                   blacklisted tag warning, showing available alternative tags

The above is just a mockup, we can tweak both the text and the alternative tags shown. If we decide this is the way to go, I will ask an SE employee to implement it (as far as I know, mods don't have access to the blacklisting tools).


This is now live, attempting to use brings up this message:

                                   real blacklisted tag warning, showing available alternative tags


For your first bullet, I suggest replacing with or if the former is too long. This way, new users with a question about creating a filesystem and who don't know mkfs will have more chance to select the relevant tag.

  • Good point. It might be worth it to create a synonym but let's see how the blacklisting goes first.
    – terdon Mod
    Commented Oct 21, 2014 at 16:48

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