-6

After cleaning up a few facepalm coding questions from novices, I failed to find an existing appropriate tag to distinguish such questions. Quality-based tags do exist however, (i.e. the "humor" tag), so the question is what would be the most useful name for such a tag or tags?

Terms that come to mind:

  • novice
  • newbie
  • learner-programming
  • learner-(name of programming language)
  • learner-English
  • showMeTehCode
  • humor-unintentional
  • not_even_wrong

Some of those might needlessly offend some users, and are therefore doubtful.


Michael Mrozek notes that SE once had Meta-tags, which were often abused and were thereafter abolished. Therefore any quality-based tag that survived that purge should not be construed as a model.

Are there any general demographic impressions as to how those Meta-tags tags were abused? That is, was the problem universal? Did the tags corrupt any who read or used them, or was there some conspicuously errant minority or majority?

(If the problems were not general, then it suggests a question of non-general meta-tags -- tags that require permission (i.e. reputation or whatnot) to write, or perhaps read.)

8

I'm not sure if this is a serious question, based on the tag name suggestions, but no. It took Stack Overflow years to eradicate meta tags. I didn't even know we had a tag, but it's fortunately unused; I'm not sure why it wasn't automatically removed by the system.

  • Thanks, I wasn't aware of SE's previous meta tag problems. – agc Jun 9 '16 at 15:12
  • Tags with a wiki take longer to be removed, iirc, if at all – muru Jun 9 '16 at 20:31
  • @muru I got curious about /humor and noticed that on the tag search page it says "x3" as if there's 3 questions so tagged; but the tag page itself says 0 questions! Maybe those invisible 3 Q's are preventing the tag's auto-removal? – Jeff Schaller Jun 10 '16 at 10:30
  • 1
    Ahh - found them-- locked Q's: data.stackexchange.com/unix/query/498609/humor-tag – Jeff Schaller Jun 10 '16 at 10:49
  • 1
    @JeffSchaller Questions with a historical lock don't appear in listings, but they're still there, they count towards tag usage, and they appear in searches (example). – Gilles Jun 10 '16 at 11:05
  • Oh, that's why the tooltip said 3 questions but the tag page said 0; I couldn't figure out what was going on there. Thanks – Michael Mrozek Jun 10 '16 at 14:47
5

My objection to this idea is not about their being meta-tags, as such, it's more about their being finger-pointing tags. The only thing these tags would convey is that, in the opinion of the tagger, this question is not up to snuff. If a question is bad, downvote it. That's what votes are for.

I see absolutely no benefit in using tags to publicly shame users. Not to mention the issue of deciding a question's "quality". Who gets to choose? What is a beginner for you? Maybe what you consider a beginner question is too advanced for someone else. Or, perhaps, what you consider advanced looks trivial to a third person. These are all very subjective issues.

The objective of tags is to i) help categorize questions and facilitate searching and ii) guide experts to questions on their subject matter. A quick rule of thumb when thinking about creating a new tag is to ask yourself whether there could be any experts in the tag's subject matter. I think it's pretty obvious that there will never be any experts in any of:

  • novice
  • newbie
  • learner-programming
  • learner-(name of programming language)
  • learner-English
  • showMeTehCode
  • humor-unintentional
  • not_even_wrong

These are all "shaming tags". There can't be any experts in any of these things and tagging with such tags would have no benefit whatsoever and would only make people feel bad. So no, don't create such tags. Edit, or downvote or vote to close as appropriate and move on.

  • Experts in "learner-" categories are called "teachers". Regarding "publicly shaming": To the extent that timely learning brings for many a pride of accomplishment, it necessarily must, (when the learner's own self-expectations are unduly delayed or frustrated), also bring pride's opposite shame. That back & forth is normal, it's not a 1/1 balance, but more of a "three steps forward, one step back". Neither pride nor shame is the goal however, both being inevitable side-effects of the human learning process. More later on the (many) benefits of labeling learning by degrees. – agc Jun 17 '16 at 15:52
  • You’ve been asked, “what would that accomplish other than shame the user?” and as far as I can see, you haven’t answered. You seem to be missing the point of terdon’s answer. Anybody who can answer any question correctly qualifies as a “teacher”. It’s possible to distinguish among shell experts, Perl experts, system configuration experts, etc. Attempting to categorize somebody as an expert in novice questions just digs your hole even deeper: you’re shaming the answerers, too. – Scott Jun 21 '16 at 2:33
  • @Scott, Re "what would that accomplish other than shame the user?": it would allow pedagogical correlation, which might when aggregated by tags help show how to improve SE in general. And show users prone to a certain kind of confusion that they're not alone. – agc Jun 17 '18 at 15:55
3

Tagging such question looks a bad idea.

We've all have been (or still are somehow) newbie. Be it in unix, iphone, gardenning, whatever. I wouldn't put too much emphasis on newby question.

Either

  • question is too broad (I want to compile my very own kernel, how do I start ?), unclear etc, then it is put on hold.
  • question is legitimate, but often ask (how I redirect a command ? ) then we find the dupplicate.

once in a while, a good one arise.

  • I'm sorry to learn that meta-tagging didn't work out here. The initial inspiration was in attempting to classify this -- including the OP's own answer, it's the least coherent question I've encountered to date. But surely SE has had others. I'd love to have a suitable tag for content of that sort, to compare, and put it in perspective. – agc Jun 9 '16 at 16:31
  • 1
    @agc and what would that accomplish other than shame the user? If it's a bad Q&A downvote it and move on. How does pinning a sign on it help? – terdon Jun 11 '16 at 10:39
  • @terdon, as I said, "I'd love to have a suitable tag for content of that sort, to compare, and put it in perspective." As long as a sign was subject to reasonably objective standards and used accurately, it might do more good than harm. – agc Jun 11 '16 at 16:54

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .