I was about to start writing a tag wiki for the tag in the sense of a mechanism to prevent concurrent access to resources or to synchronize threads when I realized that the tag usage has now proliferated to cover questions concerning

  • preventing concurrent access to a shared resource, e.g. via lockfiles and the like
  • locking access to an unattended computer (where seems more appropriate)
  • situation in which a computer or program becomes unresponsive (where or seem more appropriate - and I actually propose to consider these two synonyms of each other)

The question is: what should we do about this tag?

I see the following options:

  1. Enforcing use for one of the three most common uses, where the meaning of access serialization or thread synchronization seems to be the most appropriate. Questions that use the tag in a different way need to be re-tagged when encountered. This is the cleanest, but also the most tedious.
  2. Defining the scope of the tag to apply to all of the disjoint subjects mentioned above, and leave the questions as they are. This is the easiest (since "nothing" needs to be done), but doesn't help in categorizing questions.
  3. A hybrid approach, where the scope of the tag encompasses the two most common use-cases. All other uses are discouraged, and those questions that still fall outside need to be re-tagged if found.

2 Answers 2


My thoughts:

  1. Questions using to mean or should just be retagged.
  2. Ditto for use cases where would work.
  3. Write your usage guidance the way you were originally planning; that does seem to be by far the most common usage for this tag.
  4. There are a handful of questions about locking as in preventing access, which can probably fit under as I can't think of a better tag. E.g. How to lock users after 5 unsuccessful login tries?. This isn't about screen locks and isn't about freezes or hangs, so I think locks is fine.

Possible tag usage guidance: Preventing concurrent access to resources, synchronizing threads, or preventing any access to a resource.

  • 1
    I'm sure there's a better tag for number 4 that isn't necessarily synonymous with locking. Is there a tag that relates to access control?
    – forest
    Sep 1, 2023 at 1:39
  • 3
    @forest maybe account-restrictions?
    – muru
    Sep 1, 2023 at 2:16
  • @muru that sounds like account management.
    – Braiam
    Sep 5, 2023 at 17:53

One thing to consider is that regardless of 100% perfect cleanup now, lock is such a generic term that if there continues to exist a tag named just lock the current situation is guaranteed to re-appear.

So maybe lock the current lock tag to prevent new questions tagged with this (if this is possible?) and re-tag resource-lock for the first bullet point cases. That way it will be simple to review not yet reviewed cases.

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