I don't think any of the following tags have questions that benefit them:

, , , , , , ...

And thinking in the meta tag way, a question that's only about those tags would most likely be off-topic.

Let's discuss if we can obliterate them, or see how we can create more specific useful tags...

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agreed... I can't think of any products that aren't already defined more specifically. –  KronoS Feb 23 '11 at 22:14
    
what was wrong with your previous identical question ? –  Sirex Feb 24 '11 at 12:45
    
@Sirex: How was the previous question identical? I believe this one is different. My previous version has been superseded by meta.superuser.com/questions/2100/…; which is to standardize the more specific tags, but wasn't about the [microsoft] tag itself. It's related, but not duplicate... :-) –  Tom Wijsman Feb 24 '11 at 14:25
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I don't mean to seem out of line here, but if we remove the Microsoft tag, then why not remove the Apple tag while we're at it? (On that note, I hate to say it, but manufacturers names should be allowed tags on this website. Again, this is just my opinion.) –  Breakthrough Mar 3 '11 at 13:13
    
Still, is it possible to ask a question that is on-topic which is only about Microsoft or Apple? I don't think so, thus there is no need for those tags. Thanks for letting us know the existence of the Apple tag. –  Tom Wijsman Mar 3 '11 at 14:40
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I think most questions that "NEED" an apple or microsoft tag are off-topic anyway. (Like questions about the company itself) –  BloodPhilia Mar 4 '11 at 1:07
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Then by this logic, we need to remove Microsoft, Apple, Acer, Samsung, Sony, Asus, and so on and so fourth. I don't think this is a good idea, there is a good reason to have company names. And almost all of the above mentioned companies make both hardware and software, and it is all applicable for Super User. I disagree with removing these tags. –  Breakthrough Mar 6 '11 at 15:18
    
No, because a company name is applicable for Super User doesn't mean tags for them should exist, for the exact same reason tags for the tags [hardware] & [software] have been obliterated, amongst others. How can a question that is solely about Microsoft itself, Apple itself, Acer itself, Samsung itself, Sony itself or Asus itself be reasonable on-topic here? I'm pretty sure none of them are. The tags are way too broad and tagging questions in that metaish way doesn't help the question, search or anything else at all. Better way of tagging them? [microsoft-word], [osx], [acer-iconia], ... –  Tom Wijsman Mar 7 '11 at 1:12
    
Tom, the reason I'm against this is because I believe tags are supposed to be general categories. They are most useful to help refine searches, but you should use actual keywords as queries. Tags just help to group questions, so this is why I think we should keep the company names (you can just search in those refined results for specifics). –  Breakthrough Mar 22 '11 at 16:42
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I don't see how you could refine using something more general than a tag you already gave. If you're looking for [windows-7] questions you ain't going to refine by using [microsoft]; if you're looking for [osx] questions you ain't going to refine by using [apple]; and so on... Tags like these don't help to group questions, if I search for [microsoft] now I do not get all the questions that are related to [microsoft], I only get a very small share of accidentally tagged questions or those that are about Microsoft themselves (off-topic). –  Tom Wijsman Mar 22 '11 at 19:49
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3 Answers

up vote 16 down vote accepted

TL;DR: Get rid of all of them. Even Apple.

I think there might be questions for which these vendor tags might be useful

  1. about the integration of different technologies by the same vendor, like e.g. iTunes/iPod/iOS/Mac OS X (combined e.g. with ?) for Apple; that would exhaust the tag count limit too easily. The same with very few other vendors, such as Microsoft (anyone else?)
  2. It also helps to refer to more obscure products in combination with other tags, as for example, here or here. Since the site supports looking up topics with specific tag combinations, this could prove useful for vendors that don't warrant their own product tags, like & instead of
  3. If you're looking for a solution to a problem of yours from a specific vendor ( comes to mind). But why ask here instead of calling their sales hotline?

But, checking the more popular questions in the tag, I can't help but notice that almost all of them would work just as fine without these tags or gets 90% of these topics, and doesn't add anything for these.


Vendor tags just doesn't provide enough information on its own. I can actually see that a question is about the Apple Cinema Display without using ; is enough here.

Ultimately, one has to ask whether tagging questions with a vendor name helps in organizing questions. For example, if I were to be interested in either learning about or helping others with vim, I could check out .

But a tag for some vendor? Let's face it, just because I own an HP laptop doesn't mean I want to read or answer questions about LaserJets. Companies rarely make a single product or line of products, and if they do, there's a tag for the product already.


Even , which is somewhat useful according to @JeffAtwood, probably because the most popular products are rather closely related, encompasses

  1. Desktop and mobile computer hardware , , and others
  2. A desktop and server operating system , , and others
  3. A family of portable MP3 players *
  4. A mobile phone , , *
  5. A mobile operating system *
  6. Network hardware , , ,
  7. Peripherals (mice, keyboards, screens) , , and possibly others
  8. A tablet computer *
  9. Server hardware (discontinued, but not too long ago) *
  10. Consumer/desktop software , , , , and others
  11. Office software , , (not all of these), ,
  12. Professional video/audio editing software
  13. A web browser and its underlying engine ,
  14. An online-store for music, movies and TV shows, e-books,
  15. and software
  16. an online service (soon two, actually), for storing data and syncing and stuff *
  17. A totally failed "social network for music" (Ping) *
  18. Some SAN storage thingy I have never heard anyone using *
  19. There's also an IDE (), GUI builder, programming language ( *) with compiler, and related tools.
  20. Networking protocols /
  21. And I probably forgot tons of stuff.

* indicates probably off-topic on SU

Every single tag I linked to in this list has questions associated with it!

This is just too damn much to be of any use. Practically as soon as it has a product page, it has a tag on this site. And the rest — well, if the combination & isn't good enough to keep the vendor tag, then why should & be?

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+1 Awesome research. –  Tom Wijsman Jun 26 '11 at 15:05
    
I'm looking forward to a migration plan for the [vmware] tag, which is both the company and its line of products. Or is it OK in this case? –  Daniel Beck Jun 26 '11 at 17:45
    
@DanielBeck: Well, most questions are about the product as far as I can tell. Do you have an example of a question that's about the company? Because I believe that would be off-topic because it wouldn't be about an actual problem (with regards to computers)... –  Tom Wijsman Jun 26 '11 at 18:06
    
@Tom The way I see it, there is no vmware product. I wrote in the post, it's a company with a single product line, more or less. Products are player, workstation, fusion, server etc. Vmware is really the company. –  Daniel Beck Jun 26 '11 at 18:29
    
@DanielBeck: Oh, wait... What do you mean by migration exactly, because I've assumed it was about tag merge because of this context. I think that people use vmware to refer to the product(s), although it is indeed the company... –  Tom Wijsman Jun 26 '11 at 18:52
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@Tom Considering that it's a company tag, we should think about how to replace it with more detailed product-specific tags like vmware-workstation; although I could imagine that many uses are about which product is the best for a given use. That's what prompted my third example of when a vendor tag might make sense. –  Daniel Beck Jun 26 '11 at 19:22
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ok, this is now done -- all of them were removed –  Jeff Atwood Sep 1 '11 at 19:49
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Any further thoughts on this from the community?

I tend to think is useful, but and .. not so much

edit: this is now complete; all of them are removed.

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Yes, Daniel Beck has placed an answer and there are a significant amount of votes; someone might be interested in looking into this again. I don't see a way to bump this long forgotten question other than to comment you... –  Tom Wijsman Sep 1 '11 at 11:24
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this is now complete; thanks for the reminder. –  Jeff Atwood Sep 1 '11 at 19:50
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Keep the tags! If it helps one person find the appropriate question, it is worth it.

For example, if I search SU for +acer, there are currently 685 hits.
If I search using [acer] there are only 76 hits, and we can reasonably assume that "acer-ness" was an important part of the question.

A lot of company names are important to given questions and answers. But even less common names like "Acer" are so overloaded and bandied-about that meaningful search becomes very difficult without appropriate tagging.

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