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Product Lines

  • Some model names describe a specific piece of equipment, so the name is synonymous with its unique characteristics.

  • In other cases, it's a product line covering numerous models aimed at a particular kind of audience.

    There are some product line tags that even apply to a disparate range of products, like HP Pavilion (which includes numerous models of laptop and desktop computers). There is nothing substantive about "Pavilion" that would differentiate answers.

Some implications of product line tags:

  • Finding answers: Most problems cross product lines, and even brands, in which case the tag is irrelevant. If the original question was tagged with a product line tag and otherwise poorly tagged, it may be difficult to find. Unlike version tags, product line tags all have different names, and you need to know what they all are.

  • Answerer familiarity: Sticking with the HP Pavilion example, there are users with lots of personal experience with, say, Pavilion laptops, who have never seen a Pavilion desktop. The tag doesn't help attract the people who can answer.

    In the vast majority of questions, the problem is unrelated to the product line, but the tag implies that it might be. Users unfamiliar with the product line may be dissuaded from answering.

  • Product Line Spawns: Many manufacturers enter a market with one product line, so using that name in a tag uniquely describes something. If we've tagged with the product line name instead of a generic term, when they introduce the next product line, we need to either retag old questions or start adding more product line tags, which is the issue I'm trying to address here.

Bottom Line

My own opinion is that most of the product line tags are undesirable, even detrimental. They should be replaced by tags that are aligned with characteristics that differentiate problems and answers.

Suggestions

  1. If there is general agreement that these should be cleaned up, it might make sense to handle them similar to the manufacturer meta tags rather than flood Meta with individual tag cleanup requests.

  2. For each major type of equipment, it would be appropriate to agree on what are the optimum categories on which the new tags should be based (subsequent topic).

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