Are we removing general OS tags? Did I miss a meeting?

I've seen some edits in the review queue where users are removing general OS tags along with the burmination candidates. Is this community policy? I've seen this question but it doesn't seem to be very popular. By 'general' I don't mean 'generic', I mean tags describing the OS family like , , . The edits I saw were removing from questions that were tagged and replacing with .

Personally, I find the general OS tags extremely useful. Since I am a Linux geek, I have Linux as a favorite tag, that way I can easily home in on questions about any Linux including those I have not added to my favorites. If people remove the general OS tags I don't see these questions. They also help people find questions when searching for general keywords. Adding specific tags is great and very useful but not at the expense of the general ones.

So, is this site policy and if so, where's the meta post so I can vote it down? If it is not site policy, let's make it clear that this is not wanted, please upvote this. If I am alone in my affection for these tags, let's make that clear too, please downvote this.

  • 5
    Didn't see a memo either. That's some rabid retagging
    – random Mod
    Commented Sep 26, 2013 at 2:32
  • not to mention a lot of things carry through cross distro or even os
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Commented Sep 26, 2013 at 3:18
  • just for the record, it's not me, i don't like editing questions :) i edited 1 question long time ago just to get the badge, that's it :) - besides if i ever edited anything, other users will have to review it, i don't have enough rep for my edits to be published :)
    – Lynob
    Commented Sep 26, 2013 at 17:40
  • 1
    @Fischer I never said it was you (it wasn't) yours was just the only meta question I found that discussed this.
    – terdon
    Commented Sep 26, 2013 at 17:44
  • And of course, the other reason is that an issue may not be specific to a certain version of flavour of an operating system. That's my big beef with this. +1 Commented Sep 27, 2013 at 16:21
  • 1
    I totally agree, removing OS tags from SuperUser would be the same as removing programming languages tags from StackOverflow.
    – ST3
    Commented Oct 4, 2013 at 6:20

1 Answer 1


There is no policy like that.

If you see edits like that, and they're otherwise fine, improve and add the tag back. If there are only tags being removed, reject the edit.

In case this is a specific user making those edits, please point us at the edits and we'll notify the user that this isn't desired editing behavior.

  • 5
    In the same vein, if I see questions tagged [windows-7] but without a [windows] tag, should I be adding the latter? Commented Sep 26, 2013 at 14:24
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    @DarthAndroid: This is somewhat of an old topic, usually summarized as "hierarchical tags" (meta.stackexchange.com/questions/45438/…). A lot of factors play into this and as soon as you start discussing the topic, you'll find that the whole tagging system is a mess. In general, if a question is about Windows 7 in particular, it should not be tagged windows. If the question is a general Windows-related question, it should be tagged windows. Commented Sep 26, 2013 at 15:05
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    @OliverSalzburg shouldn't it be tagged as both? I would remove the windows tag and leave the win7 if I had to remove something to be under the max tags limit. However, if there is space enough having both tags won't hurt and can be helpful as explained in the linked meta question you posted and in mine. Do you disagree?
    – terdon
    Commented Sep 26, 2013 at 16:25
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    @terdon: It's complicated :P If someone uses a search engine and uses the keyword "windows" he will find the question even if it only has the windows-7 tag. So it serves no purpose there. Users might pick windows as a favorite tag, but then they could just as well pick windows*. So, why add it in the first place? As long as the tag you want to add is a substring of an existing tag, skip it. At least that's how I do it, I don't think there are clear rules. There was a proposal once to have tags like windows-7 automatically count as windows tags. But that was rejected by Jeff IIRC. Commented Sep 26, 2013 at 17:00
  • OK, I didn't know we could add wildcards to tags, that simplifies things.
    – terdon
    Commented Sep 26, 2013 at 17:04
  • @terdon More like globs, not wildcards... Commented Sep 29, 2013 at 13:15
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    @OliverSalzburg That doesn't help with things like ubuntu vs linux though. Commented Sep 29, 2013 at 14:47
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    I would argue that tagging an Ubuntu-specific question as linux is not really helpful. If the question applies only to Ubuntu and not to other flavours of Linux, it should be tagged ubuntu and have no linux tag. If the question applies to various flavours of Linux, not just Ubuntu, then it should be tagged linux and have no ubuntu tag. True a newbie may not know if his question applies to just his distribution or to all of them, but Google search is pretty good at untangling the hierarchy of things already. Commented Oct 10, 2013 at 7:22
  • @joeytwiddle i) very very very few things are specific to a single distro (remember that window managers and desktop environments can be installed on any distro); ii) most users don't know what those are; iii) see my point about favorite tags, I want all Linux questions highlighted without having to manually add each distro-specific tag to my favorites; iv) tags are also useful for adding information, tagging as Linux gets my attention, adding an Ubuntu tag lets me know what the OP is using; v) if you tag something with Arch and I search for Linux, I might not find it when searching.
    – terdon
    Commented Oct 14, 2013 at 17:15
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    @terdon maybe there's something about linux that is different(you find a general tag will do because many things aren't specific to a single distro, I suppose that makes sense, maybe that's it) , but I think in Windows, if something is specific to Windows 7, and not true of for example, Windows XP,(that's common),I don't think it should be tagged Windows.The Windows tag is -great- for things that are true across OS versions(like a windows command line thing).Not peculiar to one.So I can't off the top of my head think of something , even theoretically,that I'd tag as both Windows and Windows-7.
    – barlop
    Commented Oct 20, 2013 at 20:23
  • @barlop the main argument is the favorite tags, unless someone has Windows7 as a favorite, the question will be missed. I would tag everything that is windows7 as windows as well unless the max tags limit is reached. I see no other reason not to, using both tags will not cause any problems but could solve some so why not do it? Anyway, my main point here is that general OS tags should not be removed in favor of specific ones. Specific OS tags can be added, or the version specified in the Q itself but why remove the general tag?
    – terdon
    Commented Oct 21, 2013 at 18:35
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    @terdon I never really saw or (knowingly) used the favorite tags feature, but I suppose if a person doesn't have windowsvista or windows8 as a favorite tag , maybe it'd be or could be because they don't want to see windowsvista or windows8 questions. In the linux case, if something is really so general then it should just be tagged linux. I only tag something with specifically Windows7 if it's only to my knowledge, windows 7. If I know it's general and not specific, then i'll tag it Windows.
    – barlop
    Commented Oct 21, 2013 at 20:45
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    @joeytwiddle The large amount of posts lacking a general OS tags cost SU a user: me. (It wasn't my only reason to move away but it was a major one.) I got tired of skipping those Windows posts that I didn't care about (too many lacking a windows or windows-* tag) and not having a good way of locating the Unix/Linux posts (too many different tags for distros, software, etc.). Mind you, I'm quite happy on Unix & Linux now; as far as I'm concerned SU might as well be Wintel.SE. Commented Feb 27, 2014 at 15:39

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