This question/problem has come up multiple times in the past:

I propose that is a horrible tag, because it really only makes sense when it is combined with (at least) an operating system tag and tags that only make sense when combined with other tags are not good tags.

During recent tag cleanups, I've come across a few different tags that are all used for similar topics: , , and are the generic (bad) ones and then there are the specific (good) tags like , and .

is used ambiguously, but usually relating to a CLI, even though the tag excerpt also mentions the more classical type of terminal. Even when the tag is used in relation to a CLI, it's bad. Either the tag for the specific CLI (like bash) should be used, or none at all.

is used for both CLI and generally everything that is somehow a user interface, which, I guess, is technically correct, but not useful.

I faintly remember that we once settled for tagging Windows Command Prompt related questions with . As I mentioned above, this is bad. There are many CLIs for Windows (, , , , ...). These tags should be used, or none at all.

2 Answers 2


Your last point is wrong. ConEmu and Console2 are not shells (to use the *nix term), they're terminal emulators, much like the default conhost.

cmd.exe is more equivalent to *nix shells like bash and zsh, though I don't think it's that great of a tag - perhaps "Windows Command Processor", which is in the description field of cmd.exe. Or "Windows Command Prompt", since "Command Prompt" seems to be the name Microsoft uses, and the default name in the start menu. ('course, the MS docs still mention MS-DOS as of the Windows 8.1 revision, so I'd be wary about trusting it too much.)

I'd say is probably the most recognisable and correct, as far as official documentation goes.

  • 1
    I didn't want to imply that they are shells, just CLIs. Either way, I like the [windows-command-prompt] idea. Commented Apr 3, 2014 at 11:34

Okay, here's the master plan:

  1. will be merged and synonymized → .

  2. We will start a for , to have it retagged to where appropriate. When complete, will be synonymized with .

  3. and will be merged and synonymized → and a will be created for to have the questions retagged with more specific tags.

  • What about Powershell ??
    – MDMoore313
    Commented Jul 10, 2014 at 18:11
  • 1
    @BigHomie What about it? It's a great tag. Commented Jul 10, 2014 at 18:12
  • Agreed, but you mentioned merging cmd.exe, just curious if you were going to do Powershell the same way.
    – MDMoore313
    Commented Jul 10, 2014 at 18:15
  • Your proposed merges make the mess markedly worse and with even less chance of recovering. A majority of terminal questions are about unix terminals or a unix command line, not about Mac OS's Terminal.app. Quite a few questions are about unix terminals in general (and some are about Windows terminals in general, but Windows prefers the term “console”), and “terminal” is the logical tag name for that. Commented Jul 11, 2014 at 0:04
  • shell and console are completely different. “Console” is the terminal interface under Windows, and a physical terminal in the unix world. “Shell” in the unix world refers to a command line and script interpreter, and more specifically about Bourne/POSIX-style shells; under Windows, it can mean a command line and script interpreter, or the GUI shell. Disambiguating shell is a noble goal, but merging it with command-line is no help, and merging it with console would be awful. Commented Jul 11, 2014 at 0:06
  • 2
    This answer has a strong smack of “We need to do something. This is something. Let's do it.” This is a difficult problem, and shooting around at random isn't going to solve it. Commented Jul 11, 2014 at 0:07
  • @Gilles Thanks for your valuable contribution. Rest assured that it is of the utmost importance what you think on the subject of tags on Wintel.SE. Have a great day Commented Jul 11, 2014 at 9:41
  • @OliverSalzburg Making SU officially Wintel.SE would solve a lot of its problems, including much of the shell/termina/cli/… tagging difficulties — I'd approve of that. Since you're making this personal: FYI, bad tagging was the main reason I left SU — I had no way to pinpoint the questions that interest me (which are by and large the unix questions). Commented Jul 11, 2014 at 10:12

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