LanguageSpecificTag languagespecifictag = new LanguageSpecificTag();

In @Doorknob's Tag Categorization Project, there's an answer outlining language-specific tags.

The answer notes the format of these tags' wikis:

This challenge is related to the _____ language. Note that challenges that require the answers to be in a specific language are generally discouraged.

There are 134 questions tagged , and that's where most of the relevancy for these lang-specific tags comes in.

In the comments to that answer, @Peter Taylor noted (with 10 comment votes*):

To be frank, a lot of these tags have no good reason to exist. In cases where the only tagged question is the tips one, the language tag doesn't really add anything.

Aha! But, @Jonathan Van Matre responded validly (with 6 comment votes*) that:

They add the ability to follow. Even if the tag has nothing but a tag now, following enables future activity to connect with an audience. [...] challenges [...] could be or already are tagged with a language tag. [...] I'm not saying we should spam out empty tags for every language, but I see no reason to deny those that have any posts their existence.

The reason I'm writing this question is that within the last week, I've asked two questions which I was slightly tempted to tag with and respectively.

I did not do this, because it felt rather abusive to make two rather pointless tags for two little-known languages, just because I wrote a question.

On the other hand, and and and all exist with more than just to their names, while some other language-specific tags have only one question.

When is it okay to make a new language-specific tag? Should we "spam out empty tags for every language", or should we only tolerate tags that have and at least one challenge? I feel there's a lack of consensus, and that having one would be constructive.

* counting mine, because i really don't know which way i'd go


1 Answer 1


On existing tags

Language-specific tags are useful in two scenarios:

  1. Challenges involving parsing, interpreting, or outputting code in a specific language, as is the case with many challenges bearing the tag.
  2. Challenges that are language-specific.

"But wait," you say, "I thought language-specific challenges were discouraged!" And in general they are. The most notable exception is challenges. Most of these require the use of a specific language so that the submissions can interact with a controller written by the OP. Having a language tag on these challenges helps identify which language is required.

Another example recently that was popular, albeit rather contentious, was A little bool magic, which required the use of C#. Regardless of whether pure programming puzzles are on topic, challenges such as these should also bear a tag denoting the required language.

I certainly don't think we need the mass of language tags that we currently have, particularly those whose only question is a . In fact, I think that all such tags should be eventually be removed (not all at once). If there is a tag with a good language-specific challenge, the tag should probably stay. Also, if there are challenges that involve parsing a language, that tag should stay.

When is it appropriate to make a new one?

Most of the time it isn't. If you're making a question, don't make a new language tag. If you're making some kind of language-specific challenge such as a or , go ahead and make the tag. If you're making a challenge that involves parsing a language, make the tag if it's a notable language (e.g. Brainfuck). In this case, use good judgement for when a language would be deemed "notable" and thus worthy of its own tag.

In any case, add the standard note to the tag wiki:

This challenge is related to the _____ language. Note that challenges that require the answers to be in a specific language are generally discouraged.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Great answer, thank you!~ \$\endgroup\$
    – cat
    Mar 3, 2016 at 1:04
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ One (very common) case you didn't mention is challenges about certain languages. Just have a look around the [brainfuck] or [befunge] (that is challenges which are about writing an interpreter for our generating code in the language). \$\endgroup\$ Mar 3, 2016 at 13:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MartinBüttner How's this? \$\endgroup\$
    – Alex A.
    Mar 3, 2016 at 18:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ @AlexA. Sounds good. I guess as soon as we have two challenges about a language I'd also call it relevant/notable enough to warrant a tag (mostly for the reason of "hey I liked writing code about this language, is there more like this?") \$\endgroup\$ Mar 3, 2016 at 18:13

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