Is "matlab" or "matlab code" a useful tag?

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Jan on 24 Mar 2012
Commented: Jan on 30 Sep 2013
The tag of a question should be useful to categorize the contents and support finding similar questions. Because all questions in this forum should concern MATLAB, the tag "matlab" is actually meaningless. I think this concerns "matlab code" also, although there are question, which do not concern "code", e.g. this one.
There is a high correlation between the "matlab" tag and a lack of information in the question, such that a meaningful answer is impossible or magic guesswork.
Do I miss the point of these tags? Is deleting the tags the best reaction?
Walter has asked last year, how to proceed, if the only tag created by the author is meaningless and there is not obviously better tag due to a lack of information in the question. Is "no_tag", "no_detail" or "unclear" useful then?
Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 30 Sep 2013
I occasionally maintain the tag space for some of the topics (such as "voice recognition"). Doing so allows me to point people to a class of previous discussions by posting the tag link. One could interpret that as a more focused form of lmgtfy, but it works.
When I search the tag space myself, it is usually for tag:meta or tag:reputation or tag:always_parent, but I do also sometimes search the tag space to more easily find previously posted information when I have forgotten details.
Personally, I am more likely to use google search over the site when I am trying to find information and cannot recall where I saw it, but when I do it is not uncommon for me to be pushing the limits of search technology as I might be remembering a technique rather than who wrote about it or key library calls involved.

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Accepted Answer

Oleg Komarov
Oleg Komarov on 24 Mar 2012
I tend to replace "matlab_code" whenever I can with what I suppose could lead to an answer.
Sometimes the lack of info is such that it becomes "doit4me" instead of "unclear" or similar.
To me it's obvious that if the OP doesn't put a minimum effort in explaining what her problem is, then all she wants is an asnwer from the magical sphere and I feel that this behaviour should be signalled.
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Jan on 24 Mar 2012
I have deleted more than 100 of these tags also.
It started to annoy me, but now it eases my mind, that I could uses these tags in a meaningful way in this thread :-)

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More Answers (3)

Daniel Shub
Daniel Shub on 26 Mar 2012
I could see the "matlab" tag being useful when you only want MATLAB solutions and not ones that require you to do something at the command line (or use the system function). I can think of a number of solutions where command line tools like find and sed can make things easier, but might not be the desired solution.

Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 24 Mar 2012
"matlab" as a tag is too common to be useful, and I have seen it applied in cases it is not appropriate, such as Simulink questions.
"matlab code" in my experience is sometimes used by people requesting information about MATLAB syntax, but far far more often is used by people asking for someone to write their program for them. I seldom find it to be a useful tag. When it first started appearing, I would delete or adjust it, but doing that become too much work.
Both of these tags, "matlab" and "matlab code", are used too often by far for me to have the time or energy to adjust them.
  1 Comment
Image Analyst
Image Analyst on 26 Mar 2012
Why can't the Mathworks just not allow those tags? Automatically purge them when someone tries to add them? Is this on the wish list already?

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Jan on 30 Sep 2013
Edited: Walter Roberson on 30 Sep 2013
Current statistics:
  1. code" finds 1118 results (Ups! I cannot post a link in a readable form, if it contains a space... It should be:"matlab code"(Ups again: While this looks nice in the preview, it appears partially as a link after hitting the [save] button.)
  2. finds 2979 results
Sometimes I start a deleting session and remove several dozens of these tags. Without a "Simulink" tag, the "Matlab" tag is meaningless in nearly all cases. So would an automatic rejection of these tags have any drawbacks?
Jan on 30 Sep 2013
Yes, Cedric! Whenever I start a search for "tag: matlab" to start my hunt, I get this thread also and have to grin. But as soon as the "matlab" tag is rejected automatically, this thread looses its meaning and becomes a strange relict from historical times.
The same has happened for the thread Answers: Desperation about hosting images in the forum after some hours already. How hilarious my emotions look like, when I consider, that leaning back and waiting some hours clears the problem already :-)

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