I noticed a meta tag, not particularly related to developing programming languages, emerged: . I noticed that mature sites such as Stack Overflow or Software Engineering lack this tag or questions that this tag would be applicable to. However this site may be different, and this tag may be appropriate.

What are the pros and cons of including the tag?

  • $\begingroup$ I see we now have a new tag "design-choice-comparison". It seems identical in function but more "on-topic"ish. I'm not sure where its come from but it feels like it should be been from discussing this thread $\endgroup$ Commented May 30, 2023 at 16:32
  • 6
    $\begingroup$ Does this answer your question? Taking another look at burninating the [pros-cons] tag $\endgroup$
    – kaya3
    Commented Jul 5, 2023 at 11:52

5 Answers 5


is a typical example of a meta tag: it doesn't help to categorize the question. There are no experts in “pros cons”. It's useless in searches. This tag should not exist.

Furthermore, is a likely sign that the question is too broad (asking about so many possible cases that it's impossible to give a proper answer, just anecdotes about a few special cases), primarily opinion-based (asking about a topic where there's no objective criteria for answering, so answers are just personal preferences), or both. So rather than just deleting the tag, it would be best to do a pass of closing the questions that should be closed, retagging the ones that shouldn't, and getting rid of the tag by deleting the closed questions.

  • $\begingroup$ I feel I should turn this into a burninate-request question. $\endgroup$
    – CPlus
    Commented May 20, 2023 at 23:29
  • $\begingroup$ @user16217248 Per my second paragraph, no, it would be best to handle this manually. This site is sorely in need of more close votes. $\endgroup$ Commented May 20, 2023 at 23:30
  • $\begingroup$ But the tag is going away either way. $\endgroup$
    – CPlus
    Commented May 21, 2023 at 0:27
  • $\begingroup$ I believe questions asking for advantages or disadvantages could be acceptable if they give some elaboration or examples of what they believe might be an advantage or disadvantage. But those just asking for lists of pros and cons... sure, maybe those should be closed. $\endgroup$
    – CPlus
    Commented May 21, 2023 at 0:32
  • $\begingroup$ @user16217248 Pros/cons, advantages/disadvantages: any good answer would discuss that. Saying “pros and cons” or “advantages and disadvantages” in the question is just noise. $\endgroup$ Commented May 21, 2023 at 9:46
  • $\begingroup$ An observation at the time of writing, out of a total of 255 questions 61 have the tag pros and cons. That seems an excessive ratio. $\endgroup$ Commented May 29, 2023 at 13:38

This is not about the tag, but about the question format itself.

One very large pro:

  • This is often precisely the problem facing a programming language designer or implementor. There is more than way to do something. There is a collection of language features that are great individually but may not work well together. The designer wants to navigate the design space.


  • To the extent that PLDI is meant to be a collection of quality answers, a dozen answers all presenting different pros and cons may not be the best way to get the answers you want. There is usually no "best answer" to accept.
  • Answers with pros and cons are often opinion-based, not fact-based.

I think the ubiquity of this kind of question means the tag makes more sense here than in other SE sites.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I don’t see many opinion based answers. Most of them are fact-based $\endgroup$
    – Seggan
    Commented May 17, 2023 at 15:26
  • $\begingroup$ @Seggan So far, so good. But when the beta becomes public, there is a risk that this may change. $\endgroup$
    – Pseudonym
    Commented May 18, 2023 at 1:06

I would say we want the questions but not the tag.

Tags are mainly useful because we can watch them to find questions which are relevant to our interests, and which we have the expertise to answer. Arguably some people might be interested in the pros-and-cons Q&A format as a way of learning about a wider range of topics, so the tag might be useful to them, but nobody has expertise in "pros-and-cons".

Moreover, cannot work as the only tag on a question, but the tag will potentially be an attractive nuisance for people asking pros-and-cons questions who don't put the effort in to add a content-specific tag. This doesn't seem to be an issue at the moment ─ there are currently no questions with only this tag and no others ─ but it's something to look out for in the future.

  • $\begingroup$ Should I go ahead and reject the en-masse editing suggestions that add this tag? Should the tag be burninated? $\endgroup$
    – CPlus
    Commented May 17, 2023 at 4:02
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @user16217248 My opinion is against the tag, but there should be some consensus before acting. $\endgroup$
    – kaya3
    Commented May 17, 2023 at 4:04
  • $\begingroup$ As the author of those suggestions, I just added the tag because I thought if it existed it should be complete and include all questions of that sort. I don't really have an opinion on whether the tag should exist, and I've been told to stop doing tagging for now anyway. $\endgroup$
    – pppery
    Commented May 17, 2023 at 4:09
  • $\begingroup$ Although the fact that the tag is the most popular on the site, including half of all questions, is worrying. $\endgroup$
    – pppery
    Commented May 17, 2023 at 4:11
  • $\begingroup$ That's probably indicative of these questions being easier to ask and easier to think of. Once the site is more established, most potential new pros-and-cons questions will be duplicates (so either won't be asked, or will be closed as duplicates if they are), and hopefully there will be a steadier stream of questions from people who aren't general langdev nerds (so they aren't here for the grand opening) but do have specific questions about the one langdev project they're working on. $\endgroup$
    – kaya3
    Commented May 17, 2023 at 4:14

I think a tag for questions requesting "prior art" might be a useful category of "pros and cons" type questions.


At least for me, those are the questions that I generally answer and I like searching to find some. I also like them as they are more broadly applicable. The tag categorizes them and makes them findable.


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