Seven questions are tagged with "output". To me it seems this tag is ambiguous, without any special meaning or use, and in fact it may often signal that a question should be migrated (in the cases where "output" is meant in the sense of "how do I get this software to output such-and-such"). I would like to delete and blacklist this tag. (A blacklisted tag cannot be used, ever. The only one blacklisted here so far is "statistics".)

Before moving ahead, I seek the community's advice. Upvotes to this question will signal tacit approvals of the proposal and downvotes, disapprovals. If you have time or inclination to write something in an answer or comment, I would be grateful to learn of the reasons for disapproval: what am I missing?

  • $\begingroup$ So is 'deleting' a less extreme option? How does deleting differ from blacklisting? $\endgroup$ Aug 23, 2012 at 13:34
  • $\begingroup$ @gung, blacklisting prevents future use of the tag. $\endgroup$
    – whuber Mod
    Aug 23, 2012 at 13:34
  • $\begingroup$ & deleting just removes the tag, but someone could re-create it in the future? $\endgroup$ Aug 23, 2012 at 13:36
  • $\begingroup$ @gung Yes, that's correct. The only other option is to create a tag synonym, but I see no point to doing that when the tag is essentially useless in the first place. $\endgroup$
    – whuber Mod
    Aug 23, 2012 at 13:38
  • $\begingroup$ I don't see that the tag offers much value. It looks like it could be replaced by interpretation in most cases, although making it a synonym wouldn't be a good idea, as you note. I'm guessing nothing happens to the questions themselves, just that tag drops off of them. I certainly don't have a problem with deleting it, blacklisting just seems awfully final. $\endgroup$ Aug 23, 2012 at 14:33
  • $\begingroup$ @gung I believe blacklisting is reversible, but it does prevent use of a tag while it is blacklisted. Thus the crux of the question is, are there any conceivable circumstances in which it would be useful to tag an on-topic question with "output"? If so, we'll keep "output" as a tag, modify its wiki to describe its intended application and scope, and (if needed) re-tag or un-tag existing questions to be consistent with that meaning. $\endgroup$
    – whuber Mod
    Aug 23, 2012 at 14:44
  • $\begingroup$ I agree. In all but one of the tagged questions, "output" is redundant as the question is already tagged with the relevant programming language. The "r" tag, for example, already generally implies that the question relates to the coding and output of the R programming language. That said, perhaps users would like to stress that their questions relate to the interpretation of the programming language's output, in which case @gung's suggestion of creating an "interpretation" synonym seems valid. $\endgroup$
    – jthetzel
    Aug 23, 2012 at 16:35
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Sorry, I may not have been clear. I do not think that it would be best to make output a synonym for interpretation. I understand that to be whuber's position as well. I'm in favor of straight deletion if that doesn't harm the questions (as I suspect). It's only the blacklisting that makes me nervous. $\endgroup$ Aug 23, 2012 at 16:39
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @gung: Ah, I misread your comment. In some questions, the OP appears to be asking how to create output, in which case the programming language tag would suffice. In other questions, the OP appears to be asking how to interpret the output of a program, in which case "interpretation" may be a better tag. In either case, "output" is not appropriate and blacklisting it might encourage more proper tagging. $\endgroup$
    – jthetzel
    Aug 23, 2012 at 16:56
  • $\begingroup$ There's only 8 questions in the category. There have been no reasons given for keeping it, and there are no downvotes on this suggestion, and it's been 3 months. What's the threshold for making a decision like this? $\endgroup$
    – naught101
    Nov 23, 2012 at 7:48
  • $\begingroup$ @naught Thank you for the reminder. $\endgroup$
    – whuber Mod
    Nov 23, 2012 at 15:12

1 Answer 1


The output tag still exists, but

  1. Has been removed from all existing posts,

  2. Has been made synonymous with interpretation, and

  3. Its tag wiki asks people not to use it.

That ought to do the trick. Thank you all for your comments and votes.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Consider accepting your answer so that the thread visually appears "resolved" (which it is). I am not sure that the [output] is good synonym to [interpretation] (I wouldn't mind if [output] were blacklisted), but it seems to work fine for 3 years already. $\endgroup$
    – amoeba
    Dec 6, 2015 at 17:24

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