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Lately, I've been noticing a lot of questions that use the tag along with another relevant tag. Although PC is technically related to a very large amount of hardware, does it really need to be used in conjunction with all of this?

The most recent question that caught my attention used and together. Graphics cards are a part of PCs, but is the question really pointed directly at PCs specifically? Is it needed here? My thoughts are that it is needed for narrowing down tag searches, but on the other hand it isn't needed because it's too irrelevant to what the question is asking for.

Overall, I'm noticing that this tag is being applied too broadly when it should probably be conserved for questions directly asking about PCs in some way.

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  • I think a lot of these questions could be retagged as [desktop], including the questions that I have asked. – Cfinley Oct 15 '15 at 22:33
  • @Cfinley That seems like a good alternative. Make that into a quick answer. – Adam Oct 15 '15 at 23:18
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I think that a good chunk of the questions tagged with could be tagged as . Most of these questions are asking about either desktop class hardware or computers in general. The latter we can completely remove the tag.

I am having trouble coming up with a good example question where [pc] would be OK. I think we could get rid of it altogether and be fine without it.

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    Yep, I don't believe there are any scenarios where pc is better than either desktop or laptop. – Undo Oct 15 '15 at 23:49
  • @Undo: Except for Apple desktops and laptops. – SF. Oct 16 '15 at 15:54
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    @SF. How so? MacBooks are still laptops, and iMacs are still desktops. – Undo Oct 16 '15 at 15:55
  • @Undo: Yes, but they are not PCs. If I'm uninterested in Apple-related answers, I should be able to tag my question so. – SF. Oct 16 '15 at 15:56
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    @SF While it may be true that pc was derived from IBM PC, pc is an abbreviation of "personal computer". Apple laptops and desktops are personal computers. Some may even argue that ARM based systems (raspberry pi, smartphones, etc) are personal computers. If you are uninterested in Apple hardware you can state that in the question body. – Cfinley Oct 16 '15 at 15:58
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    Nobody ever nowadays uses "PC" meaning anything else that IBM PC derivative. Seriously, would you ever assume someone saying "I switched my PC on" and think they talk about iMac? And definitions aside, there is a need for a tag for IBM-PC derivatives, except "[IBM-PC derivatives]" would make for an extremely cumbersome tag. – SF. Oct 16 '15 at 16:01
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    Particularly, if I'm uninterested in Apple, in the new ARM laptops, and in whatever new types of non-PC laptops or desktops are bound to start cropping up. If you can suggest a better synonym - something like "IBM Compatible" maybe - that would be fine. But Desktop is a form factor, not architecture. – SF. Oct 16 '15 at 16:12
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    Realistically, very, very few people here care about architecture. For those, let's have architecture tags. Think [x86], etc. If you're uninterested in Apple products, say so in your question. That's not a tagging problem. – Undo Oct 16 '15 at 18:05
  • @Undo: I'd very strongly disagree about the architecture. If I want a gaming computer, I'm most certainly not interested in anything but IBM PC derivative. Not Apple, not Arm, not Raspberry Pi, and probably not a laptop. How would you describe what I'm looking for? Same for most of engineering software - no support for anything than the "Clones". And how do I filter out all the "Apple is okay" answers from Search? Because tags are not just to inform the answerers but to help in search. – SF. Oct 16 '15 at 19:34
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    @SF. You can game perfectly well on a iMac or MacBook. Trust me, I have done it. If you want a specific OS, tag the question with [windows]. You might find this article interesting. – Cfinley Oct 16 '15 at 19:43
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    You can also game on Linux. SteamOS is built on Debian. – Andy Oct 16 '15 at 19:46
  • @Cfinley: would you honestly, in clean conscience recommend a MacBook or iMac to a person asking for a 'gaming PC'? Taking into account price/value ratio for that purpose? – SF. Oct 16 '15 at 21:24
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    @SF That comes down to the OP's requirements which tagging has nothing to do with. Tags are for categorization, not specification, so [desktop] and [laptop] are perfectly able to cover Windows- and OSX-based PCs without a problem. Also, when using the search, content is also indexed, not just tags. – Adam Oct 16 '15 at 21:34
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    @SF. I don't see a need for a tag to indicate a PC architecture as a requirement. Tags should indicate things that matter in practice, like “must be able to run my x86-only software” x86 or “intended for gaming” gaming. The suitability of Mac or ARM hardware will follow. – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Oct 18 '15 at 13:01
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appears to be being used in a very broad sense. The tag guidelines don't help that perception:

PC is an abbreviation for Personal Computer. This tag should be used for questions concerning PCs and related hardware.

"Related hardware". Well...I want this thing, and it's in my PC, so it's related. I better slap on this tag too.


I only see two questions in this tag that I think should have the tag:

Even that second one is somewhat suspect. However, in both cases, the asker doesn't care if they are recommended a tablet, laptop or desktop. They do have criteria that may make one or more categories difficult to fill, but they don't rule out any of them off to start with. I think this is the proper use for .

As such, I propose a change to the guidelines that is similar (but I'm not attached to this exact wording) to this:

This tag should only be used if you do not care about what specific type of hardware you are recommended. If you have a preference, tag the question with something more appropriate (eg. [tablet], [laptop], [desktop] or others).

It keeps the broad , but focuses it somewhat. It eliminates the guideline that says it should be attached to everything related to personal computers. It encourages users to use something more appropriate. The downside is that it does keep the tag, meaning we'll end up needing to retag many questions because it will still be utilized on questions that doesn't meet the guidelines.

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  • I feel like we could rename this tag to something else, as it will be abused. I am not sure what it's new name would be yet. Maybe something like [any-computer] or something similar. – Cfinley Oct 16 '15 at 4:13
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    The [pc] tag means the architecture derived from IBM PC - x86/amd64. Neither any Apple, nor ARM-based laptops would fall under it, and I'm fairly sure a person tagging a question [pc][laptop] wouldn't enjoy "MacBook AIR" as the answer. If you wish to rename the tag to something that will more clearly show this particular limitation. – SF. Oct 16 '15 at 15:52
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    @SF. A MacBook Air is a [personal (computer)] [laptop], and it runs Windows better than a lot of Windows laptops I've tried. Unless a person has a personal hatred for Apple, and says so in their question, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend a MacBook if it met the requirements in the question. – Undo Oct 16 '15 at 18:07
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    @Undo A Macbook is a personal computer, but not a PC. (It might be a bit silly to make this distinction — that e.g. Linux running on a Macbook isn't a PC, but Linux running on other x86 hardware is a PC — but it's very widespread.) I might recommend a Raspberry Pi if someone wants a desktop computer (depending on the purpose of course), but it wouldn't be a PC. – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Oct 18 '15 at 12:57
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This tag could perhaps do with some reorganisation. Without going into masses of investigation of the tag, I've taken a look at some of the questions in it, and there's a significant proportion which could better be tagged something else - for desktop technology, for laptops, etc.

The big thing to do is to modify the tag wiki, I think. We should make it clear in the excerpt that is not a general-purpose tag, and shouldn't be used as one. In the full wiki, we can make it even clearer that that's the case, and provide some more detailed usage guidance.

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