is probably my favourite tag on this site, but its name has been bugging me for a while. I feel it is not particularly self-explanatory, and this contributes to it being underused by askers to whom it's not readily apparent what it's for. I often see an opportunity to apply it to questions after they have been already submitted.

More worryingly, I recall it being misapplied at least twice, most recently in https://retrocomputing.stackexchange.com/revisions/22478/1.

Can it be renamed to something like ?

  • That would make all TI99/4A questions tagged wrongly ;)
    – tofro
    Jul 4, 2021 at 7:51
  • 1
  • 4
    Someone didn't get the joke.
    – tofro
    Jul 4, 2021 at 9:56
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    I don't much mind either way, but just for info - does renaming a tag fix up existing uses? (Are tags assigned by value or by reference? What design choice was made?)
    – dave
    Jul 4, 2021 at 22:17
  • @another-dave IIRC renaming a tag updates all posts to use the new name, retroactively even (post history uses the new name). So tags are ‘by reference’. Jul 5, 2021 at 15:08
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    OK, so the rename seems worth doing. I agree that your proposal more accurately captures the tag's usage.
    – dave
    Jul 5, 2021 at 15:56
  • This isn't going to ever happen, is it? It's just doomed to show up, like Halley's comet, every now and then, in the active-posts ranks. ('community' allegedly modified this on Jan 8, but I can't see what was modified)
    – dave
    Jan 18, 2023 at 23:53
  • I see the comet has visited our solar system once more,
    – dave
    Sep 6, 2023 at 20:30

1 Answer 1


No. Against.

'Design-Choices' names the result, while 'Design-Rational' implies that there has been a 'rationl' decission been made - which not always is the case.

'Design-Choices' is a more open and including tag, thus way more applicable.

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    The proposal is "rationale" not "rational". The dictionary definition of "rationale" is "A set of reasons or a logical basis for a course of action or belief" (lexico.com/definition/rationale), A "rationale" does not have to be "rational" or "logical". But FWIW I don't see the point of the change, since "choice" is a much more common English word than "rationale."
    – alephzero
    Jul 8, 2021 at 9:36
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    @alephzero you're confusing me by citing 'logical basis for ...' as definition for rationale just to continue, that it 'does not have to be [...] "logical"'. How does that work out? Independent of that, if that term is so disputable,that an 'e' or not at the end is most important, it's for sure not a good term to be used - at least from an UI POV. Last but not least, my point is that design decisions do not always follow (simple, item relates) logic, but may be quite random. The world is neither rational nor are we.
    – Raffzahn
    Jul 8, 2021 at 10:43
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    @Raffzahn - arguments about the sanity of the English language are probably out of scope for RC. Nevertheless, "rational" and "rationale" are (to native speakers, no offence intended) clearly different words
    – dave
    Aug 4, 2021 at 1:25
  • @another-dave I'm not offended - at least not easy. Especially since you're making a great argument against - it may not be as great for non native speakers, which constitute a good number of RC.SE users, don't they? After all, the most important point about naming is easy recognition. Correct but not as easy to distinguish words constitute a bad UI.
    – Raffzahn
    Aug 8, 2021 at 0:55
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    For an example of the use of “rationale”, see the corresponding sections in POSIX — many of the reasons given there are historical, and not particularly logical ;-). Dec 11, 2021 at 15:20
  • @Raffzahn For the record, "design-rational" is French word ordering, and never English; if I saw that, I would be confused, and then assume it’re a typo for "design-rationale"; that it might be about rational design decisions would be waaay down my list.
    – wizzwizz4 Mod
    Sep 17, 2023 at 23:05
  • @wizzwizz4 Erm, so why don't you apply exactly that here as well?
    – Raffzahn
    Sep 17, 2023 at 23:09
  • @Raffzahn I don't quite understand the question. "Design rationale" is a well-known phrase with a well-known meaning, whereas I'd never seen "design rational" before your answer.
    – wizzwizz4 Mod
    Sep 17, 2023 at 23:17
  • @wizzwizz4 Nor do I what your point is. The question is about choice vs. rationale. isn't it? A rational design decision is one base on an undisputed logic, while a choice is one between multiple possible ones. Thus choice will not only cover a wider range of questions, thus being more inclusive, but as well cover all those decisions that have been made in less formal or stringent ways.
    – Raffzahn
    Sep 17, 2023 at 23:58
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    @Raffzahn My point is that "rationale" is a completely different word to "rational", and native speakers will not get confused. "design-choices" seems like it can be applied to questions about a situation where a design choice has been made, but that's not what the tag is for: the tag's for questions about the choice, and why it was made: the rationale for the design.
    – wizzwizz4 Mod
    Sep 18, 2023 at 13:30

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