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I noticed that we have a tag, described thus:

For questions concerning the history of computers, digital electronics, hardware manufacturers and software developers.

This seems awfully close to a simple rewrite of the site's blurb:

Retrocomputing Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for vintage-computer hobbyists interested in restoring, preserving, and using the classic computer and gaming systems of yesteryear.

To me, it feels like this tag could be removed entirely, and the questions thus tagged retagged with more descriptive tags, with no loss of precision in tagging.

Is the "history" tag meaningful on Retrocomputing? Alternatively, which on-topic questions could legitimately not be tagged "history" as the tag is currently described?

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Yes the tag is meaningful on Retrocomputing. The link in the comment from @Chenmunka seems to cover that. So, I'll address the alternative question you gave: which on-topic questions could legitimately not be tagged "history" as the tag is currently described.

For starters, let's be clear on one main precept: Just because something is from history does not mean discussions about it are necessarily history. For example, discussion of the techniques and architecture or the pyramids of Egypt don't have to involve "history". Discussion of "how" some techniques were performed might include history. Why some style were used, and how the efforts were achieved almost certainly involves history.

Where to apply tags, or not, can sometimes be an art more than a science. Therefore, my evaluations may not match what others think. And the tag is a case where I would be very careful adding or removing it from a question since it can give a hint as to the OP's thinking when the text of the question does not. Given that, I've reviewed the first 16 questions on the home page (excluding the one on hold), come to my evaluation of them for the tag. My opinion for them are thus

As an example of a purely question, one that I've followed for a while is What key factors led to the sudden commercial success of MS Windows with v3.0?. Even though it does not have that tag, I really believe it deserves it.

Of course, in subjective matters as this, other opinions will exist, and they are equally valid.

  • Thanks for a comprehensive answer. I'll wait and see what other community members think before accepting. – a CVn Apr 26 '17 at 6:42

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