4

Preface

Our tagging scheme for tags relating to Tandy computers is incomplete and inconsistent. Yesterday I started the discussion thread, New [trs-80] tag conundrum . An earlier thread exists for the Color Computer -- Tag Discussion: coco or color-computer . wizzwizz4 suggested we have a vote-type proposal, which is what this thread is. (His suggestion also included a second (third?) thread specifically for the Color Computer, but for reasons which will hopefully become clear, I don't think we need it, but if folks disagree, I'll write one.)

First, let's start with pre-existing tags:
(two uses, one of them yesterday
(three uses, created by me yesterday)
(three uses)
(eighteen uses)
(four uses)

I had thought simply by creating the tag, it would support the z80 family of TRS-80 Models I, II, III, and 4. However, the Model II turned out to be a separate animal to the other 3, which were inexpensive home/educational machines. The Model II and its descendants turned out to be a different animal, very expensive business machines, with the daughter models eventually offering a 68000 CPU and Unix.)

Proposal

  1. Create the following tags:
    , with description stating it supports Model I, Model III, and Model 4
    , with description stating it supports the Model II, Model 12, Model 16B, and the "Tandy 6000"
    , name matching Tandy's actual name . Supports the Color Computer 1, 2, and 3 (there was no "Model" in their names)
  2. Delete the following tags, first editing existing threads to use one of the above:
    (I just made it yesterday, so it has no history)
    (until yesterday, it had only been used once)
  3. Convert the following tags to synonyms for

  4. Edit the description for . It currently is written to support all models of Tandy IBM "compatibles". However, the Tandy 1000 was a better clone of the IBM PCjr. Tandy's normal (AT class) IBM compatible was their Tandy 2000 (which for some reason, preceded the Tandy 1000). The three pre-existing questions for were specifically for the PCjr clone machine. Also, it appears no one has ever asked a question concerning the Tandy 2000. I guess we would need to create a new tag should anyone do so.
  5. I have sufficient privilege and willingness to do this. I think it will take less time than I spent writing this proposal.

Notes

  1. See yesterday's thread for discussion about Roman vs Arabic numerals. There appears to be consensus that since Tandy was inconsistent, we should be. Also, some society's appear not to recognize lower-case roman numerals anyway.
  2. All new and remaining tags have consistent form. The manufacturer in "TRS" is Tandy Radio Shack. The synonyms will allow for popular names to be supported, such as "CoCo".

6 Days Later

Is 2 votes and 25 views enough to proceed?

3

(response to wizzwizz4's answer)
Having read thru your answer, it appears you basically agree with my proposal, but feel there should be numerous tag synonyms added, to cover virtually every model and numeral system. This caused me to step back and think about how I use tags.

  1. to search for similarly tagged questions or simply explore, finding what questions people had asked about a tag. Basically if I am reading a question with a tag of interest, I can click the tag and see what else had been tagged. Or from the main Tag page, I might simply explore.
  2. to provide one or more pre-existing tags for a new question I am writing. SE has a very nice "live" system of modifying the tag list as one types, showing potential tags for what you have already typed. What you have typed might even be in the middle of a suggested tag.
  3. Maybe other people use tags for something additional, but I have not needed to do so.

Would the multitude of specific TRS-80 synonyms be useful? Assume they don't exist. Now let's imagine a person is asking a specific question concerning the TRS-80 Model III. At one point they will scroll down to the tags field, but for some reason can't remember that it's name started with "TRS-80". So they begin typing "model". At some point two suggested tags will show themselves, and . (No other tags currently exist incorporating the word "model".) They can read the two tag descriptions appearing beneath the tags, and see that the Model 1 tag includes the TRS-80 Model III. Having synonyms for and would not have aided the questioner. They wouldn't have hurt, but they did not turn out to be useful. Can anyone give a scenario where such a large group of related synonyms would be useful?

I know you support synonyms and . Cool. These are different because they were common names for the computers, and many folks would not associate the text "TRS-80" as being a part of the name. There appears to already be a tag . It resolves to the current CoCo tag. Since my proposal changes the tag to a synonym, I would edit or replace the to point to . I have no objection to also having a synonym, although I could find no evidence that Tandy itself ever used the British spelling. I even found an Australian Radio Shack Catalog which used "Color Computer". But bottom line, it could prove useful, so I agree with including as a synonym.

  • All of those synonyms are just future-proofing; it doesn't hurt much to have them, and a high-rep user who types quickly might write model-3 or trs-80-model-3, find it doesn't exist, and create it. Perhaps I have gone overboard; so long as we can clean up afterwards (we can) it doesn't really matter whether there are all of those synonyms. It's really the part about the general naming conventions for tags where my opinion differs from yours. – wizzwizz4 Mar 1 '18 at 12:25
  • Why not go with trs-80 for all computers that were called "TRS-80"? Tags are there to help people find questions on general subject areas, not to provide a complete taxonomy of a particular manufacturer's computers. – JeremyP Mar 7 '18 at 10:55
  • People often enter prospective tags and hope they come up, so I agree - the aliases are absolutely essential. – Jim MacKenzie Mar 18 '18 at 14:51
2

This is my personal opinion; if yours differs feel free to post your own answer.


CoCo

To start off: and should definitely be synonyms of whatever we decide should be the definitive tag.

We have a tag synonym , so should we have a similar one for ? Looking properly, I have found this image:

A box for a Multi-Pak Interface for the Colour Computer
From the Centre for Computing History.

This suggests that we should have a synonym .

Families

Your plan for the family tags ( and ) leaves them more verbose than would be ideal, but I don't think there's a way around that.

However, I feel that deleting the tag would be a waste. I vote that the following synonyms be created:

Of :

Of :

Tandy 1000

That plan (to make just about and have a new tag when there's a question about it) seems good. I have nothing to add.

General naming conventions

I'm all for consistency... but not at the expense of completely unnecessary verbosity. ? That's duplicating Apple, which is obviously not your intention. shows that this applies to acronyms too. So, the adapted rule is:

  • Use the format
  • unless the model name includes the manufacturer name
  • or an acronym that when expanded contains the manufacturer name.

This falls down in many situations; I'll give just one: . Should this be ? ? Who even calls it one of these?

I vote that model and family tags should be:

  • Unique;
  • Not overly verbose; and
  • Actually used by people.

Most of our model and family tags already fulfil these criteria. And, to be frank, do we really need anything more than this? It works, doesn't have special cases, and is already the implicit policy if I've read the room right.

  • As far as the timex goes, that shouldn't be a problem since no one calls it a Timex ZX Spectrum. Its a Timex 2068, or more officially a Timex Sinclair 2068 so timex-2068 should probably be adequate. Note that this would be a tag with a very narrow usage, since it would only really be necessary for questions about / around the specific differences of the 2068. – mnem Feb 24 '18 at 18:05
  • 1
    @mnem Isn't the 2068 a different machine to the ZX Spectrum? – wizzwizz4 Feb 24 '18 at 18:06
  • The 2068 is the Spectrum compatible Timex. It has additional features to the Spectrum and isn't fully compatible, but its the closest Timex ever made to a Speccy. Marketed as the Timex Sinclair 2068 in the USA, Timex Computer 2068 in Argentina, Portugal and Poland. There's also a later Poland-only variant, the Unipolbrit Komputer 2086. – mnem Feb 24 '18 at 18:18
  • 1
    @mnem Timex was the main contractor for the manufacture of the ZX Spectrum... so surely that was the closest they ever made to one. – wizzwizz4 Feb 24 '18 at 18:38
  • True enough. I guess I should say, the closest "Timex-branded" one they made. – mnem Feb 24 '18 at 18:51
  • @mnem Thanks for making my point that calling the tag other than what it already is (namely zx-spectrum) would be more confusing. :-D – wizzwizz4 Feb 24 '18 at 19:55
  • Oh, I wasn't even commenting on if it should be zx-spectrum or sinclaire-zx-spectrum. One fits the established nomenclature, but the other sounds a heck of a lot more natural. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ All I was saying is timex-zx-spectrum is pure nonsense. :) – mnem Feb 24 '18 at 23:44
  • @mnem -\_(o.o)_/- The proposed naming convention is manufacturer-model... – wizzwizz4 Feb 25 '18 at 12:54
  • 1
    For sure it is but the Timex model isn't a "zx-spectrum", its a Timex 2068. Or if you mean the other way around: that because the actual zx-spectrum was made under contract by Timex ... its an Apple Mac, not a foxconn-mac, regardless if Foxconn is the contracted manufacturer. That tag would help no one. – mnem Feb 25 '18 at 16:26
  • Oh! -- just noticed the Colour Computer peripheral box. Okay, I accept that Tandy did localize the name. (I gotta reject the idea of needing four rompac slots, though. Spend who knows how much to avoid swapping cartridges? Not even I am that lazy.) – RichF Feb 27 '18 at 2:11
  • @RichF That switching adapter makes a lot more sense when you're aware that the CoCo used that port for a lot more than just cartridges (floppy disk controllers, modems, etc). – mnem Mar 3 '18 at 21:13
  • I think we should not have "colour" aliases for "color"; I've described my reasoning in detail in an answer dedicated to this. – Curt J. Sampson Jul 31 at 2:53
0

Responding to just one particular aspect of this:

As someone whose native spelling of "color" is "colour," I think that, for all cases (CoCo or otherwise)

We should not have "colour" synonyms for "color"

My reasoning this that American English is the best known variant worldwide, and every English speaker is familiar with the existence of it. Further, every English speaker who uses the "colour" spelling knows that the American variant is "color" and is more common. Anybody involved with computers in particular is used to searching for "color" as well as "colour" because the vast majority of computer code/documentation/etc. uses the American spelling. (This is often deliberate; I myself always use "color" in code, comments and most documentation specifically because of the searching issue.)

Further, typing "colo" will complete tags containing the word "color" or "colour." This has two consequences:

  1. Someone searching for "colour" is very likely to find the tags "color" tags either via them popping up due to slow typing, or because he typed only that much of the prefix.
  2. Because tag synonyms show up in searches (e.g., type 8080 and you'll see the tag 8080 and the alias intel-8080) all of the "colour" synonyms would show up as well, making the search harder rather than easier, especially for a common world like "color." Tag synonyms are not an issue in searches since they are removed as necessary to make sure that all tags with that word, up to six, are displayed.

Given that I think this should be an overall policy, not just about the CoCo, perhaps there should be a separate question and answer about this.

  • The best known worldwide? The US is smaller than the places that use "colour". Plus, synonyms don't normally show up separately; that only occurs because they used to be two tags and still have different tag wikis; you'll notice that colour-computer doesn't show up separately in listings. – wizzwizz4 Jul 31 at 8:56
  • 1
    @wizzwizz4 Yes. Pretty much every native English speaker who normally uses British spellings well knows of both the "color" and "colour" spellings. But English is very widespread outside of native speakers, and in much of the world they are likely to know only the American spelling, especially if they're not fairly fluent. (This is based on my experience living in Asia for a couple of decades.) – Curt J. Sampson Jul 31 at 9:04
  • Okay, but what's the problem with having the synonyms? The computer was sometimes branded with the "U" spelling. – wizzwizz4 Jul 31 at 9:14
  • @wizzwizz4 Well, I think that they're unnecessary, but now that I understand tag search better, "colour" aliases seem mostly harmless, if not actually useful. But trust me, even if in Canada my CoCo was spelt "colour" on the nameplate and box (I honestly don't remember—I bought it in 1984), I would invariably search under the American spelling because it's an American computer. – Curt J. Sampson Aug 3 at 11:29
  • I only use the American spelling when looking up CSS attributes; I think that catering for both behaviours is sensible. – wizzwizz4 Aug 3 at 12:00
0

So, after 581 days (and three or four voters), we currently still have just:

I'd like to suggest we go ahead now with:

  1. Moving to the three tags suggested in the question (, and ), along with for consistency and searchability for those looking for all our "TRS-80" categories.
  2. Doing the and aliases as per the question.
  3. Changing to an alias, so we're at least not moving away from wizzwizz4's suggestion for all those aliases.

That leaves us in a better place than we are now, and we can continue our discussion about aliases separately without that holding back a useful change that we do seem to agree on. (And users who have 5 points of votes on answers in those tags will immediately be able to suggest aliases, which might give us useful feedback.)


Just to satisfy my curiousity about the details of how this gets done: I notice that only moderators can rename tags and this seems like it would want renames. Or is it fine for a non-moderator just to create the new tags and tag everything above with them, remove the old tags, wait a day for the now-unused old tags to be deleted, and then suggest aliases as necessary? That seems to need editing of every question, which would both be a lot of work and bump them all.

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