I haven't been on this stack very long but there seems to be a consistent issue of people not listing their RDBMS platform. Makes answers difficult or irrelevant if submitted. Seems like we need some hand-holding here!

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    Can you show a significant number of examples where no platform was tagged (and where one is required), and where it wasn't corrected pretty swiftly without any difficulty or rendered irrelevance? I think we do a pretty good job here of getting questions focused in short order, in the odd situation where they don't start out that way.
    – Aaron Bertrand Staff
    Aug 10, 2015 at 15:57
  • I don't think we could do this: mandatory tags seem to be a 'meta only' feature. Aug 10, 2015 at 16:20
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    You are not the first to feel like that: meta.dba.stackexchange.com/q/926/3684 I am all for it (if somehow possible). Aug 12, 2015 at 14:30

1 Answer 1


Not all questions are platform-specific, and not all questions are specific to just one platform. Example from today: Which DBMS are more standard compliant? - you only get 5 tags, which 5 platforms would you pick? (Whether it is actually on-topic or not is a different issue.)

You also get all kinds of people who tag questions with MySQL or SQL Server when they meant the opposite, and there are always questions where platform is already obvious, but we need to ask for version specifics before we can answer.

If someone asks a question and you need to know what platform they're using, that doesn't make it hard to answer the question, it just means you need to ask for clarification first.

FWIW, as an answerer, I only follow the tags for the platforms I care about. If someone doesn't bother tagging with the right platform, I don't see it. shrug That doesn't make anything harder for me.

As a moderator, though, I just don't see it all that much. There was one question yesterday where the platform was left off, and I just corrected it. It was easy enough to infer from the code, the error message, and the screen shot, that the platform was SQL Server. The question was answered correctly even without that knowledge, since often both the question and the answer can apply to multiple platforms.

What will happen if you force a platform to be selected is (a) you'll have people go elsewhere because they don't believe they can ask a platform-agnostic question, or (b) people will just pick any or the wrong platform to get past the validation, not realizing that it is important (or not understanding that MySQL is not SQL Server). So, no, I am against forcing a platform to be selected.

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    Not to mention that we would take an SSIS question that may not relate to a specific RDBMS as well. Example
    – Zane
    Aug 10, 2015 at 16:02
  • @Zane sure, or table design, or security practices, or middle tier, etc.
    – Aaron Bertrand Staff
    Aug 10, 2015 at 16:05
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    We could add a generic tag (or just an option to that end in the dialog) for db-agnostic questions / new RDBMS / questions spanning multiple platforms - like outlined here. Making it "opt-out" instead of "opt-in" should clarify the large majority of questions currently remaining unclear. Aug 12, 2015 at 14:37
  • Unless it's a question exclusively about SSIS functionality it should have a RDBMS or "other" connection detailed. But point taken from someone that's been here longer than myself.
    – Dave
    Aug 12, 2015 at 16:50
  • @Dave If I had the inclination I could come up with several other examples too. A general question about normalization, for example - why would that need a specific RDBMS tag? What about questions regarding the ANSI standard or concepts common to all RDBMS platforms, like handling NULLs?
    – Aaron Bertrand Staff
    Aug 12, 2015 at 17:04
  • It's interesting that you interpreted "hand holding" as Forcing a platform to be selected and that you're so adamantly carrying on a discussion that was otherwise done. A simple prompt or guidance could be effective in handling a variety of situations which could reduce poorly tagged and crafted questions without overly constraining reasonably platform agnostic questions.
    – Dave
    Aug 12, 2015 at 19:26
  • "So adamantly carrying on a discussion" that I stopped contributing to 2 days ago, until your comment from 2 hours ago? I'm so lost... your question merely stated "we need hand holding!" and the title explicitly asks why it isn't forced. Without further specifics, what other conclusion should I come to? Where are the examples I asked for 2 days ago, where questions are unanswerable because an appropriate RDBMS tag wasn't chosen the instant the question was created? I am more than willing to listen to your ideas if you give me actual constructive ideas and evidence that they have grounds.
    – Aaron Bertrand Staff
    Aug 12, 2015 at 19:47

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