This question came to me when answering this question.

The question asks how to handle BCP errors. My answer was to call it from Powershell and use the error handling there.

The question didn't mention Powershell, so it didn't have a Powershell tag. If my answer is accepted would it make sense to go back and add the Powershell tag to the question?

2 Answers 2



Tags are used to categorize questions so that subject area experts can locate them easily. Adding a tag that describes the answer does not assist in this purpose.

From the Stack Exchange FAQ:


I'm going to respectfully disagree with Paul here and say "Yes" in this instance (I think).

Tags are there to help Googlers find the question, so the question could be rephrased as "Would adding help someone find the question that they want to find".

I think it could, even though it wouldn't have helped the OP — who presumably had no idea that Powershell was the way to go. That's because others with a similar question might well have an inkling that powershell might be involved in the answer and search for something like "powershell bcp errors".

I'm making the following assumptions, and if any of them aren't valid, then I take it all back and agree with Paul that the answer is "no":

  1. It is reasonable to think someone with the same question might have an inkling there is a Powershell way to do it.

  2. The Powershell way is the overwhelmingly obvious way an expert would approach the problem (this might be difficult to guage when you've just posted an answer).

  • 1
    This is the kind of thing I was thinking when raising the question. My thinking was, once the question has an accepted answer the main use of the tags is for people to find the answer to that question not the question in order to answer it. But I expect this could become a problem if people keep tagging questions based on their answers. Dec 30, 2015 at 14:06
  • Yes, we definately don't want questions tagged according to competing answers: only if an answer is 'the' definitive answer. Dec 30, 2015 at 14:18
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    @JackDouglas You say, "Tags are there to help Googlers find the question" - but the Why Do We Tag Questions FAQ explicitly says "Tags are not for indexing/summarizing your question" and "Stack Overflow and Google can index your question just fine based on the text of your question itself."
    – Paul White Mod
    Dec 31, 2015 at 5:30
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    @Paul, yes, they aren't for indexing/summarizing your question, they are for indexing/summarizing the topic of your question: When naming a tag, think about how someone would search for that subject. There is a dba.se answer on the first page searching for "sql postgresql insert", which shows how heavily the tags themselves are weighted by Google (searching for "sql error insert" doesn't show the Q even though 'error' appears many more times in the question). Dec 31, 2015 at 14:47
  • Right, and the topic of the question isn't PowerShell, so the tag doesn't belong.
    – Paul White Mod
    Dec 31, 2015 at 14:52
  • @Paul, well, that's the point — my suggestion is that the topic of a question really is powershell, if (and only if,) powershell is the overwhelmingly obvious way do deal with the problem, even if the OP doesn't realise this. I recognize that I'm using a more abstract meaning of 'topic of the question' than you of course. Dec 31, 2015 at 15:32
  • Yes I understand where you're coming from, I just disagree (in a friendly way of course) :) Tags are a bit of a minefield, but I'd like to at least stick to some sort of clarity on meta. Once we start allowing "answer tags" for questions with an "overwhelmingly obvious" solution ... well, I hope the objections to that sort of reasoning write themselves. I'm far from convinced the only answer to the subject question here involves PS by the way.
    – Paul White Mod
    Dec 31, 2015 at 15:41
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    There is a wide grey area. A question may be a natural candidate for a certain tag to experts in the field. While that's not obvious to naive readers from the question alone, answers can make it obvious to anyone. The tag still applies to the question. I tend to agree with Jack there. It's highly subjective what's "obvious", though. And I wouldn't say this line of argument applies for the Powershell example, since it's just one tool among others and not inherent to the question. So I would agree with @Paul there. Jan 10, 2016 at 16:24
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    I think the answer should still be no. Google can help other find the question and answer. "Powershell" is in the text of the page (that includes question and answer). Nov 25, 2016 at 16:39

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