I just reviewed a question with a tag, and not knowing what it referred to I noticed the Wiki hadn't been filled out. So I went to create that one and also noticed a tag that wasn't filled out either. I debated on whether to raise the issue as a synonym candidate, but decided one is a tool and one is a format.

However I got to thinking about how many times I see questions asked about a particular ArcGIS tool (say, Viewshed or Service Area Analysis/Layer) and I can't ever recall seeing a tag for them when I go to look. Which makes sense - do you really want the potential for every command (as opposed to extension or maybe even plugin) of every software to have its own tag? And so often what they do (interpolate, viewshed) is more important than the specific software's tool name. So I thought maybe should just be deleted as a tag. Most of the questions had anyway.

At the same time I noticed what seemed like inconsistent formatting with that command tag, so I did a search on all "gdal" tags. Sure enough, there are several command specific tags, and there's a pretty good mix of "gdal-command" and "gdalcommand". I gather from some other Meta questions that creating the hyphen versions (which are easier to read) and then making synoyms out of the current ones is the way to go. I don't know if you can edit an existing tag, but I wouldn't have the rep anyway unless it's a mod only thing. And as so often happens, I can see an error in the tag but don't have a sufficient score enough to be able to suggest synonyms.

So, to summarize:

  • Should software-specific command tags be used/allowed/etc.?
  • Can somebody clean up the gdal tags to a consistent formatting? (Thank you.)

1 Answer 1


I think new tags, as long as they conform to the GIS Stack Exchange tag naming conventions, are fine to coin as long as they are expected to be used a few hundred times in the next few years. The exact number of times is left deliberately inexact because it is a "rule of thumb" only.

In general, I think command/tool/dialog/window specific tags are likely to be too fine-grained but some like , , , etc, probably attract the volume of questions to warrant them. These may not be software-specific but are the first examples that come to mind.

I think should probably be a synonym of , but seems to be getting used more of late so I would lean toward leaving that.

  • 1
    Ah, but those aren't software specific - they either describe generic tools found in multiple softwares under the same name, or general GIS/spatial concepts (ok, so the dissolve tag needs a little work there).
    – Chris W
    Commented Jul 4, 2014 at 0:56
  • @ChrisW True - but they are so well known that I think they help illustrate that it is the space between too coarse and too fine based on likely use that helps position a tag in the useful band.
    – PolyGeo Mod
    Commented Jul 4, 2014 at 1:04
  • So there should be trim, clip, intersect, join, output tags from this logic? Where does in between stop?
    – Brad Nesom
    Commented Jul 4, 2014 at 10:16
  • Clip & join I think yes; intersect debatable; trim no - no science is being claimed
    – PolyGeo Mod
    Commented Jul 4, 2014 at 12:33
  • 1
    A good example of an appropriate command tag is ogr2ogr; it's very versatile and popular.
    – Martin F
    Commented Jul 5, 2014 at 20:52
  • @martinf I agree, with 184 questions, it is well and truly justified. Conversely, I just noticed ogr2gui with just one tagged question, and only mentioned in 5 questions in 4 years (gis.stackexchange.com/search?q=ogr2gui) so I just untagged that one which should mean the tag disappears within 24 hours.
    – PolyGeo Mod
    Commented Jul 5, 2014 at 20:58
  • @martinf I should really learn gdal, but... My first thought was "hey, isn't that a standalone module or tool?" My next thought after looking was "shouldn't that be gdal-ogr2ogr?" Then I looked at the gdal ref page and how the 'included utilities' variable had no space, underscore, and dash in their names (which I didn't know when earlier examining the "gdal" tags. And now I wonder what can of worms I have opened here, and if gdal needs a question like PolyGeo's on ArcGIS.
    – Chris W
    Commented Jul 7, 2014 at 6:09

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