I've noticed that there is a trickle of questions on AVP where the asker is not sure what a thing is, or is used for, and asks for more information. The most recent example is this question about a DAW (which turns out to be Logic 9).

I added the 'whatisthis' tag, but the next edit recommended removing it. I'd like to discuss creating a 'whatisthis' tag, and then retroactively tagging questions of this form.


  • A class of basic questions are grouped together
  • People interested in browsing basic concepts and equipment can do so
  • People with a broad range of experience with A/V gear can browse the archives and enhance the answers


  • Askers are unlikely to use the tag themselves, so it will almost always have to be retroactively added

2 Answers 2


You may find this blog post of interest:

The reason meta-tags are a problem is that they do not describe the content of the question. They describe some other aspect of the question, like the author’s skill level, or the author’s motivation for asking it, or generally what “kind” of question it is (poll, how-to, etc.).

"What is this" as a tag doesn't tell you anything about a post. Who would follow it? Who would add it to their new questions? (It's not necessarily obvious that this tag exists, if you're a new user, for example.)

In general, we strongly advocate against tags like this across all sites.


My first impression is that it is unnecessary.

The OP in your example knew that it was a DAW. Likewise, if it were a question about a mic, or some other piece of gear, the OP would likely be able to tag it with what it is. At that point, the question is just, what is the name of this?

As somewhat of an aside, I actually don't think the question (or others like it) are very good/useful.

  • A little bit of research would have produced an answer. I searched "software DAW mixer" images on google and saw a similar screenshot on the second page.
  • They don't lend themselves to in-depth answers. In your example, I'm not sure what an experience user (I would include you in this group) could add. One could go on and on about Logic, but the OP was just asking for a name... not facing any problem that needs solved.

As to your disadvantage, if the question will likely require retroactive tagging, why not just tag it with the appropriate tag? In your example here, the question was retagged, adding .

Lastly, if the tag is to move forward, it should be rather than .

  • I have mixed feelings about the appropriateness of the question. On one hand, it is also obvious to me that there aren't many DAWs and a quick search would have made it easy to identify. On the other hand, the world of DAWs can be bewildering to a beginner. I wouldn't vote against closing the question, but I also wouldn't initiate a vote to close. Good point about the lack of utility of additional depth. Commented Feb 11, 2013 at 17:26
  • @ObscureRobot, I'm kind of in the same boat re closing. Seems harsh to vtc it, just not a very useful question.
    – JoshP
    Commented Feb 11, 2013 at 18:13

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