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There are currently two specific sorting tags:

We then have the main tag: (79 questions).

Should we merge the specific ones with the main one? These are only two of many other sorting methods (including existing questions using other methods), plus not all of the above questions include the main tag. This could just be a moderator-only merging as manual retagging may not be practical.

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I prefer the status quo.

Implementing sorting algorithms is a rite of passage for all true programmers, and we sure get our share of such questions on this site. It would be beneficial to keep a few tags to help users find similar previous questions.

In practice, there are just a few commonly used sorting algorithms that are simple and fast (O(n log n)). In particular, is worthy of study. has the stable property. Heap sort is taken care of by a combination of and . Together, those three algorithms constitute a good foundation for a programmer's education.

What prevents a proliferation of tags for each sorting algorithm? Toy-grade sorting algorithms like bubble sort are not interesting enough to merit their own tags, nor should they be used in production-quality code. It seems to make sense that such tags don't exist.

Basically, the current situation seems to work, so I'd rather not disturb it. There's not much benefit to redefining the tag taxonomy for the sake of consistency.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ So, would you say any questions with these two tags should still use [sorting] (after revising the tag wiki accordingly)? If so, should those questions be tagged as such? Not all of the individual ones are missing [sorting], so the retagging process shouldn't take too long. \$\endgroup\$ – Jamal Jan 8 '14 at 0:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ There are also radix sort questions, so we could add that tag if it's worthy. \$\endgroup\$ – Jamal Jan 8 '14 at 0:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm just fine with the status quo with no retagging. We could add tags, but I'm not feeling any urge to do so. \$\endgroup\$ – 200_success Jan 8 '14 at 0:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ Okay. Does that include not adding [sorting] to the other questions that lack the tag? I'd think it would be more visible with it. I wouldn't be bulk-tagging them right now, of course. \$\endgroup\$ – Jamal Jan 8 '14 at 1:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ Meh. Questions don't have to be tagged perfectly for the site to be useful. I think excessive editing of old questions does more harm than good, especially when there is already a corpus of questions that have sufficient tagging. \$\endgroup\$ – 200_success Jan 8 '14 at 1:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ Okay. I don't like risking edit-flooding on this site anyway. You may post this answer on chat for more exposure, and then I can eventually give this the appropriate mod tag. \$\endgroup\$ – Jamal Jan 8 '14 at 1:08
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I'm not so sure.

From tags (emphasized by me)

A tag is a keyword or label that categorizes your question with other, similar questions. Using the right tags makes it easier for others to find and answer your question.

If I would like to see how other people implemented the , then I would look at the merge-sort tag. There is a huge difference between a mergesort and a bubble-sort, with regards to skill-level required, speed, code structure, you name it! Now, in what way is merge-sort similar to bubble-sort? They both do the same thing in the end, sure, but there's a big difference in the way that they do it.

I would prefer having both algorithm-specific tags and a more general tag. The algorithm-specific tag wikis could specify that the "sorting" tag should preferably be used as well.

is a subset of sorting, just like is a subset of . This doesn't mean that it all should be grouped together under one tag.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I agree with this perspective, but want to re-iterate/emphasize the suggestion to modify the wiki/excerpt to include sorting as well. \$\endgroup\$ – rolfl Jan 7 '14 at 12:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ I see your point (hat-pun intended), but at the end of the day, it's sorting, and from a review perspective, I find the algorithm-specific tags could hurt a reviewer's ability to suggest a [merge-sort] on a post tagged with [bubble-sort], versus if the question was tagged with just [sorting]. \$\endgroup\$ – Mathieu Guindon Jan 7 '14 at 13:32
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Yes.

If you take a list of sorting algorithms, you will see that it is quite extensive. Merging those two sorting tags now will prevent us from having a ton of different sorting tags later, and instead have one tag that encapsulates them all.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I agree with syb0rg \$\endgroup\$ – Malachi Jan 7 '14 at 6:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ I disagree, see separate answer. \$\endgroup\$ – Simon Forsberg Jan 7 '14 at 11:18

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