Today I was asking a question which was basically about file transformation and while tagging it I looked up to see if it is appropriate for my question. Unfortunately, there are more than 300 uses, but no tag wiki and the excerpt only gives a brief description of the term file, but no usage guidance:

A block of arbitrary information, or resource for storing information, accessible by the string-based name or path. Files are available to computer programs and are usually based on some kind of persistent storage.

From some of the top voted questions, I assume that the tag should be used for any case where operations on a particular file are performed. Am I correct in assuming so? If yes, shouldn't it be appended to the current usage recommendation? If no, what is the scope of the tag, and shouldn't it be more obvious?


There are quite some things problematic with this tag:

  • Tag Excerpt is c/p'd from SO
  • Unclear boundaries and scope
  • Generalistic "problem domain"

This tag is really tenaciously avoiding clarification. It can theoretically refer to multiple things:

  • Files on the file-system, with their content being irrelevant
  • Files on the file-system, with the content being integral to the code under review
  • The Java-class File, part of the general I/O API
  • More specific kinds of files ( and come to mind)
  • [...]

I daresay this tag is too broad in it's current form. It's scope is non-clarifiable, because splitting it is near-impossible.

It's used with 24 different language-tags up to now and is interestingly seldom used in connection with (only 28 of 302 questions at the time of writing)
From what I can see, almost all questions that use actually deal with ...

Since is significantly easier to scope, and probably all questions are actually about anyways I propose to synonymize into

  • \$\begingroup\$ What about [file-io]? This can be significantly different from other sorts of I/O operations. I'd make the case that file is a bad tag all around, and [io] is probably too broad. \$\endgroup\$
    – nhgrif
    Mar 26 '16 at 17:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ that sounds like a real alternative, but why isn't there specific "subtags" for other I/O? [network-io], [cross-process-io], [whatever-io],... \$\endgroup\$
    – Vogel612
    Mar 26 '16 at 17:34

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