I've noticed that there are two tags: code and software. Could someone please explain what is the difference between them? Wouldn't it make sense to merge them?

2 Answers 2


The tag wiki excerpt for says:

Concerning computer code written or used in the context of a research project or other academic endeavor. Includes questions on licensing, ownership, sharing, distribution, and formatting of academic source code

Questions with this tag are specifically about things having to do with the source code itself, like

The tag wiki excerpt for says:

Queries related to various software used in academia. Questions shall not address highly technical aspects of the software but shall address features/issues highly relevant to academia.

Questions in this tag should be about the software, not the code, like:

These seem like distinct tags to me - I don't see any benefit in combining them.

  • Thanks - I understood the idea. It could be helpful if the description of each of these two tags could mention the other one - I will suggest appropriate edits. Commented Dec 20, 2016 at 21:24
  • This. A number of students in my department use very sophisticated software but will never code.
    – Fomite
    Commented Dec 21, 2016 at 8:05

The problem with the 'code' tag is that in the social and behavioral sciences, "code" means something different.

You might argue that in academia, that "computer code" is the minority form of coding.

  • Are there any examples of anyone using the code tag on this site for the other meaning? We don't seem to have enough questions about any other kind of "code" to make multiple "code" tags necessary. (If we did, we would rename them so as to disambiguate them; the current "code" tag could be "source-code", for example.)
    – ff524
    Commented Dec 20, 2016 at 22:42
  • Well, it's a chicken and an egg problem. Some sociologists or linguists concerned about coding might post if they thought it applied. But in general, I think all forms of coding are too discipline specific for "code" to even a tag in the first place.
    – RoboKaren
    Commented Dec 20, 2016 at 23:56
  • 2
    I don't think the ambiguity of the tag name is the problem here; renaming it to "source-code" would resolve the ambiguity, but I don't think it would help increase the representation of sociologists and linguists here. (If only it was that easy...)
    – ff524
    Commented Dec 21, 2016 at 0:08
  • Ah, and there is also a tag 'programming' - "The development and use of computer code for academic research." Maybe that one means the same as "code" and these two should be merged under "programming", to avoid 'code" being misinterpreted? Commented Dec 21, 2016 at 20:10
  • @AlexanderKonovalov Many of the "code" questions are not about programming. For example, questions about sharing code, or asking other researchers for code, are not about "programming".
    – ff524
    Commented Dec 21, 2016 at 21:32

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