If you had read my own MSO question about this tag maybe the following wouldn't be new to you. I will highlight where it's different.

Internet, depending who you ask, means different things in different contexts. It is a vague concept where everyone has their own idea of what exactly it is, and the official definition is too broad to be useful. The questions tagged with are almost about everything, from networking to firefox to wireless to dns to network manager (each of them has their own tags), ad nauseam. Internet loosely applies to many things, but actually doesn't tell anything about the question apart perhaps, that the user doesn't have internet but doesn't know specifically why.

Obviously asking about the internet itself in Ask Ubuntu is off topic, same if asking about specific sites (except those that clearly pertain to the community, but for that there's the tag and other [ubuntu-site] tags).

These questions needs to be retagged manually, since most of them doesn't have the proper tags or tags that are also programmed for burnination (like connection).

If you came here felling destructive after reading the title and this question let you down, don't worry, there's still a way to destroy the internet ;), courtesy of cHao.


4 Answers 4


Just looking down the list of questions, these all seem to be questions (whether they're tagged that way or not).

Would anybody have any objection for merging into ?
I'll give you a day or so to object.

  • There are some that really shouldn't be tagged with networking
    – Braiam
    Commented May 20, 2014 at 11:31
  • I agree there are a few but the vast majority are. It would be easiest to catch the ones that aren't networking (by removing their internet tag) now and then merging.
    – Oli Mod
    Commented May 20, 2014 at 11:39
  • Perhaps making them synonyms would be better. Novices have no idea what "networking" means but understand they can't connect to the internet. If internet were a synonym of networking they would be automatically directed to the correct tag, right?
    – terdon
    Commented May 20, 2014 at 13:04
  • @terdon Yep, that's how it works.
    – Seth
    Commented May 20, 2014 at 14:20
  • @terdon you sure you want the "internet" tag around? I mean, people blames the internet when their browser doesn't work because an extension, or the pages are down, or caching issues.
    – Braiam
    Commented May 20, 2014 at 18:13
  • 2
    @Braiam That's why merging/making it a synonym of networking seems reasonable. This is a site that gets a lot of newbies who don't know their routers from their elbows. All they know is that they can't connect to the internet. If we take that tag away from them, I shudder to think what they will replace it with. Ubuntu version tags probably.
    – terdon
    Commented May 20, 2014 at 18:14
  • @terdon that's not excuse to have a bad tag around. Newbies just put the tags that the system suggests. They actually don't care which tag their question is asked as long as they ask them. Just try to repeat a question that has the keyword "internet" and the system suggest you all the relevant tags. I used this revision to ask the question. Try it out, you will be surprised ;).
    – Braiam
    Commented May 20, 2014 at 18:20
  • 1
    @Braiam I don't get any suggested tags for some reason. Anyway, that's irrelevant. That's the beauty of making them synonyms. Tagging as internet will be magically converted to networking. Yay!
    – terdon
    Commented May 20, 2014 at 18:31
  • @terdon you are not convincing me...
    – Braiam
    Commented May 20, 2014 at 18:42
  • look @terdon, a tag that needs too much context to be understood is not useful for anyone. I asked a question in MSE for stats about how many users actually type their tags or just use the suggested ones but I empirically I think that 99% of the users just use the tag suggested. Internet tag would be suggested to questions like these where OP only needs to know where to go to download the image and happened to mention "internet". You want those questions tagged with networking? Because that's what is going to happen.
    – Braiam
    Commented May 21, 2014 at 2:59

In an ideal world, would indeed be useless. It does not really give much useful information and could mean any number of different things. This, however, is not an ideal world. A lot of the users we get here are novices and have no idea what their actual problem is. All they know is that they can't connect to the internet so that's what they'll tag with.

Now, the vast majority of "internet problems" will be various types of issues. Therefore, @Oli's suggestion of simply merging with would result in anyone who tries to tag as actually tagging as . Is this perfect? No. But it is a step in the right direction. is something informative enough that users will be following it (131 users at the moment) and most of those users will be experts on networking issues and exactly the kind of person we want to be reading questions about internet connectivity.

This seems to me like the best of both worlds. The vague will disappear but we won't need to manually retag the 1198 questions tagged with it. So, Braiam will be happy because a bad tag has been killed and newbies will be happy because they can still say "Waaa! No internet" and ytheir question will attract the people most likely to be able to answer it.

  • 2
    Reading it as (without internet as a tag) "In an ideal world, internet would indeed be useless. It does not really give much useful information..." looks like you is utterly wrong and inaccurate and you haven't yet figured out how to use internet itself :-)
    – Aditya
    Commented May 22, 2014 at 11:09

Allow me to think out loud for a minute. You may want to just skip to the end...

Tag Descriptions:


This tag is for any home networks, server clouds, internet problems, repository
issues or server administration.


Questions about connecting to the Internet.


Questions about using wireless connections in Ubuntu.

How Would They Be Used?:

Still thinking out loud. The tag to me means exactly what it says; networking. The tag is more specific saying it's not just about networking it's about the worlds biggest most famous network the internet. There is also a tag to specify that a connection involves a wireless signal.

So a question tagged could be about setting up a home network setup, a question tagged and might be about getting internet access available over that home network, and a question tagged , , and might be about setting up a home wifi network that will provide internet access.

How Are They Being Used?:

The next thing to factor in is how are they being used now.

First 3 Questions From Internet:

First 3 Questions From Networking:

First 3 Questions From Wireless:

So it looks like they are being used okay. The tag has 1,378 questions, the has tag 6,131 questions, and the tag has 5,698 questions. To me this suggests they are all used enough to earn their keep.

What Do The Words Really Mean?

I think it's important to keep in mind what networking really means. It refers to the connection of 2 or more devices in a communicative manner. Here on Askubuntu that connection must be Ubuntu relevant, and follow the restrictions imposed by the tag, which tend to be more computer-networking (linking of computers). The same goes for wireless which if you read the tag's detailed description tells you it's not just for computer-networking (linking of computers) it's for any Ubuntu related use of a wireless signal including keyboards, and mice. Lastly the internet which is a specific global computer network.

My 2 Cents:

Specificity is only useful to a point, and in this case the tag doesn't appear to be overwhelmed with questions; the site could easily get by without an tag. In summary I see the point in having an tag, I would be happy to see it stay, but as a subcategory of networking it is expendable. While I am not for it's removal I would understand if it were.


There are several comments discussing 3 postings as examples of using the tag, if they should actually be tagged this way, and if merging such questions into the tag makes any sense. "Are they actually about networking?", being the argument. Rather than reply to all these comments individually I think it might be more effective to simply share my thoughts through an edit.

Is The Internet Tag Suitable For These Questions?:

Question 1:

Lets set aside what this question is currently tagged as; what could I tag it as? Well firstly we're dealing with a user-network application (an application that uses a network) specifically Mozilla Firefox so the tag could be used. The question doesn't state internet usage is involved, but the OP did have it tagged with so we can assume Mozilla Firefox will be used online. Remember web browsers while commonly used for internet sites they not restricted to such, and can just as easily be used for intranet sites. A web browser is a viewer for served documents/applications so some form of networking is required. Since the OP seems to be intending internet usage the tag would work. As mentioned before this question is about Mozilla Firefox so the tag would make sense. This question could be tagged . In this case is the primary tag with and as sub-category tags. Keep in mind of course that there are a mass of available tags which means it is often possible to effectively tag a question in more than one way. There is also tag limit, and even within that limit it possible to over-tag a post (or as I like to call it "tagging-to-death"). In this question the usage of one or both the tag and tag works. Would the post work without them? Yes. In this case the question is about Mozilla Firefox, and the tag works nicely as either a sub-category tag, or a primary tag. Due to this another effective way of tagging the question would be to use tag as the primary tag, and then tag. Keep in mind that tag also works nicely as a sub-category of other tags like . I feel this question is an acceptable example of using the tag. Some ways I could see tagging this question:

Question 2:

What could I tag this as? Well we're dealing with Apt so the tag is a good fit. Apt is a program for retrieving and installing Debian software packages. This question is a great example of the use of the tag because Apt doesn't require an internet connection, or even a network connection. You can use it with local repositories that don't involve networking at all. So you could simply tag this with and leave it at that especially if you're only dealing with a local repository. However in this question the user has specified they will be using online repositories so both the and tags work very well here. However as mentioned before there is a mass of available tags, and it is possible to effectively tag a question in more than one way. It's also possible to over-tag a post. In this question the OP is getting internet via a mobile ISP provider so the tag could also be helpful. I can see there are a few different ways to effectively tag this question:

Question 3:

For now lets set aside for a moment that this question is about Mozilla Firefox and Chromium, and just pretend it's about Mozilla Firefox. As before this means tags ,, and would all work, but of course that isn't the only way to tag the question. Now this question is about a sub-topic of Mozilla Firefox; privacy, it's also about Chromium, and the basic principles will apply to almost all browsers. This question therefore makes a good example of a one that could tagged with and , but might be more effective tagged as something else, because it has so many other more specific tags that can be used for it. Since it discusses two browsers their tags would be a good start. The following seem to be good fits, but because the OP mentions 2 specific applications the first would be more ideal:

What Are My Thoughts On All Of This?:

I think that all 3 questions work fine with the tag, this doesn't mean they need to be tagged with it, or that their aren't other tags which would work. In some cases other tags may even work better. As far as merging the questions currently tagged into I see no problem; they are networking related. The reason these questions seem to be the topic of debate is because they are about user-network applications (an application that uses a network), rather than administrative-network applications (an application that manages, secures, or provides information about a network). As well as because of how tag is currently described. If a merge does occur I think some manual re-tagging is a good idea, because some questions have better tags available.

  • 1
    Through your conclusions are fine, you are missing some important points like this comment where I said that questions that has nothing to do with networking where tagged with internet and others that the "internet" was irrelevant to the question asked yet it was used.
    – Braiam
    Commented Jun 2, 2014 at 13:44

No, Internet should be removed altogether. It has no use being a tag to start with. Network has more functionality. You can kinda figure out what the issue is to begin with. Internet is not related to Ubuntu or anything else for that matter.

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