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It's that time of year and we're back in Apple's beta season. While seeing some recent Big Sur and iOS 14 questions start to come across, I noticed that we have 2 tags for beta software:

  • beta
  • beta-seed-program

Both have a very similar definition and both have almost the same number of questions (69 vs 79).

Because I can't tell which one the community prefers, I thought I'd ask if we should merge them under one 'beta' tag?

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I think beta should be burninated as it’s a meta tag. Beta hardware, beta software, which software all beg the question.

I strongly prefer beta seed program for questions about that service. In reality, macOS or iOS should be the tag and the beta status and version should be in the body, not the tags. Just like you need to be specific about what version of macOS you have when asking a normal question, doing that should be the gold standard and people don’t need any beta tag to know, but I understand the easy use of meta tags and popularity of them.

The down side is a meta tag might make it easier to ignore or follow pre-release software. I wonder if there’s consensus to make the tag beta-seed-program to be appropriate for developer seeds, public seeds other seeds and have it host questions about how to get in, how to apply and things that may narrowly only affect a beta build?

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  • Counterpoint: Tags exist for the "Watch tag" and "ignore tag" functionality. I have no intention of ever installing a pre-release operating system, and would happily "ignore tag" anything for a version of iOS, macOS, etc., before its official release. – Daniel Jul 6 at 5:35
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    I don’t recall hearing this and it’s a great use case for a meta tag. Should we still hone precisely what these mean - that can’t hurt whether we keep them, merge them or have more @Daniel – bmike Jul 6 at 16:35
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    I would prefer merging them as the best option. To me, 'beta' is better than 'beta seed program' because the vast majority of people have no idea what 'seed program' means and might not select it, even though it would be technically correct. – fsb Jul 7 at 12:27
  • @fsb Would you make an answer with your precise proposed solution. I’ll up vote it and when you select it - we can merge if it’s safe - leaving the synonym. I think we have consensus from the 5 votes here to move. I’d rather the chosen action have less opinion and more clear - we are doing this to fix the issue raised. – bmike Jul 7 at 14:39
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If safe, I request we merge the tags beta and beta-seed-program into one tag named beta.

The question should include the usual details about what beta program, build number, etc. This will make it easier for people to follow or ignore and should help enforce consistency.

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  • IMHO, beta is a bad name for a tag, as it's too generic. ios-beta could be a better option. – Idolon Jul 14 at 10:04
  • @Idolon There's already an ios-beta tag as well as seperate beta tags for Mac and Watch. The idea is to tag all beta questions with the same tag as the question should include the required beta info, see bmike's answer. – fsb Jul 15 at 13:18
  • Thanks for clarification! – Idolon Jul 15 at 16:45

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