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Recently the tag wiki was changed to explicitly include Macintosh and Linux as well as Windows. While this is technically correct, I think that in common usage - especially in gamers' terminology - "PC" = "Windows-operated PC", which is distinct from Mac-operated and Linux-operated machines.

For example, the official moto of the Steamplay feature of Steam is

Buy it once. Play it on Mac or PC.

And this is also the image Apple is trying to portray - "PC" as opposed to "Mac". The tag wiki also currently contains a suggestion to tag any question with the specific OS in question, so every question about a mac-specific thing should be tagged , which is probably redundant.

How do we deal with this? One solution might be to revert the tag wiki back and leave it as =. Another is to remove completely, only leaving , , etc. This, in my eyes, is probably the best approach, to avoid ambiguity, but it requires removing one of the most popular tags on the site (well, making it a synonym of is probably the correct approach instead of removing it, but you get the idea).

Thoughts?

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  • As an aside, what happens if linux, mac and windows are all made synonyms of pc (and the subversions of each are made synonymous with the root tags? For example osxmac , windows-7windows, ubuntulinux. ---------- I need to do more reading on how synonyms work. Where should I start looking? – CyberSkull Sep 1 '11 at 14:00
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While I don't mind seeing a really popular non-game-tag go down the drain, given the potential for shadowing "main-er" tags, I'm part of the school of thought that thinks that Macintosh computers are personal computers. Wikipedia agrees:

The Macintosh (pronounced /ˈmækɨntɒʃ/ mak-in-tosh), or Mac, is a series of several lines of personal computers designed, developed, and marketed by Apple Inc.

That said, most of the time it really doesn't make a difference whether you're talking about a Windows game, or a Linux game, or a Wii game: those tags should be reserved for questions about port-specific features, and even then I'd rather see them as "subtags" of , and pals.

Obviously that's what I'd like to have, not what we have, and there's an awful lot of questions that were put in as part of our previous policy to just tag all questions with the platform and genre. We should consider, as a first step, removing those instances, perhaps without trashing the homepage in the process. ;)

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    Just to be clear - the typical Macintosh or Linux machine is undoubtedly a personal computer according to the definition; just not in common usage (as far as I'm aware, anyway) – Oak Sep 1 '11 at 13:30
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    probably better to use [computer] in this case to disambiguate -- PC really does mean "not mac" in popular usage. – Jeff Atwood Sep 4 '11 at 23:14
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PC here is really intended to mean a desktop or laptop computer (as opposed to a console or mobile phone). Would it work just to call it "computer" instead? Then we can leave the OS specific tags for questions that are actually specific to those OS.

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I find myself against associating the generic term "PC" with any particular platform. I mean, all of us, myself included, think Windows when the term PC thanks to aggressive marketing and inheritance.

As for the reason I oppose, it is because the common association is quite fluid. In the '80s and early '90s PC was generally shorthand for an IBM PC-compatible running DOS or maybe OS/2. It could have also been an Amiga or Atari. At the time and to this day, Apple's marketing has been rebelling against the image of the IBM PC, the boring beige box. In 1995 with Windows 95 coming out "PC" shifted away from IBM and over to Microsoft.

In a weird way, we have a generic term that has become synonymous with a series of products from several companies, as opposed to Xerox being a generic term for a copy machine or Band-Aid for an elastic bandage.

Getting back on task here. ;)

Because the definition is fluid, we shouldn't hard link it to any one platform sub-category, because it will invariably (as much as MS doesn't want it to) change it's association again in the future. In another decade your pad or phone could be your PC, or even something actually much more personal.

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  • Yeah, I'm gonna split that off into it's own discussion point. Edit: Look here for that aside. – CyberSkull Sep 1 '11 at 13:59
  • +1, look like we agree [pc] is not a good tag, and we should go with os-specific tags instead. – Oak Sep 1 '11 at 14:06
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    I don't associate PC with Windows, so it isn't quite all of us. – Grace Note Sep 1 '11 at 14:10
  • @gracenote fair enough. – CyberSkull Sep 1 '11 at 14:17

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