The name of the platform is Mac.1, 2, 3 The name of the operating system is OS X.1, 2 Our tag is . That's not what it's called. Can this be changed to either or ?

Earlier, failed attempts to handle the tag correctly:


2 Answers 2


We cannot use because, as your own answer shows, will be misused as a tag exclusive to , which it is not.

I think this should be changed to to correspond to the other platform tags we use, notably .

is meant to be the "anthitesis" of , and , not as the "anthitesis" of .

Since Apple markets their PCs running OS X as "Mac - the anthitesis of PCs", if we were to use then we'd be implicitly accepting that. That's not how the tags work however. The alternative would be using , but that also includes iThingies so that's also out.

Mac would put itself on the same level as "PC", where it doesn't belong.

The only way we have at our disposal to nudge people in using tags correctly is tag wikis (which I anticipate being insufficient) and tag synonyms, which is why we redirect to . This helps new users have a better picture of our (implicit) tag structure.

Besides, as you've pointed out, is very barely a "version" tag. It's been around for ten years in eight different versions, so your comparison between and doesn't really work. We can easily anticipate, also, that (or or or or whatever) is going to be as much of a breaking change with the past as has been compared to — making it hard for questions to apply to both operative systems. So even that use case is not worth optimizing for.

This situation is similar to what we have for Playstation tags. We don't have a tag because there hardly are questions that can apply to all of the PlayStation 1, the PlayStation 2 and the PlayStation 3 - the three consoles are so different after all. Just like OS 9, OS X and OS X + 1.

In the end, while it might be aggravating for our Mac users that they cannot gain a tag badge for , it's also not the fault of Stack Exchange if Apple persists in their marketing efforts to classify their personal computers as not PCs. Our platform tag system is shoddy as it is, let's not make it any shoddier.

¹ Actually we kind of do: .

  • Blech, the "snap to grid" option in Google Drawing and the "save to image" command in Google Spreadsheets don't really work :(
    – badp
    May 20, 2012 at 8:56
  • Frankly, if you know nothing about Macs as you've clearly demonstrated here, I'm not sure why you feel so strongly to rant about it like you've done here, but this is exactly the cluelessness and hostility about the Mac platform and how it's used in real-world usage we perpetuate with our usage of osx.
    – user3389
    May 20, 2012 at 9:53
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    @MarkTrapp It's not a matter of "having a clue" or "being hostile" - it's just the way Apple has (successfully) marketed "Mac" to be "not a PC." Even Linux companies such as Novell have to accept the false dichotomy and make (shitty) Mac vs PC vs Linux ads as if PC === Windows. I don't like it but I cannot do anything about it.
    – badp
    May 20, 2012 at 9:55
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    Tags reflect real-world usage: they're not put in place out of spite because you don't like how PC has come to mean Windows-only. Even if that argument is conceded, there is nothing out there called osx. It's called "Mac" or "OS X": take your pick.
    – user3389
    May 20, 2012 at 9:59
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    @MarkTrapp The osxos-x change is purely cosmetical although impractical IMHO - but if you feel so strongly about it, here, enjoy.
    – badp
    May 20, 2012 at 10:00
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    @MarkTrapp As a side note, as far as cosmetic tag renames go, I wouldn't in principle oppose to renaming os-x further to mac-os-x in a nudge towards SEO. I'm not sure why this one request had been ignored.
    – badp
    May 20, 2012 at 10:06
  • It's not a cosmetic change: there is nothing out there called "osx". It's akin to saying MAC in all-caps or misspelling Linux as Leenoox: only people who have no experience with the platform would think it's okay. The "Mac OS X" branding died a long time ago: the platform is called "Mac" and the operating system is called "OS X".
    – user3389
    May 20, 2012 at 10:12
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    @MarkTrapp Incidentally there is nothing out there called "ps3" or "swtor". Tag names aren't advertisement space for companies to expose their brands in... (not until they pay for them, I mean.)
    – badp
    May 20, 2012 at 10:16
  • I'll say it until I'm blue in the face, but tags should reflect real-world usage. It has nothing to do with using proper branding: PS3, SWTOR, and Mac are all things people who like those things actually say and use in real conversations and posts. We'd look like idiots if we decided the PS3 tag should be pee-ess-three or swor because someone who isn't familiar with the products decided they liked those tags more, just like we look like idiots when we insist there's something out there called "osx". Using proper names and common usages is not a cosmetic thing.
    – user3389
    May 20, 2012 at 10:22
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    If using osx over os-x is really going to drive away people who get unnecessarily angry about it, then I heavily favor osx. May 20, 2012 at 16:00
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    0% of people mentioning "PC gaming" are talking about Mac...plus PC refers to the architecture, which is not mac, it's Linux or Windows (and, realistically, only windows or WINE)
    – Ben Brocka
    May 20, 2012 at 23:04
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    @ben I guess I'm the 0%! Also what have Windows and Linux in common that "the Mac" doesn't? All of them run on the same hardware (with varying levels of driver support availability). What's the difference in the architecture? Ipad specific usb? Firewire? How does that matter to us?
    – badp
    May 21, 2012 at 5:44

While either or would be more accurate than what we have now, I think this should be changed to to correspond to the other platform tags we use, notably , with left as an option for questions specifically about the operating system (corresponding to ), if that needs to be a thing.

Everyone and their mother calls the platform "Mac", not "OSX" or "OS X":

In one of the previous requests, there was some concern we would need to distinguish between Mac OS classic and OS X, leading to the situation we have now (and allowing for a possible classic tag), but not using the name everyone uses for fear of clashes with Mac OS classic is esoteric and does not reflect real-world usage.

Mac OS classic died an ignoble death in 2002 with the discontinuation of Mac OS 9. OS X was launched at the end of 2001. As such, there is a period of less than a year where "Mac" could refer to both platforms and any ambiguity about what a question asker wants could come into play.

But even if we were concerned about such a small time period, very, very few games were released for both platforms during that time period: either they worked on Mac OS 9 or they worked on OS X (and almost certainly the latter).

And even taking those games into consideration, it's easy to say, "I'm talking about X game in Mac OS classic" if that really is a crucial detail (99% of the time, it really isn't).

But beyond that, Mac OS classic is not reasonably considered by anyone to be a separate platform such that people still use it or play games on it or refuse to associate it with OS X1. They're both Mac. If you're talking about a game that came out in the 80s or 90s, it was released on Mac OS classic. Otherwise, it's OS X.

So I plead with Gaming.SE, as one of the most active Mac gamers here, to make us not look like we're clueless when it comes to the Mac platform. Death to , long live !


Note 1 Think Windows 95/98 vs. Windows XP: we don't have separate tags for and : we just use and .

  • Macs are also personal computers (as opposed to non-personal computers such as mainframes or personal devices such as the iPad). So I don't see why the fact we have pc should also mean we also have mac.
    – badp
    May 20, 2012 at 8:16
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    I don't see the benefit to having both an os-x tag and a mac tag, because they're usually used as synonyms, and when you need to distinguish (e.g. running Windows on a mac), the distinction is clear. Having two tags would just mean you'd have to search for both [os-x] and [mac] separately to see whether a question has been asked before, which would not be helpful. I agree that [mac] would be the better option, but both [osx] and [os-x] should be synonyms of it. May 20, 2012 at 11:11
  • @TheodoreMurdock I agree: I personally don't see the value in the OS tags when we have platform tags, but platform tags are kinda broken as it is today.
    – user3389
    May 20, 2012 at 11:20