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For the question What is this DFN 8-pin package? which originally used QFN instead of DFN, I added the tag DFN.

The tag QFN already exists, but the tag DFN did not. Neither does the tag "Flat no-leads package".

Was I correct to add that tag, or is there something else I should have used?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Do we try to pun titles here? Should it be "Added tag DFN - are there two sides to it?" \$\endgroup\$ Dec 8, 2023 at 17:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ Tags for specific packages seem overly specific. Perhaps they could be covered by the "packages" tag (which should be added to that question). \$\endgroup\$
    – Null Mod
    Dec 8, 2023 at 18:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Null Consider an IC identification question "I have a package with the text ABC, what is it?" Versus "I have a DFN-8 with the text ABC, what is it?" The latter is surely a better question. \$\endgroup\$
    – Lundin
    Dec 20, 2023 at 15:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Lundin The latter is a better question because the text is more specific, but that doesn't say anything about the tag. The latter is just as good of a question if it only uses the "packages" tag instead of an overly specific "DFN" tag. One of the purposes of tags is to subscribe to notifications for questions about your topics of interest -- I could see a packaging expert subscribing to "packages" but not dozens of tags for specific packages. And what do you tag the former example question with -- if you use "DFN" then the question looks self-answered by the tag. \$\endgroup\$
    – Null Mod
    Dec 20, 2023 at 15:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Null Are you implying that there should be a burnination of the SOT23, DIP, QFN, and so on, tags? (But not TO220, please, I like that format.) \$\endgroup\$ Dec 20, 2023 at 16:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ @AndrewMorton Sort of. I'd just merge them with "packages" and make then synonyms of that tag. \$\endgroup\$
    – Null Mod
    Dec 20, 2023 at 16:15

2 Answers 2

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I can see how exact package tags would be helpful for questions about IC identification and soldering in particular. Maybe also in questions about PCB layout. So the tag is fine IMO.

We already have tags like SOT23, DIP, QFN and so on.

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I think tags like DFN, QFN, DIP, etc. are too specific. Questions should use instead.

The purpose of tags is to help users find/identify questions that are interesting to them. Packaging experts would likely want use tags like to find packaging questions, but are unlikely to want to look for questions about specific packages. It would be odd to be interested specifically in, say, DIP packages, but not other packages. Furthermore, each of the specific package tags have so few questions (despite the maturity of EE.SE) that they don't seem to have proven themselves useful: I can only find a single tag for a specific package that has more than 100 questions (BGA, but not DFN, QFN, DIP, TO220, SOIC, or SOP). It's not obvious why some package-specific tags exist but others don't, or what to do with related packages (e.g. SSOP, TSOP, TSSOP, etc. -- should they each have their own tag or be subsumed under a common tag?).

Worse, the edits to the linked main site question exhibit a problem caused by the use of specific tags like "DFN": it's easy to add the specific tag while forgetting to add the more important general tag: . The more general tag wasn't added until revision 9 despite multiple tag edits. That means that a packaging expert who is watching would not be notified of this DFN package question unless he's specifically watching the "DFN" tag (which I think is unlikely). This problem would be worth it if the specific tag was popular enough on its own, but these package-specific tags are not popular.

Contra Lundin's answer, I think specific package tags would be a problem for identification questions: do you tag the question with the specific package if the OP doesn't even know what package it is? If you do, and it's a question like "What package is this?" then you end up with the awkward situation in which the OP is supposed to self-answer the question by adding the correct tag. This issue comes up on other sites with identification questions, and I've generally seen that tags which answer the question are not added to the question either before or after the answer is determined (e.g., see here).

I think the best thing to do would be to merge all the existing package-specific tags with and make them synonyms so that anyone attempting to use one of those package-specific tags will end up tagging the question with , which it should be tagged with anyway. You can just as easily find package-specific questions like the linked main site question by searching [packages] DFN, and we only need to maintain one tag wiki. Moderators can easily do this, and I would be happy to make it happen if the community wanted to do it.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ How about package-specific questions like Electrical insulation resistance of TO-220 package with SIL pad and plastic shoulder washer? It looks like having the package name in the title might be enough, if we can rely on questioners to provide it. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 20, 2023 at 17:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ @AndrewMorton Yes, that should be easy to find with a search for [packages] TO-220 even if it was tagged with "packages" instead of "to220". \$\endgroup\$
    – Null Mod
    Dec 20, 2023 at 17:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ Suppose I want to post an identification question about a SOT23. I can then search for identification sot23 and see if anyone else has asked the same question before. How am I supposed to do that with packages. The whole site is built around tags as the means used to categorize posts. \$\endgroup\$
    – Lundin
    Dec 21, 2023 at 7:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Lundin What's wrong with [identification] SOT-23 05q to search for identification questions about SOT-23 devices labeled "05q"? A minor advantage of an SOT-23 tag is that you can normalize to either "SOT23" or "SOT-23", but using a tag to find those questions relies on the question to actually be tagged that way. I found nearly 200 questions with [identification] combined with either SOT23 or SOT-23. I just find 14 questions tagged with [identification] and [sot23]. Making a tag search yield useful results (tagging those questions) thus needs work, at a very low percieved benefit. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 21, 2023 at 14:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Lundin In addition to Michael Karcher's response, if we make "sot23" a synonym of "packages" then you can search [identification] [sot23] sot23 or [identification] [packages] sot23 and get all questions about SOT23 identification. The question will need to have "SOT23" in the title or body, but given the obscurity of the "sot23" tag you'd need to do that anyway to make sure you find SOT23 ID questions that are not tagged with "sot23". Package ID questions are more likely to be correctly tagged with "packages" so both searchers and package experts will find them more easily. \$\endgroup\$
    – Null Mod
    Dec 21, 2023 at 14:34

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