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I've seen this question - What are the guidelines for using version-specific tags? - But it doesn't address whether synonyms should be created or not. The accepted answer just says that version-specific tags should be avoided unless it is an essential part of the question.

I am having trouble deciding if I should propose tag synonyms, particularly for version-specific TeamCity tags.

The purpose of tag synonyms (according to the privileges page) seems to be:

What are tag synonyms?
Tag synonyms allow us to fix incorrect tags by substituting them with the correct tags.

While I wouldn't say that version-specific tags are always incorrect, I think they'd often be misused, and should always be paired with the "master" tag. This is why a tag synonym makes sense to me. But maybe I am misunderstanding the point of tag synonyms. Are they just to correct things like typos (modelling vs modeling), or give a more canonical name to things (logging vs logs)?

Hypothetical scenarios

Person producing tags:

  • .Net 4.0 was just released (or just put in beta). I have a problem with a .Net 4.0 feature, dynamic.
  • I made a single change in a check in, upgrading my project to target .Net 4.0. It still compiles, but it fails to run on client machines. Similar upgrades went right, so this must be a 4.0 specific problem.
  • I am writing a program and I happen to be targeting .Net 4.0. I may or may not be using 4.0 specific features. Heck, I might only be using 2.0-specific features.

Person consuming tags:

  • I am interested in features new to .Net 4.0. Or, 2.0 is ancient news so I don't really want questions that target those features.
  • I have a problem that is 4.0 framework specific, and I'm about to ask a question. I'm searching to see if someone already has my problem, so I filter based on tag.
  • I want to watch and answer .Net questions because I have an expertise in them.

All of these have two sides to them that may or may not be impacted if version-specific tags are removed, or questions are inappropriately tagged.

I am having a hard time seeing how these are addressed by the tag synonym feature, and which are supposed to be addressed by it. Maybe that means version specific tags should stay non-synonyms, and the tags' usages should be corrected when necessary?

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1 Answer 1

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Version-specific tags shouldn't be made synonyms of their master tag.

Once a synonym is in place (say <- ), if a user puts on their question, then will be saved and displayed instead.

If you make a versioned tags a synonym of its master tag, then people will not be able to use the version tag at all, which beats the purpose of letting us have version tags at all.

In my opinion, there's nothing wrong with tagging questions with and - it makes sure that people that generally follow see the question, and that they are aware that you're interested in things that work for that version. Makes searching for version-specific things easier too.

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That makes sense for why I wouldn't add a synonym so I've accepted your answer. As for the rest of it, I think the advice you give on when to add a version specific tag conflicts with advice that was previously given. Although that advice is also self-contradictory, so who knows... –  Merlyn Morgan-Graham Nov 19 '11 at 6:28
Well, you might want to wait for other answers then, my opinion can be different from that of others. So I think you might want to un-accept to make sure people look at your question. –  Mat Nov 19 '11 at 6:32
I think the "synonyms remove the version-specific tag" is a compelling reason not to make version-specific tags into synonyms. There has been a proposed use for version-specific tags, it's just that the advice is broken. I don't think that impacts the synonym issue. –  Merlyn Morgan-Graham Nov 19 '11 at 6:34
Ok, I edited my answer to make it more clear that the second part of it is just my opinion. –  Mat Nov 19 '11 at 6:42

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