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  • has 82 questions, and is a synonym to it.

    Wiki excerpt:

    Users with sufficient reputation can flag posts that have quality problems which they are unable to address themselves, thereby bringing them to the attention of the site's moderators.

  • has 570 questions, and is a synonym to it.

    Wiki excerpt:

    Flagging is the process of bringing a post to a community moderator's attention for any reason.

I don't see an obvious difference in meaning between these tags. Is one supposed to refer to flags themselves, while the other refers to the act of flagging? Is that really a difference that needs to be made distinct?

If there is no meaningful difference, I suggest we merge them all into the most popular tag ().

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@animuson: What about [edit] and [editing] ? –  hims056 Sep 10 '13 at 6:20

3 Answers 3

up vote 3 down vote accepted

While Frederic's reasoning for having two separate tags was logical, the tags were not used this way in practice.

  1. Having the tag mean one thing and the tag mean something else makes no sense at all. One is the plural of the other and they should be synonymous, and this only caused much more confusion between the two.

  2. The tag had many more questions, so it always appeared first in the list and thus everyone always tagged their questions concerning flags with that tag rather than even looking at the other one.

  3. The process of moderators handling flags pretty much goes hand-in-hand with the process of casting them. It's one joint process of casting a flag and having it handled. The two are so closely related and the line between the two so narrow that it just doesn't make sense to separate them at all.

Obviously, all this is just one gigantic, confusing mess, and it's caused several requests for these tags to be merged already.

Since the tag was so widely unused and pretty much everything got dumped into the tag, it would be nearly impossible to separate all these questions into their appropriate tags by the definitions previously outlined (seriously, that's a lot of effort for little to no gain). That being said, I went ahead and merged (the few questions there even were to be merged) and synonymized all these tags together under the tag.

This change was actually made a couple months ago and has had no noticeable side-affects whatsoever. Let them stay merged.

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I think you nailed it: and (nouns) denote questions about handling flags, whereas and (verbs) denote questions about emitting them.

Since these two operations are not the same at all (how to act on flags versus how to flag), and do not concern the same audience, I don't think it would be a good idea to merge their respective tags.

However, maybe we can clarify their differences by aliasing and to a new tag, and merging into . This way, we would end up with two complementary verb-based tags that might convey the question's topic better.

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There is a subtle difference between flags, and flagging (considered as English words), but I don't think that we should make a difference between questions about the flags (e.g. when an answer should be flagged as "not an answer"), and questions about the flagging process. For those questions, it is sufficient to use a single tag.

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