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On Travel.SE I recently merged two tags, where tag A is 'main' tag and tag B is a synonym tag. In this case, tag B was an older tag which had tag wiki content filled out. So when the merge was done, tag wiki data was lost.

I think this is not an ideal case. In case of synonym creation / tag merges, it should warn the user of any potential loss of data and offer to merge the tag wiki too.

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I can see the benefit. It's easy to get around, granted, but still, would be nice if it just worked when going from a tag with a wiki to a tag without a wiki, and a warning or stop when both tags have wikis that aren't exactly the same. –  casperOne Aug 9 '12 at 16:26
    
See also Synonyms list headers are confusing –  hippietrail Aug 9 '12 at 19:22
    
I think another side effect of getting which tag should become main and which should become synonym can have a nasty side effect of depriving the originator of a popular tag from getting their badge when the tag gets many uses. Can anybody verify that this would indeed be the case? –  hippietrail Aug 9 '12 at 19:43

2 Answers 2

up vote 8 down vote accepted

Actually the interface for this feature is terrible! It has almost no useful information for the poor moderator.

synonym user interface

"Source"? "Target"? No matter so many tag merge requests have come out backwards that I've seen. The poor moderator has to take a stab in the dark. Why not call one "Synonym" and the other something like "Main tag" or whatever?

When you enter valid tags it should tell you useful stuff about each tag:

  • Preview of wiki and/or excerpt
  • Creation date
  • Whether this tag already has synonyms, how many, what they are
  • How many questions each tag is already used on
  • How recently each tag was applied to a question
  • How recently each tag had its tag wiki and/or excerpt edited
  • Maybe the users who created them, use them the most, used them most recently

OK some of that is not strictly necessary but might help the mod and won't be hard to implement. But some of it I think is really essential.

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I agree with renaming the fields. The tag synonym list uses 'Master' and 'Synonym' as terms, so why does the tool itself use 'Target' / 'Source' instead? Every single time I use it, I need to pause and think what the terms mean...and more than once mods have got a tag suggestion from a user the wrong way wrong because of this confusion. –  Ankur Banerjee Aug 9 '12 at 16:56
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The note to the side says, "All new original tags will be automatically remapped to the target tag." I read it as "the source tag will be synonym of the target tag." It would be good if there would be consistency between that page, and the page showing synonyms, though. –  kiamlaluno Aug 9 '12 at 17:00
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All of these are great points, and I agree with them 100%, but they should probably be brought up in a separate discussion question (@AnkurBanerjee started talking about the inadvertent destruction of tag wikis. Fixing the sucktastic merge UI is important too, but seems to be a separate issue.) –  voretaq7 Aug 9 '12 at 18:58
    
@voretaq7: OK I split my answer off into a new question - thanks for providing the title for it (-; –  hippietrail Aug 9 '12 at 19:19
    
@hippietrail Oh you're welcome :-D –  voretaq7 Aug 9 '12 at 19:41

Seems sensible to me --

Merging tags with identical wikis (filled out or blank): Nothing to do.
Merging a tag with a Wiki into a tag without a Wiki: Move the Wiki.
Merging tags with filled-out-but-not-identical wikis: Prompt the user.

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