Meta Stack Exchange is where users like you discuss bugs, features, and support issues that affect the software powering all 158 Stack Exchange communities.

What is meta?
Here's how it works:
  1. Any Stack Exchange user can ask a question
  2. The community provides support, votes on ideas, and reports bugs
  3. Your voice helps shape the way Stack Exchange operates

I recently edited out of a question. Infuriated by the tag existing, I went to see what kind of horrible, horrible questions it contained so I could whip up a burninate/ban request.

It contains ... no questions.


But, on the tag sidebar in the question I edited, it clearly states that there are over 280 questions in it. You can see this for yourself. Visit the SO tag list and enter "bug" into the filter box.


What's going on here? Some sort of tag hellban or honeypot? Dare I call this a Heisenbug? It's been like this for a while (weeks), but I've ignored it assuming that it, itself, was some sort of display or caching artifact and that it'd pass with time.

Additional clues from the comments:

  • The "recent hot answers" section inside the tag wiki shows a small number of questions.
  • A search for [bug]+ shows results.

It looks like the tag is doing the same thing. Three questions listed when viewed from inside the question, but zero questions in the question list.

share|improve this question
It probably just got purged, and the numbers haven't synced. – Mysticial Nov 30 '12 at 18:44
It's been like this for weeks, I just hadn't ever caught any questions with the tag. There's no way that this was a recent purge and/or the result of caching. – Charles Nov 30 '12 at 18:44
Ah... missed your last sentence. – Mysticial Nov 30 '12 at 18:47
The system obviously knows there are [bug]-tagged questions out there, because it notes "7 asked today, 32 this week" under the tag description, there. The "Recent hot answers" list functions properly, too, bringing up this answer (among others). And yet, I also see an empty page when "newest" is selected. Crazy! – Pops Nov 30 '12 at 18:52
What is this "Recent hot answers" of which you speak? – Charles Nov 30 '12 at 18:53
The [bug] tag on Meta has quite a few questions! – yoozer8 Nov 30 '12 at 18:55
It appears to be some special case with the tag itself, as it only does it when you're on the /tags or /tagged pages. But a search for [bug]+ returns all 281 results. :) – animuson Nov 30 '12 at 19:12
@Charles it's in the sidebar of the tag wiki (screenshot) – Pops Nov 30 '12 at 20:49
What top-level button did you recently push? – Rosinante Nov 30 '12 at 21:23
@Rosinante, as is very clearly seen in the screenshots, I was then on the "newest" tab. None of the other tabs have any results either. Given the funny search results given by Popular Demand and animuson, I expect this to be specific behavior given to the tag by the system, not the usual "oops, I was on a tab that gives no content" problem. – Charles Nov 30 '12 at 21:27
The tag just wants to live up to its name. – John Dec 1 '12 at 4:57
Less direct report of this:… – Tim Stone Dec 1 '12 at 5:11
The bug tag has a bug, and now we're discussing it on Meta? How very meta. – Justin Morgan Dec 1 '12 at 5:32
@TheGuyWhoDisagreesWithYou And now we're discussing it's meta-ness. How (even more) meta. – mikeTheLiar Dec 1 '12 at 14:01
up vote 14 down vote accepted

The UI is right... for a certain definition of right. There is a synonym in play here: has been forwarded to . But just to add confusion, there is no - the tag doesn't even exist (we purge redundant tags). It looks like the fact that the target-tag doesn't exist stopped the entire synonym working, which is a (note the different border). I'll look into that.

Even though "bug" says it doesn't have any synonyms, the master synonym list disagreed (past tense; see below)

enter image description here

which shows that 245 haven't been merged. I have deleted that synonym - it clearly wasn't needed. You now have access to the 245 phantom questions. I still need to fix a few places where synonyms are checked, to ensure it works properly for cases where the target doesn't exist.

share|improve this answer
Btw: we can add bug => bugs back in if people want it: I mainly deleted it as a quick fix and to validate my suspicion. Deploying the actual fix currently. – Marc Gravell Dec 3 '12 at 13:59
Thanks Marc! While you're poking around in there, you'd may as well just nuke the tag. Otherwise I'll be filing a burnination request later today. – Charles Dec 3 '12 at 17:25

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .