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This has happened many times, when on meta it is decided to take all tags with the tag "x" and change that tag to "y". What happens next (that actually changes all the tags)? I assume a database query is made, because doing this by hand would be very boring.

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The moderators actually have tools to do this, but sometimes a direct DB query is needed for complicated ones.

Very often this is done by hand though. I have done it many times successfully.

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