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I've seen over an over here on meta request to fix tags.

One feature that can be added to the SO engine is a "Did you mean" ala Google.

I'm not saying that it is easy or trivial to do, but I think it would be pretty cool and eventually it will improve the overall search experience ( by improving the tag mechanism )

So here's how it would work:

  • The user tags its question with a misspelled ( or little popular ) tag

For instance tag = finaly

  • The system check while saving the question, if there is a big number of "edits" on that tag ( it could do that by learning what everyone has edit and corrected before )

The larger the number of "fixes" performed in the past, more weight is given to the suggestion ( so few fixed won't trigger the suggestion ).

  • If the "Did you mean" threshold is reached the system shows the the question and prompts: "Did you mean Finally?" with a link.

  • If the user click the link, the question is autofixed with the correct tag. If the user ignores the suggestion is it not shown again.

Again, I'm not saying "hey it is too easy, it should be done in 6 - 8 hours" but it may be something to consider.

Here's a link from a previous answer I gave which explains how that "Did you mean" algorithm work ( from a 10,000 ft view )

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3 Answers 3

IIRC, they check whether you're using the plural of an existing singular tag or vice versa. If you do, it says something like "You can't use a plural of this singular tag, raise it with meta if you disagree."

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we do a trivial singular vs plural ... no octopi .. and we do a trivial mytag vs. my-tag bit of protection ... both are fairly recent changes –  waffles Sep 29 '11 at 4:33
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I don't believe this is worth the effort.

Personally, if I am tagging something, I wait for the "autocomplete list" to pop up and see what the "popular" tag is that I'm about to type. That was probably the reason for adding the count of questions tagged with that particular tag into the autocomplete list in the first place.

and... I'd like to think that even with this in place, there would still be mis-tagging going on, and retagging would still be required. But when a retag request is made, the tool works just the same if there were only one mistagged question or 1500. So reducing the number of infractions is of no real benefit (short of the frequency at which a retagging must occur), unless you can completely eliminate the problem.

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I don't like a "did you mean" feature, as it's confusing most of the time.

I'd rather prefer a static replacement table that auto-corrects common false tags (which then also could resolve stuff like SqlServer vs. MSSQL).

For the one-off-mistakes, the existing re-tagging functionality seems good enough?

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