How does/should Stack Overflow handle synonymous tags?
I was doing some research on JavaEE. I came here. The first tag I used was 'j2ee'. I sifted through the questions, and learned a lot - including the fact that some of these questions are also tagged 'jee', 'javaee', and 'jee5'. Those tags lead to more questions. The web grows. I quickly find I could spend a lot of time on this. Some questions are almost redundant, but just had different tags.
I'm enough of an SO user to have expected this, but it can still be a pain. If I'm interested in Java Enterprise Edition questions, I might have to add four tags to see them all. If I ask a JavaEE-related question, I might have to add four tags to make sure I'm getting as many eyes as possible looking at it.
Some tags "include" others. Sort of. Obviously, some subjects subsume others: language-agnostic contains java contains j2ee contains ejb. But of course, not every question is best served by tagging it with everything up the subject hierarchy; most probably aren't.
Time passes quickly on the Internet. A programmer using one tag for his question one day may decide he preferred a different tag only a month later. A programmer seeking answers might search on one tag, but have preferred different tags earlier, had he only known. Questions probably don't get cleaned up and retagged.
This is no doubt an oft-considered issue for the SO devteam, not to mention anyone using tags this way. Clearly, the current system favors dynamic, laissez-faire creation, and the benefits of that should be obvious. The auto-completion and related tags features also help guide programmers to their desired pavilions in this gigantic convention center.
Well, given the above, what do we do about tags that are close enough in meaning that they're considered synonymous by enough of the SO userbase? Is it worthwhile to encourage users to use "One True Tag" if one seems evident? Is it worthwhile to auto-retag older questions to newer tags?