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I've noticed that retag-requests are being deleted by Jeff. This seems like a new thing and not a good one.

I've seen two today that were both created by Evan (one, two) [10k only], which had a total of 14 upvotes. Now he's going to lose half his rep, when both requests were reasonable (and implemented).

Are we trying to kill all retag requests?

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+1 I think it's good we reward retag requests with rep. The threat of reversing this on a recalc kinda sucks. – user27414 Aug 9 '10 at 18:41
@Jon, I always upvote reasonable retag requests to reward them. I wonder how much rep I'll lose when they get to my old ones? – Lance Roberts Aug 9 '10 at 18:43
I suspect they're being deleted because we have tag synonyms now, and most of the old retag requests should no longer be needed. – Bill the Lizard Aug 9 '10 at 19:05
My reputation audit isn't pretty. Please no recalc please no recalc please no recalc... lol – Jon Seigel Aug 10 '10 at 17:16
@Jon, yeh, I just checked mine, -1500 with a recalc now, they've been deleting like crazy. Why can't they just delete the questions where I have negative votes? – Lance Roberts Aug 10 '10 at 19:52
up vote 20 down vote accepted

I feel that deleting these posts removes too much data from the historical record. Yes, the posts are visible to those with 10k reputation, but only if you have the exact URL handy. Can they simply be closed as [status-completed] and then locked to prevent reopening or deletion?

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Closed and Locked would have been nice. I had two outstanding questions, that I now can't reference and "transfer" as tag synonym requests. – Kevin Hakanson Aug 11 '10 at 2:49
The meta 10k users are trying to undelete as many of these posts as they can, but since they don't show up in searches, it's hard to find them to begin with. – Ether Aug 17 '10 at 0:37

I agree... mostly. (That may surprise some people, but read on.)

I think it's entirely reasonable that some old requests can be deleted. Requests that are (a) trivial and (b) have resulted in tag synonym(s) being created aren't really relevant any more.

But the requests should meet both of these criteria to be candidates for deletion! Otherwise, we end up deleting valuable information that we may need later on, or removing a legitimate request which is not actually completed.

As I said below in a comment, the score of these posts has absolutely nothing to do with the value of the information the question contains. In fact, retag requests with the most information are lower-scoring. Why? People tend to pass over the complicated ones without reading. Since I've given a lot of answers in these questions, I definitely noticed that the more complicated my solution, the less votes I got on my answers, presumably because not many people want to read that stuff. (All this is totally fine, btw; I'm just saying what happens.)


As far as I can tell, essentially zero thought went into this decision, and it certainly would never have gotten the community's blessing either. Given how Jeff tends to do whatever he wants and then ignores the backlash until people forget about it, maybe that was the whole point; I don't know.


I'm all for site cleanup, but most of these deletions make absolutely no sense.

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I feel we should re-open new discussions in light of the radically redesigned synonym system. Even if we have to rehash old discussions. That said if you find any you feel very strongly should be undeleted, email them to team@ and I'll undelete them. – Jeff Atwood Aug 16 '10 at 9:11
if you go to the 10k deleted list, and click on the 7d (or older link) you'll see a lot of them. – Lance Roberts Aug 16 '10 at 13:51
@Jeff: Then explain the example I cited that was deleted? Thanks for undeleting, but that isn't really the point (I think you get that by now, hopefully). I'm going to have to go through all of the deleted requests and send you a list. – Jon Seigel Aug 16 '10 at 17:15
@Lance: Thanks. (I is stoopid.) – Jon Seigel Aug 16 '10 at 17:15

I believe it is because Jeff is deleting all the items which are no longer applicable. For items like feature requests, it is important that the original request (and meta discussion) exist for the historical record.

However, retag requests which are simple and completely without objection don't need a record. They become irrelevant and no longer necessary.

share|improve this answer
Hmmm... Maybe in some cases, but I've certainly had reason to search past retag requests! That said, it's possible this won't be as necessary with the new synonym system. – Shog9 Aug 9 '10 at 19:04
Some of these retag requests have relevant discussions that may need to be referred back to when issues come up with specific tag synonyms. There's no reason to delete them if they're tagged appropriately. – Lance Roberts Aug 9 '10 at 19:07
@Shog9 It is likely that the synonym system was designed to render these exact type of requests needless. – devinb Aug 9 '10 at 19:10
@Lance, I don't approve of deleting the discussions. But in both of the cases you linked, they were uncontroversial and therefore would not be needed afterward. As I understand it, the tags are both still valid, it was only the current tags that were merged. – devinb Aug 9 '10 at 19:11
@devinb: AFAIK, there's currently no automated retag that happens based on a synonym creation. I suspect low-volume synonyms will get re-tagged by users or mods without discussion, but for tags where a synonym has as many (or more...) occurrences, it's probably still a good idea to bring it up here on Meta before making mass-changes. And for those, the history could be very helpful when users come looking for their missing tags... – Shog9 Aug 9 '10 at 19:14
@devinb, I agree that the discussion on those two questions was irrelevant, but if we wholesale delete all retag requests, we'll end up deleting relevant ones. They've created tag synonyms for those tags (actually I only checked on of them) so I can see why they don't think they need the stub anymore. Maybe they should create a tag 'stats-synonymed'. – Lance Roberts Aug 9 '10 at 19:15

I agree we needed to clean-shop ... tons of the old stuff no longer applies and can go through the standard tag synonym UI.

There are a few scenarios new retag-requests still make sense

  1. If the synonyms is more popular than the master, say, for example, you want c# retagged to csharp and can make a really good case for it.

  2. If its a complicated chain and an existing synonym (proposed or active) is messing up a natural retag.

In general though I think we should just use the new system and vote on ones that make sense. Keep in mind we have approx ~600 pages of active tag synonyms and have completed well over 100 retags in the last few weeks. Its all working much better than it ever did.

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Why not close and lock then? That way the information would be still available if needed. – Georg Fritzsche Aug 11 '10 at 4:01
I would have been happy with close and lock – waffles Aug 16 '10 at 1:24

I've deleted all retag requests with a score of 10 or lower, as I feel the new synonym system should capture the vast majority of such trivial/basic retags.

Now, if a new proposed retag synonym does require a lot of discussion, then I'm open to it being asked here.

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Just because a retag request has a low score doesn't mean that the situation was trivial. We should keep the decision process visible in case we need to revisit the issue, or to see how we came to a conclusion in the past. – Jon Seigel Aug 10 '10 at 2:57
As bad as this idea already was, it was much worse when I noticed that you've deleted open retag requests. I don't mind the reputation loss I'm going to suffer, but I had some retag requests deleted that, looking at SO, have not been taken care of. And I know there's a lot more unresolved retag requests than just what I myself posted, many of which will definitely be under 10 score because they weren't quite seen. – Grace Note Aug 10 '10 at 13:03
Actually Jeff, I've seen a whole bunch of retag-request posts you deleted today that had scores higher than 10. – Lance Roberts Aug 11 '10 at 0:08
Very bad idea. Very bad – abatishchev Aug 11 '10 at 14:28
A recent example of where we could have used that deleted information. – Georg Fritzsche Aug 15 '10 at 20:18
Tag synonyms solve a completely different problem. In my case, all the users were being good, and everyone used one tag, with no stragglers. The only problem? That tag isn't the correct one. I couldn't add a synonym, unless I wanted to automatically make uses of the correct tag incorrect. So I submitted a retag request, which 1. received a positive comment, 2. was utterly ignored by the mods, 3. was evidently deleted by Jeff without reason or comment. Well if that's not just fantastically useful, I don't know what is. – hobbs Aug 16 '10 at 12:56

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