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Inspired by Possible invalid merge of [cpp] into [c++].

Currently once a tag synonym is accepted by being upvoted by 3 people with 2000 or more reputation, the tag with the lowest count is permanently deleted and all questions tagged with it will have the tag replaced with the synonym. This cannot be undone.

Quoting waffle's post in the thread linked above:

Fixing this mess is a real cluster.

Our merge process does not have an audit trail, it does a pure global replace everywhere, there is no undo.

I'm extremely concerned about this. Someone can just create a couple of sock puppets account, get to 2000 reputation with each, create proposals to make all the popular tags synonyms of C# (for example c, c++, java, etc), upvote himself or herself with the sock puppet accounts, and the tags will be permanently* gone.

* Of course they can be recovered from the data dump or backups, but this will involve a lot of development time and headaches.

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The merge process MUST and CAN ONLY be initiated by a moderator. Once a synonym is created it only affects the future. –  waffles Aug 16 '10 at 1:51
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Perhaps I'm just slow, but I can't even get one real account to 2000 rep, let alone several sockpuppets. And the rep would have to come in part from legitimate upvotes; sockpuppet upvoting is checked for. –  Pops Aug 16 '10 at 2:04
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I recall complaining that synonyms not being retroactive was bad. I hereby take it back –  Michael Mrozek Aug 16 '10 at 3:17

1 Answer 1

up vote 4 down vote accepted

In the linked example this is only such a problem because it slipped by the mods/team when they did the actual merge - the merge doesn't happen automatically.

To quote waffles from a comment:

MODERATORS MUST PERFORM A MANUAL MERGE TO FIX THE PAST
3 people can create a bad synonym, that only has an affect going forward. Then moderators look here stackoverflow.com/tags/synonyms?tab=newest&filter=merge and decide what to merge or nuke

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Thanks, I misunderstood how the system works! Apologies –  Andreas Bonini Aug 16 '10 at 2:10

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