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Due to synonyms the number of posts for a tag isn't fully representative of its popularity.

For instance when you view all tags debugging(4278) has the synonym debug(876). This totals more than 5k which means debugging should be on the first page, but it is currently on the 2nd page.

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Do you mean those tags should be combined into debugging and debug marked as a synonym for it? Why have two tags if you're trying to count them as one? – GManNickG Oct 19 '10 at 20:07
@GMan The "debug" tag is already a synonym of "debugging", but it hasn't been merged yet so there are still 876 questions with that tag. Until it does, it keeps its own separate post count. The proposal here is to link their post counts even while they are still hosted under separate tags. – Grace Note Oct 19 '10 at 20:19
@Grace Note yes, that is my suggestion. – Rook Oct 19 '10 at 20:20
@Grace: Ah, okay. This is just a band-aid, then? Shouldn't we fix the actual problem by merging them? – GManNickG Oct 19 '10 at 22:29
Im sorry Rook, I'm declining this due to Bills answer, we have been slack merging tags, that is the real problem that needs to be addressed – waffles Oct 20 '10 at 3:39
up vote 3 down vote accepted

I don't think this requires a code change, but a tag clean up. I merged the example you gave and will start looking at others that have synonyms but aren't merged.

I don't think a code change is really called for because this should only be a problem on original trilogy sites, particularly SO. If other site moderators stay on top of their tags and synonyms from the beginning, things won't get out of control they way they did on SO.

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If this problem requires human intervention then it will continue to be a systemic issue across all sites. – Rook Oct 20 '10 at 1:23
@Rook: The real problem is that the tags aren't merged, which requires human intervention anyway. What order tags appear on the list is really secondary. – Bill the Lizard Oct 20 '10 at 1:26
.. there are 3 pages of cleanup which are overdue :) Ill go through a few now, but help would be much appreciated – waffles Oct 20 '10 at 3:40
@waffles: I merged about 50 of them but that is some really boring work. I'll keep at it though. Thanks for lending a hand. :) (Also, thanks for adding that "merge" link to the synonyms UI. It would take 5X as long to merge tags without it.) – Bill the Lizard Oct 20 '10 at 11:30
@waffles thank you for providing anecdotal evidence to support my argument. – Rook Oct 20 '10 at 21:51

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