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Some words that clearly have more than one meaning are being used to tag questions very specifically.

Examples:

instead of

instead of

instead of

Note that someone has already put tag wikis on and to confine them to specific uses.

Problem is, by the time these are caught, it is a real pain to fix them. The tag tools are entirely inadequate for dealing with them, because these tags are already being used in multiple contexts.

If I had a way to change the tag only for those questions having the tag, for example, I could clean it up quite easily.

Any thoughts?

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2  
Really want to retag & add common words.... must... resist... Joking aside, would it be possible to perform a clustering algorithm on the tags on a nightly basis? or perhaps there's a solution with natural language processing? –  M. Tibbits Jul 5 '11 at 21:02
    
Did you want me to propose the references and preferences synonyms here? I don't quite understand your comment which points to this question. –  M. Tibbits Jul 5 '11 at 21:23
    
@M.T: references and preferences have larger problems (discussed here), which we should probably deal with first. This question isn't actually a retag request; I've retagged it to be clearer. –  Robert Harvey Jul 5 '11 at 21:24
    
I've deleted my comments containing words and common as they don't really pertain to corrupted tag wikis. I'll save them for another day. –  M. Tibbits Jul 5 '11 at 22:15

3 Answers 3

I think pretty much you have to watch the New Tags list like a hawk and aggressively retag/merge when garbage tags appear. While I fully support preventative tag synonyms, I don't think this is a good situation for it, because the scope of the bad tags is far too broad and unpredictable. Without a lot of extra development work, I think we're probably stuck being reactive, instead of being proactive.

That said, I would recommend two changes to make things easier:

  • It would be nice to have the full New Tags page back, not the tiny list of new tags tucked away at the bottom of the stats page. I really liked that page because you could let things slide for a bit, then go back and do a massive cleanup when you have time since the entire history is there.

  • I'll also mention my proposal to let diamond mods get access to the tag blacklist -- these are clear candidates for that. I'd really like to see diamond mods have this privilege so it's not a big hassle for the dev team to have to step in and take care of it.

A selective tag merge tool would also be a nice feature. I think that may open up the mod tools to Bad Things happening, so I can understand why Jeff might be hesitant about it... but it would be quite handy.

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I'm going to throw my vote in for A real solution to ambiguous tags.

Two biggest culprits right now are and , which are in the list of top ten tags related to . Both of which are also ranked above their Android-specific counterparts. As a matter of fact, 13,000 of the 19,000 questions tagged are also tagged , and it is a good bet that they should all just be tagged . The tags , , and are also up there.

Watching the new tag list isn't going to solve the problem for these tags, since they have existed for quite some time. Though I'm not sure what a valid use for these (highly generic) tags would be, I don't think deleting them and watching for the to reappear on the new tags list is a good option.

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[Activity] should already be synonymized to [android-activity]. If it isn't, I'll go do that right now. –  Robert Harvey Mar 3 at 4:03
    
According to the [activity] wiki, it also has a meaning in Windows Workflow Foundation, though I can't speak to its merits there. –  Tanis.7x Mar 3 at 4:04
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Fixed [activity]. Yeah, each and every one of the tags you've specified here are problems with [android] tags. Android is a particularly difficult tag universe to keep control over, probably because there are so many clueless kids trying to write the next version of Angry Birds and get rich. –  Robert Harvey Mar 3 at 4:10
    
Unfortunately, listview, layout, button and service all have other meanings. I'm perfectly fine with people using combinations of tags like [android] [activity] (they're even searchable that way), but the community disagrees, preferring more specific tags. –  Robert Harvey Mar 3 at 4:14

intent and activity I can see qualifying, but Model? We're not likely to be talking about fashion on Stack Overflow, nor are we likely to be talking about model airplanes, so I'm not sure how this term is ambiguous in the slightest.

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I guess I'd want to know which framework's model. MVC, MVVM, Rails, etc etc etc. –  user7116 Jul 5 '11 at 22:10
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Data model, UML model, programming model...Shall I go on? Model would have to be a pretty much 100% match to MVC model. Otherwise, you discover one day that the community has tagged 100 questions with model, but in a different usage context, and now you're screwed. –  Robert Harvey Jul 5 '11 at 22:10
    
I would use model in a statistical sense, while I can appreciate that has less context on Stack Overflow, many of the questions tagged with model have nothing to do with MVC (which is listed in the tag wiki). –  M. Tibbits Jul 5 '11 at 22:11
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What, you mean not all questions tagged model are about model checking? –  Gilles Jul 5 '11 at 22:25

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