Feature Request: Could 7.5K users have the privilege of proposing synonyms without the 5 upvotes per tag requirement? (in other words unrestricted synonym suggestion)

Background: I would like to be able to suggest tag synonym suggestions. I do not however, have the required 2.5K rep on Stack Overflow, but someday I will. Yet many 2.5K users do not have the requisite 5 upvotes in each tag in order to propose synonyms.

I realize that this was status-declined for low-rep users. But could it be made available to users with 7,500 rep? At this level, they've clearly demonstrated an understanding of the Stack Exchange site. Note: I'm not requesting the ability to create synonyms -- merely synonym suggestions. I believe this privilege is currently only available to moderators? (and they're overworked as it is )

Lastly, please note that this question clearly demonstrates the breadth of simple synonym suggestions which could be made (almost every Stack Exchange site has some), but many haven't even been suggested yet.

  • 65
    Most of the rep requirements related to tags are insane. Proposing tag synonyms is useless as-is, 99% of the time it's a mod who forces it through and often because of a meta post. I support this 100%.
    – user154510
    Commented Aug 20, 2011 at 13:50
  • 3
    Related: Tag synonyms: show suggestions to people who can vote.
    – NGLN
    Commented Aug 20, 2011 at 17:01
  • 18
    I also find the restriction of minimum answer score needed to suggest a tag synonym a bad idea. Suggesting a synonym doesn't even change anything on the site (as it has to be voted up to start working). With almost 5000 rep I'm forbidden to suggest useful synonyms. This is just not right. I'm for allowing everyone to suggest tag synonym. What rep does one need to know that httprequest, httprequests and http-requests should be synonyms of http-request? Commented Apr 7, 2012 at 11:25
  • 1
    I think 20k what is called "trusted user" is the right point to cancel all the synonym proposition restrictions Commented May 8, 2012 at 15:48
  • 1
    until this ridiculous restriction is lifted, is there any appropriate place to dump proposed tag synonyms? i wanted to link lexing and lexical-analysis
    – wim
    Commented Oct 11, 2014 at 13:28
  • @wim - Related: What is a good work flow for creating bilingual tag synonyms?. TLDR: as a workaround, one can use chat or group a bunch of synonym ideas in one Meta post. Commented Apr 26, 2018 at 21:16

4 Answers 4


I agree. If 7.5k is not the right magic level to bless with this privilege, how about 10k? Or 15k? Or 20k?

There has to be some point at which we can start offering this privilege. Once a user reaches 20k reputation, they attain trusted user status, which gives them a whole lot of leeway already. For example, they have full and unrestricted editing privileges for the tag wikis.

It's quite frustrating that users who are already trusted with other important privileges cannot also propose tag synonyms, considering that the system already requires that their proposal be voted upon and agreed with by at least 4 other users who have attained the requisite privileges. I can't see anything bad that can happen by giving high-rep users the right to make such suggestions.

As to why this is important: I've run into a lot of lesser-used tags that have what I consider to be some pretty obvious synonyms. The score of 5 that is required to suggest tag synonyms seems trivial, but only when you consider common and frequently-used tags. It can be very difficult to attain a score of 5 in some of the more obscure tags.

  • 57
    Even as 2.5k, I can't see any harm in being able to suggest them, even if you can't vote for them. I haven't heard of any cases of rogue synonym suggesting or voting though, the whole setup just seems overly cautious.
    – Brad Mace
    Commented Aug 20, 2011 at 5:31
  • 1
    It occurred to me too, that with one question (even if you mis-interpret the tag) you could obtain the votes to propose an incorrect synonym -- so even from the point of view of requiring experience, it may not make sense.
    – M. Tibbits
    Commented Aug 20, 2011 at 15:37
  • 15
    @M.Tibbits: Indeed. You can also retag a question that you've already answered with an appropriate score. There's no check to ensure that the tags you use are even correct or actually apply to the question. I've definitely done this when the tags do apply and I just want to propose a synonym. The only catch is that you have to wait for the data to synchronize in the system, which apparently happens at 3 AM UTC. Commented Aug 20, 2011 at 15:55
  • 1
    Wow. Did not know that.
    – M. Tibbits
    Commented Aug 20, 2011 at 19:21
  • 30K! PLEASE!!!!! Commented Apr 15, 2020 at 17:51

A couple hours ago, I saw how many tags there were which necessitated synonyms. I thought, I have 17k rep, I can at least suggest tag synonyms, right? I'll go help out. But, NO! DENIED!!!!. I wanted to help make the world a better place, and now all I have is sorrow.

So, anecdotal evidence dispensed with, allowing 20k users to at least suggest tag synonyms only makes sense -- they are allowed to change the definition of the tag by editing the Wiki, that has far more potential destruction than, say, saying that two tags are actually synonymous with each other.


Here's the situation I'm currently in:

contains just under 1,000 questions and has the following excerpt:

A memory leak occurs when a program consumes memory that is not or cannot be later released to the operating system.

has just over 7,000 questions and has this excerpt:

A memory leak occurs when a program fails to release memory that it has allocated but is no longer using and is not recoverable.

I'm a 10k user who knows absolutely nothing about dealing with memory leaks, however it doesn't take a genius to work out that these tags are used for the same purpose. I feel this particular example would be a guaranteed Synonymizer badge.

Example Image

Now lets analyze the reasons why this was by @Shog9:

If you don't have 5 votes in the tag, what makes you qualified to synonymize it?

I'm fairly sure the majority of tag synonyms were created out of common sense more than anything else. My example above demonstrates this rather well. You don't need to know the ins and outs of a tag to know that it has an almost identical wiki and excerpt to another one, and the questions in each are very similar.

...synonyms aren't a substitute for re-tagging improperly tagged questions...

As much as I'd love to spend my time editing countless questions to correctly tag them, I do have better things to do with my time. This reasoning is great when applied to tags which have 5 or 6 questions, but it takes a fair bit of time to go through 30+, especially on a slow internet connection.

I'm declining this because I don't think reputation - at least, not any reasonably low reputation - is a useful gateway here.

I'm going to quote here what @ShogDYIN' commented on his answer: "Hey, I have 80-something votes in the tag, a language I haven't used seriously since Clinton was president. No system is perfect."

The existing system isn't perfect, but preventing somewhat high-rep users from proposing Synonyms seems silly. This is a bit of a lousy reason to decline this suggestion.

The important word in this discussion is suggest. Regular users don't outright claim a new tag synonym and have everyone else bowing down at their feet. Users suggest the creation of a tag synonym, and this is then voted on by others. In order to be approved it needs to receive a score of +4, whereas it only needs a score of -2 to be rejected.

When you consider that at 2,000 reputation anyone can edit anyone else's posts, requiring both 2,500 reputation and a score of at least 5 in that particular tag seems very overkill.

I'd like to see some more discussion going on here as I feel this was declined without good enough reason.

Update: Oh look, Stack Overflow features tags and , but I can't do anything about it, oh no.



If you don't have 5 votes in the tag, what makes you qualified to synonymize it?

If no one has 5 votes in a tag... Who cares?

Remember, synonyms aren't a substitute for re-tagging improperly tagged questions, a privilege already available at a much lower reputation level. It really doesn't make sense at all unless there's a fair bit of activity in a tag. Worrying about not being able to create a synonym to handle a misspelling when you could just fix the handful of instances where it appears in much less time with less effort seems silly.

I'm declining this because I don't think reputation - at least, not any reasonably low reputation - is a useful gateway here. Scaling the requirement based on the number of questions affected makes a lot more sense, particularly if coupled with automatic merging of synonyms.

  • +1, but still 5 Votes is too less in my opinion. I have lots of tags with 5+ which I know very little off.
    – Starx
    Commented Nov 6, 2012 at 5:55
  • 8
    Hey, I have 80-something votes in the [java] tag, a language I haven't used seriously since Clinton was president. No system is perfect.
    – Shog9
    Commented Nov 6, 2012 at 6:00
  • 19
    While I agree with this in principle, the system as it is now seems to just encourage people to bypass it completely and request the synonym creation on Meta, which I'm not sure is really desirable.
    – Tim Stone
    Commented Nov 6, 2012 at 12:15
  • 4
    I would have to say meta posts are preferable to bad synonyms, @Tim.
    – Shog9
    Commented Mar 11, 2013 at 15:55
  • 11
    They are, but a system that actually works is even more preferable. Granted, I don't have any immediate suggestions on what that system might look like, but I don't think it'd be hard to agree that tag synonyms are one of the more underloved areas of the platform - The UI is clunky, the functionality has low visibility, etc.
    – Tim Stone
    Commented Mar 11, 2013 at 16:08
  • I don't disagree with that, but the visibility in particular is also a good reason not to open it up to more people until there's a better chance that the folks affected will actually see it. Originally, I wanted to use the bulletin board for stuff like this, but never got per-tag announcements in.
    – Shog9
    Commented Mar 11, 2013 at 16:18
  • 1
    As someone who works with metadata in a medical library without having ever needed any sort of medical training whatsoever, I have to say this reasoning seems a bit silly.
    – Wooble
    Commented Mar 22, 2013 at 16:49
  • 1
    You don't need experience in any tag to add or remove it from any question, @Wooble. If you have >= 500 rep, you don't even need to wait for a review of your changes. But we're talking about a change that will automatically remap all future uses of the tag, and moreover, one that folks repeatedly get wrong when dealing with tags they don't have any personal experience with (remapping xsl->xslt, ecma262->javascript, etc).
    – Shog9
    Commented Mar 22, 2013 at 16:57
  • 14
    "what makes you qualified to synonymize it?" I clearly have experience with the tagging system in general and how it is supposed to work on Stack Overflow. Remember, even if an erroneous suggestion is made, no harm is done because it has to be approved by the community, same as if I flood Meta with a [synonym-request]. Commented Apr 3, 2013 at 4:42
  • 7
    @Shog - But it is not 5 votes. It is 5 answer votes. I ask a lot of questions. Like any good question asker, I do research before asking. So I learn what the synonyms for a tag are while researching. I don't do enough research to answer others questions, but I do enough that I could help out SO by putting correct synonyms on a tag. But since question votes don't count, I don't get to help.
    – Vaccano
    Commented Aug 30, 2013 at 14:28
  • 9
    "what makes you qualified to synonymize [foo-ing]?" Well, 1000 votes in [foo] should count. Commented Oct 10, 2013 at 9:02
  • 8
    Users (with sufficient reputation) can (1) vote to close questions (2) create tags (3) freely edit content (4) vote to delete content (5) vote to migrate content to approved sites (none of which require some score in the applicable domain), but, for some reason, can't suggest / vote on (all) tag synonyms. Many of the listed privileges will wreak a whole lot more havoc if misused. So I don't really see the motivation behind this. The only possible issue could be undo-ability, but you didn't mention that, and/so making it easy to undo can't be too difficult. Commented Nov 5, 2013 at 11:49
  • 11
    The current system causes me to tend to ping a mod in chat - especially on our small beta sites. It's kind of maddening, really.
    – Undo
    Commented Nov 7, 2013 at 21:17
  • 9
    AFAIK these are just requirements for merely suggesting a tag synonym. I could understand if this action had a large and immediate effect, but it still requires two more users to vote before it can go through. Thinking of small beta sites where getting > 5 score on non-mainstream tags (often the kind that need to be synonymized) is not easy. This would be a much appreciated improvement imo :) (perhaps reducing the requirements to suggest and vote on synonyms, but increasing the number of votes needed to approve the synonym?)
    – gandalf3
    Commented Oct 24, 2014 at 8:26
  • 1
    You need to reconsider this issue. There are way too many synonym suggestions waiting for votes. Commented Aug 22, 2018 at 4:30

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