I do not think there is value in differentiating and . I note there is a distinction between "int" (limited range, overflowing) and "integer" (abstract mathematical concept)...but none between "float" and "floating-point" (perhaps there should be "real-number"?)

There are some questions with titles to the effect of "is there a difference between bool and boolean". But they seem to be language-specific, and I doubt there's much discernment in using the tags in the general case. Examples of the few specific differentiating discussions, which I think would be fine tagged merely by "boolean" and the appropriate language tag:

What is the difference between bool and Boolean types in C#

Is there any difference between BOOL and Boolean in Objective-C?

Differences among various bool types?

Sidenote: I am asking this question here in part to draw increased attention to the rather silly requirement of having 5 reputation in this tag to use the automated tag synonym suggestion mechanism:

Can we allow 7.5K users to suggest tag synonyms without a score of 5 in the tag?

Logically speaking (er...pun intended?) it would seem that whatever reputation it takes to retag a bunch of questions manually should be greater than or equal to the reputation to make a tag synonym suggestion. In a system that can triage wiki-like suggested anonymous edits from the Interweb, why would a tag synonym suggestion trigger a "nope, you can't do that" dialog to someone who can retag?

Then again, discussion is good.

  • I do wonder, though... is this 5 rep limit a litmus test of when a tag might be esoteric/abstract/tangential enough to need a discussion...and hence a post? If that's the case, then explicitly pointing people here and nicely saying "Hmmm...you don't have rep in this tag...but you think it's a synonym? That means this might be a weird/abstract one. We'd rather you write a reasoned retag argument on meta, click here to start one. Here are some good examples..." The "I'm sorry Dave, I can't do that" response feels like a bit of a brick wall. May 31, 2012 at 2:45
  • 1
    stackoverflow.com/tags/boolean/synonyms - synonym suggested.
    – Mat
    May 31, 2012 at 6:15
  • 1
    We'd rather you write a reasoned retag argument on meta -- Seems you figured this out already.
    – user102937
    May 31, 2012 at 15:22

1 Answer 1



bool is a keyword in some programming languages, including C#.

boolean is a more general term, referring to any constant or variable that can contain one of only two possible values.

  • 8
    Per my argument above, that would suggest that float and floating-point should be distinct and yet float was deprecated...it is hard to imagine what the difference between tagging (c# boolean) and (c# bool) really adds. To make an effective counterargument I'd think you'd have to find some questions for which this makes sense. May 31, 2012 at 15:31
  • @HostileFork: I don't think float should have been deprecated.
    – user102937
    May 31, 2012 at 16:17
  • I assume it's in a transitional phase to a synonym itself (?)...dunno the background. But I feel like tags are supposed to be cross-cutting conceptual things you use to explore topics, and if a language like Rebol uses logic! for its true/false type and C++ uses bool and C sometimes has typedef xxx BOOL (Caps tags vs lower?) then the value emerges from using the formal "there's a wiki article about it" name of the concept across all languages instead of just parroting the keyword in each individual language. Again, the challenge is "find questions where the distinction has value". May 31, 2012 at 16:23
  • I don't have a problem with that, per se. But the community has been pushing for more specific tags for awhile now, not less specific ones. So I don't know how that jibes. I do know that keyword-specific and method-specific questions are (relatively) common, and that there are tags for them.
    – user102937
    May 31, 2012 at 16:25
  • Admittedly a slippery slope...because then you get to umbrella terms like boolean-logic which suddenly drives the scope more broadly than just the nature of a boolean type or value (narrow things like "how many bits does a boolean take up in a structure?") But there are sweet spots that are arbitrary...like 5 tags per question, for instance...and I think the bool/boolean is just one of those. A tag that isn't used meaningfully for distinction in practice does more harm than good. May 31, 2012 at 16:29
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    Some languages, e.g. Java, use boolean as the built-in type name. I do not think bool is an appropriately generic name for booleans-as-language-element.
    – Kevin Reid
    May 31, 2012 at 16:34
  • 1
    @KevinReid Yup I'd be suggesting bool as a synonym for boolean (and not vice-versa). At least, my understanding of tag synonyms is that there is one tag that is the "canon" that shows up in the listings. May 31, 2012 at 16:38

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