There are tons of tags out there which have a synonym of the tag itself, just with a dash added into it. Originally this was done to connect those tags so that two different tags for the exact same thing didn't exist. But now we have rules stopping two tags from being created that only differ by a dash (or hyphen), so all these synonyms are useless.

Why? Searching for foobar and foo-bar yield the exact same results in the tag search. Whether or not the hyphen is there makes no difference, so the synonym doesn't actually serve any purpose anymore. It also clutters up the tags pages with extra tags that just redirect to another tag. With so little purpose, is it not safe to just ditch these crap synonyms? As well, any synonyms like this which have questions on both versions should be merged.

Synonyms which only differ by a dash (including still-pending ones):

So, out of near 2,500 tag synonyms (and suggestions) that currently exist, almost 500 of them only differ via one or more hyphens. A whopping 20% of our tag synonyms serve no purpose!

  • 36
    Post is excessively long – Community♦ 45 mins ago
    – Shog9
    Sep 15, 2012 at 21:44
  • 12
    Community flags are excessively long. WHAT'S WRONG WITH TL;DR, COMMUNITY?
    – Shog9
    Sep 15, 2012 at 21:45
  • Related: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/128879/… - the bit where I ask for this to be fixed at any rate. Sep 16, 2012 at 9:02
  • 1
    Related: Clean up of run-together/hyphenated and singular/plural tags — tag pairs that differ only by hyphenation and that are not synonyms. Please review them, discuss on meta if necessary, and either clean up manually or request a merge or a tag renaming. Sep 16, 2012 at 11:04
  • Are we sure that this list contains only good synonyms (i.e. synonyms that were made because the tags mean the same thing, not because they look similar) and merged synonyms (which we can't save even if they're bad)? Sep 16, 2012 at 11:06
  • @Shog9: Any chance someone will actually go through these? At the moment, it can only be done by moderators...
    – animuson StaffMod
    Oct 8, 2012 at 14:28
  • 1
    I'm not even sure what you were asking for here.
    – jcolebrand
    Feb 25, 2013 at 20:11
  • 2
    @animuson the above list is not consistent in handling hyphens vs non-hyphenated tags. I'm assuming from the arrows that you wish to merge the duplicate tag into the one pointed to by the arrow? IMHO, hyphens contribute to both human readability as well as search engine readability. Merging arbitrarily in both directions would just be annoying. Also you need a mechanism to prevent future re-growth of duplicate tags or your effort would be wasted.
    – BenSwayne
    Feb 25, 2013 at 21:22
  • 10
    @BenSwayne: The arrows indicate the current master ← synonym relationship for all the tags in the system, not necessarily which tag should exist in the grand scheme of things. Currently, you can no longer create tags which differ from another tag by only a hyphen, and a tag must exist in the system before you can suggest it as a synonym; so the loophole is closed. It's just a matter of cleaning up all the ones that have already gotten through.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Feb 25, 2013 at 21:25
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    @animuson Thanks, that better explains the arrows. My vote stills stands to prefer hyphens for readability. But hey, maybe that'll need its very own community discussion...
    – BenSwayne
    Feb 25, 2013 at 21:37
  • 5
    I also find the hyphenated versions far superior in readability.
    – Jamin Grey
    Mar 8, 2013 at 23:44

1 Answer 1


Well, that only took two hours. No big deal. Previously 28 pages of synonyms now only 23.

Farewell hyphen-only tag synonyms!


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