I recently edited out of a question. Infuriated by the tag existing, I went to see what kind of horrible, horrible questions it contained so I could whip up a burninate/ban request.

It contains ... no questions.


But, on the tag sidebar in the question I edited, it clearly states that there are over 280 questions in it. You can see this for yourself. Visit the SO tag list and enter "bug" into the filter box.


What's going on here? Some sort of tag hellban or honeypot? Dare I call this a Heisenbug? It's been like this for a while (weeks), but I've ignored it assuming that it, itself, was some sort of display or caching artifact and that it'd pass with time.

Additional clues from the comments:

  • The "recent hot answers" section inside the tag wiki shows a small number of questions.
  • A search for [bug]+ shows results.

It looks like the tag is doing the same thing. Three questions listed when viewed from inside the question, but zero questions in the question list.

  • It probably just got purged, and the numbers haven't synced.
    – Mysticial
    Nov 30, 2012 at 18:44
  • It's been like this for weeks, I just hadn't ever caught any questions with the tag. There's no way that this was a recent purge and/or the result of caching.
    – Charles
    Nov 30, 2012 at 18:44
  • Ah... missed your last sentence.
    – Mysticial
    Nov 30, 2012 at 18:47
  • 1
    The system obviously knows there are [bug]-tagged questions out there, because it notes "7 asked today, 32 this week" under the tag description, there. The "Recent hot answers" list functions properly, too, bringing up this answer (among others). And yet, I also see an empty page when "newest" is selected. Crazy!
    – Pops
    Nov 30, 2012 at 18:52
  • What is this "Recent hot answers" of which you speak?
    – Charles
    Nov 30, 2012 at 18:53
  • 1
    The [bug] tag on Meta has quite a few questions!
    – yoozer8
    Nov 30, 2012 at 18:55
  • 1
    It appears to be some special case with the tag itself, as it only does it when you're on the /tags or /tagged pages. But a search for [bug]+ returns all 281 results. :)
    – animuson StaffMod
    Nov 30, 2012 at 19:12
  • 1
    @Charles it's in the sidebar of the tag wiki (screenshot)
    – Pops
    Nov 30, 2012 at 20:49
  • What top-level button did you recently push?
    – Rosinante
    Nov 30, 2012 at 21:23
  • @Rosinante, as is very clearly seen in the screenshots, I was then on the "newest" tab. None of the other tabs have any results either. Given the funny search results given by Popular Demand and animuson, I expect this to be specific behavior given to the tag by the system, not the usual "oops, I was on a tab that gives no content" problem.
    – Charles
    Nov 30, 2012 at 21:27
  • 3
    The tag just wants to live up to its name.
    – John
    Dec 1, 2012 at 4:57
  • 1
    Less direct report of this: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/157026/…
    – Tim Stone
    Dec 1, 2012 at 5:11
  • 4
    The bug tag has a bug, and now we're discussing it on Meta? How very meta. Dec 1, 2012 at 5:32
  • @TheGuyWhoDisagreesWithYou And now we're discussing it's meta-ness. How (even more) meta. Dec 1, 2012 at 14:01

1 Answer 1


The UI is right... for a certain definition of right. There is a synonym in play here: has been forwarded to . But just to add confusion, there is no - the tag doesn't even exist (we purge redundant tags). It looks like the fact that the target-tag doesn't exist stopped the entire synonym working, which is a (note the different border). I'll look into that.

Even though "bug" says it doesn't have any synonyms, the master synonym list disagreed (past tense; see below)

enter image description here

which shows that 245 haven't been merged. I have deleted that synonym - it clearly wasn't needed. You now have access to the 245 phantom questions. I still need to fix a few places where synonyms are checked, to ensure it works properly for cases where the target doesn't exist.

  • Btw: we can add bug => bugs back in if people want it: I mainly deleted it as a quick fix and to validate my suspicion. Deploying the actual fix currently. Dec 3, 2012 at 13:59
  • Thanks Marc! While you're poking around in there, you'd may as well just nuke the tag. Otherwise I'll be filing a burnination request later today.
    – Charles
    Dec 3, 2012 at 17:25

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