What is a proper way of handling homonymy in tags/terms on SE? For example, there is a question on SO, which utilizes ICS tag which is currently wrong, because on SO it means "iCalendar-format files" whereas the question is about Internet Component Suite. I also could imagine the same ICS tag to denote Android's Ice Cream Sandwich and Internet Connection Sharing.

Should we have a tool for Homonym's disambiguation? One possible solution is to construct extended tags, for example, ICS-calender, ICS-VCL, etc for such cases with multiple meanings. It is important that no one of the overlapping terms should use the short form ICS, because this leads to tagging errors - people tend to use the shorthand for anything they think it is about (they can even not know other meanings and do not read descriptions).


1 Answer 1


Not a pro or contra the proposal, but a short description of how it is supposed to be handled in the current system.

This is what Tag Wikis are for. If you hover over a tag for a second, you see what its purpose is. If the tag is a homonym, this should be mentioned in the tag wiki. For example, has as tag wiki

.ics files are iCalendar-format files that communicate information about calendar events. They are used as a platform-independent, industry standard way to share calendar information among users of different computer systems.

Yes, some people will misuse the tags, because they don't take the time to read the tag wiki. This is where collaborative editing kicks in - when you notice such an error, you can edit the tags and replace the wrong tag with a better one. You can also create a new tag called and propose it as a tag synonym. If it is approved and becomes the main tag, the system will automatically correct to . This will help busy people spot their error and search for another tag if they wanted to tag their question for Ice cream sandwich. The other term will still need its own tag, and in this case it exists, as . If it doesn't exist, for example for Internet Component Suite, you can create it yourself.

  • Unfortunately, I don't have enough rep to create a tag. Also despite the existence of ice-cream-sandwich tag, almost all ics marked questions are about Android. How should we flag this situation for moderators?
    – Stan
    Jan 3, 2013 at 12:10

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