Suppose I have a score of X for tag A and a score of Y for tag B.

Now suppose that B becomes a synonym of A (A is the master).

Would my score for tags A and B change?

I can think of several options :

  1. My score for tag A will become X + Y (assuming I have no upvoted answers tagged with both A and B. If such overlap does exist, my new score for tag A will be lower) and my score for B will be gone.

  2. No change. Tag synonyms don't affect tag scores.

  3. The score of A will become X + Y (under the same assumptions as in 1) and the score of B won't change.

The first option makes the most sense to me. Does anybody know what's the implemented logic?


Note that tag synonyms are not applied retroactively1. They only affect new questions. So when B is made a synonym for A, any existing questions will still remain tagged as they are. That means your existing tag scores will be unchanged initially.

However, during mass retags, users will often retag old questions from B to A manually (moderators have tools to automate this). When this happens, your scores will change accordingly. This means more or less the same as your option 1, except that any question that was tagged with both A and B will obviously not be counted twice.

1 Example: On SO, lazy is a synonym of lazy-evaluation, but there are old questions such as this one that are still tagged lazy.

  • 1
    For an easy way to think about it: the tag score is always based on the actual tag on the question. Synonyms really have nothing to do with it at all. – animuson Apr 19 '13 at 2:15
  • 1
    That seems like odd behavior... does anyone know the justification for not retagging when a tag synonym is created? – Aza Apr 19 '13 at 5:30
  • This seems pretty false; do you have any evidence or citations to support this? Example here on meta: hats is a synonym of the winterbash tag, and it renames 9 times. Yet, there is no question with the hats tag, no "top user" list, and for 122 questions, I could find no answerer (so far) that had hats in his tag list. Not exhaustive, but that is also the way synonyms appear to work. They are retroactive. – Awesome Poodles May 1 '13 at 13:17
  • @AwesomePoodles: Not automatically, no. There are no more questions tagged hats because they were retagged manually, examples: 1, 2. – hammar May 1 '13 at 13:48
  • Okay, and at least one user has "lazy" in his tag list. Plus the synonym appears to be quite old, so it is not a short-term delay (but it could be an early adoption bug). If you edit your answer to include evidence like this I can (and will) reverse my downvote. – Awesome Poodles May 1 '13 at 14:15

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