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Over on Movies & TV we have come across a bit of a bug on this question. The issue is that it we are unable to retag this question with , on account of the "tag already existing" as follows;

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The error message is also a little bit confusing, as it references the existing tag as well.

Is this actually a "feature"? Is this something that can be worked around without moderator intervention or do we need to start flagging instances like this for moderator attention to action a retag? What is the point of the retag privilege if we're going to get blocked by silly things like this?

  • Isn't the message simply telling you not to create a tag with a hyphen when the one without it already exists? I.e. use the one without it. – Bart Jun 18 '13 at 9:18
  • Unfortunately, the tag only exists because the person asking this question was unable to tag it with 'monsters-inc' - the tag in this instance only has this one question against it, if this is indeed how the system works, then it is flawed as it is preventing us from creating properly formatted tags – Flyk Jun 18 '13 at 9:20
  • Just have a mod correct the tag and you should be good to go I'd say. – Bart Jun 18 '13 at 9:20
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    If it is indeed a feature, it isn't a good one - "monsters inc" is two words, and therefore within the tag system should be hyphenated. If this is actually a feature there needs to be a workaround so that people doing editing can correctly retag a question that has been tagged incorrectly... – Flyk Jun 18 '13 at 9:23
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    It's a great feature because it prevents a ton of differently hyphenated and non-hyphenated tags for the exact same topic. Just have that tag corrected and you're done. – Bart Jun 18 '13 at 9:24
  • What is the point of the 'retag' privilege, which requires a decent amount of reputation, if we can't be trusted to manage our own tags? – Flyk Jun 18 '13 at 9:26
  • @Bart The hyphen shouldn't be a problem though, since there are other hyphened tags alongside their hyphenless pendants. – Chris says Reinstate Monica Jun 18 '13 at 9:27
  • In essence this all boils down to meta.stackexchange.com/questions/118027/… – Bart Jun 18 '13 at 9:40
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You cannot create the tag monsters-inc (with a hyphen) when the tag monstersinc (without a hyphen) already exists. More generally, you cannot create a tag which differs from an existing tag only by the addition or removal of hyphens or a final S.

In most cases, the two tags mean the same thing, so you should keep only one. Pick the one that makes the most sense or follows habitual conventions. For multi-word expressions such as “Monsters, Inc.”, strip the punctuation and use a hyphen to separate words, thus monsters-inc is the right tag.

When a tag with the wrong spelling has been created, or if the two tags really need to exist (e.g. ), ask a moderator: moderators can bypass the restriction, or rename the existing tag. On most sites, you can ping a moderator in the site's main chat room. If you don't do chat or your site's chat room is empty, ask on your site's meta.

The retag privilege lets you retag questions using existing tags. The create tags privilege lets you create new tags. These are different actions from manipulating the tag database, which is a more advanced and more dangerous. There's a privilege to propose tag synonyms, but only moderators have more direct power over the tag database. Issues like this one are rare enough that it's not a big deal to involve a moderator.

  • "Pick the one that makes the most sense or follows habitual conventions" is not an option, so what you're suggesting is that in the event a user with enough rep to create a tag does it wrong, not following established conventions, that only a moderator can do anything about it? – Flyk Jun 18 '13 at 11:35
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    @kalina Yes. Handling rare problems that the community can't handle on its own is exactly what moderators are here for. – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Jun 18 '13 at 11:55

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