When choosing tags for a question, there are times when there are multiple tags available with the same meaning.

Ideally, those tags would be merged/removed, but unfortunately that is not the case. As an example, there is (2515 questions), (324 questions) and (102 questions). All three of them have the same description. The first tag seems most ambiguous but has the highest number of followers. The last mentioned tag is least ambiguous but fewest number of followers. However, all three refer to the same technology.

My initial reaction tends to be wanting to use as many of those tags as possible to get the best exposure for the question.

What should be the approach and why? Look for number of question per tag? Number of followers? Use all? or doesn't make a difference?

  • Those numbers are the questions tagged, not the followers.
    – nikolas
    Commented Sep 6, 2013 at 12:09
  • Right-ho, corrected. Commented Sep 6, 2013 at 12:10
  • I don't know much about the subject matter, but at first glance, it seems like all of them talk about the same subject, just that there are different implementation in different languages/libraries.
    – nhahtdh
    Commented Sep 6, 2013 at 12:10
  • Looks like the two lesser tags should just be synonyms instead. Commented Sep 6, 2013 at 12:11
  • If that is the case, I think all of them can be collapsed to the same tag, and we use an extra tag to determine the language.
    – nhahtdh
    Commented Sep 6, 2013 at 12:15
  • @PostureOfLearning: The numbers of followers for these tags is far lower than the number of questions. Commented Sep 6, 2013 at 12:17
  • @PostureOfLearning: These tags should be merged; two of them are entirely redundant. Use the more populous one for now. Commented Sep 6, 2013 at 12:31
  • @MartijnPieters: I agree that they should be merged, which is why I wrote "Ideally...". Since we are not in an ideal world, are you suggesting that best practice is to only use 1 tag, the most popular tag (even though the others refer to the same thing). Why? What is your reasoning? Commented Sep 6, 2013 at 12:48
  • 1
    @PostureOfLearning: There is no point is fragmenting the tags even further. In an ideal world, someone would post a request here on Meta to have those three tags merged instead. :-P Commented Sep 6, 2013 at 12:50
  • 1
    @MartijnPieters: There was post to merge over a year ago, so I guess it is an ideal world... ;) meta.stackexchange.com/questions/128285/… Commented Sep 6, 2013 at 13:06

1 Answer 1


On the general question. I think that

  1. These cases have to brought up on Meta if they have not appeared before
  2. I don't think a general approach could be given. Everyone will continue to do what they feel it's right when posting questions. Personally, I'd look at number of followers and recent activity.
  3. After a question has been answered, check to see of a contribution can be made to reduce that multiplicity.

On the matter of these specific examples, they have been discussed in meta before:

Trying to resume the situation as I see it:

  • was created because the site of the plugin Datatables is datatables.net but is in no way related to the .Net framework. As a consequence of the name, it has been confused in a few questions with the Datatable class of .Net.
  • Most people agree that a is more clear to reflect the fact that it's a jQuery plugin called Datatables.
  • has also been used in many questions referred to the general concept, but most people agree to make it a synonym of

Since no action was taken and as a result of the upvoted questions I created and I've been cleaning retagging as appropiate (slowly to avoid clogging the frontpage with old questions).

The numbers right now are:

would also require some cleaning but that's a bigger task.

  • yet another (correction: opposite case) being discussed here
    – ljs.dev
    Commented Sep 21, 2013 at 2:05
  • 1
    @LeonStafford I think it's a bit the opposite case, a single tag with different possible meanings.
    – madth3
    Commented Sep 21, 2013 at 2:08

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