This has been asked before but I feel the original question was more focussed on Stack Overflow than the Stack Exchange network at large.

Related: Can we allow 7.5K users to suggest tag synonyms without a score of 5 in the tag?

Since there are now a lot of sites in the network and many of them use the tag system for categorising questions based on the title of something (for example, Arqade (Gaming), Movies & TV, Sci Fi & Fantasy, etc) I feel that the required knowledge of the subject matter the tag is representing is less of an issue than it perhaps is on other Stack Exchange sites.

In the below screenshot, for example, I shouldn't really have needed a score of 5 in either of the tags to perform what is essentially a cleanup process. I could of course edit all of the posts to delete one tag, so why can't I suggest it as a synonym?

enter image description here

This could be implemented as a per site setting so that it can only be enabled on certain sites if need be.

Can trusted users be trusted to suggest tag synonyms without a score of 5 in a tag?


The short answer is: yes.

If, on a given site, there's a big problem with runaway tagging... Post a feature-request on your meta along with examples that demonstrate the need. We've temporarily lowered this in the past for sites with a lot of cleanup to be done, and I think doing this as part of a larger, coordinated cleanup effort is a good idea. Don't forget: even after a synonym has been created, the questions involved still need to be retagged, either by individual editors, or by a moderator merging the tags.

Beyond that... click that link and read it again. Long-term, we need to drop the idea of a fixed score, and grant or deny this privilege based on the size of the relevant tags. A score of 5 is waaay too low for suggesting, say, as a synonym for ... But as you note, it can be too high for very niche tags.

What we won't do is drop the requirement for some experience with a tag entirely. With all the best intentions, folks have none the less repeatedly created synonyms that have been incorrect and in some instances outright harmful to the relevant communities. Logging in to find your lovingly-curated niche tag rolled into a tangentially-relevant one because some over-enthusiastic synonymizer without any knowledge of the subtle differences between them is not a good experience.

P.S.: note that your example involves a tag so small as to make synonymizing overkill. In situations like this, just retag all of the questions involved (yes, both of them) with the proper tag and call it a day.

  • 1
    What is the purpose of allowing synonymizing without merging? Of course merging has to be approved by a mod, as any irreversible action should be, but there seems to real purpose to have a tag as a synonym but avoid merging. This is one aspects that makes me question the usefulness of the non-mod synonym path, it seems somewhat redundant if you need a mod to merge the tags in the end anyway. Jan 16 '14 at 22:41
  • Synonym creation was supposed to lead directly to merging, after moderator approval @Mad. There's even a handy list of ready-for-merging synonyms, with a "merge" link next to each one. Donno 'bout you, but I... uh, occasionally remember it exists.
    – Shog9
    Jan 16 '14 at 22:50
  • 1
    Such lists that become relevant once a year or so are almost useless on smaller sites, such as those I am a mod on. If there is something I need to act on, it should raise a flag or do something similarly obvious. Of couse you might not want to do that on SO, but the alternative of hiding the unmerged synonyms in the tag list page that a mod rarely visits simply does not work for small sites. Jan 16 '14 at 22:53
  • 1
    Yeah, I know. This is one of the things I'd kinda like to spin into a moderator-only review queue of sorts - something that'd become visible when needed instead of tucked away where you have to remember to check on it.
    – Shog9
    Jan 16 '14 at 22:54
  • @Shog9 yeah my example was very... minimalistic, but did demonstrate the inherent flaw in the way system currently works. We ended up getting a mod involved in the end, since if we had just edited the questions to retag them the argument would have been "it has no questions, it doesn't need a synonym".
    – Flyk
    Jan 16 '14 at 23:02
  • Uh, yeah, @Flyk - that's exactly what I'm getting at here: you didn't need a synonym, because no one was using that tag. Same reason we don't need French synonyms for all of the tags on EL&U.
    – Shog9
    Jan 16 '14 at 23:04
  • The tag was in use at the point in time that I raised the question, though.
    – Flyk
    Jan 16 '14 at 23:05
  • Either one of the tags wasn't being used, or you had all of one question that needed to be retagged, @Flyk. Either way, you chose the heavy-lots-of-overhead-other-people-need-to-be-involved method of resolving that problem rather than the hey-I-can-just-edit-this-and-fix-it-in-5-seconds route. So... yeah, don't do that.
    – Shog9
    Jan 16 '14 at 23:08
  • I am totally just going to edit another example into my original question so we don't miss the point of what was actually being asked! ;) I do like the idea of moving away from requiring a fixed score though.
    – Flyk
    Jan 16 '14 at 23:10
  • Mission Accomplished, @Flyk.
    – Shog9
    Jan 16 '14 at 23:20
  • 2
    "outright harmful" -- appropriate example could be recently reported incident: Tag synonym : JVM and Java?
    – gnat
    Jan 17 '14 at 5:46

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