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Recall that if the tag foo-bar exists, it is impossible to create either the tag foobar (which differs only in hyphenation) or the tag foo-bars (which differs only by a trailing "s").

Now, look. I understand why Stack Overflow needs this. This probably reduces the amount of garbage tags that are created by a factor of a lot. Great.

But on small sites, where we have enough high-rep non-moderators to vet every single question that is posted, we don't need this. Not only do we not need this, but it's actively harmful.

Suppose that a well-meaning user with enough rep to create tags (just 150 in public beta) comes by our site about Presidents of the US and wants to ask a question about Millard Fillmore. Well, of course nobody has asked a question about Millard Fillmore, because what did that guy even do? So our enterprising user decides to tag his question with millardfillmore. Well, our site has been standardizing on properly-spaced tags like george-washington and abraham-lincoln, so we would like to have our question tagged millard-fillmore, but we can't do that without invoking a moderator. (Or using a stupid workaround that involves tagging it with something random, waiting for the zero-use-tag-deleter to run at 03:00 UTC, and then tagging it appropriately.)

I'm not positing this issue as a hypothetical: this has happened over a dozen times on Anime.SE, and we have a meta post over there about it: Fixing tag hyphenation issues shouldn't be so hard.

I don't know what the best way to fix this is (some ideas are posited in the linked post); my inclination is to make the tag-creation-preventer a thing that can be selectively enabled, and only enabling it on sites with lots of new posts per day. A reasonable cutoff might be somewhere near Academia (15 questions/day) or Biology (10 questions/day).

Note: the post I linked mentions some auxiliary issues surrounding preservation of tag wikis; these become moot if we can just fix the damn hyphenation/pluralization issue in the first place before a wiki even gets written.

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    You're only looking at one side of a coin. Yes, it's a pain in the butt to fix a tag that needs a hyphen, but if you look at it he other way, disabling it allows any user to go and keep creating the non-hyphenated version because nothing is stopping them. I think a good middle-ground is to allow it if the tag only has one question under it. In that case, perform some sort of "fake merge" where the alternate-hyphen tag gets created and the old tag is immediately destroyed. – animuson Jun 20 '14 at 3:53
  • @animuson But here's the thing - it's alright if they create the non-hyphenated version! On Anime & Manga, which is a small site by any measure, I read every question that is posted (minus a couple tags I don't care for), and edit probably at least half of them for one reason or another (grammar, formatting, clarity, whatever). If we could fix these hyphenation/pluralization issues as we went, it would add virtually no time to my daily cleanup work. On a large site, sure, this would suck. But on a 5 q/day site? Not at all. – senshin Jun 20 '14 at 6:20
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    I think the best solution is to make it easier for high-rep users to rename a tag. – Barmar Jun 25 '14 at 16:36
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    Most corrective actions on the tag system are impossible to do without a moderator. Cf. Does the tag synonym suggestion system work? – Josh Caswell Dec 24 '14 at 20:06
  • see also meta.travel.stackexchange.com/q/1957/46 – Kate Gregory Dec 24 '14 at 20:48

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