On the list of tag synonyms page, the terms "Master" and "Synonym" are used.

This is clear. The "Master" tag is the tag that actually is used on the site and the "Synonym" is the tag that gets changed.

Tag Synonym list page screenshot

But, on the creation page, the wording is less clear:

enter image description here

Here, we have "Source" and "Target". I'm sure that if someone explained which is which to me, I'd understand it but it isn't instantly clear and so I'm requesting that we use the same wording on this page as on the synonym page.

Even if it were clear, why are we using two different terms for each? This makes little sense.

  • I'll guess to keep it consistent for the merge operation page where you may not want to create a synonym and source/target still make sense... Apr 27, 2017 at 20:00
  • But it's not clear... I'm sitting here waiting to create a synonym because I don't know which of the tags I should put in which box.
    – Catija
    Apr 27, 2017 at 20:03
  • Strange. I find it if not as clear slightly even more clear. "Source" is the "from" and "target" is the "to". Or "old name"/"new name"... Apr 27, 2017 at 20:06
  • 2
    Source/target as terms is pretty common for a situation like this, and gets used in several other places regarding merge-like behavior around the site (like post merges). Source is where you're taking the data from, and target is where you're sending the data to. Jon is correct that these terms were used to match the merge tags tool.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Apr 27, 2017 at 20:06
  • Also - they autocomplete with tag names and occurrences so there's a sanity check of most likely you want smaller into larger tag... Apr 27, 2017 at 20:07
  • @animuson OK... but it would be crystal clear if the Tag Synonyms page used the same terminology... I go to that page, see which is which, create a synonym and it has the same words... if I'm confused, I can look back at the other page to see which is which.
    – Catija
    Apr 27, 2017 at 20:08
  • @JonClements I'm merging a one-use tag into a one-use tag... so shrug.
    – Catija
    Apr 27, 2017 at 20:09
  • 1
    I think it'd be more clear if they were just side-by-side with the same arrow pointing out which goes into which, but that's just me and my visual preferences.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Apr 27, 2017 at 20:09
  • 3
    @animuson that would be amazing. The arrow is what tells me all I need to know. The words at that point are irrelevant.
    – Catija
    Apr 27, 2017 at 20:09
  • @animuson if anything I think the terms master/synonym are open to more ambiguous interpretation than source/target. +1 for the arrow idea. Apr 27, 2017 at 20:20
  • The new dashboard got rid of the term 'master', and uses 'source' and 'target'. The synonym creation page still says 'Create a [tag] synonym', so I'm not sure if you're satisfied regarding the terminology.
    – Glorfindel Mod
    Sep 26, 2019 at 9:10

1 Answer 1


It actually makes sense if you know exactly how synonyms work. When A is a synonym of B, any time somebody asks or edits a question using A, the system transforms A to B. A is the synonym, it's the source of the transformation. B remains a perfectly ordinary tag, it's the master in the tag relationship, it's the target of the transformation.

This interface can also be used to rename a tag: to rename a tag from source to target, merge source into destination then remove the synonym source. For this use case, the terms “source” and “destination” make sense, whereas any use of “synonym” is a kludge.

That interface is one of the remaining interfaces when moderators were just the founders and a handful of programmers. Most new interfaces have a polished UI and better terminology and documentation. The tag synonym interface needs this kind of polishing. At least add some explanations could be easily added on the page.

  • I agree with @Catija, this could be more clear. Your answer shows this too: when A is a synonym of B, B is also a synonym of A (definition of synonyms). If you don't explicitly state which synonym is considered the master. In your example you mean that B is the master, but it isn't that obvious and you could easily swap A and B in that sentence.
    – Wilt
    Apr 29, 2017 at 8:07

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .