I looked a bit at the list of tag synonyms on Stack Overflow, and I noticed a significant number of synonyms that were either complete subsets of the target or only different in minor details like dots or dashes like the following
- kafka -> apache-kafka
- scalajs -> scala.js
- gameloop -> game-loop
Those synonyms don't actually help new users find the right tag, they don't contain any additional terms that would help to autocomplete in the tags form field. If the synonyms would not exist, the tags would still be found by exactly the same terms as with the synonyms.
The only reason I can think of to have these synonyms would be to prevent new tags with those names from being created, but as far as I know certain minor variations of existing tags are already blocked automatically. That mechanism should either be sufficient for this purpose, or should be extended to cover more cases if it isn't.
Having unnecessary synonyms doesn't really cause much harm, but it does clutter the list and the tag suggestions, and it makes it harder to understand for users what synonyms are useful by looking at the list of existing tag synonyms.
Is there some benefit of this kind of tag synonym that I can't think of? Or should we avoid creating this kind of synonym or even remove the existing ones?