I have recently suggested tag-synonyms for a couple of tags. There has been no activity on them regarding up-voting or down-voting those suggestions, probably because no one knows I proposed them.

So, I propose that there should be a notification system to alert or get attention from users with sufficient rep and the ability to vote on the synonyms of the specific tag.

The notification doesn't have to be sent out to the users specifically. It could be just, like when they are on a post tagged with a tag that has pending synonyms and the users have sufficient privilege to vote on it, it can show a marker like:

"php" tag with a red "1"

The counter can show how many pending synonyms there are.

So, what are your thoughts?

All proposals are welcome too. You can add them in the comments, answers or edit the question.

Current proposals:

  1. Show a counter on the tags that the users have sufficient privilege to vote on when they visit a post with those tags.
  2. Show the notifications on the Favorite Tags sidebar.
  3. Adding a review queue for synonyms. You could also filter it by wanted tags. When suggesting a synonym, one could add comments explaining the desire for synonymization to make it easier to vote on them.
  • 24
    Fully agree that something needs to be done. Tag synonyms tend to hang around for ages with no-one voting on them in my experience. Alternative to your proposal, it could only be shown at the favorite tags section (right sidebar), so experienced users can vote on it, but it isn't an annoyance that's on every question.
    – Erik A
    Commented Nov 1, 2017 at 11:50
  • 1
    @ErikvonAsmuth Yes, of course, any solution that can make voting on suggested synonyms faster should be considered. I just proposed it as a possible solution, having a Favorite Tags sidebar is good too.
    – mega6382
    Commented Nov 1, 2017 at 11:52
  • 4
    I have only one favorite tag, a language tag. I wouldn't see these notifications if you link them to favorite tags, although I have quite a few tag badges.
    – Roland
    Commented Nov 3, 2017 at 8:24
  • 2
    What about adding a review queue for synonyms? You could also filter it by tag so that you only see tags you care about. It would also be nice if, when suggesting a synonym, one could add comments explaining the desire for synonymization so as to make it easier to vote on them. Commented Nov 16, 2017 at 15:26
  • 4
  • Most useful would be if gold and silver tag badge holders were notified by the red dot in the Review Queue (upper right) and clicking would show the review available in the dropdown. Those two classes of users are best equipped to review the synonyms, rather than basing it on Rep.
    – Rob
    Commented Oct 15, 2018 at 14:22
  • 1
    Without limiting these notifications to only users who can actually act on each proposed synonym, this would be very noisy. Showing such notifications to people who can't act on them is actually harmful. Given that determining if the user can act on each synonym request would be quite expensive, massively so if it had to be done on every page, as the badge on the php tag in the question appears to propose. Personally, I'd really not want something that in your face. OTOH, I agree that there would be benefit in some method of informing those who can act that there is a new proposal.
    – Makyen
    Commented Mar 12, 2023 at 17:50
  • In particular, as a moderator on SO, I really don't want to be notified about every existing synonym proposal all the time, because while I can act on them, I'm definitely not going to act on the vast majority, due to not having subject matter expertise. In addition, if I wanted to review synonyms, then there's a purpose-built page where I could do that. It might be acceptable to be notified about new proposed synonyms.
    – Makyen
    Commented Mar 12, 2023 at 17:53
  • That would be helpfull in Earth Science. We have a lot of synonims proposed to merge, but since 2016 and the tags continue not merged.
    – user1242306
    Commented Mar 12, 2023 at 20:06

1 Answer 1


The general consensus in the comments is that the original idea of having a little notification bubble is too extreme: Instead of nobody knowing about proposed synonyms, every single person who uses/views that tag will be distracted by it. On the bigger sites, that just won't function.

What most comments instead suggest is that tag synonyms should be a part of their own review queue. (This is actually its own feature request, go upvote that too if you support it.) In my opinion, this is the most practical solution.

The other thing is, approving/rejecting tag synonyms is a part of community moderation, and all community moderation is optional for users- if you don't want to flag, you don't have to, if you don't want to close, you don't have to, etc. Those features are therefore not overt and obvious and are sometimes hidden behind a few clicks. Having those glaring red bubbles on each and every tag with a proposed synonym goes against that principle.

Other ideas from the comments:

  • (From user Erik A) Show the notification bubble on the 'watched tag' section on the right sidebar, so that only 4k+ users who are interested in a certain tag will be notified. Like this: enter image description here

My issue with this is that very few users watch/favorite the more obscure tags, so it wouldn't do enough. Still worth exploring, though.

  • (From user Rob) Only notify people who have the relevant silver/gold tag badge. Good, although again, smaller sites have a smaller pool of tag-badge holders, and again, we lose the publicity.

My own solution (just throwing it out there, I still prefer the idea of a separate review queue) is that users with the privilege can opt in to see these notifications. This way, the uninterested aren't annoyed, and those who do care can promptly address the proposals.

  • "every single person who uses/views that tag will be distracted by it. On the bigger sites, that just won't function.". Why not? Evidence (i.e., the ancient suggested edit UI) shows that when people are shown a number, they will do something about it so it goes away. Right now, there are only two pending suggestions on SO in two very common tags so I'd guess it would take less than 15 minutes.
    – Laurel
    Commented Mar 12, 2023 at 19:41
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    @Laurel Because the vast majority of people viewing pages can not act on approving/reviewing synonyms. They should not be shown what appears to be a priority notification for action if the user can not act on that notification. Showing such to people that can't act on it just causes confusion and frustration. In general, it's a really bad idea to be showing alerts for action to people that can't do anything about it.
    – Makyen
    Commented Mar 12, 2023 at 20:35

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