Three tags existed.

Desexing, neutering and spay.

Neutering and spay were synonyms of desexing.

I swapped the master and synonym on Pets.se for desexing and neutering.

So neutering is now the master, which can be seen in the url https://pets.stackexchange.com/questions/tagged/neutering.

A search on the neutering tag shows it doesn't exist:

The spay tag still exists, but is not associated with any posts.

So I created the tag and added it to a post:

Two questions:

  1. Is it usual for the tag synonym to disappear like that?

  2. Have I done it wrong?

These posts are totally unrelated:

Tag synonym disappeared without a trace?

Why did my tag-synonyms disappear?

  • 1
    I had a related report here and a response from shog9 ... touching the desexing posts will "fix" it ... but we both share the same confusion ...
    – rene
    Jul 28, 2018 at 11:47
  • 1
    Why would you want to make such a change in the first place? Neuter is a specifically male term and spay is a specifically female term. Desexing is a genderless umbrella term that both fall under. To make either neuter or spay a synonym of the other seems semantically wrong, not to mention "politically incorrect". Or am I missing something? Jul 28, 2018 at 17:42
  • @JasonBassford I suggest you write an answer here pets.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/2233/…
    – user310756
    Jul 28, 2018 at 23:58
  • 1
    @YvetteColomb Thank you. I have posted an answer there. Although I had never intended on following that site. ;) Jul 29, 2018 at 0:23

1 Answer 1


Swapping a synonym doesn't actually do all that much, and certainly not as much as you think it's doing. Literally the only thing it does is change the synonym record so that the master and source tags are swapped. It doesn't retag any posts, and doesn't change any past synonyms.

That tag doesn't "show up" in that scenario because a) it is not a synonym that points somewhere else, so we don't show a stub regardless and b) it does not have any questions tagged with it. There is no case where we show a tag that is the master of another tag but doesn't have any questions, because that's not really a case that's even supposed to exist.

There's another step you want to take after swapping a synonym, and that's a tag merge. On the synonyms page where you performed the swap, a merge link would've appeared immediately after, because it detects a bunch of questions with a tag that's supposed to be remapped to a master tag. Do it. Completing the merge will solve all the issues you think went wrong with the swap by:

  • Creating the tag, if it doesn't exist.
  • Replacing the "desexing" tag with "neutering" on all the questions.
  • Moving any synonyms that point to "desexing" to now point at "neutering" instead.
  • the thing I don't understand is how neutering and spay became tag synonyms with no posts with those tags.
    – user310756
    Jul 28, 2018 at 15:04
  • 2
    John was a moderator previously. He likely just created it out of the blue.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Jul 28, 2018 at 15:05
  • how come I can't create a synonym and add it to neutering?
    – user310756
    Jul 28, 2018 at 15:13

You must log in to answer this question.