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If you navigate to the last page of tags on basically any site, you'll see pages of tags with zero questions. Doing a little investigation (clicking on any of them) shows that they are all synonyms of existing tags (e.g. is a synonym of ). All of them however, are shown as being on 0 questions.

However, from this:

Tags not associated with any question are automatically destroyed at 03:00 UTC every day.

Yet this doesn't seem to be the case when the tag is a synonym of another one. Why not? If the reason is that it removes the synonym if the tag is destroyed, could they at least not be shown in the lists of tags?

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The tags themselves are deleted if they have no questions left. That's not the issue you are seeing, though. The tags list actually does two queries. It gets all Tags in the database and then also appends all TagSynonyms in the database, manually setting the Count for all of them to 0.

It may seem weird for that to happen, but this is done intentionally to increase tag visibility. Users searching for questions related to the Tag Editor badge may search for "tag-editor" without realizing that it is a synonym of another tag. As currently designed, not showing the synonym would result in a search for anything matching the synonym but not the target returning no results.

There is probably a better way of making that work, like making it work similar to how the tag search works when asking a question, but it's significantly more work than just letting the synonyms be listed there.

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  • So if a synonym is actually on 0 questions (rather than just shown as on 0 questions), it should be deleted? Because that doesn't appear to be the case with the koth tag over on CGCC (synonym of king-of-the-hill tag). There's a lot of questions to look at, but I can tell you that none of them are tagged with [koth] anymore – caird coinheringaahing Apr 15 at 21:29
  • @cairdcoinheringaahing I'm not clear on what you are asking. If a synonym exists, it will always be displayed in that list regardless of whether a Tag entry exists for it as well. Because we append all TagSynonyms to the list, always. – animuson Apr 15 at 21:33
  • Sorry if I was unclear. I understood your answer to mean that, no matter if it is a synonym or not, a tag on zero questions will be deleted. If that's the case, then the example I provided suggests otherwise (or is a bug) – caird coinheringaahing Apr 15 at 21:35
  • As koth is a synonym itself, it is being listed on the tags page. What makes you think it has a separate tag entry? – animuson Apr 15 at 21:36
  • Never mind, your edit to your comment clarified for me :) – caird coinheringaahing Apr 15 at 21:37
  • The sentence As currently designed, not showing the synonym would result in a search for anything matching the synonym but not the target returning no results. is hard to parse because of all the negation. Maybe rephrasing it as something like "The synonyms are added to list so that they appear in the search results. If they weren't added, it would make discovering their target tags much more difficult." – ColleenV Apr 16 at 12:37

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