Probably this has been asked before but due to the insane amount of merge tag requests I wasn't able to find it.

Merging tags is probably the most common request here on meta. It would be nice if 10k's could do it themselves:

  • 15 votes required to pass, 5 to fail
  • 10k's would see at the top on the page, next to logout, about and faq a merge requests link with the number of requests they haven't voted in yet: for example, merge requests (2), in a visible color such as red. This will bring in many votes and makes the process really fast even though 15 votes are required, and with that many votes abuse would be non existent.
  • Allow 1k's to propose new retag requests, but not to vote on them.

Maybe all of this would be too complicated and time consuming to implement. But I think it will be worth it in the long run.. Especially since I often see tags that should be merged, but they are almost never used so I wouldn't want to bother a mod with this. Or you can implement a simpler version of what I proposed.

8 Answers 8



Tag Merging, while a useful skill, is still something that has enough consequences that it should be left to moderators. I would say maybe individuals at 20K and above, but not just 10Kers. Looking at the numbers, 20K is the new 10K, and 10K is the new 5K.

  • 9
    Oh sure, you go and say that just when I'm about to break 10k. :(
    – Ether
    Jan 24, 2010 at 18:52
  • 4
    Stupid inflation. Maybe SO should pay interest, because rep earned in January 2009 is worth less now than it was back than.
    – balpha StaffMod
    Jan 24, 2010 at 18:54
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    +1. 100% agreed. We should treat the cause by introducing tag aliases and banned tags. Allowing 10k users to merge tags is a dangerous way to treat symptoms.
    – mmx
    Jan 24, 2010 at 18:57
  • 1
    On SO maybe, but not the other sites. In fact, 15 votes from 10k users would be virtually impossible to get on the other two. Jan 24, 2010 at 21:08
  • 1
    I propose 14,877 be the new threshold Jan 25, 2010 at 12:04

How about a complete moratorium on creating tags for a month, and see if it causes any real problem? There is no shortage of the damn things after all. And if it doesn't cause the end of the world, relax it so that only 5K users (figure picked out of hat) can create them.

  • 6
    Realistic approach to the problem without over-engineering. +1 indeed.
    – mmx
    Jan 24, 2010 at 19:11

Many reasons this just won't happen:

  • tag sponsorship
  • people abusing to get obscure tag medals "silver: ice-dancing", etc
  • people abusing to get taxonomist
  • tag wars of every nature
  • people being dangerously stupid (there is no undo): "merge c# and .net - that'll be fine"

I'm tempted to add a "status-declined" - I'm > 100% sure that's where this is heading.

  • 1
    Did you just say "> 100% sure"? - as a fellow English programmer, I'm ashamed. ;) Jan 24, 2010 at 20:18
  • 1
    @Dominic - sorry, my bad... "I'm > 100% certain" - better? Jan 24, 2010 at 20:43
  • 3
    Shouldn't it be I'm >= 100% certain? Jan 24, 2010 at 23:16
  • 3
    100% <= Certainty_of_Marc_Gravell (I hate C programmers that do this. Sure, it's safer, but it's backwards! gah!)
    – Pollyanna
    Jan 24, 2010 at 23:22
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    I agree with Marc. Too much potential for abuse and we are only talking about mass re tagging. Everyone with sufficient rep can already re tag individual questions. I am all for community moderation (less work I have to do, like it should be), but I think the permanent mass re tagging should be left to moderator discretion.
    – Troggy
    Jan 25, 2010 at 2:02
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    Now it's going to be excruciatingly difficult to resist the urge to award myself the "ice-dancing" and "Taxonomist" badges. The certainty that Jeff would smite me for it is the only thing holding me back. :) Jan 25, 2010 at 3:58
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    @Troggy - but we all know that the "gold: burnination" is implied in your case ;-p Jan 25, 2010 at 6:46

Actually, the best reason for forcing these suggestions to be made here on Meta is to make each tag change/merge open for discussion prior to implementation. Merging a tag is so potentially destructive that it really shouldn't be left up to the whim of a single person, regardless of their reputation.

However, not every tag change request is all that interesting or controversial. Implementing a fixed voting system would likely mean that boring requests would languish. Add in the need for some sort of discussion system on more controversial requests, and Meta suggestions start to look like a pretty good compromise.

  • 1
    Hear! Hear! If the distinction between the proposed duplicates is meaningful, then the merge destroys useful information. I assume the database hangs onto enough info to back the change out, but that probably isn't a trivial operation. Jan 24, 2010 at 19:06
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    Tag merging is especially dangerous not for the possibility of doing it maliciously, but because there can be two distinct products/technologies in two different areas that have little overlap and an expert in one might be completely unaware of the existence of the other.
    – mmx
    Jan 24, 2010 at 19:09
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    +1 Shog9 is right on. Some of the re tags require some discussion and agreement before they are done or scrapped completely. This is a major benefit of the current way it is done.
    – Troggy
    Jan 25, 2010 at 2:05

The long-term solution is an tag database solution that allows tag synonyms (two tags mean the same thing) and tag banning (disallowing certain tags).

Until then, tag renaming is a non-reversible and potentially very damaging operation. Tag requests can be made on meta but it should be left to the blessed few to turn the second key. Just to be safe.


I just happen to know that 1 out of the 6 current SO ♦ moderators has screwed up a mass retag already, and that had to be rolled back in the database. Multiply that by the ~450 users who have 10k or greater and try to imagine the hijinks that would ensue. I vote no, since I know exactly how easy it is to mess this up.

  • 2
    We want all the dirty details of that story!
    – balpha StaffMod
    Jan 25, 2010 at 8:25
  • @balpha: If my mind were sharp enough to remember the details, it wouldn't have happened in the first place. ;) Jan 26, 2010 at 3:38

Until it consumes more than 5% of a moderators bandwidth, I doubt it's an issue. Can you quantify the 'problem'?

As it is, the current system seems to work fine. There's no re-tagging backlog, and if there is it's because they want more discussion, not because they can't handle all the requests.

So please bring some numbers to the table to help us understand the magnitude of the issue.


This whole problem would just go away if tag black listing and tag synonyms were implemented.

The system should know that if someone types in n c-sharp they really mean c#

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