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This small issue arises when adding tags to your watched tags list through the "edit" button, on the side panel of the main question list.

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When searching for tags through this search box, the number of questions each tag is assigned to is written next to each tag's name. However, if the tag is a synonym, this number is replaced by an "s", as seen in the following example (taken from the RPG stack, but this applies to any stack that uses synonyms) :

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The issue here is that this "s" can easily be mistaken for a "5", which has happened to multiple people and lead to some misunderstandings. It also can be difficult to understand, especially since there isn't any visual aid or anything of the sort to explain this, outside of opening the tag's description and guessing that the "s" means "synonym".

There are a few possible ways to solve this issue. The few ones which I have seen or thought about are :

  • Replace the "s" with a clearer word or abreviation. Something like "syn." or simply "synonym" would work here.
  • Replace the tag itself with the tag it is a synonym of. That is the way all the other search bars behave, as far as I've seen.
  • Replace the "s" with the actual number of questions of the tag it is a synonym of. The downside with this is that there's the loss of the "this tag is a synonym" information.
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    Well, I do see some sense in keeping it separate unlike other tag searches. The goal is to watch a tag. You don't really care it's a synonym, you still want to watch it anyway. So I'd go with replacing "s" with "synonym" to make it clearer. Commented Aug 31, 2022 at 12:59

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I agree!

I think it would be clearest if the synonymized tag name was what showed up in parenthesis (or maybe "syn: ${tag}" or something); this would be clearly distinct from numbers, and would also convey that watching a synonymized tag actually watches that tag's parent.

As is, this workflow is a bit confusing given that the replacement is automatic and doesn't alert the user in any way:

GIF showing the workflow for adding a synonymized tag to a user's "watched tags" list

I imagine that if you aren't paying attention, don't understand what "synonymized tags" are, or even if your watched tag list is just exceptionally long, this behavior could be even more confusing.

Updating the list to display a more specific hint would definitely be a UX improvement.

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