I just made a random search for some tag that were on the Source column of the Tag Synonym page (in this case[flex4]), and noticed two things:

  1. The script to auto rename is not working at full warp yet on some older posts.
  2. The search algorithm doesn't consider the synonyms.
  • Be aware that this is related to meta.stackexchange.com/questions/15543/… but is not an exact duplicate (the tag synonyms didn't exist back then).
    – perbert
    Commented Jul 17, 2010 at 17:24
  • Re: 1 -- Currently, adding a synonym does not automatically retag questions (it probably should).
    – Jon Seigel
    Commented Jul 17, 2010 at 18:14
  • @Jon: There is a column called Last Auto Rename, which I assumed did just that.
    – perbert
    Commented Jul 17, 2010 at 19:11
  • 2
    New uses of a mapped synonym get changed automatically to the target tag. That's what the Last Auto Rename column is recording. Questions that existed before synonyms went in aren't being retagged automatically when a synonym mapping is created. I thought they should too. I went in and did merge some of them manually, but hopefully it will be automated. Commented Jul 17, 2010 at 21:38

2 Answers 2


ok, so if

  • the question count is 0 for a /questions/tagged/ route
  • it's for a single tag

we test to see if that's a synonym, and if so, redirect to the parent.


There are complicating factors here:

  1. Tag synonyms only affect the future – they do not fix the past; we still need to run merges. If mods are being slow in this department, post a question on meta.
  2. If, for example, you had a synonym => :
    • a. When a user types in csharp in the text box and hits enter, should it search for c#? What if there are still questions tagged ? (Now you can not find them.)
    • b. Perhaps the user really wanted to search for csharp in the post body?

I'm tempted to decline this as it feels too complicated.

  • 1
    If they wanted to search for csharp in the post body instead of tags, they just don't enter it as a tag search. We shouldn't mess with non-tag items when dealing with tag synonyms.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Commented Jul 30, 2010 at 0:42
  • 2
    Re: 2 -- (a) Isn't the point of synonyms such that there shouldn't be any questions in the source tag? and (b) then they have to use the proper notation to search by free text -- even without synonyms, seaching for "csharp" (no quotes) would autodetect it as a tag. If an autodetected tag gets transformed through the synonyms, the user should find relevant content anyway.
    – Jon Seigel
    Commented Jul 30, 2010 at 0:58
  • 1
    If you absolutely must keep the old tags around, then update the search to include results from both the parent and child tags. You should be able to do this just by rewriting the query, without changing the search algorithm at all. This solves both issues, doesn't it?
    – Aarobot
    Commented Jul 30, 2010 at 14:45
  • 1
    Excuse me if I'm oversimplifying the scope of the issue. I understand it might require architecture changes to do an "OR" tag search. However, it seems like the solution is when searching for "[synonym]", the search engine should instead search for "[synonym] or [master]". Whether or not that's easily achievable is a different story. Commented Aug 4, 2010 at 12:22

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