I see that stack-overflow is now a synonym for [stackoverflow]. I strongly object to this, as historically:

  • [stackoverflow] means the site itself (indeed almost all questions with this tag have been migrated to meta)
  • [stack-overflow] means the stack overflow exception, as in numerous languages and operating systems.

I monitor the [stackoverflow] tag so I can vote to migrate meta questions, and have been retagging any such questions that are actually pertaining to the exception type. Please remove this synonym.

  • 1
    Presumably someone made the unification because they thought in an ideal world there'd be no meta questions on SO. In addition to liking the hyphenated version better for the programming phenomenon, I think that creating the synonym is a fail because it removes the ability to notice (via automated or manual mechanisms) when someone has tagged a question with "stackoverflow" w/o reading the tag description. You currently cannot tag browse for questions about actual stack-overflows without seeing a lot of garbage...even migrated questions you can't edit are showing up, this needs to get fixed! Commented Nov 10, 2011 at 18:44
  • Quoted from the current [stackoverflow] tag: Do not use this tag to refer to the Stack Overflow website. Use the "stackoverflow.com" tag. Commented Nov 17, 2011 at 3:32
  • @Nightfirecat It's repeatedly demonstrated that people are not paying attention to that, and there's not a good automatic way of forcing them to pay attention. Those asking about actual stack overflows are far more likely to be computer sophisticates and have attention to details like the tag text (as opposed to the folks with questions like "I want to make programming website and make big bucks. How does stackoverflow make money, so I can make it too?") Commented Nov 22, 2011 at 15:55

2 Answers 2


Weirdly, I think this synonym should be reversed, so it's [stackoverflow] --> [stack-overflow].

A tag that categorizes questions about Stack Overflow doesn't belong on Stack Overflow (those questions belong on Meta, of course). So it ends up being a metatag, which as we've seen recently, is disallowed by policy.

Obviously that doesn't stop users from asking questions in the wrong place, but at the same time I think it's unreasonable to expect users (especially new ones) to be able to distinguish between the two tags.

If you're monitoring questions for metaquestions, the way I'm proposing means you only need to follow 1 tag, and not do any retagging, as when the question gets migrated, there's a good chance it will be retagged anyway (and we can put [stack-overflow] --> [stackoverflow] here on Meta).

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    what about a case where a user asks programmatically about a feature of the stackoverflow website?
    – James
    Commented Aug 10, 2010 at 17:16
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    @James: "How does Stack Overflow work?" belongs on Meta; "How does <x> work? For example, on Stack Overflow?" is fine for Stack Overflow because another example could be substituted. There's no need to categorize questions by the examples since any example could be put in the question.
    – Jon Seigel
    Commented Aug 10, 2010 at 17:19
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    As suggested before (will add link when I find it), IMHO anyone attempting to tag a question "stackoverflow" (or a variant) should be prompted "is this question about the SO site itself? If so, please direct it to meta". Only if we do this do I think it would be appropriate to disable one variant of this tag (where adding a synonym counts as disabling).
    – Ether
    Commented Aug 10, 2010 at 17:20
  • @Ether: I support that, for sure. Jeff may see it as simply a corner case, though. I think implementing tag synonym auditing would be a good first step towards that.
    – Jon Seigel
    Commented Aug 10, 2010 at 17:22
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    @Ether You suggested it here.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Commented Aug 10, 2010 at 18:41
  • @Grace: thanks! I totally forgot that it was me who suggested it, and I got called away (darned $work). :D
    – Ether
    Commented Aug 11, 2010 at 3:10
  • Kinda got a point with wanting a dash in there, but a dash is kinda-unnecessary.
    – bobobobo
    Commented Nov 16, 2011 at 21:40
  • Well...my attempt at using a bounty to raise attention to an issue didn't work to raise attention by the expiration of the bounty...so I made a new question...it would be nice if the broken tag browsing were solved somehow: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/112439/… Commented Nov 17, 2011 at 3:26

Questions about Stackoverflow belong on meta. I don't think the difference between [stackoverflow] and [stack-overflow] would be apparent, especially to a user that doesn't know to ask on MSO. If you see a question tagged [stack[-]overflow], just vote to migrate to meta.

  • 3
    Uh, no. You have make sure they are talking about the site before you vote to migrate here -- not just look at the tags!
    – SamB
    Commented Nov 27, 2010 at 0:30
  • I guess I had hoped that part was implied.
    – user27414
    Commented Nov 27, 2010 at 1:42

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