My first encounter with the "Include synonyms in tag suggestions" feature hasn't gone well. It took me quite a while to realise what the "(s)" actually meant (to the extent I wrote up a bug report before I realised — damn I'm glad it's Friday!).

Can we please have the "(s)" replaced with something more meaningful? It's confusing to see it look like a tag count. Preferably "(synonym)" or "(synonym of xyz)".

IMHO it's not a good idea to see any synonyms at all. They add noise to the suggestions box, something that seems against the philosophy of these sites. If a user attempts to use a synonym the system should automatically convert it to its master tag, preferably with a notification on the subsequent question page.

Tag suggestions with a synonym


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    Lol, it's especially confusing in this case, since the s could be interpreted as "linq-to-object/s" Commented Sep 3, 2010 at 5:26
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    @Peter: Absolutely, it was a bad way to encounter this feature
    – Alex Angas
    Commented Sep 9, 2010 at 1:33
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    Opening a bounty not because I want to hide synonyms (that would be worse), but to "please have the (s) replaced with something more meaningful", such as mentioning the "master" tag.
    – Gnome
    Commented Nov 9, 2010 at 20:37

2 Answers 2


The new tageditor completes this.

If it's of any consolation, I never new about the (s) thingadongdong until a few days ago :)


Showing the tag synonym mechanism in some form is a must I think. One of the synonyms that is setup is [mssql] renamed to the master [sql-server] tag. Picture the scenario from the perspective of a new learner who refers to it as mssql and tries to create a question. Without any tag synonym support built-in, they're going to type mssql in the tag input and not getting anything back. If that happened to me I'd be rather confused. No questions about mssql on the site?? Could that turn a user away from asking a question? Potentially.

I do agree with you that the current implementation may not be the most user-friendly. For [linq-to-object] and [linq-to-objects] the most user-friendly option would be to only show [linq-to-objects] in the list. For [mssql] and [sql-server], I think the most user-friendly implementation would be to display [sql-server (mssql)].

I do acknowledge that things would get tricky, because what happens if both [mssql] and [ms-sql] point to [sql-server] and I type in ms? Ideally there would just be [sql-server (mssql)] or [sql-server (ms-sql)] though with the hypen or without wouldn't matter. This situation could be avoided by actually deleting some tags rather than creating multiple synonyms. If [ms-sql] points users to [sql-server], is there a point in keeping [mssql] around? If the tag is deleted, would it get recreated by someone with rep?

The logic would certainly not be the simplest with the introduction of the display string versus the value string, but from the user's perspective, I do think it would be the most user-friendly.

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    I think the solution is that as you type, the database searches through the synonyms and main names for a match. If a match is found only the main name is displayed. ------- So, as you start typing "ms" you would see "[sql-server]" popup and nothing else. Commented Sep 3, 2010 at 19:23
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    The thing to make sure is that someone who knows [mssql] but not [sql-server] can still figure out why the heck it won't allow [mssql] but shows [sql-server] instead. Commented Sep 3, 2010 at 19:50
  • Can we just have (s) replaced with something meaningful like (synonym). It looks too much like a 5.
    – Alex Angas
    Commented May 14, 2011 at 0:54

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