- What are tag synonyms?
- How can tag synonyms be distinguished from "real" tags?
- How are new tag synonyms created?
- Who can create tag synonyms?
- How can I delete/reverse/undo bad tag synonyms?
- What are merged tags?
There's a lot of good info in the announcement of tag synonyms on the Stack Overflow blog.
What are tag synonyms?
A tag synonym is usually a tag that has exactly the same meaning as some other tag, such as bike and bicycle. In some cases, tags that are subsets of other tags will also be considered synonyms, such as java-se for java.
The system organizes tags in a master–synonym relationship. All attempts to use the synonym tag for any given master tag are automatically converted to the master tag. So, users can enter a synonym tag when writing a question, but the master tag will be displayed when the question is loaded. Editing a question tagged with a synonym tag causes it to be replaced by the master tag. Similarly, when users search for questions tagged with a synonym, a list of questions tagged with the master will be displayed.
However, existing questions tagged with the synonym tag that were using it before the synonym was created and were not edited later will continue to use the synonym tag.
A master list of synonyms is available at
How can tag synonyms be distinguished from “real” tags?
Tag synonyms are replaced by the respective master tag on almost every occasion, e.g., when you search for a tag, try to apply a tag to a question, or follow a link to the tag.
Note that it is rarely necessary for a user to make this distinction.
How are new tag synonyms created? Who can create tag synonyms?
- Users with at least 2,500 reputation (1,250 on beta sites) and a total answer score of 5 or more on a given tag may suggest synonyms for that tag.
- Users with a net answer score (total upvotes minus downvotes) of 5 or more for a given tag may vote for synonyms for that tag.
Suggestions will be automatically approved when they reach a score of four, and automatically deleted when they reach a score of negative two.
Additionally, moderators can create synonyms as needed on all tags and have their suggestions instantly approved.
Users (including moderators) can only propose or create synonyms for a given tag if the proposed synonym tag already exists. If a tag corresponding to a pre-existing synonym proposal ceases to exist (e.g. was removed from all questions, was merged with another tag, was burninated by an employee, etc.), those synonym proposals will be automatically deleted.
If there aren’t enough people aware of the proposed tag synonym, if you aren’t sure whether the synonym is a good idea, or if there aren't enough users within a tag who are able to propose or vote for the synonym, open a discussion on your site's meta, tagged discussion tags tag-synonyms. On per-site metas where it exists, you can use synonym-request in place of tag-synonyms. For questions about the synonyms on this site, Meta Stack Exchange, or the per-site meta itself, add meta.
The synonym admin panel is located at
Again, when a synonym is created, the synonymous tag is not replaced from existing questions that use it, but cannot be added to new questions anymore (the master tag will be added instead). This is so that mistakes can easily be reverted.
How can I delete/reverse/undo bad tag synonyms?
Only moderators can correct bad synonyms. Therefore, the only recourse is to post a question on your per-site meta explaining the problem with the synonym relationship. Use the tags described above. Give the community a few days to show support or make alternate proposals. Once the discussion has settled, a moderator will perform the correction the community deems necessary. (If there is no moderator response a couple of days after clear community consensus is established, contact a moderator in chat or flag the meta post for moderator attention.)
What are merged tags?
All good tag synonyms should eventually be merged (source). This retags all questions tagged with another tag – which is not automatically done when a synonym is created. As merging is not (easily) reversible, it should be done with caution. Only moderators can perform a merge.
Merging, by itself, does not create a synonym, meaning that the tag that was merged can be recreated and used later. In most cases, you will want to create or ensure that a synonym exists, so that future attempts to use the merged tag will replace it with the canonical tag instead. However, merging without a synonym is useful in certain cases, such as renaming a tag.
For more information, see this section of the moderator cheat sheet.