This is primarily regarding the rename of Hudson to Jenkins, but might apply to similar situations.

If a software project, library, etc. changes its name, should we:

  • simply create a tag synonym and be done with it?
  • edit all of the old questions to use the new name?
  • edit all of the old questions in some other manner (e.g. to have both names)?
  • do nothing?
  • do something else?

Without editing questions, would future searches for the new name not include results for the old name? Is this a concern we need to address, or will some sort of search-black-magic solve it for us?


For reference, here's a list of renames to which this might apply (and some references for them being renamed):

Furthermore, this question is complicated by the actual status of Hudson/Jenkins. The Hudson project was forked and renamed Jenkins, but Oracle will apparently still be maintaining the original Hudson as their own software.


Since January there has been a tag synonym suggestion for -> . Should tag synonyms be used for forked software? It would seem to me they might actually damage the scope of the question, since the question might be applicable for the fork but not for the original.

  • PLT Scheme --> Racket. – user102937 Feb 8 '11 at 16:09
  • @Robert Harvey - stackoverflow.com/search?q=plt+scheme+racket - Those questions seem to take varying approaches. Several are tagged both plt-scheme and racket, while others use both names in their title/content. Perhaps the solution for this question would be used to normalize those as well. – Rob Hruska Feb 8 '11 at 17:17
  • this is a similar problem to MS renaming Astoria > Ado.net data services to WCF Data Services =( – gideon Feb 9 '11 at 4:31
  • Regarding my latest edit, fwiw, I've downvoted the tag synonym suggestion. – Rob Hruska Jul 11 '11 at 12:57

I think renamed projects should be treated differently from forks:

For a renamed project, both the new and the old name can be regarded as synonyms (with the new name as the "real" one). So for this use case synonyms should be sufficient (example: PLT Scheme - > Racket).

Forked projects are different and deserve some more introspection. While many questions/answers may apply to both projects, this is not necessarily the case for all of them, especially in the long run, when forks diverge further.

If, for example, one of the two projects quickly withers and dies after the fork and the other one effectively becomes the pure follow-up project (see XFree86/Xorg), then a synonym might be the correct approach (i.e. treat it as a rename).

If both projects continue to live and develop independently, then a synonym is definitely wrong and they should be treated differently in the long run (i.e. no synonyms or search synonyms).

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  • +1 Insightful. You're right that this is likely best handled case-by-case. – Rob Hruska Jul 11 '11 at 13:13

One option might be to have something like "search synonyms". For example, a bidirectional synonym might be set up linking "Hudson" and "Jenkins". Searches for "Hudson" would then return both "Hudson" and "Jenkins" results. The same would be true for searches for "Jenkins".

I'm sure there are complications and drawbacks to this solution. It would only solve searches through the in-site search field (and not through, say, the Googles). I'm just trying to get the ball rolling on some answers.

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For the sake of search results, it seems to work well to have the question tagged with both names.

The following two searches:

Yield the same first result (which has both the plt-scheme and racket tags): how to print a newline in a file in plt scheme?

But for a question that is not tagged with both (e.g. Creating an empty list in Racket, which only has the racket tag), the corresponding searches yield different results:

The drawback to having both tags on the question is that multiple tags for the same technology seems redundant, and also takes up more of the (five) tag spots that could be used for other tags.

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Is it possible to use some sort of find/replace mechanism to search for all instances of "Scheme" and replace it with "Racket/Scheme"?

The advantage is that both keywords will still be in place for searches on Google, and no tags will need to be replaced.

Perhaps a tooltip of some kind can be used to highlight the fact that the new tag used to be called something else. Or perhaps tag synonyms shouldn't count against the 5 total tags.

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  • I particularly like 'perhaps tag synonyms shouldn't count against the 5 total tags'. – user141160 Feb 15 '11 at 5:59
  • Yes, I see tag synonyms as almost being something used just for search only, so they really don't need to be explicitly displayed in the tags section, just there so that the results contain all applicable results. A good analogy is how Google knows that when you search for Fod Truck you really mean Ford Truck. – jmort253 Feb 15 '11 at 7:44

How about a new concept, "sibling tags". A possible implementation, if and are marked as sibling tags, user could tag jenkins/hudson, which would count as just 1 tag towards the 5 tag maximum. When question is displayed, for purposes of google indexing etc, they could be shown as the usual tags.

Because still, 2 years after this question was asked, almost all and questions actually apply to both. Especially when it is about Jenkins/Hudson plugin programming, it gets problematic. If you use , you can't add any specific programming problem related tags. You could leave out the main tags (jenksin, hudson), but then your question would probably not be found by as many people. You can leave out the *-plugin tags, and trust that anybody understand if it is tagged with Java, it's implicitly about plugins, but then what's the use of *-plugin tags in the first place?

Summary: when there are several tags, which are overlapping, the 5 tag limit is quickly reached, which is a bit problematic, as outlined above. Offering a way to go around the 5 tag limit would alleviate that problem, at least.

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