The vast majority of users don't accumulate 5 answers in any one tag.

Of those that do, a small percentage will care enough about that tag to curate it.

Q: How many users does it take to make a synonym? A: 5. 1 to suggest it and 4 to vote. A: 2. 1 to suggest it and a moderator.

Let's be generous and say that 5% of users eligible to vote on synonyms actually find their way to the page and vote. That means critical mass needed to set off a synonym reaction is 100 users with score of 5 or more in a given tag, all active at the same point in time.

Low-volume tags like websphere-mq are by definition specialty tags. Aren't these often where synonyms are needed the most? For example, websphere-mq posts are split between that tag, mqseries which is the former name and ibm-mq. The tags would be much more useful if they all consolidated to websphere-mq but without intervention, it will take forever. Literally.

So how about a "Flag for moderator" function for synonym suggestions? It would be OK if the function didn't appear until the suggestion had aged a while or if the number of eligible users was below a threshold.


Post on the site's Meta with , specifying that you want a synonym as well. This will accomplish the same effect as a flag would, which makes me feel that implementing a new flag type for this is unnecessary.

The natural conclusion of a synonym is a merging. A merging is just a special bulk retag done by moderators. Moderators are typically happy to help with these (and for Stack Overflow, I know Bill's exceptionally nice about it and is usually working on those), so all you have to do is be clear about needing a merge and synonym.

In clear-cut cases, it gets handled without any issue. If there is some hesitance, though, that makes us have a Meta post that's ripe for the necessary discussion.

  • 1
    Well, perfect description of the procedure anyway. In practice it isn't working too well. 2 weeks and no moderator love. My guess is Stack sites are all about the top of the bell curve. Functionality degrades down near the bottom, despite passionate users who would love to help and contribute. – mqrus May 18 '11 at 18:44

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