Could there be a way to warn users when they are using a set of "unliked" tags? Or at least stop
[windows-forms] showing up in the completion list when typing tags into a question?
I think perhaps the best way to handle this would be to have an alias mapping in the background that automatically re-tags in adherence with previous global retags. So the person would/could still tag with
winforms, but when it posts, the tag is renamed to
The problem with renaming 'winforms' to Windows Forms is that the short hand is Winforms. That's how everyone knows it.
I don't like the idea of trying to stop anyone from tagging anything. If you make a rule for one tag you're going to have to start setting rules for all subjects and find out what the canonical term is for each subject.
Typically once a tag gets popular enough, people will notice it more and continue to use it, and the problem of "stragglers" becomes less and less and can be cleaned up regularly with a simple tag clean up.
OK; new suggestion... stop fighting the inevitable... just go with it...
Any good reasons not to just do this?
Once the questions have been re-tagged, is there a way to delete the unused tag?
There is no way for the average user to know '
winforms' is "unliked". The system even goes as far as suggesting it as a valid tag (through the popup). If the tag did not physically exist in the database, there will be a bit of friction against creating a new tag (and low-reputation users would be unable create it as a new tag).
Perhaps we could have tags that get auto-corrected to something else. If you tag something winforms, when you save it will get renamed to windows-forms.
This could be extended so that admins could map sets of tags to another known tag, thus keeping on top of the multi-tag problem.
Earlier this evening (UK time) I went through and retagged the 8 questions that were using [winforms]. I've just checked now and it's still suggested with (8) after the name. That implies that it's using a cached value.
If we could ensure that there were no [winforms] tagged question just before the cache was refreshed then it should appear in the suggestions.
[windows-forms] did appear when I typed "win" so hopefully people will realise and use that.
I'd love to have a UI for a "Want help selecting your tags?" button next to the current text box. Such a UI could make some guesses based on:
- the text in the question, or based on the title, or
- based on what they've already typed into the text box, or
- based on what they type into a similar text box on the help page, or
- all of the above.
The suggestions would be in the form of suggested tags, with definitions next to them. These might say things like:
- c# - any version of the C# programming language.
- java - any version of the Java programming language.
- sql-server - any release of the SQL Server product from Microsoft
- windows-forms - any version of the Windows Forms technology, part of the Microsoft .NET Framework. Do not use this tag for WPF or SilverLight questions
- sql - any dialect of the ANSI SQL language
- t-sql - the T-SQL Dialect used by Microsoft SQL Server
- pl-sql - the PL/SQL dialect used by Oracle
The page might even show entries for "please do not use":
- mssql - please use sql-server instead, as this can be confused with mysql
- winforms - please use windows-forms instead
Where another tag is mentioned, it might be a link to the other tag on the same page.
A small part of the problem I addressed here is that my "interesting" tags weren't updated. I still had WinForms as an interesting tag (which, of course, showed 0 questions when I clicked it). If a tag is going to be retired, there should be some way to redirect the interesting and ignored tags too.
As I understand it, a re-tag does delete the old tag; here's me re-tagging winforms (again):
updating post history, 1 rows affected updating posts, 1 rows affected removing/renaming old tag, 1 rows affected <======= THIS LINE updating count for master tag, 1 rows affected merge of [windows-forms] and [winforms] complete!
The marked line agrees with my understanding, and the deleted tag no longer appears in the drop-downs etc.
The problem is that people keep re-creating them ;-p
I would be entirely supportive of a list of override tags that make attempts to use "tag A" use "tag B" instead; it essentially just formalises the manual, repetitive re-tagging process.