All [windows-forms] questions are now tagged [winforms], however everyday a few questions get created tagged as [windows-forms] and it takes a short time before someone retags them.

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?

  • 2
    [windows-forms] is now permanently aliased to [winforms].
    – mmyers
    Jul 15, 2010 at 23:46

10 Answers 10


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 windows-forms.

  • 5
    I love this idea. I'm sure there are a lot of categories like this - we don't truly need "script" and "scripts" and "scripting"... The auto-remap in the background doesn't get in the user's way, and removes busywork. Jul 24, 2009 at 17:27
  • 1
    This happens to some extent already. However, right now the question is still posted with the 'old' tag and could stay that way for some time. It really need to be changed to be more consistent and happen at the time of the post/edit. Jul 25, 2009 at 0:32
  • 1
    I like this idea, though I think it needs to be at all levels, so if mssql2005 is mapped to sql-server-2005, a search for mssql2005, or trying to add that to my favorite tags should use sql-server-2005 instead. Aug 25, 2009 at 18:50
  • 1
    This idea would work best if the mapping was also applied to searches. It would also be good to know what effect this will have on users using Google to look for answers to questions. Maybe a separate, auto-added list of aliased tags should appear with the question too.
    – Eric
    Aug 26, 2009 at 16:49
  • Eric's right. The aliased tags could be used as search keywords and maybe put in the meta headers or somewhere so that Google/Bing etc pick them up as search keywords too.
    – MarkJ
    Dec 3, 2009 at 11:25

The problem with renaming 'winforms' to Windows Forms is that the short hand is Winforms. That's how everyone knows it.

  • I completely agree! Jul 25, 2009 at 4:16
  • 1
    yes, but it is too late, I would rather that it was "Windows Forms" that was renamed to WinForm. But at the end of the day, it is best to only have one tag rather then two for the some concept. Jul 27, 2009 at 15:26
  • 3
    Someone went through and re-tagged them. Whoever that was didn't think of the whole community. Jul 27, 2009 at 17:46

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.

  • 1
    From experience, this doesn't work. If people want to tag it <x>, to heck with the crowd... and while I don't mind doing retags, it would be nice if something less repetitive could be worked. Jul 24, 2009 at 19:22
  • Marc Gravell: Oh I know it's annoying. I have the same issue already with Windows related tags and OSX related tags on SuperUser. I just wonder if the potential medicine might be worse than the sore throat.
    – TheTXI
    Jul 24, 2009 at 19:44

OK; new suggestion... stop fighting the inevitable... just go with it...

i.e. [windows-forms] -> [winforms].

Any good reasons not to just do this?

  • Random - is that a joke? Note the hyperlink.... I cross-referenced it in this question because it is clearly relevant... Aug 2, 2009 at 8:24
  • Yes it was, you duped your own answer. Use the recent activity pane!
    – random
    Aug 2, 2009 at 8:50
  • I completely agree with this as a localized solution; though I would still support a generic, over-arching solution as well. Aug 10, 2009 at 18:56

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).

  • It will get deleted periodically. Aug 19, 2009 at 2:49

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.

  • The problem is tags that are used for more than one purpose meta.stackexchange.com/questions/6928/… Jul 24, 2009 at 17:17
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    @Brad, agreed this couldn't be "solved" universally. However, in the cases where the community has selected one way of tagging questions over another (like the windows-forms tag) I believe this could be successfully implemented Jul 24, 2009 at 17:49

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.

  • 2
    Although I agree, you'd still have to jump the hurdle of getting the user to actually read the UI you suggest. These are the same users that just click OK on any message that pops up to "make it go away".... Jul 25, 2009 at 4:17
  • 2
    Oh, certainly. A good UI design will be required for this. Maybe something exciting, with flashing lights and cheerful sounds? Jul 25, 2009 at 9:42

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.

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