Per the recent spate of tag discussions, a list of retagging requests grew, as did calls for discussion of controversial tags/synonyms.

Hobodave made clear that tag-voting functionality is built in to the site. I don't think many users know that, so here are some details:

  • Click on any tag. This will pull up a list of questions with that tag. Top right of the list is a row of 'tabs' organizing info on the tag: info - stats - newest - featured - hot - votes - active
  • Users with more than 1000 reputation can suggest and vote on tag synonyms. Suggestions will be automatically approved when they reach a score of 4, and automatically deleted when they reach a score of -2.
  • Tag merging "was only added to SO about a year ago, but it was purely a moderator function." SO has been "slowly but surely been increasing the reputation required to create a new tag from 250 reputation, to 500 reputation, all the way to the current setting of 1500 reputation." That means that once the public beta is done, you'll need 1500 points to create new tags.

My question, if there is one, is whether we should still have specific tag discussions on meta before/in-addition-to suggesting tag merges. Also, should we establish a convention about plurals, preferring plural to singular or vice/versa. As is, the one that happens to have more will be the 'master' tag, which might confuse taggers; it won't matter for already consolidated tags, but for new ingredients, etc. it might be good to have a precedent.


-StackOverflow blog announcement about tag-synonyms

-Cooking.Stackexchange tag-synonyms list

  • Thanks for posting this. I hadn't yet got around to it. Proposing synonyms was rather tedious and I decided I needed a break. :)
    – hobodave
    Aug 3, 2010 at 2:33
  • Is it me or is noone voting?
    – hobodave
    Aug 4, 2010 at 6:02
  • We apparently only have 5 or so people who care. And I just broke 1000 today.
    – Ocaasi
    Aug 4, 2010 at 8:53

1 Answer 1


Tag merges will still need to be requested. Adding a tag synonym only causes future instances of the synonym tags to be remapped; the old tags will remain until a merge or until the team updates that feature to perform an automatic merge.

What I'd suggest is going through the synonym process first, and if it gets enough votes to become a synonym, then ask for the mass retag - it'll be almost a no-brainer at that point.

As for pluralization: A list of questions tagged [X] would likely be referred to as "Questions about [X]" (and if I'm not mistaken, this text actually appears somewhere on the site). For that reason, convention has been to use the collective noun if available ([sugar], [pasta]) but use the plural otherwise ([cookies]). I suggest we stick with this - I've always found it generally intuitive, and if one tag ends up being "wrong", it's not that hard to request a retag.

  • Right, but should the synonym process take place on the tab-voting page, or should it start with a discussion on meta?
    – Ocaasi
    Aug 3, 2010 at 2:15
  • Plurals: ok, that makes sense. Hopefully people naturally use the collective noun where it exists as a singular. Come to think of it, I don't think I've seen any posts tagged with 'Cookie'
    – Ocaasi
    Aug 3, 2010 at 2:22
  • I think we could do with a little less discussion regarding tags.
    – hobodave
    Aug 3, 2010 at 2:23
  • To me singular tense makes the most sense, and the empirical evidence supports it. For nearly all the suggestions I made the singular form was the much more prevalent tag, indicating a user's natural inclination. That said, I don't care, so I want to remove myself from any epic debates that may occur over this vitally important topic of tag pluralization. ;)
    – hobodave
    Aug 3, 2010 at 2:25
  • @Ocaasi: No, just propose a synonym; there's a master page for all new synonym proposals, so this interested can monitor it.
    – Aaronut
    Aug 3, 2010 at 2:27
  • @hobodave: You sure you're not confusing singular with collective? The vast majority of non-collective noun tags are currently plural: [ingredients], [eggs], [spices], [vegetables], [knives], [herbs], etc. Tags like [meat], [chicken], [bread], [cheese] and so on are all collective nouns. I don't want an epic debate either, I'm actually trying to go with the flow on this one.
    – Aaronut
    Aug 3, 2010 at 2:28
  • @Aaronut: No. Look at the suggested tags list. Mushroom, technique, recipe, egg-white, cocktail, avocado, tomato, measurement, cookbook, etc. It's overwhelmingly singular with just a couple random plural ones: comparisons, substitutions
    – hobodave
    Aug 3, 2010 at 2:37
  • 1
    @Aaronut: Plus, the whole point of synonyms is that it doesn't matter. K.I.S.S. Use the eligible tag for the master and let the synonyms take care of the rest in the future. Otherwise you'd have to first retag/merge and then propose the synonym.
    – hobodave
    Aug 3, 2010 at 2:39
  • @hobodave: Those are all low-frequency tag; the ones I listed are the most popular ones on the site. (Well, except for [technique] and [recipe], but those really shouldn't exist at all...) But you're right, it doesn't matter once the synonyms are created, this discussion seems to just be regarding new tag creation.
    – Aaronut
    Aug 3, 2010 at 2:48
  • @aaronut, as a mod, I have the option to bot auto approve synonyms and do the automatic merges. I think it's a good idea that they still be requested until I or the other mods figure out if there is ever a case in which you wouldn't want to merge after a synonym is created. Aug 3, 2010 at 23:11

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