How can a tag-synonym be suggested?

Who can suggest a tag-synonym?

How is a tag-synonym approved? Where can users vote for/against a synonym?

What other important facts should I know about tag-synonyms?

Note: I know that there is a relatively detailed post on meta.SE: What are tag synonyms and merged tags? How do they work?

But since I have seen some users mentioning in comments on this site that they had problem where to vote for a tag synonym or how suggest a tag synonym (or even users that are completely unaware of tag synonym system), perhaps it might be a good idea to have some reference here, at "our" meta. It might improve visibility a bit and raise awareness. (That's the correct buzzword, isn't it?)


I will collect here some things about tag-synonyms which seem basic to me. Let me know if I gave some incorrect information. And, of course, feel free to add another answer if you think some important piece of information is missing.

First of all, list of all tag synonyms can be found here: https://math.stackexchange.com/tags/synonyms

This lists includes tag synonyms that have already been approved and also tag synonyms which are only suggested. If you see the word "pending" in the list, then this tag synonym is not approved yet and it is possible to vote for or against the tag synonym.

The tag synonyms are not symmetric. Notice that column called "master" in the list of tag synonyms.

How can a tag-synonym be suggested? How is it approved

If you click on some existing tag, then you are shown the tag-info at the top of the page. Just below the tag-info you can click on the word "synonyms". You will get to the page where you see already existing tag synonyms and where you can suggest new ones. For example here. This page may look like this:

screen with tag-synonym suggestions

Here is another example, where you can see also the total score (=number of upvotes minus number of downvotes) for the particular tag synonym suggestion. (I am unaware of a possibility to see number of upvotes and downvotes separately. Both here and in the list of tag synonyms you only see total score for suggested tag synonyms.)

This is the place where you can vote (by click on the up/down arrow) for the tag synonym, which was suggested but no yet approve.

screen with tag synonym - not yet approved

You can see there some relevant information.

  • Only the users with more than 2500 reputation and a total answer score of 5 or more on the tag, can suggest tag synonyms.
  • Only the users with score of 5 or more can vote for or against the tag synonym.
  • Suggestions will be automatically approved when they reach a score of 4, and automatically deleted when they reach a score of -2.
  • Moderators can create tag synonyms without need of getting votes from other users. (See also Mad Scientist's comment below.)

This process might be, in some cases, problematic. In particular for small tags there might be only a few users which can vote. So in practice, the tag synonyms are often discussed on meta. (There is a thread specifically for this purpose: Tag management 2015. However, if the synonym is likely to generate more extensive discussion, it is better to post a separate question.) If voting on meta indicates clear consensus, then moderators create the tag synonym. (In this case, votes from the users are not needed.)

Personally I think that discussion on meta has some advantages: You can see there also arguments for/against the particular suggestion, not only number indicating votes which have been cast on the tag synonym suggestion so far.

  • $\begingroup$ Moderators actually don't always have a binding vote with tag synonyms, it depends on whether they use the individual tag synonym page or the tag synonym management page. Another advantage of discussing on meta and having a mod create the synonym is that moderators can also merge the tags, which regular users can't do. $\endgroup$ – Mad Scientist Jul 8 '15 at 8:30
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the clarification, I have edited my post. I am not sure to which extent it is better to merge the tags - we have seen quite recently that it makes a difference if we later decide to remove the tag synonym. $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Jul 8 '15 at 8:39
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Martin Thanks for taking the time to compose this tutorial. Some of these matters are not obvious, so it will surely be helpful to many users. $\endgroup$ – Bill Dubuque Jul 8 '15 at 14:23

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