Users with at least 2500 rep and an answer score of 5 in a tag can suggest synonyms for that tag. (Details can be found, for example, in this meta question.) Hypothetically, it is possible that 5 users vote on a synonym before anybody notices them and in this way some synonyms which are "problematic" might be created. (By "problematic" I mean synonyms which are against consensus reached in previous discussions on meta or synonyms which many users would consider undesirable but did not notice that they were suggested.)

To list some examples from the past, at some point the synonym (summation) $\to$ (sequences-and-series) was suggested, despite the fact that tag was created explicitly for finite and formal sums (and this is also explicitly mentioned in the tag-info) - "summation" tag for finite and formal summations. (In fact, several users devoted quite a bit of work to retag some questions asked before (summation) tag was created.) There was also synonym suggestion (discrete-mathematics) $\to$ (combinatorics), which was discussed in this meta question: Do we really want (discrete-mathematics) $\to$ (combinatorics) synonym?

  1. Is there some easier method to monitor new suggestions for tag synonyms other than frequently checking list of tag synonyms? (For example, a feed which could be directed into chat room and would list new synonyms and synonym suggestions.)
  2. If some tag synonym gets approved but it is considered wrong, is there some other way to repair it other then retag all questions manually. (For example, would it be possible at least to get back tags from the time of the last data dump in SEDE?) (Removed based on quid's comment - since this part actually does not make sense.)

Just to clarify, I am not against creating some tag synonyms if it is generally approved by the community. (For example, if the position on my two examples above changes, they should be synonymized.) This is only about the possibility that some "incorrect" synonyms might be created without being noticed. (I cannot be sure about that, but I do not think that there are many users who regularly visit the list of tags synonyms to see which new synonyms have been created.)

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I am not sure what you mean in 2. A syn is operational once it is approved. From that point on new Q are retagged upon submission, and they never actually have the 'original' tag. While the number of such retags is tallied there is [unfortunately] no list of such Q, which I believe you know. Yet what does not happen is that pre-existing instances of the tag are replaced. Only Q posted after the syn are affected (and possibly also those whose tags get edited after the syn, not certain about that but it seems likely). [For old Q to be retagged a mod needs to merge in addition.] . $\endgroup$
    – quid Mod
    Commented Aug 10, 2017 at 12:55
  • $\begingroup$ Another example: (terminology) and (definition) have been discussed years ago in Difference between [definition] and [terminology] and How should we handle tags: [terminology] [notation] [definition]?. A new merge proposal came up last year seemingly ignorant of the previous discussion. $\endgroup$
    – Sera Gunn
    Commented Aug 10, 2017 at 14:37
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    $\begingroup$ @quid You're right about the part concerning "repairing". Most synonyms I saw where made by mods and such synonyms are quite often done together with merge. I should have kept in mind that synonyms creating by users are different and cancelling the synonym restores the tags used before the synonym (exact details can be found in this answer. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 10, 2017 at 18:59


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