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Some tags use the singular, for example , others use the plural, for example .

I never can remember which has which, and when you manually type a tag in the search box, and end up using the wrong pluralization form, you get zero results. It is pretty annoying and does not feel like good UI design.

To clarify, I am not asking about the tags to attach to a post. I am asking about the search function, like here:

enter image description here

There is no autocompletion for this, as you can see.

However, it seems you can just define synonyms for all these tags to solve the problem, for example for , or for . Am I missing something or would that solve the issue?

And if it would solve the search issue, is there any downside for doing this? Would it be OK if I created such synonyms?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ +1 This question has been in the back of my mind for literal years \$\endgroup\$ Mar 9, 2022 at 11:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ ...Why not just use the search in the tags page, if you're not sure what the name of the tag is? \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Mar 10, 2022 at 2:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast At the very least, searching for multiple tags isn't possible from the tags page. I think the real meat of the question isn't about upsides though, just whether there are any downsides \$\endgroup\$ Mar 10, 2022 at 3:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ This says "status completed" now, what it the outcome? There still are no synonyms as far as I can see, and the votes for the two answers are even split. I take this to mean - there is no clear support, so we will not change anything, is this the right reading? \$\endgroup\$ Mar 19, 2022 at 18:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ @GroodytheHobgoblin: It looks like several/all of them (the ones I checked, at least) have been created now. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Mar 22, 2022 at 0:54

4 Answers 4

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Tag Away! (But wait a bit first)1

I'm going to preface this with the fact that I do not know any of the finer, under-the-hood details of how tag synonyms works.

That said, I know no downsides of creating synonyms and have myself been prompted several times that a plural tag (such as ) is too close to an existing tag for me to post a question. In fact, I see only benefits of making synonyms:

  1. There will be less prompts to retag questions
  2. Things like will actually work (Note, there's no suggested fills when making those)
  3. People won't have to remember which tags arbitrarily use which number (singular/plural)

I will point out that when I try to suggest the "attacks" tag as a synonym of the "attack" tag I am given this popup:

Failed to propose synonym:

The suggested tag must exist in the system before suggesting it as a synonym!

Meanwhile, when I try to add the "attacks" tag to a question I get this popup:

The tag [attacks] is too similar to [attack]. If you think this new tag should be allowed, discuss it on meta.

Presumably then, this sort of synonym-making effort would actually require moderator action. At the very least, some of these tags simply cannot be made right now (nor should any of them be made right now anyway).


1 At the very least we would want to let this Meta exist for a while, especially since other people will certainly know more about the potential downsides of tag synonyms than myself.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Since a single tag is enough, your suggestion would benefit from telling to only add the alternate tag on a single question before doing the synonym (and taking that back here for visibility) \$\endgroup\$
    – Trish
    Mar 9, 2022 at 14:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Trish I don't know what that means? Right now the "attacks" tag cannot be added to any question \$\endgroup\$ Mar 9, 2022 at 14:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ Creating preemptive synonyms like this is way easier for mods (as the synonym listings testify). We can just make the synonyms without the need for them to be preexisting tags or having score in the tag. Historically this has been more of an idle moderator activity (and is probably fine to stay as such), but I'd be happy to take a list (eg. the ones identified in this Q&A) and crunch out the synonyms. It isn't particularly arduous. \$\endgroup\$
    – Someone_Evil Mod
    Mar 10, 2022 at 0:53
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No Need

Wild cards work.

Searching on [magic-ite*] and [class-featu*] return the expected tags.

Searching on [dnd*] returns the longer boolean expression for all the various tags starting with 'dnd'. All fourteen of them.

In all cases, the returned tags are sent through the search engine, and you get the set of questions so tagged.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This doesn't quite work perfectly. For example "[monster*]" gets hits from monster-design, monster-of-the-week, and monsterhearts \$\endgroup\$ Mar 10, 2022 at 0:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Exempt-Medic Hmm. Fair point. \$\endgroup\$
    – Novak
    Mar 10, 2022 at 0:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ Also, not obvious this works from the tool tip. I did not know it, so others may be unaware too, and users commonly do not read the manual. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 10, 2022 at 5:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ FWIW, I didn't know about that feature 'til just now, either. \$\endgroup\$
    – minnmass
    Mar 10, 2022 at 23:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ @minnmass Honestly I didn't, either, but it seemed worth a shot. \$\endgroup\$
    – Novak
    Mar 11, 2022 at 0:51
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Little need when tagging

When you start to type "" when adding a tag to a quesion, the list of tags that contain this part appears. It tells you, that this is properly tagged .

Only when the alternate spelling is sufficiently different it even becomes apparent to the user in this case - like is a synonym for .

convenient for search

Only when searching it becomes convenient to have alternate spellings. Make 1 Tag of the alternative spelling, suggest it as a synonym and bring it to approval voting. that's enough.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ When I answered, it appeared to be about tagging, but indeed search is an issue. One incident of the tag is enough to make an alternate spelling synonym though \$\endgroup\$
    – Trish
    Mar 9, 2022 at 11:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ Even for searching for a tag: Why wouldn't someone just use the search in the tags page, if they're not sure what the name of the tag is? \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Mar 10, 2022 at 2:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast: I, for one, have forgotten that the tags page exists every time I've left it. Further, the number of times I've gotten to a result page to find it full of the wrong system and wanted to add the [pathfinder] ... or is it [pathfinder-1e], or [pathfinder-1] ... outnumbers my visits to the tags page by about 100 to 1. \$\endgroup\$
    – minnmass
    Mar 10, 2022 at 23:03

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