Previous title: I've just suggested a synonym: [style] -> [writing-style]

Here's the link; vote as you please. My only reasoning while choosing which one to keep was that writing-style had 91 questions, and style had 44. Be that as it may, we can change the name later if we'd rather keep style. The main thing is to merge.

Edit (shout-out to mods): I got one vote in 4 days. Looking at the synonyms page, I see that there are five other languishing synonym suggestions: suffix (2), spelling (1), programming (0; don't look at me, I can't vote), and two for articles (1 each). Since it doesn't look like synonym voting has been popular (at least for the last six months or so) could one of you either take care of them or publicize them somehow? I'm sure it would be much appreciated.

  • 2
    I'm up for the merge, but apparently I don't get a vote because I haven't scored at least 5 on questions tagged "writing-style". Which strikes me as odd, because I know I've often posted something along the lines of "It's just a matter of stylistic preference", which has often been the top and/or accepted answer. Mar 12, 2012 at 16:55
  • @Fumble: Now you can vote.
    – Daniel
    Mar 13, 2012 at 16:26
  • haha I take it you tagged a couple of questions appropriately! I'll remember this tag for the future - as I implied, we're always going to get a certain amount of questions where "stylistic preference" is a significant factor. I suppose some assiduous souls might like to keep an eye on any tagged as such, since they may wish to point out that there are sometimes other factors involved. Mar 13, 2012 at 16:37
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    I generally don't even bother looking at the proposed tag synonyms, because I never have enough rep in the tags in question. Well, OK, that's not entirely true: I just voted on the spelling and programming ones, but that's 2 out of 7 suggestions. If I had had to go and find the synonym suggestions myself, I would have become too annoyed to continue after the second or third failure. I can understand linking tag editing to overall rep, but at least on ELU, it makes no sense to link it to tag-specific rep.
    – Marthaª
    Mar 15, 2012 at 16:43
  • @Marthaª See Can we allow 7.5K users to suggest tag synonyms without a score of 5 in the tag? I personally would have suggested 10K. And (as you said) at least for ELU, I would suggest that 10Kers be allowed to vote, as well.
    – Daniel
    Mar 15, 2012 at 16:51
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    @Marthaª: You make a good point. Even with our relatively high rep scores, it's likely we won't have enough to vote in respect of some particular tag that we think should be "synonymised". Arguably ELU is sufficiently established that the bar should be lowered in respect of "tidying up" existing tags/synonyms, and raised in respect of creating new tags. For example, I think [word] is so broad as to be worthless, and [programming] is too specialised to be worth having as a tag. Others may agree there or not, but we just don't seem to deal with such things very well, imho. Mar 15, 2012 at 17:37
  • @FumbleFingers, the [words] tag is so useless that we've been trying to get it blacklisted, but apparently only devs can do that, and they haven't responded to the request.
    – Marthaª
    Mar 15, 2012 at 18:41
  • @Marthaª: Well, when I asked about "deleting" the {puzzle} tag yesterday, part-time community manager Anna Lear said it would automatically disappear after about 24 hours (it hasn't yet, but I have faith). I assume "blacklisting" needs to be effctively "hard-coded", and that it means no-one can re-create a tag of that name in future. But I don't really understand - do people perhaps keep re-creating the worthless [words] tag? Mar 15, 2012 at 21:22
  • @FumbleFingers: not all the time, but yes. The blacklisting question was first posted last April, and I noticed a rash of "words" tags at the beginning of this month (i.e. March of the following year). I don't know how long the tags I squashed had been around before then.
    – Marthaª
    Mar 15, 2012 at 21:25
  • @Marthaª: It's just a guess - obviously I don't know how the internals of SO are implemented - but it seems likely to me "blacklisting" really is "hard-coded" at the moment. Presumably we want them to support it across all stackexchange sites using lookup tables that at least our own mods can manage. I'm a bit surprised that I can't find a "meta-stackexchange" site where such issues could be raised - am I missing something? Mar 15, 2012 at 21:44
  • ...belay that - found it, and asked for the relevant site-wide enhancement Mar 15, 2012 at 22:13
  • ...which request has been denied, so we'd best forget taking control of blacklisting, and concentrate on getting something done about the synonym management shambles. Mar 16, 2012 at 22:45

1 Answer 1


Okay so I've done some house cleaning.

  • has been merged into . I couldn't quite make out a meaningful difference between the two.
  • has been merged into . Not the other way round, mind you, since a) we generally prefer plural in tags, and b) some questions actually ask about several suffixes at once (-ic vs. -ical and the like).
  • has been merged into . Again, not the other way round, because for me orthography is the broader term that includes things such as hyphenation, punctuation, capitalization etc. which different people may or may not consider "spelling". On the other hand, I am well aware we also have dedicated tags for , , and so on, so perhaps it would make sense to keep as well, limiting it to questions strictly about which letters to use in which order in a given word. I'm totally open to further discussion on this, and it also brings me right to my next point.
  • Generally speaking, if anything we have too few (meaningful) tags rather than too many. Finer granularity is something we could totally use. So:
    • I am still undecided on vs. , because not all questions about style are necessarily about writing, or writing alone. Off the top of my head, what are the principles that make certain lists sound euphonious?
    • Likewise, I am not convinced merging and into would be too shiny an idea. Lots and lots of questions are indeed only about "the", or only about "a", but not about choosing between the two. More specific tags are not only more useful in browsing the site just for giggles, but first and foremost in hunting for obscure dupes, especially when the dupes are about "the" or "a", when Google is of little help and it's all just a major PITA. And again, we already have enough tags bloated beyond the point of being useful, and a couple years down the line it will only become worse. So frankly, I think merging into is akin to merging into , with the same nasty consequences you can think of yourself, albeit admittedly on a smaller scale.

      TL;DR: Them's tag synonyms, not tag hyponyms.
  • 1
    Many good points - you have been busy! I've changed my not-thought-out position on merging indefinite-article and definite-article, and reversed my vote on the poll question for that. I think style and writing-style are both awkward, whether merged or not. The question you actually linked there I find fascinating, but I tend to get irked by questions asking about different ways of phrasing something where the basic answer is it's a matter of style - with various answers claiming some spurious distinction. Merged or not, for me, both tags are really just warning signs! Mar 18, 2012 at 0:43
  • What @FumbleFingers said. Would it be possible for you to merge [writing-style] into [style], then? I'd actually have chosen that, except I thought there was a limit to the ratio of the number of questions under a proposed synonym to the number of questions under a proposed master tag. Not to mention that at the time, I couldn't suggest a merge that way due to the requirements.
    – Daniel
    Mar 18, 2012 at 23:13
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    @Daniel: Somewhat sheepishly, I must acknowledge that Reg has a far more considered approach to synonyms that me (apart from anything else, I'm sure he deals with them far more). But my inclination is moving far more in the direction of keeping any potentially useful distinctions that tags can make when we're talking about some identifiable category that has quite a lot of applicable questions. So I'd keep both of these, but I'd merge, say, auto-antonyms (total 3 questions) into antonyms, and just tag those 3 questions under synonyms as well, 'cos it'll never be a useful distinction. Mar 18, 2012 at 23:38
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    Merging indefinite-article into articles is not akin to merging verbs into words. It would be akin to merging finite-verbs to verbs. Most of the tags could be merged with words, as most of the tags are about word classification. I am not sure there is the need of having a distinction between indefinite-article, and definite-article. Are there users who are able to answer questions tagged indefinite-article, but not definite-article? I think that the number of questions using both the tags is a useful measure.
    – apaderno
    Mar 19, 2012 at 19:15

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