I propose, as a matter both of policy and principle, that any tag name that exists in one of the major spelling variants (loosely, US-vs-UK, but not so limited) should also exist in the other as a synonym.

Here is the list of current-as-of-this-writing tags which this would apply to, along with the respective status of each synonym:

  • capitalization = capitalisation (not done)
  • pluralisation = pluralization (not done, and both exist!)
  • anglicization = anglicisation (not done)
  • humor = humour (done)
  • parentheses = brackets (not done)
  • look-alikes = lookalikes (not done)
  • exclamation-mark = exclamation-point (not done)
  • diagramming = diagraming (not done, god I hate this one)
  • dialogue = dialog (not done, not fond of this one either)
  • diacritic = diacriticals (done; arguably could add diacritics and diacritical, but the completion should suffice)
  • emoticons = emotica (not done)
  • received-pronunciation = rp (not done)
  • redundancy = laid-off (SO JUST KIDDING!)
  • Mm, and maybe pluperfect for past-perfect.
    – tchrist Mod
    Commented Aug 17, 2012 at 1:58
  • 2
    I have never heard or seen emotica in my entire life, and a Google Image search for "emotica" returns exactly zero emoticons that I can see, while a Google Web search returns only proper names. The rest is status-completed.
    – RegDwigнt
    Commented Aug 17, 2012 at 11:12
  • @RegDwight: Does that imply the mods are agreed ELU should always have both for any tag where US/UK spelling differs? Commented Aug 17, 2012 at 14:36
  • 1
    @FumbleFingers it merely means that after seeing nine upvotes, no downvotes, and no answers on what was a rather straightforward, sensible, and reversible request, one mod fulfilled it, and only it, while also posting a comment in chat that was more than just similar in spirit to what you proceeded to post as your answer, which said mod in turn proceeded to upvote.
    – RegDwigнt
    Commented Aug 17, 2012 at 14:52

1 Answer 1


Perhaps a mod has just gone through and actioned most of OP’s proposals – I’ve just checked over half the list, and in every case either one of the US/UK spellings is a synonym of the other, or they’re both synonyms of something else.

All I can say is that if, say, capitalization existed, but capitalisation didn’t, I personally wouldn’t create the latter purely for the sake of UK/US “equality”.

On the other hand, if both those tags existed but weren’t marked as synonyms, I’d synonymise, rather than changing all instances of the less common spelling to match the most-used tag.

And I see no point in creating a tag emotica, for example. By the time a user has typed in the first four letters, he’ll see we already have a tag for the more standard emoticons. In a case like that, I’d stick to Occam’s razordo not multiply entities unnecessarily.

The primary purpose of synonymising tags is to help ensure questions are correctly tagged against what the community see as useful categories. That goal isn’t meaningfully advanced by deliberately creating alternatives where it would be obvious to any user that we already have an appropriate tag, but it’s just spelt differently to how they would write it.

  • 2
    But what if it's spelled differently from how they would write it?
    – Robusto
    Commented Aug 17, 2012 at 14:50
  • @Robusto: I only really used that spelling to wind up you Americans! Commented Aug 17, 2012 at 16:35
  • @tchrist: I don't want to make a big issue of it, but I've reverted your recent edit to my answer text. And in future I'd rather you didn't arbitrarily change all my Br. Eng. spellings to Am. Eng. Commented Aug 17, 2012 at 16:49
  • I certainly did ɴᴏᴛ change all your BrE spellings to AmE — neither arbitrarily nor otherwise. Plus you should keep the other changes, because they clarify and improve your answer: please look more closely. That’s why it’s called a copyedit pass. You returned it to the clinky version. Please fix.
    – tchrist Mod
    Commented Aug 17, 2012 at 17:03
  • 1
    @tchrist: I don't understand. All I see is US/UK spelling changes, and changing of my intended "actioned" to "acted on". What changes are you suggesting I should have kept? Commented Aug 17, 2012 at 17:49
  • @ΜετάEd: I can't see what your recent edit is doing - I just see my original I'd replaced by your I'd. What's the difference? Commented Aug 17, 2012 at 19:37
  • Well, for one thing, you can’t seem to figure out what you want to use for a pronoun to agree with user, and I found the randomly chosen oscillating pronouns to be jarring, which is why I switched the first one to be the same as the second one.
    – tchrist Mod
    Commented Aug 18, 2012 at 4:16
  • @tchrist: It's always tricky to proofread your own output, but looking at my reverted text I don't see I've written anything I didn't intend to. Are you seriously suggesting you should edit my text just because you don't happen to like me using using the pronoun "they" to reference "any user" in my last sentence? I don't say my words are sacred, but surely I'm entitled to use my own language the way I want. As I recall, you were recently quite robust on this point yourself re Carlo_R's questioning of your style. Commented Aug 18, 2012 at 11:26
  • No, you misunderstood me. It wasn’t “any user . . . how they would” that bothered me, not at all — I’d’ve said the same thing myself. What bothered me is the earlier “a user . . . he’ll see”, because it conflicts with the later usage, which is more common. I switched your he to a they to make them both the same. I figured it was an accident, because it seems to inconsistent. Otherwise one cannot but get the impression that two distinct pronouns have two distinct antecedents. This is what motivated me to edit your post in the first place. Was it actually deliberate?
    – tchrist Mod
    Commented Aug 18, 2012 at 11:28
  • @tchrist: I don't recall it being consciously deliberate as I wrote it, no. But I noticed it when I reverted the edit, and it didn't seem "unnatural" to me. I use both pronouns anyway in these contexts (probably favouring they in relatively informal contexts such as ELU). In this case, he = a user (notionally, a single specific one), where they = any user (standing in for many unspecified users). Although it wasn't exactly deliberate at the time, I certainly don't repudiate the pronoun switch when I look at it later. Commented Aug 18, 2012 at 12:30
  • I agree that he casts a more definition light on the user, whereas they has the air of an indefinite, unknown one. It just seemed weird to use them both so close together, making one try to thread the needle of nuance.
    – tchrist Mod
    Commented Aug 18, 2012 at 12:40
  • 1
    let us continue this discussion in chat Commented Aug 18, 2012 at 13:17

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .