# Tag synonyms, revisited

Related questions:

Synonymization proposal for version-specific language tags

The [java-8] tag, here to stay?

(Using as an example, but this is applicable for any language)

Say, x years into the future when it's almost-absurd* to be writing pre-Java-7/8 code without generics, try-with-resources, streams etc., will we then delete the tag synonym?

This question applies in the present context too, if a user says 'I need a review on this Java 1.5 code, because the other bits of my application/framework are horrendously stuck on J2SE5 SDK/JVM', are we inclined to create a 'java-5' synonym now, only to delete that in the future?

## TL;DR: how do we manage the lifecycle of tag synonyms, in the present and future?

* - yes... I know, legacy codebase usually rears its ugly head more often than expected, but let's assume my example is in the ideal-world scenario...

The problem of Language Lifecycles is one that tags are not made to solve.

Tags should categorize questions into clean-cut areas to improve searchability of said questions. The version of a language is (for that categorization) irrelevant.

Special constraints should be explicitly mentioned in the question body.

Continuing your example that means, anybody is free to suggest improvements that can be made only in java-Y, as long as the asker doesn't explicitly mention version constraints. Even then such a suggestion may be just fine, as long as it explains which java version it belongs to.

• I agree, the simplest explanation/solution is often the best one. :) (I'll defer picking an answer until more answers come in, if possible) – h.j.k. Apr 29 '15 at 10:20
• I'm accepting this answer as the slightly better one overall - I feel it better addresses the solution my example as well in addition to my 'TL;DR' part. – h.j.k. Apr 30 '15 at 2:49
• For java you're right. For python, there's a big difference between 2.x and 3.x. – Mast Apr 30 '15 at 13:30
• @Mast wells there's python3... To rephrase your point, maybe a question can be: should we have a tag synonym python2 to python? – h.j.k. May 12 '15 at 10:19
• @h.j.k. That's probably a better statement. Now I see combinations of both python2 with python and python3 with python. Honestly, to avoid confusion python should be nuked, but that's not warranted. – Mast May 12 '15 at 10:57

# We don't

Tag synonyms are, from my perspective, one of the most useful features on Stack Exchange that are the least used and understood.

We don't manage the lifecycle of synonyms, we just create them, and lots of them.

Synonyms are placeholders that:

1. prevent new tags from being created with that name
2. are signposts for searching, sorting, etc.

The example you gave is a fantastic example of a synonym that works well. Look at the statistics for it: 37 times it has prevented someone from adding the real tag (here are also 13 questions still tagged with Java-8 from before the synonym was created - if we 'merge' them, then the synonym stays but the actual Java-8 tagged questions get renamed to just java...). That merge should probably happen at some point....

So, I would be happy to see lots of synonyms happening, bring on , , , , , ..... and make them all point to .

Anyway, the point is that nothing needs to be managed. We create the synonym, and forget about it.

• I think they are the least used, because it's nigh-impossible for non-mods to create them (because nobody votes on them). – svick Apr 29 '15 at 14:27
• While I think there is a fair amount of truth to that, @svick, it's also true that many synonyms have been created after discussions in meta too. That may take a little more effort to get the ball rolling, but it certainly is not "nigh-impossible". I think the real reason is more one of apathy, and confusion. Those who know how the system works seldom need to change things, and those who don't know are not equipped to. Those with not enough rep could not create tags anyway. – rolfl Apr 29 '15 at 14:32
• Good feedback too. ;) – h.j.k. Apr 30 '15 at 2:51