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StackExchange sites use tags to help users sort, search, group and filter the large volume of questions and answers.

Sometimes there are cases where a tag has a common misspelling, or a meaning similar to another more common tag, or describes a (non-useful) subset of the things described by another tag. Because SE wants tags to be as useful as possible, and used as uniformly as possible, it provides a mechanism to automatically turn the less useful of a pair of tags into the more useful of that pair. StackExchange calls these tag pairs tag synonyms and provides a user interface where high-rep users can propose new synonyms for a tag. Here's an example of the current user interface (from the Computer Science StackExchange).

StackExchange synonym suggestion UI

Personally, I can't tell whether it has been proposed that notation be used instead of terminology or that terminology be used instead of notation. And apparently no-one else can figure it out either, because this user interface is used wrong-way-around about as often as it is used as intended. Part of the problem is with the use of the term synonym. A synonym is

a word or phrase that means exactly or nearly the same as another word or phrase in the same language [Google].

That is, synonymity is an equivalence relation. In particular synonymity is symmetric. Given a pair of tags and , " is a synonym for " implies " is a synonym for ." But that's not how StackExchange tag "synonyms" work. The system is supposed to either automatically convert into (always) or automatically convert into (always). That is, it's a hierarchy.

What term(s) should StackExchange be using here?

(Just for the record there is apparently another place, in the StackExchange moderator tools, where they use non-symmetric terminology, but it is still not clear which way the replacement is intended. See https://meta.stackexchange.com/questions/142891/fixing-the-sucktastic-merge-ui-for-tags.)

closed as off-topic by Drew, Robusto, Chenmunka, choster, user66974 Sep 14 '14 at 18:16

  • This question does not appear to be about English language and usage within the scope defined in the help center.
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    I can't tell whether it has been proposed that.... And apparently no-one else can figure it out either, because this user interface is used wrong-way-around about as often as it is used as intended. And it is still not clear which way the replacement is intended. Your question belongs on Meta, since it is about the site UI. It is not primarily about English language & usage. – Drew Sep 14 '14 at 0:18
  • Eventually a meta post should probably happen. But it would be pointless to make a request on meta if no-one can come up with better terminology than the UI currently has. Hence my question to the experts on English language and usage, I can't think of anyone better to ask for a suggestion. – Wandering Logic Sep 14 '14 at 0:49
  • I suggest that "alias" might be a useful word in this context. Alias would imply that it is not the original - it is "another name by which something is known". In computers, an alias is a link to a file, not the file itself. – Floris Dec 19 '14 at 21:22
  • @ElliottFrisch - per se, not say – ws04 Jan 26 '16 at 1:38
  • Wandering, perhaps you should reword the question to focus more on the word you wish to change. – ws04 Jan 26 '16 at 1:39