At the moment we have the following windows* tags:

Only two of these seem to conform to the Stack tag naming conventions that are documented in our Help i.e. and .

Consequently, I recommend that the others be changed via creation of synonyms to:

My understanding is that this can only be done by a Community Moderator (see below) which is why I have raised it on Meta.

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  • Here's another one: internetexplorer should be internet-explorer.
    – blah238
    Commented Mar 28, 2014 at 20:19
  • @blah238 I wish it were easier to get non-conformant tags addressed - I thought here was the place to do that one ... but to no avail.
    – PolyGeo Mod
    Commented Mar 28, 2014 at 20:49
  • 1
    Looks like that one was addressed. I also went ahead and cross-posted this onto that thread: meta.gis.stackexchange.com/a/3583/753
    – blah238
    Commented Mar 31, 2014 at 18:50

3 Answers 3


I think this answer by Jeff Atwood supports your case very clearly. I say go for it.

which way will users search for this term on the broader Internet?

The most important factor by far. For example, I'm about to rename a bunch of tags on Server Fault which are in the form


I do not believe anyone types "windowsserver2008" into Google (or Bing, or whatever). I believe they type

Windows Server 2008

Which means the appropriate tag is


.. because dashes are treated as word breaks in every known search engine (and regular expressions, since forever). This is critical to get right because it means people will be able to find what they're looking for.

which form is more popular?

In the case where the search argument cannot be made -- for abstract terms, or technical terms that tend to be a "lump" without word breaks -- I tend to argue "survival of the fittest". Whichever tag has more questions associated, whichever tag is used by more people, should win.

The Help Center also has guidance on how to format tags:

Spaces are not allowed in tags – create compound tags using hyphens rather than spaces (like [visual-studio]) rather than multiple tags separated by spaces ([visual] [studio]).

How to format tags

  • Use all lower case
  • Replace spaces with hyphens (-) to combine multiple words into a single word (e.g., tag "unit testing" as unit-testing)
  • Avoid punctuation (which can make it difficult to use the tag in a URL) When naming a tag, think about how someone would search for that subject. In most cases this means typing out the full name, but you may also want to use the abbreviation. For example, [css] is probably more appropriate than [cascading-style-sheets]

There is also guidance on re-tagging:


As part of the editing process, users may suggest edits or directly edit the tags of a question if they feel a certain tag was used inappropriately or that the question is missing a tag.

You should re-tag questions when:

  • You are adding valuable information to the question by doing so
  • You are replacing obscure or difficult to understand tags with well-known and popular tags that are appropriate for the question.

Based on the above I think for example retagging to the more well-known and popular tag is perfectly appropriate. However, if it can be done by a moderator creating a synonym rather than manually editing each question's tags that would obviously be preferred.

  • Thanks for sharing this. It would be nice if this were shown somewhere easy to find, e.g. the FAQ or Help pages.
    – user3461
    Commented Mar 4, 2014 at 13:09
  • It is actually; see the "How To Format Tags" section in the Help Center -- I also added this info to my answer.
    – blah238
    Commented Mar 4, 2014 at 18:06
  • Re: the re-tagging edit, I would argue that many of the re-tags over the past year haven't been replacing obscure or difficult-to-understand tags. Further, the re-tags have actually been making it harder to search for questions in certain categories.
    – user3461
    Commented Mar 5, 2014 at 0:57

I believe it is important to focus that your question proposes the creation of synonyms.

That implies there would not be the need for (massive) "retaggements" on old threads.

That being said, Jeff Atwood's answer quoted in @blah's answer gives a good reason about why we should favor the usage of hyphen in compound words: to make questions easier to be found by search engines.


No. There are more important things to focus on, like answering questions and up-voting good answers.

First, there aren't any "tag naming conventions" other than those that you've proposed and then put into practice despite objections. There is certainly no official, approved list of conventions.

Second, I think this site has become much too focused on administrivia and much less focused on helping people. I've noted this before, going back almost 12 months. There are far too many minor re-tags and edits going on, at no benefit to the person who asked a question. I really think before a question is changed/re-tagged, the would-be editor needs to consider how does this help the person?, does this question already have an accepted answer?, and would I flag this as a minor edit? If either answer is yes, then the question probably shouldn't be edited.

  • I haven't participated much here recently, because I don't really want to be affiliated with a site that is largely unhelpful. I hope it can be turned around, but every time I try I just end up frustrated with all the continual minor edits.
    – user3461
    Commented Mar 3, 2014 at 14:08
  • 2
    I completely agree with you. We have 6,500 + questions with no upvoted answers. Our Energies should be spent there, rather clearing and changing Tags. Commented Mar 3, 2014 at 15:29
  • @DevdattaTengshe The 6,500+ Questions with no upvoted Answers are always on my mind too, but I see any energy I spend on funnelling these to specialists able to Answer them, when I have Answer-ed the ones I can, as worthwhile.
    – PolyGeo Mod
    Commented Mar 3, 2014 at 23:13
  • 4
    I disagree that there are no tag naming conventions. Clearly (by browsing any SE site's tag list, or by the system tags right here on meta, e.g. feature-request), hyphenated tags are the preferred naming convention. I also tend to disagree that what you call "administrivia" has become a distraction or in any way detrimental to the site. Indeed there is considerable precedent for cleaning up questions for the betterment of the site. If tag-only edits have become such a bother to you, I would suggest trying to just ignore them. No one is asking you to participate in any such efforts, either.
    – blah238
    Commented Mar 3, 2014 at 23:54
  • Precedent example: Title Clean-Up Week, September. 5th-11th
    – blah238
    Commented Mar 3, 2014 at 23:55
  • 1
    Another precedent example: Clean up of run-together/hyphenated and singular/plural tags which references Should tags take the form foobar or foo-bar? in support of hyphenation as being the preferred multi-word tag naming convention
    – blah238
    Commented Mar 4, 2014 at 0:07
  • 1
    Are there any stats regarding amount and percentage of answered questions in the last 12-18 months, compared to previous years? I do think the administrivia is a distraction. Even if I'm not participating in it, old questions are frequently being bumped to the top due to new activity (a re-tag, rephrased titles), making it harder to stay up with the recent questions.
    – user3461
    Commented Mar 4, 2014 at 13:14
  • 2
    I added an answer to Can GIS lower its number of unanswered questions? with some updated stats. Our site's answer rate has dropped from 90% to 77% since Jan 2013, but of course it's hard to say exactly why. My feeling is that site maturity, average question quality and total user population have a lot more to do with it than administrivia.
    – blah238
    Commented Mar 4, 2014 at 18:43
  • I'm not blaming retags for the lowered answer rate. However, the stats do point out that all of the constant re-tagging (and other similar edits) of old questions are not improving the answered rate. This despite being the given reason for all the retags. When I weigh that lack of benefit against the detriments, e.g. tough to follow new questions when old ones keep getting bumped, an appearance of more concern for proper tagging than helping people, etc), I still come to the conclusion that the administrivia is making this site less useful/helpful.
    – user3461
    Commented Mar 5, 2014 at 0:54
  • 2
    @blah238 I'm glad you pointed out quantcast.com/gis.stackexchange.com where clicking the VISITS tab and All for the Date Range shows GIS Stack Exchange to be attracting more visitors now than ever. Perhaps some Q&A curation rather than a focus purely on answering questions is not all bad.
    – PolyGeo Mod
    Commented Mar 8, 2014 at 2:25
  • 1
    Additional visitors are meaningless if users aren't getting good answers to their questions, or if a focus on details is causing them to leave before they've found help.
    – user3461
    Commented Mar 10, 2014 at 1:52
  • 3
    Conversely, if users aren't able to find good questions to answer because the are poorly tagged, you aren't going to get as many questions answered.
    – blah238
    Commented Mar 13, 2014 at 21:05
  • Many newer questions would be/have been answered without retagging, and most old questions that have been refloated by retagging haven't received meaningful new answers. Sounds to me like you're just trying to argue.
    – user3461
    Commented Mar 15, 2014 at 20:08
  • 3
    Not really, I just happen to disagree with some of your conclusions (for which I have seen little evidence supporting them). Isn't the point of this site to discuss issues? Anyways, the way I see it, part of our job as experienced users of this site are to help keep it organized, much like how a librarian is able to help visitors to the library find answers on their own, rather than try to answer everyone's questions directly. Of course unlike librarians we are also trying to help people with subject matter expertise (that we ourselves may not possess) find questions that they can answer.
    – blah238
    Commented Mar 16, 2014 at 2:43
  • 1
    Having the correct tags can help novices understand how things could/should be categorized and relate to other things, and help anyone find related questions.
    – Martin F
    Commented Apr 6, 2014 at 16:58

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