Please post your tag synonym suggestions as new answers in this thread, one answer per suggestion. Upvote answers where you believe that the suggested tags should be made synonyms, and downvote answers where you believe the tags should remain separate. Well upvoted suggestions will be eventually implemented by the moderators (and then the corresponding answers will be deleted).

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    $\begingroup$ @whuber, if this is inappropriate or unhelpful, then I can delete it, but my goal is the opposite: I don't want you (or the other mods) to have to spend time thinking about this & doing a lot of extra research. I'm hoping to bring this to the attention of the community, which, by voting (commenting, etc), will have done all of that for you guys. Nb, w/ respect to lme & multilevel, I'm not sure anyone will have the requisite upvotes--there have only been 3 questions w/ multilevel, according to it's page. $\endgroup$ – gung - Reinstate Monica Jun 7 '12 at 16:59
  • $\begingroup$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. $\endgroup$ – whuber Jan 21 '16 at 14:55

There is a tag that seems to be used indistinguishable from . It could be declared a synonym of last one.

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  • $\begingroup$ Maybe / probably / I'm not sure. Both tags are routinely poorly used, IMO. It'd be nice if some other people weighed in as well. $\endgroup$ – gung - Reinstate Monica Aug 7 at 16:59
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    $\begingroup$ Experience suggests that application of the mathematical-statistics tag by the OP indicates that to them math is a mystery, whence any appearance of mathematics is "mathematical statistics." That seems to be the case about 80-90% of the time. I have therefore been pondering the idea of "burninating" this tag, but it is meaningful and does have its uses when applied by people who know what they are writing about. A while ago I edited the tag wiki to clarify use of this tag, but to no avail: evidently, people who are mystified by math tend not to read or follow directions, either :-(. $\endgroup$ – whuber Aug 19 at 14:52
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    $\begingroup$ BTW, theory strikes me as being almost totally useless as a tag. Perhaps the better action would be to burninate that tag? $\endgroup$ – whuber Aug 19 at 14:54
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    $\begingroup$ @whuber, the easiest way for us to burninate a tag is to make it a synonym of another, merge the 2, & then delete the merge. Then the tag is gone. Otherwise, we need to contact the CMs, I think, who are overworked & reluctant to do it, & a lot of prior steps need to have been taken already to satisfy them. Would you be OK w/ making this synonym so as to burninate? $\endgroup$ – gung - Reinstate Monica Sep 15 at 19:16

Do we really need two tags for [parametric] and [nonparametric]? I propose that we have a single tag that covers both. Given that existing usage has favored np, we could make that the master, but also update the excerpt / usage guidance and full wiki. Updated suggestion: We create a new tag and map both of the original tags to it. To wit:

$\rightarrow$ $\leftarrow$

  • [nonparametric] 1,290 threads, an excerpt & wiki
  • [parametric] 252 threads (of which 95 have both), an excerpt, but no wiki

The current excerpts are, [nonparametric]:

Procedures that rely on relatively few assumptions about underlying probability distributions.


Statistical models described by a finite number of real-valued parameters. Often used in contrast to non-parametric statistics.

I'm certainly open to discussion about the new excerpt / usage guidance, but the kind of thing I have in mind might be:

Use this tag to ask about the nature of nonparametric or parametric methods, or the difference between the two. Nonparametric methods generally rely on few assumptions about the underlying distributions, whereas parametric methods make assumptions that allow data to be described by a small number of parameters.

Note that this excerpt has 312 characters, which is longer than the typical excerpt, but well within the limits, and would not be the longest excerpt, even among the top tags.

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  • $\begingroup$ If there is no substantive disagreement, I'll implement this in a week (4/12/19). $\endgroup$ – gung - Reinstate Monica Apr 5 '19 at 17:06
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    $\begingroup$ How about mapping both to [parametric-nonparametric]? Too cumbersome? $\endgroup$ – amoeba Apr 5 '19 at 18:51
  • $\begingroup$ @amoeba, I have updated the suggestion. $\endgroup$ – gung - Reinstate Monica Apr 8 '19 at 14:27
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    $\begingroup$ I like the [nonparametric] tag. This change worries me that I will end up with unhelpful suggestions. To that extent, looking at the [parametric] tagged questions as they stands seems that the use of the [parametric] tag is pretty random. $\endgroup$ – usεr11852 Apr 27 '19 at 22:59
  • $\begingroup$ @usεr11852, what is your suggestion, just get rid of p? $\endgroup$ – gung - Reinstate Monica Apr 28 '19 at 16:52
  • $\begingroup$ I am uncertain that we must change something, why is leaving things as it is a problem? np works fine, and OK, p is a bit a mess but the merge won't fix that. $\endgroup$ – usεr11852 Apr 28 '19 at 16:55
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    $\begingroup$ @usεr11852, because the questions are ultimately on the same topic, but split up into different tags. There seem to be few threads under p that are about anything other than the distinction b/t p & np, & those that aren't about that don't really form a coherent grouping. So instead of the tags helping to organize the information on the site, they are preventing the information from being well organized. $\endgroup$ – gung - Reinstate Monica Apr 29 '19 at 0:55
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    $\begingroup$ I do not think they are. They are on the same topic if the question is for choosing between a parametric or a non-parametric model. If the question is specific to a non-parametric technique, then they are simply are not on the same topic. I agree that p questions are mostly either "incoherent" or aim to distinguish between np and p but the questions in np are mostly OK so I cannot see how this won't hurt np. $\endgroup$ – usεr11852 Apr 29 '19 at 8:37
  • $\begingroup$ @usεr11852, that's what I mean by on the same topic. The np are largely about the distinction b/t p & np, or about choosing between them, & so are most of the p threads. There are also a large chunk of np threads that are strictly about np (not the difference), & there are an incoherent mish-mash of p threads. Thus, we retag those threads on ideosyncratic topics, then merge the threads on the difference b/t p & np (that are tagged p) into the bulk of such threads (which are tagged np). $\endgroup$ – gung - Reinstate Monica Apr 29 '19 at 13:31
  • $\begingroup$ 1 possibility would be to have 2 tags, np & p-np, for Qs about np strictly vs the distinction b/t the 2. This makes organizational sense in the abstract, but in actual usage, I think it would work worse than just having 1 tag b/c I doubt the modal user would be sophisticated enough statistically or savvy enough w/ the SE system to use a more complicated scheme correctly. Thus, we'd end up w/ less well organized. I think a simpler scheme that groups the related threads together is likely to work best in practice. I'm open to just having np or to just having p-np whichever people prefer. $\endgroup$ – gung - Reinstate Monica Apr 29 '19 at 13:37
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    $\begingroup$ I don't think we need [p] tag at all, to be honest, it's just a mish-mash. So one option would be to go through the entirety of [p] Qs, and remove it from everything that is not about parameteric vs non-parameteric. Afterwards, merge [p] into [np]. After that, delete the synonym mapping, eliminating [p] entirely. If I understood @usεr11852 correctly, they would be fine with this, but I am not sure how much work would that be and if anybody is willing to do it. $\endgroup$ – amoeba Apr 30 '19 at 9:09
  • $\begingroup$ @amoeba: Agreed. $\endgroup$ – usεr11852 Apr 30 '19 at 10:25
  • $\begingroup$ @amoeba, that's essentially what I had initially suggested. I'm also fine w/ creating a new tag [p-np], that ends up housing both. Basically, I think we're better off getting rid of p 1 way or another. $\endgroup$ – gung - Reinstate Monica Apr 30 '19 at 15:25

Tags (most used) and both covers distances/divergences between probability distributions and should be synonymized. There is also a tag with an unclear, very general tag wiki which seems to be more used for clustering ... but there is overlap. What to do?

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    $\begingroup$ df seems to be gone now. dis & div do seem similar, but also seem to not be used identically, at least in the earlier threads. There are only 4 threads w/ both (vs 593 for dis), & there are only 16 threads w/ div. $\endgroup$ – gung - Reinstate Monica Sep 15 at 19:20

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