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I would recommend to make "cart" and "classification-tree" tags junior synonyms of "decision-tree". Because, often CART acronym is regarded to be just a particular method or algorithm of the tree building, along with other methods such as CHAID or QUEST. Decision Tree seems currently to be the most omnibus term.

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  • $\begingroup$ Hi @ttnphns! I am looking through the old [tag-synonyms] threads on meta and I came across this old post of yours. The situation has changed since you posted this question and currently [classification-tree], [decision-trees], and [tree] -- all of them are synonyms of [cart] which is the master tag (with almost 500 questions). Do you think it's okay to leave it like that, or would you still suggest that some other tag should be the master tag? Which one then? $\endgroup$
    – amoeba
    Dec 15 '15 at 14:49
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    $\begingroup$ @amoeba, cart or crt is OK for me because it is classification/regression tree. I just wanted to say that the abbrebiation CART historically stood for a specific algorithm only. $\endgroup$
    – ttnphns
    Dec 15 '15 at 15:04
  • $\begingroup$ I see. Perhaps in this case consider accepting gung's answer to make this thread visually appear as resolved. I found it because I was looking through the meta [tag-synonyms] threads without an accepted answer... $\endgroup$
    – amoeba
    Dec 15 '15 at 15:14
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Some relevant facts:

The points you raise are good ones, but I agree with @whuber that it might not be best to change the current pattern of synonyms. My suggestion would be to edit cart's tag wiki excerpt to indicate more accurately how it ought to be viewed / used by the community. There is a linguistic phenomenon in English (and probably all languages) whereby the name of a particularly salient member of a category comes to stand for the category as a whole. (For example, Kleenex is a proprietary / brand name, but is used to indicate any facial tissue.) I can imagine "cart" coming to be used (perhaps incorrectly) the same way.

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  • $\begingroup$ It is better to avoid arcronyms as tags altogether! And not to submit to "salient category becoming generic label" phenomenon when possible. I see you don't agree with me, but my opinion is there: "classification-tree' (if not 'decision-tree') in place of 'cart'. [Also, 'principal-components' for 'pca', 'anaysis-of-variance' for 'anova'] $\endgroup$
    – ttnphns
    Apr 16 '13 at 6:42
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Because a decision tree is a generic method that goes well beyond CART or classification, I would be reluctant to make it a synonym.

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  • $\begingroup$ Well, perhaps you find it excessively broad. Then, maybe, create a senior tag 'classification-regression-tree'? Instead of 'cart'. It is that last acronym that makes me frown, because historically it is associated with CART (or CRT) algorithm by Breiman et al. 1984. Classification and Regression Trees. This algo is just a particular method. CHAID tree method by Kass, G. 1980. An exploratory technique for investigating large quantities of categorical data appeared even earlier. $\endgroup$
    – ttnphns
    Apr 15 '13 at 16:10
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    $\begingroup$ P.S. or, alternatively, recognize 'classification-tree' as the senior tag. After all, the tree is splitting into subgroups, i.e. it is always a (hierarchical) classification. $\endgroup$
    – ttnphns
    Apr 15 '13 at 16:38

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