Are half of tag-synonyms questions duplicative of Current tag synonym candidates?
Some debate on the utility of this thread occurred in its comments. Let this question serve as a home for a revival (and hopefully an actionable resolution) of that debate. To fuel it, consider the following...
First, there is a known issue with synonyms themselves that's worth acknowledging: questions with old tags don't appear in searches for their preferred synonym, if I understand the issue correctly, and assuming it still hasn't been fixed. See also: Tagging bug?.... [Edit: @gung's answer indicates this has been fixed, though these questions haven't been updated to reflect that yet...please comment here or edit if this changes.]
As for meta-questions that propose synonyms, only one solo proposal has been closed as duplicative, and recently: synonym request - gam and general additive model. This prevents answers, but not comments/votes. The question appears in searches, but points to the meta-thread, Current tag synonym candidates. Should we continue flagging new single-idea meta-questions as duplicates of this meta-thread? What about old questions like this?
That meta-thread is itself somewhat duplicative of Cleaning up tags: merging. The original only attracted a counterpoint, but wasn't closed. Current tag synonym candidates has seen more use. Tag rename suggestions was the true de facto original, but didn't actually ask for synonyms. Could/should all these questions be merged? If so, should Current tag synonym candidates be preferred? Also, maybe @AndyW's answer could be moved here, since it is critical of this idea.
On the meta-thread, @gung suggested deleting answers that have been resolved; I have done so, but in retrospect, I think it's a debatable practice. Deleted answers can't receive votes or comments from people who might disagree later. If we want to use Current tag synonym candidates as a meta-thread for synonym suggestions, do we want to delete these suggestions after they're implemented, or leave them open for future voting and commenting in case late voters prefer to undo the synonym?
Examples that I'd say discourage treatment of these questions as duplicates in general:
- Meta SO's resolution of their own equivalent issue: this privilege obsolesces the meta-Q...?
- Big discussion of many related tags here: Redundant tags: mixed effects and related models
- Nuanced answers + comments: What is the difference between tags "validity" and "validation"?
Examples I'd argue could be considered duplicative:
- Could've answered a meta-thread: Should the data-visualization and figure tags be merged?
- Same, just an answer and some votes and comments: Tag merge: average and averages
- Same as above, plus an argument against following MSO: Synonyms for the "Test" tags
- Suggestion to make tag “kolmogorov-smirnov” a synonym of tag “kolmogorov-smirnov-test”
- An early instance, but again, answers $\approx$ comments: Modeling vs. Modelling tag
Resolved, but not implemented yet: Do we need both "power" and "power analysis" tags?
- Many comments; resolved? Should mixed-model and multilevel-analysis be tag synonyms?
- Two suggestions, 1st implemented, 2nd still needs feedback: Merging tags, should we do it? How to do it significance-test/statistical-significance Mathematical-statistics/mathematic
Open & shut case: Suggestion to make "sources" and "resources" synonyms of "references"
- The list of such cases goes on...Suggestion to make tag "p" a synonym of tag "p-value"
- and on...Suggestion to make tag "chi-square" a synonym of tag "chi-squared"?
- and on...Can we make icc a synonym of intraclass-correlation?
- and ends with: Tag synonym suggestion: multiple-comparisons <-> multiple-hypothesis
- Declined: Tag synonym: auc -> roc?. Were upvotes in favor or just expressing interest?
- Same + embedded note of a bigger problem: CART as junior synonym to Decision Tree
This issue might be somewhat trivial, but I could imagine some consequences. Asking questions separately for each suggestion might encourage more individualized consideration and more discussion for each, whereas posting them all to one meta-thread might encourage more uniform handling of all suggestions and somewhat less debate on each. One meta-thread might bring more attention to all proposals, whereas some may be forgotten if posted separately, as seems to be true of three of the above cases that haven't been implemented. On the meta-thread, some of gung's answers have also adopted a useful convention that could be edited into the question itself: to vote on answers as favorable or unfavorable proposals, rather than the tooltip-denoted meaning of votes on a question, "This question shows research effort; it is useful and clear." Some ambiguity exists in the last two examples I've listed above because the meaning of the upvotes they received may be interpreted in either of these ways. See a related question on MSO: Meaning of downvotes in Meta vs Main sites? for more on that issue...