I've been working on the tag list lately, trying to standardize the format and clean up confusion. For instance, we didn't need both [podcast] and [podcasts], and the non-existent [iphone-2g] needed to be redirected to [iphone-3g].

So far, so good… mostly.

The internal editor in my head says [applications] run on my Mac, and [apps] run on my iPhone and iPad (and yes, I know the [applications] tag is currently unused).

Consequently a couple of days ago, on the question iPad: getting back to initial screen after watching podcast, I changed the tag [ipod-application] to [ipod-app] and set the former to be a synonym of the latter.

Today, Nippysaurus changed it back again.

This wouldn't be an issue except the system still thinks [ipod-application] is a synonym of [ipod-app] — which means you now can't get to its info, faq, stats, new answers, or synonym pages.

I'm about to rollback his change and see if that fixes the problems, but I figured that this—and tag standardization in general—could use a discussion.


6 Answers 6


One minor suggestion: retag ios4 to ios-4. That would be more consistent with tags like iphone-3g and more correct too.

  • 1
    I vote for the change for the sake of consistent use of the hyphen as a space. See my comment on [mac-mini] vs. [macmini] Commented Sep 28, 2010 at 16:09

Nice work on cleaning tags. As for [iphone-2g] being a synonym - the iPhone 2G is sometimes how the original iPhone is referred to (2G referring to EDGE) instead of the 2nd generation like the iPod lines tend to use.

  • @Dori: I'd let it be and end up approaching them on a case by case basis. The good news is that it isn't made anymore so we shouldn't see many questions dealing with it.
    – Chealion
    Commented Sep 22, 2010 at 6:07
  • 2
    Good point on "iphone-2g". My feeling is that people usually mean the original iPhone (launched 2007) with that, not iPhone 3G.
    – Jonik
    Commented Sep 22, 2010 at 15:15
  • 1
    Without voting on this answer: we already have both ipod (info) and apps (info) so I do not favour the idea of ipod-app. Commented Apr 10, 2012 at 6:25
  • 1
    @GrahamPerrin: Given this answer's age. I'm inclined to agree.
    – Chealion
    Commented Apr 12, 2012 at 7:58

Tag synonym:


In answer to a very good meta question Despite the general rule to not answer questions about beta products, should we allow Messages on OSX and Siri on iPhone 4S questions? we have the suggestion of tags such as:

I would prefer:

As used by Apple, expressions pre-release and beta are not synonymous, but I don't wish to complicate this answer. Specifically: let's not get too hung up on users', developers' and Apple's interpretations of those expressions; for simplicity it may be desirable to treat them as synonymous.


Update to FAQ regarding beta and pre-release software - Ask Different Meta



Compare with a slightly different answer to this question

Of the two expressions, pre-release seems to be used more commonly by Apple.


I imagine combinations of tags such as:


Please refrain from voting on this answer until after you have considered this meta question. Questions relating to some types of pre-release software might be allowed in Ask Different.

  • Important: I would not favour automatic removal of a tag such as this after a product (say, Messages) is released and no longer in beta. Discuss … Commented Apr 10, 2012 at 5:59

Hyphenated Tags Must be Outlawed

Read on...

Tags is an indexed-sequential search, not random access

I.E. The tag filters on a major idea. It is supposed to be a quick narrowing of possibilities with a high likelihood of picking up specifics I'm looking for (assuming they exist in the first place, of course). At that point the brain takes over looking in detail at the search results.

As we "engineer" specificity into our tagging system we move toward the idea of a single query, a single tag to find exactly what I'm looking for. I assert that this bad, anti-tagish. Let's just use SQL for crying out loud.

Are hyphenated tag names transitive?

I see as different from .

In the first case I'm "looking for ipod stuff" and in the latter I'm looking for "application stuff". How I think about my search matters.

What is the results implication of including both hyphened-versions? Who knows how the hell the tags were used when at least 4 tags may be involved here! I don't want to know - and I don't have to know if we ban hyphen-tags.

Major points of tagging goodness are:

  • Very little time spent constructing the query.
  • There are no semantics & syntax to know about - including implied or assumed semantics of hyphenated tags.
  • 1-off tag proliferation makes tracking favorites impossible.
  • Specificity is gotten by using multiple tags - and it's syntax free

  • A broadly cast net so I don't waste my time looking for stuff that was filtered out by too much tag specificity

  • There is a gross assumption that the searcher knows (a) how to search a rendered web page and (b) search with tag/literal-text in the first place.

Hyphenated tags should be outlawed

We must not corrupt the tag space. I can easily search for without having to worry if I just ruined my search by including (or not!) or vice versa or vice-and-versa.

I would make exceptions, for example because this cannot mean "macbook or macbook pro". I prefer it to , but would defer if it is confusing or non-hyphenation were enforced @ creation time.

Other Examples

You should quickly see several things:

  • Tags become reusable. You can "recommend" or "version" on anything!
  • Tags are meant to identify general concepts. Combining tags gives sufficient, flexible specificity.
  • Excellent cross reference flexibility
  • There are no "shades of meaning" in a tag, therefore any given tag, or combination of tags, is more likely to hit on what I'm looking for.
  • In a hyphenated-tag rich environment you must ask yourself "What fraken tags did I miss because there are so many that I know I did not find just the right "synonym" tag!!
  • Hyphen-tagging quickly degenerates into hyper inflation of tags, tags-per-question, and tags-per-query. AND ironically, significantly increasing the probability that you will not, indeed cannot, find what you're looking for.
  • This proposal fundamentally breaks the purpose of the tag system. Tags exist to help people identify questions they want to read and answer. Tags are atomic; they do not nest, nor is there a way for one tag to modify another. If there were, this proposal could be helpful, but as currently implemented in the SE engine, there is not. version4 is not a useful tag; no one would be interested in the fourth version of all software, but not the third or fifth. [ipod][safari][version4] has no way of designating whether [version4] is the fourth version of the iPod or of Safari.
    – Daniel Mod
    Commented Apr 14, 2012 at 19:00
  • Absolutely enforces the purpose of tags. Tags need to be inclusive, not exclusive. These conversations of ipad-applications vice applications-ipad, or "2g" vice "original" (iphone). Try to imagine how many hyphenated tags will you need to ensure coverage on just these things! These discussions are precisely the problem writ large. With proper tags there is no need for discussion (or tag maintenance over time by @Dori). I guarantee that proliferation of concept-narrowing tags will gradually ruin Tag useability in StackExchange sites.
    – radarbob
    Commented Apr 20, 2012 at 21:10

I don't know the exact SE policy about tag but I prefer some shorter synonym for some tag for example I hate [software-recommendation] I think it's too long and I prefer software-rec (as it use in superuser). in the beginning I try to change all to software-rec but someone focus on [software-recommendation] and I tired of editing.

  • meta.apple.stackexchange.com/questions/58/… Both tags appeared around the same time.
    – Chealion
    Commented Sep 25, 2010 at 8:15
  • 2
    Tags aren't variables in code; the context of the question is given to us largely by the tag if no other information is in the question itself. The abbreviation "rec" can have all sorts of meanings, the least of which being "recommendation". If the tag doesn't give us the context of the question, then a lot of intent can be lost. Commented Sep 28, 2010 at 16:06

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