For example, I proposed behavioral-psychology (with only one post tagged) as a synonym of the much more common psychology (87 posts), but now I'm not so certain I should have because there's also the tag cognitive-psychology with one post.
There appear to be two main ways of dealing with synonyms (aside from manual retagging).
- Users can search for the common tag of psychology and find all related tags.
- Questions that involve multiple subfields of the large tag (psychology) would just need one tag to annotate that (psychological) aspect.
- If there get to be too many posts with the large tag, it could become difficult to find what you're looking for if you want to look at posts only on behavioral psychology.
Another option would be to leave both tags on their own so that they might eventually get more posts over time. The advantages and disadvantages for searching are similar to the above (reversed), but there are also changes in tagging behavior to consider:
- Users searching for one of the smaller tags could find related posts quickly.
- Users searching for one of the smaller tags would miss several related posts that had only been given the larger tag (psychology).
- Users trying to tag a new question would likely often tag it with semi-duplicate tags, such as psychology and cognitive-psychology together because psychology is more common, but cognitive-psychology is more precise.
If a tag is a hyponym (subcategory) of another tag, should it be tagged as a synonym of that tag? When? Why? or why not?