I've been active in Stack Exchange for several years and posted many questions, and while I'm not stupid per se I have never figured out how the site's tagging system works. It's a black box to me.

I know that there is ample information in metaFAQ but what I need is an explanation that a five year old could understand.

The background here is that

  1. I have recently asked some questions with the tag and I plan to ask some more.
  2. In parallel, I have answered that I like the idea of a more specific pyrotechnics tag.
  3. "explosive bolt" ends up being used as a generic term for a variety of pyrotechnic devices. recent example and Wikipedia's Frangible nut begins "Not to be confused with Explosive bolt."

Question: If I wanted eventually for a pyrotechnics tag to exist, and then to appear as a suggestion when someone started typing explosive-bol... in the tag-adding box (because it's a common catch-all term even though not correct), should I start adding an explosive-bolts now as a strategy toward that end? Are there other ways to try to make that happen? Is it something that a benevolent moderator can do easily without explosive-bolt ever being a tag of its own, or even then does the tag need to exist first? Is there something about users having enough reputation on one or both tags that comes into play here?

I"m so confused!

Anything that can't be set up as a differential equation and solved with Wolfram Alpha or scipy.integrate is a mystery to me.

  • $\begingroup$ I don't know for sure, but my experience is that tag completion (both on the [tags page[(space.stackexchange.com/tags)) and when composing a question) try to match what you have typed in, with the name of the tag, its tag synonyms, and the usage text. So it really helps to have good usage text. $\endgroup$ – DrSheldon Mar 21 at 4:07
  • $\begingroup$ You will probably get better answers asking on the main meta site. $\endgroup$ – DrSheldon Mar 21 at 4:08
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    $\begingroup$ @DrSheldon thanks but I recently got beat up there (i.e. severely down voted +3/-10) for asking something that I voluntarily closed as duplicate which I assume means "don't ask duplicates!" I'm looking for kinder, gentler folks here who may have read through and understood the extensive but sometimes fragmented knowledge base there and re-explain it in a way I can understand, as carefully explained in the first two sentences of this question. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Mar 21 at 4:15
  • $\begingroup$ mostly unrelated, but a really great read in Buddhism SE meta: Does downvoting an answer qualify as divisive and harsh speech? $\endgroup$ – uhoh Mar 21 at 4:16

Synonyms can be made without a tag by that name existing. Please do not create tags just for the purpose of them becoming synonyms.

  • $\begingroup$ Okay that's good news, thanks! $\endgroup$ – uhoh Mar 22 at 14:53
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    $\begingroup$ @uhoh There's actually a process for users to create synonyms without mod intervention too, but it's very intensive so it's usually faster to ask on meta: space.stackexchange.com/tags/mars/synonyms $\endgroup$ – called2voyage Mod Mar 22 at 16:34
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    $\begingroup$ For whatever reason, there's no way for a mod to approve a synonym suggestion, even though mods can unilaterally create synonyms using the merge tag tool (even if no tag exists for the synonym). $\endgroup$ – called2voyage Mod Mar 22 at 16:35
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, that addresses "Is there something about users having enough reputation on one or both tags that comes into play here?" I'm confident that I'll never understand all the ins and outs of how tags work, so I'll stick to meta discussions when something comes up. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Mar 23 at 0:14

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