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I just finished submitting 15 tag descriptions that are now sitting in the review queue. My hope and earnest expectation is that these will assist users in properly assigning tags to new questions.

While editing, I noticed the following problems:

My suggestion, for what it's worth, is that the aforementioned duplicates and superfluous tags be synonymized or burninated by any user with sufficient privileges to do so. I would do so myself, but it doesn't appear as though I can do so even subject to oversight.

And my apologies if some or all of these issues appear in other meta threads, but at least now there's a record of them all in one place.

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    $\begingroup$ In general, I definitely agree (and we're in need of some serious tag cleanup), but I'd argue that twisty-puzzles is actually broader than rubiks-cube, and in that case, I'd suggest synonymizing in the other direction. $\endgroup$ – user20 Nov 12 '14 at 6:46
  • $\begingroup$ @Emrakul can we really not come up with a more descriptive tag name than twisty-puzzles? Possibly combination-puzzle $\endgroup$ – Joe Nov 12 '14 at 10:28
  • $\begingroup$ @Joe Hmm... when I originally created that tag, I did so because "twisty puzzles" is the generally accepted name for them. See: the Twisty Puzzles Forum $\endgroup$ – user20 Nov 12 '14 at 10:30
  • $\begingroup$ @Joe I think I suggested mechanical-puzzles a while back. $\endgroup$ – Joe Z. Nov 13 '14 at 0:04
  • $\begingroup$ @JoeZ This is true; "mechanical puzzles" does sound a lot more... professional, for lack of a better word, than "twisty puzzles." $\endgroup$ – user20 Nov 13 '14 at 1:48
  • $\begingroup$ I officially propose mechanical-puzzles as the canonical tag, then. $\endgroup$ – Joe Z. Nov 13 '14 at 1:50
  • $\begingroup$ @JoeZ Want to start a new meta question on it? $\endgroup$ – user20 Nov 14 '14 at 21:25
  • $\begingroup$ Actually, there's already an old meta question on the matter, and you already answered it. :P $\endgroup$ – Joe Z. Nov 17 '14 at 2:30
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The normal way to remove a tag is to edit it out of every question that has it. The tag will disappear from the list after a little while (there's an automatic cleanup job that runs daily).

If a tag is present on a lot of questions, then Stack Exchange staff can burninate it, i.e. make it so that the tag never existed. This is only done when editing all the questions would require a lot of work and would overwhelm the front page by bumping every question that had it. For a tag that's only present on a handful of questions, remove it normally.

Creating tag synonyms can be done by moderators (and in practice only by moderators — there's a community voting process but it's very difficult to reach the vote threshold). Moderators can also effectively rename a tag (by creating a synonym then removing the original).

In both cases, it's best to discuss on meta if the optimal action is not obvious.

I've done the ones I consider clear-cut:

Regarding the others:

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  • $\begingroup$ Excellent. Thanks, Gilles. I've submitted a tag wiki for paper-solving to clarify its purpose. I also noticed another duplicate: arithmetic is only used by one puzzle and is a synonym for calculation-puzzle. $\endgroup$ – COTO Nov 12 '14 at 12:49

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