I have noticed that we are inconsistent on tag plural forms. The question here is do we want to have plurals or do we want to have singular (or don't we care).

As soon as this is decided I will create a list of the wrong ones so a CM can rename them (afaics none of us has the rep yet to do so ourselves AND you can't use 'singular' if 'singulars' already exists and visa-versa so retagging all questions won't work).

I'm unsure how much useless nitpicking this is so if you feel that shouldn't be done either way, downvote the Q :)

  • is the intention of this post for tags like firefox-extension - vim-plugin etc? – Flyk Feb 17 '14 at 14:03
  • Once we reach consensus on the way we'll do this, we can arrange with CMs or pro tems to go through all of our current tags and clean them up - we shouldn't take any action on changing any of these until we have reached consensus. – Flyk Feb 17 '14 at 14:31
  • @Flyk yes. As well as "-service", "-server", "-plugin", "email" – Angelo Fuchs Feb 17 '14 at 14:31
  • Related: Pluralization of tags describing an app type – unor May 25 '16 at 0:59

I generally use the singular for uncountable nouns (no choice anyway) and for general concepts that generally arise in a single instance, and the plural for countable objects when there are generally potentially many such objects. As a rule of thumb, would you say that the question is

As you can see from the examples, there's quite a bit of ambiguity.

Some tags have to be singular (uncountable nouns), so we can't systematically use a plural. Other tags don't really work in the singular (e.g. — you never work with one file, always with files, plus to a Unix person looks like it's about the file utility), so we can't systematically use the singular either. No Stack Exchange site that I've seen has established any kind of consistent rule. Security comes closest to my personal preferences even though I wasn't behind the tag names; it has:

We shouldn't try to enforce a singular-only policy, as it would force some bad tag names. Let tags arise naturally in either form, and rename if we find a strong argument to rename.

  • On travel.SE we have managed to pretty successfully establish a consistency rule. I wrote a post on how to choose tag names based on more than just dumb singular vs. plural but I'm not sure where it is ... here it is: Tags should be plurals (with a few caveats) – hippietrail Mar 31 '14 at 6:20

I suggest we use singular form always.

Because one looks for one program not for many.

Also: singular is always meaningful while plural makes no sense for stuff like "audio" or "command-line"

  • Humm, then we will probably be an exception. AFAIK, most SE sites use plural forms. @Flyk, you're around on many sites: Is this consistent? – Izzy Feb 17 '14 at 13:55
  • On the sites I use at least, it's always server, not servers, installation, not installations, network, not networks, etc... Do you have any specifics in mind so I can evaluate those? – Flyk Feb 17 '14 at 13:58
  • Right, I'm seeing what you mean - it's not a definitive policy on how to deal with these but it does lean towards using plurals where it makes sense - so we wouldn't go changing audio to audios and video to videos but we would change *-extension to *-extensions and *-plugin to *-plugins – Flyk Feb 17 '14 at 14:22
  • As I pointed out on chat: [AskUbuntu], Super User, and Android Enthusiasts tags mostly use plurals except for standing terms (like the examples you've used, and which would also include audio, video, browser). It's e.g. always driverS, deviceS, appS, settingS, notificationS, etc. – Izzy Feb 17 '14 at 14:25
  • @Izzy otoh: SO has no consistency on this whatsoever – Angelo Fuchs Feb 17 '14 at 14:43

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