We have plenty of different tags, but while having a look at some of them, I realised that we have some

I don't see any reason why we should have such a mix. There have been some discussion about it on meta, for example here and there (thanks HDE226868 for the links). There isn't a clear preference. Some even suggest to have synonyms between plural and singular forms.

I would prefer to avoid that. But what do you think, should we prefer singular or plural? In which cases? And if so, should we go on editing the ones that are "wrong"?

  • $\begingroup$ Like Monica said, singular and plural forms as synonyms would be largely unnecessary. Synonyms should be used when the terms are completely different, like how we have demographics and population, or shipbuilding and water-vessel-design as synonyms. $\endgroup$ – user Jul 28 '15 at 12:55
  • $\begingroup$ I edited the question title to be somewhat more clear. Hope you don't mind, bilbo_pingouin. $\endgroup$ – user Jul 28 '15 at 12:57
  • $\begingroup$ @MichaelKjörling, of course not :-) More generally, is there a way to mass-edit all given tags? $\endgroup$ – clem steredenn Jul 28 '15 at 13:19
  • $\begingroup$ I asked the question on meta. $\endgroup$ – clem steredenn Jul 28 '15 at 13:25

I don't think it really matters, but I vote for plural. I forget where I first heard this, but tags are supposed to attract people who can say "I am an expert in/on [tag]". You would not say "I am an expert on dragon".

Plus, the plural form is more encompassing. For instance, a question about how dragons interact with one another may not feel right under a 'dragon' tag, but a question about a single dragon definitely fits under a 'dragons' tag.

But like I said, I don't think it matters. This is one of those things people just auto-fix in their heads, and I don't want to go around editing posts just to add a single letter to the end of a tag.

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    $\begingroup$ Agreed on the reasoning you gave for plural. I strongly prefer plural tags for countable nouns -- planets, moons, dragons, etc -- unless there really is only one. $\endgroup$ – Monica Cellio Jul 27 '15 at 20:54
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    $\begingroup$ I'd agree plural is the way to go overall. There should be a way to change all instances of a tag simultaneously, right? That way individual editing wouldn't be an issue $\endgroup$ – SnoringFrog Jul 27 '15 at 21:03
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    $\begingroup$ Your example is flawed. If I'm an expert sitting on a dragon, then I can say, "I am an expert on dragon." ;) $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Jul 28 '15 at 17:58
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    $\begingroup$ @Frostfyre that comment was totally superfluous but I laughed. $\endgroup$ – James Jul 28 '15 at 18:22
  • $\begingroup$ So what is required to make this change, can we simply edit the existing tag and have the change propagate to the relevant questions? $\endgroup$ – James Jul 28 '15 at 18:23
  • $\begingroup$ @James apparently the mods can do it. Normal users cannot do it recursively. Worse adding a 's' can't be done by normal edits according to meta.SE. See the wiki answer below. $\endgroup$ – clem steredenn Jul 28 '15 at 19:21

The agreement seems to be that tags should be used in their plural form. The answer on meta indicates that

moderators can rename a tag

and assuming that that is the case, we could list below the tags that are in singular.

To be renamed

To be kept

  • as it refers to The Evolution theory.
  • : There are several laws but there is the law in the broader sense. Law as an academic field for example can't be plural.
  • Is the action of flying in space.
  • because in its meaning about people living in communities in general, it is uncountable.
  • $\begingroup$ @Vincent, which is why I made it a community wiki, don't hesitate to modify. $\endgroup$ – clem steredenn Jul 28 '15 at 18:21
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    $\begingroup$ I would argue that a lot of those singulars are abstract concepts, and thus making them plural is unnecessary. Like, if someone knows a lot of religions (Islam, Judaism, etc), they can more simply state they are an expert on religion, as a field of knowledge. $\endgroup$ – DaaaahWhoosh Jul 28 '15 at 18:30
  • $\begingroup$ @DaaaahWhoosh, yes some are not that easy. And religion is a particularly complex one. A question like Science vs Religion should have singular, but a question about Building-up a Religion, should have a plural. For me the fields of knowledge could be religious studies or theology. But, YMMV. $\endgroup$ – clem steredenn Jul 28 '15 at 19:00
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    $\begingroup$ IMO, some could be changed to become uncountable : colony become colonization, crime become criminality $\endgroup$ – Vincent Jul 28 '15 at 19:14
  • $\begingroup$ @Vincent, Isn't currencies already in plural? And merfolk is a form of plural. $\endgroup$ – clem steredenn Jul 28 '15 at 20:47
  • $\begingroup$ @bilbo_pingouin my mistake, it's currency. $\endgroup$ – Vincent Jul 28 '15 at 21:00
  • $\begingroup$ @DaaaahWhoosh, sorry parallel editing. Nevertheless, radiation can also be countable: the radiations emitted by radium. $\endgroup$ – clem steredenn Jul 29 '15 at 13:04
  • $\begingroup$ @bilbo_pingouin I agree it can be countable, I just think in this case the tag is more about the phenomenon of radiation rather than a set of instances of radiation. I may have to modify my answer here, there are a lot of cases I hadn't considered. $\endgroup$ – DaaaahWhoosh Jul 29 '15 at 13:22
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    $\begingroup$ Thank you for compiling this list. I agree with the earlier comment that some of these are abstract concepts or otherwise not countable the way we use them here. For example, "language" and "languages" mean two different things, ditto "religion" and "religions" (already raised). I think "crime" is fine as an abstract concept and needn't change to the more-unwieldy criminality. But a lot of these should be changed, so thanks again. $\endgroup$ – Monica Cellio Jul 30 '15 at 0:51

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