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When creating a tag wiki, you do not need any reputation or experience with the tag. My interpretation is that if every user who wanted to contribute needed to be experienced, no one would suggest wikis. To make sure they're appropriate, wikis are peer-reviewed, of course, but generally, if you understand what a phrase means, it's okay to suggest a wiki.

Meanwhile, to suggest a synonym, you need at least a score of five in the tag:

Users with more than 2500 reputation and a total answer score of 5 or more on the tag, can suggest tag synonyms. Users with a total answer score (total upvotes minus total downvotes) of 5 or more on the tag, can vote for tag synonyms. Suggestions will be automatically approved when they reach a score of 4, and automatically deleted when they reach a score of -2.

This may require less experience than creating a wiki - a whole description of the subject and its applications - and it's peer reviewed anyway - and yet you need reputation in each tag you want to suggest a synonym for.

I'm arguing that it deters people who could potentially be constructive - who wants to go out of the way to answer an old, obscure question and hope for rep just to improve a tag? - and clearly, reputation is not an issue, because we don't need rep to make wikis and they turn out absolutely fine.

Why do we need reputation to suggest synonyms when they're peer-reviewed, and wikis don't need reputation?

If there is no reason, is there a way to change the system?

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I really shudder when I think about tag synonymization and merging. The main reason is that normal users can't undo a synonymization; only moderators can - and I can say from experience that this is not fun. In September, I managed to break the system somehow when synonymizing and and had to fool around with renaming to undo the synonymization before I could fix it and get the desired master-synonym mapping. It took about a week to sort that one out. Merging is worse, for the record - although only mods do that. I have yet to encounter a case where a merge needed to be undone, but I believe a Community Manager would have to deal with that.

Errors with tag wiki edits, however, can be easily fixed via a rollback, and any user with the right privileges can do so. So really, it's not too hard to undo the error when HDE 226868 a user messes up the tag wiki, whereas it's a bit trickier to fix synonymization problems. Thus, there's the entry barrier to curating synonyms.

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  • $\begingroup$ If that's the case, why not raise the number of peer reviews / approvals necessary? Rep puts it within anyone's reach but requires answering a (usually dead) question; increased peer reviews would encourage people to contribute while making sure the changes were beneficial. $\endgroup$ – Zxyrra Feb 2 '17 at 1:42
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    $\begingroup$ @Zxyrra, considering HDE's point, it seems that tag synonymization is something to be seen as "only when necessary" and should not be encouraged at all. $\endgroup$ – PatJ Feb 2 '17 at 2:13
  • $\begingroup$ @Zxyrra You need four net votes on each suggestion for a tag synonym, and each voter needs to have a certain score in the tag. That's already twice as many as you'd need to approve a tag wiki, and it requires some knowledge of the tag. $\endgroup$ – HDE 226868 Feb 2 '17 at 16:48
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the requirement of a certain answer score is likely intended to make sure that the person suggesting a synonym has enough experience and knowledge of how the tag is used to not suggest something useless or, behold, silly.

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  • $\begingroup$ It's only five rep - one upvote qualifies you - plus you don't need any experience to write wikis. I disagree that it's an experience check. $\endgroup$ – Zxyrra Feb 2 '17 at 6:04
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    $\begingroup$ @Zxyrra not 5 rep, five upvotes. $\endgroup$ – Monica Cellio Feb 2 '17 at 13:58

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