It seems like a pretty clear case of a sub-category rather than a synonym.

The other synonyms are much more along the lines of "trying to get all the questions about airline flights and tickets in the same tag." But since helicopters are more of a site-seeing tour than a travel option, that seems a bit weird to group it in with those.


  • I'll wait to hear what the community says on this one. Maybe our resident taxonomy expert @hippietrail can chime in. Mar 30, 2012 at 14:15
  • 3
    I'd vote for separating, personally. It's a relatively unique one - when people say helicopter, they're trying to differentiate from regular air-travel (planes).
    – Mark Mayo
    Mar 30, 2012 at 22:20
  • synonym was created by Dori, who no longer works at Stackexchange and hasn't logged in since November, so can't ask her for her thoughts :/
    – Mark Mayo
    Mar 30, 2012 at 22:25

2 Answers 2


I think this is a well-argued case where the synonym shouldn't have been created in the first place, so I've removed the synonym mapping. Questions have been retagged too. (If you find any that hasn't, please add the tag to it.)

  • On a side note: is it possible to somehow avoid that retagged questions (when retagging is based on reasons like this one) appear on top of the activity page? Apr 1, 2012 at 21:22
  • I don't think so. Start a new meta question to make a feature request (or see if it already exists on Meta Stackoverflow)? Apr 1, 2012 at 21:42
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    @Roflcoptr: Pretty sure this has been requested and denied previously on MSO. Main reason -- traceability and visibility. Mods do have special powers for mass retag that doesn't bump the questions (correct me if I'm wrong), but only under certain circumstances. Apr 2, 2012 at 9:33

I think these things depend mostly on the types and numbers of such questions.

If there are clearly two distinct types of questions accumulating in a single tag then it might be worth dividing them.

But if there's only two or three questions of one type then it's probably not going to change anything for any real users or use cases. How many helicopter questions do we have? Does it appear we will keep accruing more and more of them? Are they hard to find by searching for "helicopter"?

If we do divide them it will then not make sense to leave the airplane category to be named "air travel" when it now only includes a subset of air travel questions.

Which leaves the rare questions about air travel that are not about planes or helicopters (or cover both). For instance would airship/zeppelin/hot air balloon questions need their own tag? Would the plane tag need to specifically cover those other options? Would we also need to split out a third tag just to cover them?

All these implications must be looked into besides just the surface question of "Why are there so many plane questions mixed in with the few chopper questions under the same tag?" Because while it can be phrased to appear as though it's a problem, you have to look deeper to decide whether there is actually a problem or just an imagined one, then ponder a bit to decide the best solution to the problem.

Don't rush to solve one minor problem by creating a new minor problem and in the meantime solve no major problems. Rather analyse the situation fully, then implement a solution, if we even need one.

  • 1
    My feeling is that people are using the "air-travel" tag to mean "general questions about airplane flights" rather than "travel through the air". That's why the helicopter questions don't seem to fit, and it would be a real stretch to include a hot-air balloon question under that tag. So perhaps it would be better to rename the "air-travel" tag as well to something like "airplane-travel", and maybe we don't need a "helicopter" tag at all. But I'm not sure the old way of grouping transport together just because they fly makes much sense either. You end up with a category that is useless. Apr 2, 2012 at 13:39
  • It could be but you haven't convinced me that we have "ended up with a category that is useless". Can you provide some illustration of how it serves no purpose? Apr 2, 2012 at 15:18
  • To be clear, I don't think it is useless at the moment, I think it is a useful category that would better be called "airplane-travel". Calling it "air-travel" just to include helicopters and hot-air balloons is the part that doesn't seem to help anyone, since the uses of those types of air travel are not really for travel. Apr 2, 2012 at 15:22
  • I'm definitely not against splitting and renaming the tag by the way, I'm just in favour of avoid knee-jerk reactions. Especially in one of our oldest and most heavily used tags. Apr 2, 2012 at 15:24
  • Oops, crossed comments... Maybe this is the correct fix: keep "air-travel" and add "air-sightseeing" or "aerial-tours"? Apr 2, 2012 at 15:26
  • I would counter that by saying we have separate tags for 'high-speed-rail' and 'trains'. Isn't the rationale the same here in having separate tags? Apr 2, 2012 at 19:03
  • I looked at the old tag issues thread, where it seems consensus was high speed rail and trains should be separate. Apr 2, 2012 at 19:06

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