There is the tag , note the leading dot. Currently it has no synonyms, so the "canonical" tag is naturally with the dot. And there is also with as its synonym, but the "canonical" tag is the one without a dot.

For consistency I'd like the "canonical" tags to be either both with dots or both without dots. The other forms can be synonyms then.


Pro dots in "canonical" tags:

  • The files used by Bash are named .bash_profile and .bashrc, with dots.

Against dots in "canonical" tags:

  • My list of watched tags contains bash* and this covers many tags related to pure Bash, including , but not . I have added .bash* to the list and currently this entry covers only . The fact .bash* does not match makes me believe that only the "canonical" tags count. So if we make the tags with dots "canonical" then I will still need bash* and .bash* (I know I can use *bash*, but suppose I don't want to match). But if we create and make the tags without dots "canonical" then bash* will be enough to cover all the tags related to pure Bash. Quite elegant.

I note (here) that as a synonym of is not particularly useful. It has been renamed to 11 times, while the total number of questions tagged is 289. works well without any synonym and does not exist (yet). So maybe we don't really need synonyms for these tags in the first place.

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OTOH when one creates a question (or browses tags here) and types bash-profile, the site suggests ; but e.g. for .linux it does not suggest . Therefore I conclude that:

  • and probably can work reasonably well without synonyms (the right tag will be suggested even if a user types without the dot), so if we opt for "canonical" tags with dots then maybe we won't need the tags without dots as synonyms; the fact works well without supports this;
  • but and probably cannot work reasonably well without synonyms (the right tag won't be suggested if a user types with the dot), so if we opt for "canonical" tags without dots then we should keep the tags with dots as synonyms.

My preference

Personally I'm against dots in "canonical" tags. I would like and to be "canonical" (the former would have to be created), and to be respective synonyms. But even if we decide the "canonical" tags should be both with dots, it will still be more consistent than the current situation.

How other sites do it

  • On Unix & Linux SE bash-profile and bashrc are synonyms for bash; .bash-profile and .bashrc do not exist. .bash-logout is standalone (it's not a synonym for bash) but bash-logout does not exist.

  • Ask Ubuntu has bashrc, no .bashrc. .bash-history is a synonym for bash, but there is no bash-history.

  • On Stack Overflow .bash-profile, .bashrc and bashrc are synonyms for bash; bash-profile does not exist though.

It seems none of these sites has managed to create (or maintain) a fully consistent policy regarding these tags. So maybe inconsistencies are not that bad; maybe the inconsistency I'm asking about is not that bad; maybe we should just let our tags be.


  1. Should we remove the inconsistency between (dot) and (no dot)?
  2. If so, which form (with or without a dot) should be "canonical" for both tags?
  3. Do we need synonyms for them? For both of them?
  • I could have sworn I'd commented here before, but apparently not, so... my two cents. I think we should remove the inconsistency, that the "with a dot" form should be canonical, and that bash-profile and bashrc should be synonyms for .bash-profile and .bashrc respectively, regardless of what the other sites do.
    – AJM
    Sep 25, 2023 at 14:28


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