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We have currently three tags that are basically all describing the same thing : , and .

At the moment, has 2 votes to be a synonym of and has 3. They'll be approved once they hit 4 votes.

Can we vote here to approve these synonyms or edit their description to make it clear why they are different?

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  • I looked whether they weren't synonyms already, but sadly no.
    – avazula
    Jul 11 '19 at 15:07
  • I think flatmates should be "burninated," but I could see it becoming a nuisance again mostly due to regional language (and new questions might try to re-create it as a new tag). Jul 11 '19 at 16:57
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    @Crosscounter If it's made a synonym, it'll automatically get replaced with the "roommates" tag whenever somebody tries to add it, so we wouldn't need to burninate :)
    – Em C
    Jul 11 '19 at 17:00
  • I just read a meta post on tag-synonyms and merged tags because I was unsure. Thanks for the clarification. Jul 11 '19 at 17:02
  • household is also worth looking into. (synonymous to family?) Only 3 questions. This may be a case of burnination... Jul 11 '19 at 19:40
  • @Crosscounter IMO just burninate that and replace the three instances with either family or roommates as needed.
    – gparyani
    Jul 11 '19 at 22:42
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Update: I just checked the tag page, and both synonyms had gathered enough votes and were approved!

and will now be automatically remapped to .

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There are two different concepts at play here:

  • A shared room arrangement, where two or more people share the exact same bedroom.
  • A shared home arrangement, where each person gets their own bedroom, but the overall house/apartment/accommodation is shared between multiple people.

In my opinion, the distinction between these types of housing, as well as the questions that come up on this site related to these, is high enough that the two should be represented by separate tags.

There are different types of questions that are asked about someone who's sharing the exact same room, versus those asked about someone who's sharing the same accommodation but not the same room; for instance, a question about differences in sleeping times in the former, versus a question about home common areas in the latter. (I'm aware of living arrangements that combine the two, with shared rooms within a house/apartment, but the point is, there are different questions to be asked about a person you're sharing a room with vs. merely sharing common areas.)

Therefore, I disagree with the proposal to make both and synonyms of . I think should be redefined to only mean questions about interacting with someone you're sharing a bedroom with (with a tag wiki that clearly explains so), and to mean questions about interacting with someone you're sharing a house/apartment/accommodation with but not the bedroom. (I favor having as the master and as a synonym, because the former is more generic while the latter consists of a slang term.)


I'd also like to address a language difference, which could explain the confusion between the terms used in the tags and why users tend to get confused as to which tag to use:

  • In American English, it's typical to refer to both the former and latter types of people as "roommates", even though they're not sharing the same room. There's no wording distinction between the two.
  • In British English, "roommate" refers to the former type only (i.e. sharing the same room). The term used for the latter type (sharing the same accommodation but not the same room) varies from place to place, with both "housemates" and "flatmates" being used. (Technically, there is a distinction between these two words with regards to whether a house or an apartment - "flat" in British slang - is being shared, but I don't think that's a distinction we need on this site considering our questions.)
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  • If you disagree with this proposal, can you please explain why, so I can edit it to address concerns?
    – gparyani
    Jul 11 '19 at 18:43
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    NMDV, but there are only 4 questions tagged flatmates and 15 tagged housemates that aren't also tagged roommates (compared to almost 100 tagged roommates). The OED also defines "roommate" as "A person occupying the same room, flat, or house as another." I agree there may be some dissonance for our British friends, but given the way that synonyms function, I believe the proposed solution is the correct one.
    – scohe001
    Jul 11 '19 at 18:55
  • @scohe001 The question is not about the term used and language, but about the categorization. In my opinion, the questions about interacting with someone who one's sharing a bedroom with are different from those about interacting with someone who one's not sharing a bedroom with, but only common household areas, so the different types of questions deserve different tags. (FYI I'm American.)
    – gparyani
    Jul 11 '19 at 18:58
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    I understand, but when I lived with 3 other people (in 4 separate rooms), I would've still called them roommates (and I believe several of the roommates tagged questions are actually about what you categorize as "housemates"). I think leaving them separate only leads to more confusion. But I respect that you disagree.
    – scohe001
    Jul 11 '19 at 19:00
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    I don't really see the distinction being all that meaningful in an interpersonal skills context.. whatever shared property is the issue and how much the room/housemates interact will need to be described in the question body anyhow, and like scohe mentions, there's a lot of overlap already. Maybe "housemates" should be the master instead (with both flatmates and roommates as synonyms) but, either way, if we have "roommates" as the master then it'll be obvious to people who look for house/flatmates tags that it's being used in the AmE fashion.
    – Em C
    Jul 11 '19 at 19:04
  • @EmC I see a big difference in the types of questions asked. For instance, when asking about someone with whom I'm sharing a room, I'd ask about things like their sleeping patterns, their light emitted from their device screen overnight, etc. Whereas, when I'm asking about someone I'm only sharing common areas with, I'd ask questions about the kitchen, the living room, etc. I think this distinction is high enough to warrant separate categorization.
    – gparyani
    Jul 11 '19 at 19:07
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    @gparyani don't see the issue here: Those are things you put in the question (sleeping, light, kitchen, living room)... If you want to distinguish between that, I hope you use the question body and not a word that can mean different things in different languages. Your question would likely be closed as unclear without those details anyways.
    – Tinkeringbell Mod
    Jul 11 '19 at 19:13
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    Eh, I feel like whether the problems are happening in your bedroom or a different room in the house is more of a detail, and we should be forming categories based on the overarching themes that these questions are likely to have (respecting common property, dealing with clashing lifestyles / habits, etc.)
    – Em C
    Jul 11 '19 at 19:18
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    Also, this meta says we should be making tags in AmE (with synonyms for other versions), so the proposed scheme ("roommates" as master) would keep in line with that.
    – Em C
    Jul 11 '19 at 19:28
  • 'Flat' isn't slang, it's just British-English.
    – Spagirl
    Jul 12 '19 at 10:16
  • I understand it being applicable to some contexts and I also have those two concepts very separate in my mind, but I still think that the "issues" we're trying to address are mainly about negotiating shared space due to various reasons, and some of them might be even common (very different sleeping patterns are a problem whether or not you share a bedroom, I have first hand experience with that) Nov 5 '19 at 17:00

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