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I noticed today that both the tags "Aluminium" and "Aluminum" are used on this site. It is somewhat debatable in my mind if a material even needs a tag, but regardless of that, which format should this site adopt?

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    $\begingroup$ Ah, the differences within the ligua franca! :) Are we going to get the same sort of issues with airplane & aeroplane, bonnet & hood of a car or trunk & boot of a car or the glove compartment versus the glove box, windshield & windscreen, safety belt & seat belt, sidewalk & pavement versus footpath, parking lot & car park, overpass & flyover, traffic circle & roundabout. Then there's the issue of ize endings versus ise endings. It's all part of the fun of English being an unregulated language. :) I'm not fussed whether the tag has Aluminium or Aluminum, we all know what they mean. $\endgroup$ – Fred Feb 13 '15 at 6:38
  • $\begingroup$ @Fred - Hopefully, no, we won't end up having lots of similar issues. But if we do, it's trivial enough to create the synonyms and resolve the matter. $\endgroup$ – user16 Feb 13 '15 at 20:44
  • $\begingroup$ @GlenH7 I agree, from what I seen so far matters are quickly resolved here $\endgroup$ – Fred Feb 13 '15 at 23:06
  • $\begingroup$ Tag synonyms are indeed the solution here. Indeed, a decision only must be made when the word in question will be made into a tag. For general use in questions, answers, and comments, there's no need to choose a standard since most English speakers will understand either term. $\endgroup$ – hairboat Feb 13 '15 at 23:16
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The standard on Stack Exchange is for tags to use US English, per Shog9's answer on Meta.SE. In this particular case the spelling can be something of a sticky wicket so the easiest course is to pass the buck upstairs and just follow the same standard as the rest of the network. I've made them synonyms to help a bit with usability.

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  • $\begingroup$ Understandably, still the suffix -ium means metallic element,[link] see here (dictionary.reference.com/browse/-ium). $\endgroup$ – Sam Weston Feb 15 '15 at 21:54
  • $\begingroup$ Ah, yes. Like "Platinum" and "Molybdenum." $\endgroup$ – Air Feb 16 '15 at 4:10
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    $\begingroup$ Or perhaps; Helium, Lithium, Beryllium, Sodium, Magnesium, Potassium, Calcium, Scandium, Titanium, Vanadium, Chromium, Gallium, Germanium, Selenium, Rubidium, Strontium, Yttrium, Zirconium, Niobium, Technetium, Ruthenium, Rhodium, Palladium, Cadmium, Indium, Tellurium, Cerium, Praseodymium, Neodymium, Promethium, Samarium, Europium, Gadolinium, Terbium, Dysprosium, Holmium, Erbium, Thulium, Ytterbium, Lutetium, Hafnium, Rhenium, Osmium, Iridium, Thallium, Polonium, Francium, Radium, Actinium, Thorium, Protactinium, Uranium, Neptunium, Plutonium, Americium, Curium, Berkelium, Californium... $\endgroup$ – Sam Weston Feb 16 '15 at 21:40
  • $\begingroup$ Also there's: Einsteinium, Fermium, Mendelevium, Nobelium, Lawrencium, Rutherfordium, Dubnium, Seaborgium, Bohrium, Hassium, Meitnerium, Darmstadtium, Roentgenium, Copernicium, Flerovium, Livermorium, and literally every systematically named element. $\endgroup$ – Sam Weston Feb 16 '15 at 21:44
  • $\begingroup$ All that Versus; Platinum, Molybdenum and Tantalum $\endgroup$ – Sam Weston Feb 16 '15 at 21:46
  • $\begingroup$ The place for you to make this argument is in an answer. $\endgroup$ – Air Feb 16 '15 at 21:47
  • $\begingroup$ It's just a joke :) $\endgroup$ – Sam Weston Feb 16 '15 at 22:11
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    $\begingroup$ It is worth noting that the "US English" directive is for tag names only. Feel free to write about aluminium in your questions and answers as much as you want. $\endgroup$ – Ben Miller - Remember Monica Feb 20 '15 at 2:14
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Another (admittedly very weak, but still a reality) reason to stick with US English: we Americans tend to be keenly oblivious of the existence of the rest of the world, and I would say it's a rare American indeed who is even aware of the "aluminum/aluminium" dichotomy.

On the other hand I think most non-Americans are aware that Americans say it differently than everyone else (am I wrong?). Therefore, going with "aluminum" as the default (and "aluminium" as a synonym) will result in the least amount of confusion (and a lot of dead puppies).

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    $\begingroup$ As an American, I'm a little ashamed to admit this is quite accurate. $\endgroup$ – Ethan48 Feb 13 '15 at 14:07
  • $\begingroup$ @Ethan48 Then you aren't quite as American as you suppose! $\endgroup$ – Rick supports Monica Feb 13 '15 at 14:20
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    $\begingroup$ Users who select the synonym tag while writing their question will see the question automatically updated to the target tag. So those who prefer the non-US spelling can select it all they want; the site will fix things automagically. $\endgroup$ – user16 Feb 13 '15 at 20:43

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