Currently, we have a bunch of tags:

(as mentioned by @JasonBaker:)

(These^ are for the movies, I think.)

Do we need all of those tags?

I can see keeping and separate. And even (though I would prefer it being renamed to ).

But to we need the individual work tags? Questions may be from one book, but answers will often be from the entire canon.

As for ... We need to either clarify usage or burninate it. As it is, it's being used on some questions, because is almost a synonym of . Notice that I said almost. The difference is, that can be used to refer to the place, not just the works that are set there (as I think that the usage should be).



2 Answers 2


Wearied as I am by tag tomfoolery, I suppose I do have a warg in this fight.

That being said, most of your complaints aren't actually directed at Tolkien tags; there are secretly two or three different holy wars lurking beneath the surface.

  • Obviously, there's little reason to get rid of , , and . Insofar as separate tags for the Tolkien Legendarium are necessary, those three unquestionably are

  • I don't see any point in renaming to , other than pedantry. I'm also not going to throw a tantrum if it does happen, but I'll point out that this isn't the only tag that should be renamed as such, if that's important to the community - it's not even the only tag in this discussion.

  • The tag is an interesting one because it's a rare case that one of the other tags wouldn't apply. I can perhaps imagine a situation where a question was asked about Tolkien himself (Did Tolkien have experience with addiction? would be one such example).

    Of course, we have an astonishing precedent for "author" tags on this site; off the top of my head, we also have , , , , (for some frigging reason), , . And I've no doubt there are more besides. This is Holy War Number One.

    There are really only two things a tag like this would be good for:

    1. The tag being for questions about Tolkien himself. This is essentially alexwlchan's response to a similar discussion.

    2. A general tag for the Legendarium as a whole. The more I think about this, the more I think about how incredibly useful such a tag would be; it's quite rare that a question is ever truly restricted to a single book, and there seems to be a natural tendency towards creating this sort of tag; it's basically what has turned into over the years, and many people try to use for the same purpose. It's also, essentially, what , , are, among many others.

      If we were being pedantic, something like would be the best option for this purpose; since Tolkien did write things not set in his imagined world, it seems unfair to lump them all under his name.

    Realistically, though, there's little hope in changing course now; without developer intervention (I don't think mod intervention is sufficient), which seems unlikely given the complexity of the undertaking, modifying all 900+ questions, and/or introducing a new tag for all 1000+ Legendarium questions, is going to take a prohibitively long time to do; we're trying to stop a train with a BB gun. My philosophical inclination (and I admit my bias) is just to leave the past in the past, and try to do better going forward

  • The purpose of the "works" tags (, , ) is to be used for the films, not the books. This isn't something that is always done consistently, but it fits with the many, many other tags we have for individual films.

    That being said, I actually agree with you: there's little point in having them at all, and you can throw , , , , , and all the rest in with them. On several occasions I've started drafting a meta post on this very topic, before ultimately falling victim to the "couldn't be arsed" virus.

    This is (or shortly will be) Holy War Number Two.

  • . Fun fact: the usage of this tag has already been clarified, way back in 2011:


    Q. Isn't everything in Tolkien's Legendarium part of Middle-earth?

    A. No: Middle-earth is one small section of the world Tolkien created, Arda. Other regions include Beleriand, north of Middle-earth and the original home of the Elves; Númenor, the land of the Dúnedain; Aman, the undying lands of the Valar and the elves; and the Dark Lands, south of Middle-earth.

    Q. When should I tag something Middle-earth?

    A. Use when you want to ask a question about something general to Middle-earth: a location, a race, or a historical event. You can use it in conjunction with other, more specific tags like or . Do not use it when you want to refer to other parts of Arda, like most of the events of The Silmarillion.

    That being said, this tag is fantastically frequently misused. Just looking at the ten most recent questions in the tag, I'd say that nine of them don't need it; Was Beleriand Bigger than Second/Third Age Middle-earth? is the lone exception.

    Obviously that's not to say that it should never be used, but it needs to be policed far more effectively than it currently has been.

And guess what! There are so many more "Tolkien" tags that you haven't even considered:

  • Re tolkien-languages, see this meta post.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 14:19
  • 3
    Actually, screw it. I'm just going to kill all of those character tags that are only on, like, 5 questions Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 14:24
  • 1
    undying-lands, numenor, arkenstone... etc.
    – Molag Bal
    Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 14:33
  • 1
    @amaranth sigh Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 14:35
  • Just look for green in the bottom right of the tag map.
    – Molag Bal
    Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 14:36
  • So they're all OK now except bree?
    – AncientSwordRage Mod
    Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 20:21
  • 1
    @AncientSwordRage Ehhhh; maybe. Depends on how pedantic you want to be. Personally I think the installment tags have room for cleanup, but there should be a discussion around that before we actually move. And of course I still want to take all the character tags behind the shed, but that's another holy war that's never been fully resolved. I am inclined to do some cleanup of middle-earth, though, but that's the only one I feel comfortable acting on at this point Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 22:43
  • re: author tags - this is a direct consequence of a disastrous design decision by SE to not implement tag hierarchies. Ideally, alll tolkien-content tags would hierarchically fold into tolkien and thus make the latter higher level tag un-needed on ALL questions except those specifically pertaining to Tolkien himself. Commented Sep 16, 2016 at 15:29
  • FWIW, i happen to agree that per-film tags for small series are largely useless, especially if they are intelligently aliased . Commented Sep 16, 2016 at 15:33
  • My philosophical inclination (and I admit my bias) is just to leave the past in the past, and try to do better going forward yes this, but no to the "little point" in individual work tags, unless specifically you roll all the Hobbit trilogy tags into a hobbit-trilogy tag.
    – user31178
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 0:52
  • @CreationEdge Part of the problem is that they're very inconsistent; we don't, for instance, have individual tags for each Harry Potter book (or film). Another part of the problem is that it's not clear when they should be used; if I ask a question about one film, I guess I should put that tag on it, but what if I'm asking a general question about the franchise? Should I put every installment tag on it (which I generally can't do anyway - another problem)? Why/why not? What problem are they trying to solve? Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 16:41
  • The current policy is to tag the individual work and franchise, always. So, there should be a franchise tag, too. Harry Potter is our biggest offender, because it unfortunately was too huge before anyone noticed (or cared) that how we were tagging it was awful. It's one of those "try to do better going forward" things (which can can specifically do with Fantastic Beasts!). If you look at other tags, like Marvel/DC universe stuff, we're very consistent there. Even Star Trek does a good job of getting individual works in there (eg, each of the 3 Abram's movies have tags)
    – user31178
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 16:56
  • Anyway, I think some leeway for certain works could be allowed. Very closed trilogies, such as the Hobbit trilogy, for example, could make sense all having a single hobbit-trilogy tag, since they're essentially meant to be 3 parts to the same story, and it's probably rare a question that won't have answers possibly involving all 3. We do this with the-matrix and I see no problems there.
    – user31178
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 16:59
  • @CreationEdge I find your second comment broadly applicable to all multi-part series; Star Wars, Star Trek, Harry Potter, and Tolkien being the ones I'm most familiar with. The only problem these tags are good at solving is defining the scope of the question, but that rarely seems like a useful thing to do Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 17:18
  • Perhaps, but some films are much more stand-alone than the others. The Abram's ST trilogy, for instance. Each of those movies could be watched independently without a problem, because they have self-contained narratives, and many of the questions tagged as such are really just about a single film, not the series. The LotR/Hobbit films, otoh, are generally more generic about the franchise or trilogy, and I agree that the individual tags aren't helpful.
    – user31178
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 17:35

Leave 'em.

As per my stock objection to tag removal.

  • As things stand, these tags are pretty harmless and possibly of minor use to anyone with a passing interest in specific elements of Tolkien-related works

  • Mucking around with these tags on a systematic basis will result in the front page being disfigured with worthless edits for (at minimum) several weeks.

  • As usual, I see no justification given to explain why messing around with these tags is of more benefit to the site than simply leaving them in situ.

  • 3
    But.. but.. my OCD! How can I go on without knowing that I've lessened the choices in the world?!
    – user40790
    Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 19:25

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