This is what reads as:

Use this tag only to differentiate the book from the movie or other media. For questions about a specific book, use the author's name as a tag (plus the series or book title for popular authors). If applicable, use a more specific tag instead (novel, short-stories, comics).

This guidance is not only at conflict with our existing policies, but it's not really how the tag is used anyway.

Now, there are other issues that still exist with how we use media tags, but this is the only one that specifies usages that aren't accurate/helpful and now actually encourages tagging against policy.

At a minimum, should we update the guidance to be more in line with the rest of the media tags, so that it reflects actual usage, or at least doesn't encourage creation of more authors tags? If yes, what should our new excerpt be?

If not, why? What should we do instead?

Retagging/tagging discussions around this tag and media tags are varied, and we've hit a bit of a standstill, but that doesn't mean we can at least improve this as a separate issue.

  • 5
    Nobody reads tag wikis. You might as well switch it for the original score of the HMS Pinafore for all the notice it'll get
    – Valorum
    Commented Dec 3, 2016 at 17:36
  • 4
    @Valorum Well, obviously, I read them! Sometimes with a nice cup of cocoa.
    – user31178
    Commented Dec 3, 2016 at 17:43
  • 2
    Questions tagged both books and novel? snorts
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Commented Dec 3, 2016 at 17:46
  • @Randal'Thor That's just non-story-id. Story-id has another 25 -_-;
    – user31178
    Commented Dec 3, 2016 at 17:48
  • @CreationEdge "Low-hanging fruit" has been a watchword of mine as I slowly improve the tag system, one tag at a time. I fixed 4 of those 9 questions; will come back for the other 5 later if someone else hasn't already got to them. (Most of them are either closed, or from years ago when our tag system wasn't properly worked out yet.)
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Commented Dec 3, 2016 at 17:55
  • @Randal'Thor In this case, books & novel are used so interchangeably, that we really need to address why there's even 2 tags, at some point because people still try to use both. I've never bothered removing the overlap because I think it helps demonstrate the need to do something else. If you get rid of the overlap, we lose a little bit of our evidence that says "This is a problem."
    – user31178
    Commented Dec 3, 2016 at 18:23
  • 1
    @CreationEdge That sounds too much like "let's not fix this problem, because then we lose the evidence that it's a problem". If we lose all our evidence that says it's a problem, then maybe ... it isn't actually a problem any more?
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Commented Feb 3, 2017 at 13:35
  • @RandalThor More like "I'm not going to unilaterally fix this problem on my own"
    – user31178
    Commented Feb 3, 2017 at 14:29

1 Answer 1


The tag wiki excerpt has recently been edited (by you) to the following:

Use this tag to indicate the question is about the book version or adaptation of a work. If applicable, use a more specific tag instead (novel, short-stories, comics). For differences between the book and other versions, such as a movie, use "adaptation-comparison".

This is better, but there are a couple of issues still remaining:

  • . Assuming we're OK with media tags being used on ID questions (which current practice at least suggests we are), we should mention this in the tag wiki excerpt. I suggest something along the lines of "Use this tag either for [story-identification] questions asking for identification of a book, or (in cases where the other tags don't make this clear) to indicate that the question is specifically about the book version or adaptation of a work." (The parenthetical proviso is added because, for instance, the tag refers only to a book series, so these 7 questions don't need the tag.)

  • More specific book-related tags. If we have a tag, do we also need and tags? Conversely, if we have those tags, do we still need a tag? (This is a large problem, involving many questions, and unlikely to be resolved fast, but we should at least acknowledge it.)

On a more optimistic note: I and one or two others have gone through the specific lists of inappropriately-tagged questions which you raised. There are now no more questions tagged and nothing else, nor any non-ID questions tagged with both and any of , , , , , . The problem is shrinking!

  • A novel is a book, but a book isn't a novel. Like the guidance suggests, we use book for ID when the user doesn't know or isn't sure if it was a more specific type of story.
    – user31178
    Commented Feb 3, 2017 at 14:26
  • I guess the a-song-of-ice-and-fire and books problem would apply to the 12 questions tagged game-of-thrones and tv?
    – Edlothiad
    Commented Feb 3, 2017 at 14:53
  • @Edlothiad Yep, that's another smallish bunch of questions which could do with retagging.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Commented Feb 3, 2017 at 14:57
  • I think "novel" and "short-stories" work fine in all cases other than that I sometimes feel a bit uneasy labeling a YA book question, or one about a pulp paperback, "novel". :-D
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Feb 3, 2017 at 16:18
  • @Edlothiad Just for ****s and giggles, look at how edits can make tags worse: scifi.stackexchange.com/posts/3556/revisions
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Commented Feb 5, 2017 at 0:51

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