Jason Baker's answer to Let's figure out our Tolkien tags provides an excellent description of the situation as it currently stands with tags related to the Tolkien legendarium, but it doesn't really do much to suggest a path forward, especially for the tolkien tag.
The purpose of this meta post is to establish some consensus on what to do with our Tolkien tags:
- How should the tolkien and middle-earth tags be used?
- What tag should we use for the Tolkien legendarium as a whole?
Either of the tolkien and middle-earth tags could be used as a general legendarium tag, and both have partially been used in that way so far. But the latter has a tag wiki saying it should only be for questions specifically about the Middle-Earth region, while the former is an author tag and therefore subject to this meta post; although its tag wiki says it should be for questions about Tolkien's works, people have in recent weeks been removing it from questions not about Tolkien himself. On the other hand, it would be nice to have a general legendarium tag: works like LotR, the Hobbit, the Silmarillion, etc. are clearly in the same universe, and it's one of the biggest and most famous fantasy universes out there.
When making this decision, let's try not to worry too much about existing usage patterns for these tags. How they've been used so far is very inconsistent, and we shouldn't let the large volume of poorly tagged questions stop us from creating a consistent system.
If nothing else, we can make sure new questions will be tagged consistently from now on, thus reducing the problem to a finite one; the hundreds of existing Tolkien questions can then be retagged at our leisure, bit by bit over months or years. Let's not worry about the size of the task when deciding on a course of action - adding the Star Trek tag to hundreds of questions is also a mammoth task, and we have enough willing helpers. It's more important to make ourselves a good system than to minimise the work we need to do. Mod tools such as tag merges will also be available if needed.