I have discussed this before but it was a little broad and came with no proper conclusion. So I am bringing the major part of it back as a new question, so it's not really a dupe.

Generic character tags we have right now:


I mean do we really need all five of them? I am excluding again because it has a different significance/role, but these five can easily be merged. I think can be made as the main tag and the other four its synonym. Open for suggestions.

  • 8
    If we need them then we need male-characters too Commented Jul 21, 2017 at 7:37
  • I think that if a site aims to analyse SFF works, it should have all these tags. But if not, sure, they can be deleted...
    – user68762
    Commented Jul 21, 2017 at 12:15
  • @Nahiri You mean all of them? And why female-characters and what importance it have over characters tag? Commented Jul 21, 2017 at 12:25
  • it's for ppl who are interested in questions about the subgroup 'female characters' of the group 'characters' in SFF works, i guess.
    – user68762
    Commented Jul 21, 2017 at 12:35
  • 3
    You mean male characters don't have equal rights ? Commented Jul 21, 2017 at 12:36
  • ??? When did i say that?
    – user68762
    Commented Jul 21, 2017 at 12:36
  • You didn't but my point is where we going to stop? Female character , male character, LGBT characters , animals , plants , maybe toilets too due to popularity Commented Jul 21, 2017 at 12:38
  • I dont really get it. You now proposing to get rid of the 'animals' tag or add a 'male characters' tag? I am confused...
    – user68762
    Commented Jul 21, 2017 at 12:46
  • 1
    My point is there is no end for all of this and to make rest four of the tags mention in question synonym of characters tag Commented Jul 21, 2017 at 12:50
  • it's a lot if they are not used. As i've said before, if they serve no purpose on SFF, we should delete them, else new users who drop in and encounter them will operate under the (false) assumption that some serious character analysis is happening here and will be disappointed.
    – user68762
    Commented Jul 21, 2017 at 13:09
  • Previous discussion about the [female-characters] tag specifically.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Commented Aug 10, 2017 at 13:50
  • @Randal'Thor that discussion was form the time when each and every thing was expected to have a tag ;) Commented Aug 10, 2017 at 13:51
  • Given the consensus here, I've posted a follow-up question on what to do in practice about these tags.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Commented Nov 15, 2017 at 18:59

3 Answers 3



We don't need any of these tags. They're all meta-tags that add very little info to the questions they're used on. They can't be used by themselves, really.
has 3 followers, has 1 and the others have none.

These tags should be deleted.

  • 2
    Female Characters should not be deleted. It needs to be renamed and left alone to be used wuth Story Identification, it's primary and best purpose.
    – user31178
    Commented Jul 29, 2017 at 16:56
  • 1
    @CreationEdge Strongly disagree with ID questions being the best place for the female-characters tag. What would it be used on there - any question about any story which happened to have a female character in it? Doesn't seem very useful. It would make far more sense with the usage originally proposed, for questions specifically about issues such as feminism, the Bechdel test, [cont]
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Commented Aug 10, 2017 at 15:46
  • [cont] and the portrayal of women in SF/F. Either way, though, we can all agree that it shouldn't be synonymised with the characters tag.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Commented Aug 10, 2017 at 15:46
  • 2
    @Randal'Thor If you managed to get through my whole answer I linked to (yikes it's long), this is what I said: female-characters -> female-protagonist: For identification or history questions about works notable for having a female protagonist so I'm advocating not deleting, but renaming it and updating the wiki, and then removing it from the questions it doesn't apply to anymore (which is much less work). The much fewer other questions could first be retagged into portrayals-of-women "For questions specifically about how women are portrayed in the genres or a specific work"
    – user31178
    Commented Aug 10, 2017 at 18:24
  • 4
    @CreationEdge Hmm, yeah, portrayals-of-women could work. I've been struggling to come up with a better name for the tag in that usage: female-characters is way too prone to misuse; using feminism would devolve into politics and unpleasantness; ...
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Commented Aug 10, 2017 at 18:32
  • Character tags (e.g. luke-skywalker) can not be used on their own either, but we have tons of those.
    – Skooba
    Commented Nov 15, 2017 at 19:31

Kinda. Maybe. I mostly 99% agree with SQB's answer, but I can see some use for these tags IF and ONLY IF they are applied correctly in very very narrow way:

"Character motivation" should be for questions discussing using character motivation in SFF works. NOT about motivations of specific character, but for example "what are the major motivations of characters to fly to space in early 20th century SFF works"? Or "What are the common methods that character motivations are shown for SFF characters that are of alien psychology"?

Same goes for "Character development" - only for question discussing character development as a topic (e.g. "Does character development change from early Heinlein's work to later Heinlein's work?")

The rule of thumb is, for the tag like this to be applied correctly, the question would almost certainly be (close to being) on-topic on Literature.SE or Writing.SE - and there are very few questions like that on SFF for a variety of reasons.


I do not think that works as a synonym for . The useful information is "female" rather than "characters." If you don't find useful, then we should remove it, not make a synonym that is even less useful.

The argument in favor of female characters is that most characters in historical science fiction and fantasy are men. This is changing, but so much of the genre is already written that it will remain more common for characters to be male for some time. So it is somewhat notable for a story to have a significant female character. And someone might pay more attention to stories with such characters. It also might help categorize questions, although only two questions do so.

What does a tag named tell us? That there are characters in the story? That the question is asking about the characters? Will people search on characters? What would an expert on characters look like?

It seems at least possible for someone to be an expert on character motivation or development. But characters in general or character similarity? Those are too broad to have experts. When do they help more than text in the question? What categorization are they actually providing?

  • There's no snapshot, so I can't prove it, but I was pretty sure that female characters was on more ID questions in the past, perhaps someone has been chipping away at it.
    – user31178
    Commented Aug 4, 2017 at 0:48

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