A user has just gone and made 17 tag edits in 2 minutes adding to all the questions that come up when you search the term Marauders Map.

Does this tag benefit us in any way?

We already have a meta answer that would possibly answer this question, suggesting that tags (such as butterbeer) aren't helpful tags and don't satisfy the criteria that tags should have.

However another meta posts exists which suggest we use tags creatively to get a wider description of a question using tags. Although the outcome of that answer seems to be "do what your heart desires" which isn't very conclusive.

What do we do with ? Do we keep it a la DVK's answer, or delete it a la User 56's answer?

  • 5
    do we need it? no, of course not. is it killing anyone? nah. – KutuluMike Jul 28 '17 at 0:57
  • @KutuluMike so you want to keep it or not O.o – Akira Fudo Jul 28 '17 at 17:34
  • I want to make it go away, along with all the other tiny, so-specific-the-are-practically-useless tags. But I'm not going to object if everyone else decides that they aren't hurting anyone and keeps them around because they look pretty or whatever. – KutuluMike Jul 28 '17 at 20:28

This is not a yes or no answer, but a point of discussion.

Harry Potter is one of our largest tags. There's a huge body of questions. These questions can be hard to filter by simple text searches, because searchable terms are often used in questions that aren't about that term.

Want to know more about just Hermione? Good luck narrowing that down. Want to know just about Slytherin? Did you mean Salazar himself or the Hogwarts House? How do you filter out every time a user merely mentions "Slytherin" when they're just talking about a Slytherin, like Draco?

Tagging helps facilitate not just answering the question, but later finding the question and it's answers. Aside from perusing out of personal interest, we have a strong history of citing other answers to strengthen new ones, or to find duplicates.

Our top tags on this site are so large that they and their related tags are often curated by "specialists", people that take an interest in that work and are knowledgeable about it. We have different levels of granularity and grouping in these tags, and should keep that in mind when discussing whether or not to keep a tag. The structure and conventions that work for Lord of the Rings is different than Marvel properties. They're different bodies of work, and we shouldn't try to force a one-size-fits-all tagging policy around them. Story Identification is a whole different beast from Star Trek. We've never really tagged individual Harry Potter films or books, but for Star Wars we have a need to create those individual tags before the movies are even released!

We have the flexibility to make our own tag map, and have our experts help curate and guide new users, write usage guidance, etc.

So, I would encourage people to vote based on:

  • Is a Marauder's Map a reasonably helpful tag for people of the Harry Potter Fandom?
  • Is it reasonable to assume some people might want to know about just that subject?
  • Is the tag unlikely, when used appropriately, to interfere with other Harry Potter tagging (such as the 5 tag limit)?

This seems a more reasonable approach to me than voting on a Harry Potter tag the same way you would for a Game of Thrones tag. Different fandoms have different needs, different things they want to know, and different types of source material.

  • 9
    This strikes me as the most sensible answer here thus far. Something that regularly irritates me on Stack Overflow is requests to remove a tag covering some obscure API based on the assumption that "no one could possibly be an expert in this" - usually proposed by someone who has little or no experience in the larger field in which the concept resides. At best, this is naive - in large topics, some form of organization is needed - but it's particularly infuriating if you've spent extensive time researching the concept under discussion, and find yourself defending the statement, "I exist!" – Shog9 Jul 28 '17 at 15:43
  • Agreed, this is an excellent and well-thought-out answer. Consistency can be a worthy goal, but in some contexts it's impractical. – Rand al'Thor Jul 28 '17 at 21:57
  • 3
    feature-request: split this site into HarryPotter.SE, StarWars.SE, and so on, with different tagging systems for each one :-P – Rand al'Thor Jul 28 '17 at 21:58
  • 1
    @Randal'Thor I'd argue that our consistency should be around good and proper tagging, but that what's considered a good tag varies and must be accounted for! – user31178 Jul 28 '17 at 22:55
  • I like the overall idea, but I think the last bullet point is likely to be decisive here and I don't see a lot of discussion of it in these answers. We can't have Marauder's Map and Sorting Hat and Sword of Gryffindor and each of the Hallows separately and... because you might plausibly need to put many of them on the same question. – Kevin Jul 29 '17 at 6:07
  • 3
    @Kevin On what question would you plausibly need to tag all of those? Sounds too broad, VTC. Tags are for what the question is about, not just what it mentions or references, thus the "when used appropriately" part of that bullet. – user31178 Jul 29 '17 at 16:48
  • 1
    @CreationEdge: OP says the tag has been added to "all the questions that come up when you search the term Marauders Map" - we can't do that, certainly. – Kevin Jul 29 '17 at 17:37
  • 1
    @Kevin No, we can't, but that's also not what happen. There's more questions that come up in search. Like I said, tagging, like usual, needs to be done properly. If it's not actually about that thing/subject/topic/work, then the tag doesn't belong. – user31178 Jul 30 '17 at 0:51
  • 1
    How about creating harry-potter-and-the-philosophers-stone through harry-potter-and-the-deathly-hallows, along with harry-potter-books and harry-potter-films first? There are people who haven't read the books but have just seen the films, and there are people who disregard the films and don't consider them valid canon. Also, there will be people who are still going through the books or films. – SQB Jul 30 '17 at 11:35
  • @SQB I think that discussion needs it's own question and sets of answers, no draw in the HP experts, fans, and relevant senior taggers. – user31178 Jul 30 '17 at 22:14

Yes, it should have a tag. Everything (within reason) should have a tag.

We currently have 49+ questions that specifically relate to the Marauder's Map as well as a further 148 mentions of it in other questions and answers. It's clearly something that fans of Harry Potter have taken great interest in and something that's probably worthy of its own tag (in the same way that aficionados of the have tagged their questions).

For example, a question about a specific lightsaber fight in Phantom Menace should have a tag as well as a and possibly a and tag.

That'll allow people to locate questions about their own interest areas more easily.

How should we handle tag hierarchies?

Animated Oprah meme of "You get a..." for tags Illustrated meme of "tag all the things"

  • 2
    Why would answer count, though? We don't add tags based on answers. – Gallifreyan Jul 27 '17 at 19:19
  • 2
    Have you taken the linked posts into consideration at all? Or is this your classic stance of "Meh, leave it"? – Edlothiad Jul 27 '17 at 19:36
  • 5
    if we have a [lightsaber] tag should we make it a synonym of [lightsabre] just in case? – KutuluMike Jul 27 '17 at 20:15
  • 2
    -1, because if I ignore GIFs, this answer hardly make any sense. – Akira Fudo Jul 28 '17 at 3:26
  • 4
    Bear in mind that I saw a list of Harry Potter tags on an old meta post from a couple of years ago listing tags for burning based on lack of use. One of them ('Dementors' I think, but I might be wrong) was only on about 4 at the time but when I checked had grown into a flourishing tag with ~50 questions. Just because a tag doesn't have many specifically-related questions now isn't to say that it never will. – The Dark Lord Jul 28 '17 at 18:02
  • 1
    @JonSnow And the GIFs do make sense? :-o – Rand al'Thor Jul 28 '17 at 21:56
  • 1
    +1, Adding a tag, no matter how granular, seem to help no matter how small the contribution, removing them does nothing except help people's OCD with a symetric tag system for every frachise or need for beautiful simple system. – Ram Jul 29 '17 at 16:46
  • 3
    that theory works great if you could have unlimited tags. when you have to pick 5 and there's 30 that apply to your question, you have an inconsistant tag system which no longer helps find questions and thus defeats it's primary purpose. – KutuluMike Jul 29 '17 at 17:02
  • 1
    @KutuluMike - Very few questions have even four tags – Valorum Jul 29 '17 at 17:03
  • 2
    @KutuluMike It's hard to think of a good question with many of such specifics tag, it would make for a too broad question. – Ram Jul 29 '17 at 17:08
  • 2
    @Valorum very few questions have 4 tags because we don't currently have the free-for-all tagging system you're suggesting. this question off the top of my head could have [mcu] [marvel] [guardians-of-the-galaxy-2] [ego] [shield] [avengers] and that was literally the first question I clicked on. – KutuluMike Jul 29 '17 at 17:13
  • 3
    this question would need: [harry-potter] [prisoner-of-azkaban] [magical-item] [animals] [mauraders-map] [animagus] – KutuluMike Jul 29 '17 at 17:17
  • 3
    @Valorum that's a bad thing because that's 6 tags and you aren't allowed to have 6 tags. so you would have to pick one to omit. and people expecting that tag to be on all related questions would never see your question. and the tag would no longer serve it's purpose. – KutuluMike Jul 29 '17 at 17:17
  • 2
    in summary: lots of tags is not a problem. forcing us to pick 5 is a problem. forcing us to pick 5 is not going away, though, so we can't solve that problem. so we have to solve the other one anyway. – KutuluMike Jul 29 '17 at 17:19
  • 2
    @Valorum my answer to a tag limit is to be judicious and conservative in what tags we create so that the one we do have can be used predictably and consistently and can therefore server their real purpose. – KutuluMike Jul 29 '17 at 21:13


We don't need that level of granularity to get good answers.

Tags are for sorting your question into specific, well-defined categories.
MSE "Why do we tag questions?"

For a tag to be used, it should fulfil both these requirements. Tags for random items, such as the Marauder's Map, are not well-defined categories. We have a tag if we really want to tag the question as about an item.

In addition, is overly specific, and not common enough to justify have a whole tag for it. Anything less than 50 uses in the history of the site should be suspect in my opinion. clocks in at 19 (as of posting this answer).

  • 2
    FWIW, that quoted line is from the MSE FAQ Why do we tag questions?, where it's use #2 in the "Tags do several things" list. Note that the other uses for tags include helping folks find questions to answer, statistics, searching, and badges. – Shog9 Jul 27 '17 at 19:21
  • 1
    SFF is small enough that we can curate all the questions that come in every day without needed an abundance of tags to help people find question like SO or any of the other larger sites. – amflare Jul 27 '17 at 19:23
  • 4
    What's your point? Every site starts small; when you can read every question posted in the last day / week / month over the occasional lunch, you arguably don't need any tags whatsoever. The big problem with that line of thinking is... Who's gonna go back & re-tag stuff when the site gets big? A lot of the past arguments against these specialized tags were made when there were only a few thousand questions on the entire site; now you're closing in on 5K questions just about the Harry Potter series! Who's volunteering to go back & add tags there when it hits 10K? – Shog9 Jul 27 '17 at 19:26
  • 2
    My point is that tagging questions about single items from single franchises is overly specific and only serves to add noise. – amflare Jul 27 '17 at 19:34
  • 5
    Add noise to what? The questions? The list of tags? The titles that show up in Google? If tags are being misused - added to questions where they don't apply - that's a problem with application; it may indicate that a tag is ambiguous, but it doesn't sound like that's what's going on here. If a question is explicitly about something unambiguously known as a "marauders map", then a tag called "marauders-map" isn't noise, it's context. – Shog9 Jul 27 '17 at 19:38
  • 2
    +1 but I don't like "<50 = delete it" as a standard. We have tons of works tags (individual books, movies, etc.) with far fewer questions than that (see e.g. most of these), and I would be strongly opposed to deleting said tags. – Kevin Jul 28 '17 at 6:01
  • 1
    Your answer and the definition you quoted seems contradictory. "marauders-map" is both specific (as you state) and well-defined (in other words, it's pretty easy to tell whether a question is related to the Marauder's Map or not), while "magical-items" is neither specific (very broad, applying to far too many situations to be of much practical use) nor particularly well-defined (is a Mandrake a magical item? The Knight Bus? A flobberworm?). There doesn't seem to be anything against "overly specific" tags in the answer you linked. – BolteAltamont Jul 30 '17 at 8:42
  • yes we do. I personally used tags with granularity like that specifically to generate good answers. So, your answer's premise is demonstrably 100% false. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Aug 3 '17 at 13:38
  • Is it specific? Yes (you even say: too specific). Is it well-defined? Yeah, the marauders map refers to one thing and one thing alone. I think you've shot yourself in the foor there. – Weckar E. Aug 9 '17 at 23:00


A tag indicates what kind of expertise is needed to answer the question.

There will be experts, perhaps even specific experts or experts, but I really doubt that anyone would call themselves a expert.

  • 4
    I'm not sure if Fred and George would count themselves as Marauder's Map experts or just Hogwarts experts. The relevant quote is ‘Anyway, we know it off by heart, […] We don't really need it any more.’ – b_jonas Jul 27 '17 at 21:39
  • 4
    If someone can consider themselves a lightsaber or horcrux or the-one-ring expert why not the map? – Skooba Jul 28 '17 at 13:36
  • 3
    the fact that we have three tags that should be deleted does not mean we need to add a 4th. – KutuluMike Jul 28 '17 at 20:29
  • 1
    @Skooba of course, those are all major aspects of their respective works. How do they compare to the Marauder's Map? – can-ned_food Jul 29 '17 at 13:10
  • @can-ned_food Last I read the books, the map played a significant role in quite a few plot lines... Maybe not as much as the other three listed, but that was just a sampling to show we do have tags for specific items. As concept if allow one you should allow others. – Skooba Jul 29 '17 at 20:35
  • @Skooba those should go as well. – SQB Jul 29 '17 at 20:38
  • Nevertheless, it is quite correct that if expertise is significantly required to answer a certain question, then it should be so tagged. That was a bit of a tautology, I know; i guess that's the reason for this question, isn't it? ;-l I.e. if, sans consideration of the concept so declared by the tag, the question becomes unanswerable, then it should be so tagged? – can-ned_food Jul 30 '17 at 7:55
  • I'll admit that I probably don't know Harry Potter well enough to weigh in on whether there is enough source material to justify whether there could be experts on the Marauder's Map. Sure, it is a cool device, and I've made reference to it IRL on occasion. It seems to me, however, that JKR deliberately limited its use because it “allowed Harry a little too much freedom of information.” (Ergo, JKR = the government? ooh, the intrigue.) – can-ned_food Jul 30 '17 at 12:33

No, because the five-tag limit makes it impractical to tag at this level of granularity.

OP describes this:

A user has just gone and made 17 tag edits in 2 minutes adding to all the questions that come up when you search the term Marauders Map.

If we tag items with the same level of importance and complexity as the Marauder's Map, we'd probably need tags for all of the following:

  • The Sorting Hat
  • The Sword of Gryffindor (might be lumped in with the Hat, but I'd be skeptical of that arrangement)
  • Each of the Deathly Hallows, separately
  • Horcruxes generally (but probably not a separate tag for each)
  • The Pensieve
  • Individual major characters, or groups of them (, , , etc.)

The problem is that there can plausibly be questions with more than four of the above elements simultaneously. When you add the base tag, that's more than we're allowed.

We may want to keep these tags in a more limited role.

If, on the other hand, we only use these tags on questions where they are directly the subject of the question (as opposed to just briefly mentioned), they may indeed prove useful. But that is not the question that OP asked.

  • 4
    If we have questions about those things, what's wrong with having tags about them? – Valorum Jul 29 '17 at 10:58
  • Yes! I myself am an avid catagorizer, but I never thought that the SE tags system was actually that manner of thing. Good luck raising that concern on Meta, though. As a workaround, we could be adding a footer to our questions, and be placing >5 keywords there with US-ASCII 0x21 prefixes. – can-ned_food Jul 29 '17 at 13:07
  • 1
    @Valorum: To the extent that they don't overlap, there may be no problem. But we can't just go around "adding marauders-map to all the questions that come up when you search the term Marauders Map" as OP describes in this question. – Kevin Jul 29 '17 at 17:53
  • 3
    Your edit is exactly how our tags should be used. They're not conventional tags. They define what the question is about. Not what is merely mentioned. – Edlothiad Jul 29 '17 at 20:46
  • @Edlothiad but, shouldn't all tags function like that? I'd go to Meta for this, but many of the high-rep people there are schmucks. – can-ned_food Jul 30 '17 at 7:59
  • @can-ned_food What does that mean? That is how all tags function. You are on meta? You also shouldn't fear meta. There are some high-rep users, but they're easily tamed. – Edlothiad Jul 30 '17 at 9:07
  • @Edlothiad you said “not conventional tags”, and that confused me: as if you meant the tags on other SE — e.g. Stack Overflow — are used differently. Also, I was referring to meta.stackexchange.com and the problems with the way rep operates there. – can-ned_food Jul 30 '17 at 9:48
  • 2
    I mean "conventional tags" like in blogs or instagram where you tag EVERYTHING you see. That's not how tags on SE work. And I agree I dislike how Meta Stack Exchange works and it seems very rep based – Edlothiad Jul 30 '17 at 10:33
  • 1
    This seems to be a hypothetical concern; the vast majority of questions here use fewer than 5 tags. Worst-case, someone has to make a decision on which tags are most important for a given question and keep only the 5 most-relevant tags - this doesn't strike me as a terribly bad thing. If y'all get to a point where most Harry Potter questions use 5 tags and folks are still trying to create new ones, ok - this'll be worth bringing up. I've never seen that scenario in real life though; folks tend to be conservative about tagging. – Shog9 Aug 1 '17 at 15:01
  • I would point out, just as devil's advocate, that our tagging system and tagging process has evolved knowing there was a 5-tag limit. The fact that most questions only have a few tags is likely, at least in part, because we don't create "minor" tags in the first place, so those tags aren't there for users to apply to their questions if they wanted to. If I tagged SF/F questions the way I tag bugs in my bug tracker, my questions would have way more than 5 each. – KutuluMike Aug 9 '17 at 22:25

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .