We've had the tag length character limit extended to 35 - that's great! This announcement has prompted an effort to rename old tags that have been shortened due to this limitation - and has been successfully renamed to . Awesome.

But why do we have that tag in the first place? From a glance at the questions (28 total), I see that some of them are about the teaching position, and the people who occupied it; some are about Voldemort cursing it; the rest are a mixed bunch, and some I believe don't even need it.

Here's what I think: the position itself isn't a prominent topic in the franchise. If we're going to use the tag to refer to all DADA teachers, then it's too ambiguous. If we're going to refer to DADA as a lesson, then it's no use either because it's too fine-grained. One cannot be expected to focus on this lesson only.

(There's also the argument about the correct spelling - is it "defence, the British spelling, or "defense, the American spelling? the author is British, but the official stance here seems to be to use American spellings (though we don't have , thank god). If both are to be synonyms, which should be the main tag?)

I say we don't need this tag. Should we burninate it?

  • 3
    @bellatrix follows it, you're going to make her VERY mad. As Shog put in another meta. There's no point burninating tags which we'll (inevitably) have to come back and tag when the site (inevitably) gets bigger. We simply need to improve it's usage.
    – Edlothiad
    Aug 9, 2017 at 18:23
  • Yes, tags sometimes come back when their subject grows enough to request a grouping of its own. Here I say that there's no point in grouping questions with [dada] because it can refer to so many things it's useless. Aug 9, 2017 at 18:29
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    Why delete it to just add it back in later. We should be redefining it's usage to improve it. Not destroy it.
    – Edlothiad
    Aug 9, 2017 at 18:30
  • The whole point is that we won't add it back later. [plot-explanation] pops up from time to time, and gets burninated invariably. Same here. No need in ever bringing a needless tag back. Aug 9, 2017 at 18:32
  • You should probably mention the spelling argument and link to the transcript as well
    – Mithical
    Aug 9, 2017 at 18:33
  • @Mithrandir moot point bringing up a spelling argument when we argue "destroying" a tag... Gallifreyan, it's not a bad tag and could definitely have a use. It is just not currently defined well. We don't need to destroy it we need to improve it. This goes for many tags, such as [marauders-map] which is probably less useful than DADA.
    – Edlothiad
    Aug 9, 2017 at 18:36
  • @Edlo - why is it a moot point? If we're discussing destroying it or keeping it, if the resolution is keeping, we should settle the spelling argument.
    – Mithical
    Aug 9, 2017 at 18:37
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    Defence. The canonical spelling
    – Edlothiad
    Aug 9, 2017 at 18:37
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    Everyone seems to acknowledge above that someone down the line is going to try re-adding the tag to a question again, if it gets burninated, so all you'd be doing by removing it is: Creating work by removing it now, creating work in the future to explain to the next person why using that tag was wrong, creating work in the future to remove the tag, (repeat as necessary), and fail to meet the "need" of the users who wish to have a tag relevant to an aspect of the series that proved a major plot point in several books. OR you can just improve the guidance once and tag as usual.
    – user31178
    Aug 9, 2017 at 19:01
  • I'm going to create a "sorcerer's-stone" tag just for you ;) Aug 22, 2017 at 5:56

3 Answers 3


Keep (British spelling).

Why keep it?

Defence Against the Dark Arts is a class the students take. It is also a class that, when not done properly, Harry himself taught in secret.

Defence Against the Dark Arts refers to a position in Hogwarts that is cursed. Why cursed? A: Voldemort was denied the position (I can't have it, no one will). B: Short tenure of teachers reduces their effectiveness. Those effective at defending against the Dark Arts are better at thwarting the goals of Him-who-must-not-be-named.

Defence Against the Dark Arts is a major plot point in the books. It is also a major plot point for the series as a whole. Worse, or more importantly (your choice), it is a major plot point of Voldemort (hence the curse on the position). It's even possible to consider that the subject of defence against the dark arts is a concept to explain life in general. At the very least, it can be considered a life lesson to be learned from the books.

Sum total: Defence Against the Dark Arts is an important part of the Potter universe, number of tagged questions so far no withstanding.

Why British spelling?

Apply the British spelling to the tag since the books originated in British English and Defence Against the Dark Arts is a proper name. While, in this case, the spelling in the books has been "corrected" for US release, they are still UK-style in all the smaller details, and it seems proper to use the UK (original) version of them to determine the "in universe" spelling. Of course, there is also the Pottermore website (possibly a canonical source?) where it is consistently in the UK spelling.

  • Why not have the "wrong" spelling as a synonym (as well as dada abbreviation)? Aug 15, 2017 at 13:39
  • @DVK-on-Ahch-To The dada synonym makes sense because it's been in use already and is known, the other option I can't speak to as I don't know this site's culture well enough.
    – Chindraba
    Aug 15, 2017 at 14:36
  • It's spelled Defense in the US books, so for our site, it makes sense to use both, one as a synonym (I don't care which way around). However, users coming from Google will have both spellings indexed, regardless.
    – user31178
    Aug 15, 2017 at 21:34


Burn and curse it.
That is, make sure it can't be recreated.


Yes, DADA gets more screenpage time in the books than, say, arithmancy. But still it's just one of the many classes the Hogwarts students take.

Is any of our users a DADA Expert? I doubt it.

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    What are your opinions when the Harry Potter tag reaches say 2-3k questions. How do you sort the questions. I'd like a list of DADA questions because I'm curious. How do I now find all the questions about DADA and not just those that mention DADA. When we reach that stage and it becomes viable, do we retag all the questions that should have them? I think we're too harsh on tags because of a silly "count" rule. Should we nuke all tags that have a low count and may not have experts? Or do we consider to what extent they can help us organise our site and help users find the questions they want?
    – Edlothiad
    Aug 10, 2017 at 20:50
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    It's not just a class, but the tag is also used for the position. Both class and position serve as important plot points throughout the series, moreso than any other single class, and especially in light of Voldemort's curse, which has questions dedicated to it already and is enough justification for the tag alone.
    – user31178
    Aug 10, 2017 at 22:34
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    @Edlothiad Not to mention people that just say "DADA" instead of spelling it out, or people that use Defense vs. Defence (which a tag with synonyms solves).
    – user31178
    Aug 11, 2017 at 4:26
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    @Edlothiad: Tagging has never been about numbers. It is about whether the categorical system makes sense. We have tags with one question, and we have tags with thousands. Also, please move your arguments into a separate answer so they can be voted on.
    – Kevin
    Aug 11, 2017 at 4:49
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    @Kevin there are enough meta posts where it begins with "this tag has x many questions, do we really need it?". In the primary discussion of this question itself it looks at questions and immediately states a number. It seems "sun tags, or less obvious tags (i.e., non-work/author tags) always get assessed by this "number of questions". I guess I can add that comment to my answer, but I don't think it provides anything different to what I've added below.
    – Edlothiad
    Aug 11, 2017 at 7:09
  • No Defense Experts? Speak for yourself! <Pulls wand> ;) FWIW, I think we should keep the tag. Aug 22, 2017 at 5:52

Disclaimer, this is an answer that's been copied from this meta of a similar meta. Discussing the same thing. I have edited it to make it relevant but think it is a very good point.

All Credit goes to Captain Edge

This is a mostly no answer, but also 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 Defence Against the Dark Arts 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.

  • Can someone comment on their downvote and explain why they think it's a bad thing?
    – Edlothiad
    Aug 10, 2017 at 20:24
  • 1
    Just cast the second downvote on account of because I don't think we need this warning copy&pasted to every tagging discussion on the site. We already know all of the stuff you are "reminding" us of. Or, in other words, this doesn't answer the question, nor does it provide new information.
    – Kevin
    Aug 11, 2017 at 4:46
  • Thanks for your feedback, and I assume that is likely the same for the other downvotes. Yes users will be aware of what I am "reminding" them of. But this answer is less of a reminder and more of a "look what we've discussed before, this seems valid we need to work on this and stop nuking tags because of various reasons"
    – Edlothiad
    Aug 11, 2017 at 7:11
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    If you don't want this tag deleted, then say so. If you don't care, then don't write an answer. But don't pretend to be neutral when you're not.
    – Kevin
    Aug 12, 2017 at 3:49
  • 1
    Edited, to more clearly show the terms in which one should read said answer
    – Edlothiad
    Aug 12, 2017 at 6:53
  • @Edlothiad Number of questions is only relevant in the context of how much potential work exists to fix it, or proportion of misused applications, not whether it is a valid.
    – user31178
    Aug 13, 2017 at 17:11
  • @Kevin - it DOES answer the question, and it provides relevant information. And is eloquent. +1 Aug 15, 2017 at 13:37
  • @DVK: Just telling me that I'm wrong, without explaining why, is not at all convincing.
    – Kevin
    Aug 15, 2017 at 15:57

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