I've noticed that we have both a tag and a tag. The tag has 1,008 questions, while has 879, 32 of which overlap.

What exactly is the difference between these two tags? We aren't exactly going to deal with books that aren't novels here. Is there any difference? Should they be merged?

  • "We aren't exactly going to deal with books that aren't novels here." - at least 2000 questions would beg to differ.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Feb 18, 2018 at 18:44
  • I wouldn't consider short stories a "book"; to me, a book indicates a certain length which a short story is explicitly not.
    – Mithical
    Feb 18, 2018 at 18:45
  • @Randal'Thor And how much of these are tagged books? Are you really tagging questions about short stories with books rather than short-story? "Dealing" with stuff is one thing, tagging is another.
    – TARS
    Feb 18, 2018 at 18:46
  • The question might be conflating different things, the medium of a book and the format of a novel. Maybe clarifying when tags should denote the medium and when they should denote the format would be the basis for resolving the confusion here.
    – TARS
    Feb 18, 2018 at 18:54
  • @Mithrandir Short stories often come in anthologies, which are books. What about comic books, as well?
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Feb 18, 2018 at 18:56
  • @TARS No, I think questions about short stories are normally tagged short-stories and not books. The books tag is probably mostly useless, since all those questions would be covered by either novel or short-stories. But retagging them all would involve a ton of edits, which I doubt anyone would consider worth doing.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Feb 18, 2018 at 18:57
  • Except any time someone asks about book series? Useful there
    – Edlothiad
    Feb 19, 2018 at 6:05

1 Answer 1


Obviously there's a difference: every novel is a book, but not every book is a novel. The question is, do we need both the more general tag and the more specific one?

We've actually been over this before. I was about to close this question as a duplicate of the 7-year-old one, but maybe it's worth having this discussion again: things have changed in the last 7 years, and indeed there are a couple of newer answers to the old question which have hardly had any attention.

This is what I said in my answer over there:

Split into and .

Whether or not it makes sense to have media tags at all (a discussion that seems to be still ongoing), it's undeniable that is a broader tag than the others. We don't have a tag to cover both films and TV, so why should we have a tag to cover both novels and short stories?

If we get rid of , then our media tags become less confusing and have no overlap:

But looking at this again now, I'd add that this would involve so much retagging that it's probably not worth doing. The tag may be mostly redundant when we have both and (although it could still be useful for e.g. ID questions where the OP doesn't remember how long the story is), but it's not doing any harm. And it's certainly OK to have subtags and supertags, as for example we have tags for both and , , etc.

As was pointed out in comments, though (and also in CreationEdge's answer on the old thread), it may be that is being used mostly for questions about novels. In this case, the issue would be relatively easy to solve, by merging into and manually retagging those few questions which are currently tagged but aren't about novels.

  • 1
    The asking about the difference was not asking about a difference between the words but in the way that these two tags are supposed to be used...
    – Mithical
    Feb 18, 2018 at 18:56
  • While you're at it, maybe solve the pluralization mess, too. ;-) At least that's done in a few seconds and without polluting the frontpage.
    – TARS
    Feb 18, 2018 at 19:01
  • @TARS Indeed, but it probably needs a meta to work out which way to do it.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Feb 18, 2018 at 19:04
  • Here are a bunch of questions that were back - duped. I don't see why this question should be any different.
    – Edlothiad
    Feb 19, 2018 at 8:34
  • @Randal'Thor: The problem I see with the split and then merging existing questions referencing books when they mean novel is that current usage indicates how people are understanding the tags. I think it's natural for many people to type in a tag of book to indicate that they know it's a book, then get chided for the tag actually being books (which doesn't suggest that it's something else, about the "book of the movie", etc), and going with that.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Feb 24, 2018 at 16:05

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