I was recently looking at questions about short stories that don't have a media tag when I came across this question (emphasis added):

I remember reading an amazing short story/novella...

I do not know what this should be tagged with. Rand al'Thor says "Either [tag:books], or no media tag" because "you'd be tagging it with something that it's not." Jenayah says that "if OP is unsure, putting both tags will attract the eyes of short stories and novellas experts."

I think we should come to a consensus on this:

Should story identification questions where the asker thinks it could be a novella or a short story (or other things that could be classified under ) have both tags, just , or something else?

  • 1
    Still amazed that our most pedantic mod proposed to tag a potential short story with [books]. :P
    – Jenayah
    Mar 3, 2019 at 18:06

2 Answers 2


Just so that it's written as a proper answer which people can vote on/reply to, I'll reiterate what I said in chat, and what was included in the question.

  • in any case, if OP themselves put both, we leave both.
  • putting both tags will attract the eyes of short stories and novellas experts. Which is one of the point of tags, ranking pretty high in "importance" order (IMHO).
  • one of the tags is wrong? Sure. So what? If it had been "I don't remember if it's a short story, or a video game, or a comic"1, I'd say otherwise, but and aren't that far away from each other, after all.
  • tags are also used to hide stuff, if people don't want to see they can hide the question, which doesn't happen with no media tag. Granted this is probably more used for spoiler-hiding, but still, I can (and do!) imagine someone hiding, say, the tag because they don't really care about movies.
  • I fail to see, overall, what harm is done.

Obviously, common sense applies:

  • If a "I don't remember whether it's a short story or a novella" is tagged , don't just bump to add . If nothing else is critical to edit, let the question be.
  • If OP describes a very very specific type of format, check on Meta/chat whether it's helpful to create a specific tag for that (most of the time it isn't).

That doesn't mean every story-ID question should have a media tag. There are some which will obviously never get an appropriate tag (typical: "I read this when I was a kid" → "Was it a short story, a novel...?" → OP is never seen again). But in this case, mention is made (in the question's body) of existing formats we already have tags for, so, why not use them?

1 Also, this should probably get closed as too broad.


There's no need to add a media tag at all.

Not every ID question needs a media tag. Media tags can be helpful, for classification of posts and to aid searchability, but it's not compulsory to add one to every single ID question. In this case, purely given the fact that there's disagreement within the community about which media tag(s) to use, I'd say leave it off altogether (or let the OP decide, maybe).

But if you really want to add one - or if you are the OP of an ID question where you don't remember if it's about a short story or a novel but for some reason you really want to use a media tag - I'd say use the general tag . It's a catch-all for written media (some would argue that short stories aren't "books", but anthologies are, short stories can be found in books just like other stories, and if you saw a very thin book that just contains one short story, well, it's still a book, no?)

Using two different media tags, like and , strikes me as a bad idea, because you know for sure that at least one of those tags doesn't apply. If the OP thinks it's a short story, it's OK to tag the question even if it later turns out to be a novel. But if the OP doesn't remember, you don't need to add a wrong media tag. That would be like adding both and to every question about screen stuff where the OP doesn't remember if it was a film or a TV show. Not necessary.

  • 2
    Whilst I don’t agree with you on not every id needs a media tag I think going to meta to discuss what media tags to add is just way too much effort to go to. Either add them, have a quick chat in chat or move on. Time is better spent elsewhere.
    – TheLethalCarrot Mod
    Mar 3, 2019 at 19:15
  • 1
    And to be clear I think seeking out old id questions just to add media tags is something again that isn’t really worth it.
    – TheLethalCarrot Mod
    Mar 3, 2019 at 19:37
  • @TheLethalCarrot Users seeking out old ID questions to add media tags is precisely what started this whole discussion. (I agree with you.)
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Mar 3, 2019 at 19:40

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