So I read this Server Fault meta post, which says how to request tag warnings:

Open a new meta question under the tag with the proposed text and the tag to which it should be applied. This will allow for community input to improve the text, if necessary, before we kick it upstairs.

We get a ton of questions, and have this old request with no specific agreed text or staff response, so here I am proposing the warning. Please provide feedback on it in comments and/or answers; this is not final:

  • When did you view it? Give an approximate year or range of years
  • What kind of media was it?
  • What language was it in?
  • Where do you think it was from?
  • What unique plot details do you remember?
  • What were the characters like?

For more detailed guidance, see How to ask a good story-ID question?

  • 2
    How should this be improved? Jun 25, 2019 at 16:07
  • That seems to be specific to Server Fault, tho. Stack Overflow calls them tag-tips (case in point)
    – Machavity
    Jun 25, 2019 at 20:32
  • @Machavify might as well request it, no matter what the name is. Jun 25, 2019 at 20:39
  • Anyone have input? Jul 22, 2019 at 17:51
  • 4
    You may want to add a paragraph above the bulleted list which introduces it (e.g. "Your question is more likely to get a useful answer if you provide this information..." or words to that effect). Otherwise, it looks a bit brusque.
    – Kevin
    Jul 23, 2019 at 0:05
  • 2
    Perhaps instead of "For more detailed guidance, see" you might consider "To improve your question, why not work through the checklists here;"
    – Valorum
    Jul 27, 2019 at 19:35
  • Related: Tip box for Story ID questions May 9, 2023 at 14:32
  • @TheLethalCarrot: Since you added the [status-review] tag here, could you clarify what the requested wording for the tag warning is? Is it the quote in the top answer by galacticninja, or something else?
    – V2Blast
    Jun 9, 2023 at 17:29
  • 1
    @V2Blast The quote in the top answer, yes please.
    – TheLethalCarrot Mod
    Jun 9, 2023 at 20:58

4 Answers 4


Following the Meta SE post “What’s the protocol for requesting a tag warning?” and TheLethalCarrot’s advice, I am suggesting a tag warning for the tag. This is based on the OP’s suggestion, the comments on their post, and our story ID guide: How to ask a good story-ID question? Please let me know if you have any feedback, and feel free to suggest improvements.

To get a helpful answer, include as much detail as possible in your question:

  • When did you see it?
  • What kind of media was it?
  • What plot, tone, setting, characters, and other unique details do you recall?
  • How did it look? Describe the book cover, scenes, etc.
  • What works have you already checked and ruled out?

For more tips on how to improve your question, see our guide on asking a story identification question.

  • 1
    That seems way too much text for a tiny little box that poos up in a corner of the screen. Noone is going to read that.
    – TARS
    Apr 25, 2023 at 6:59
  • 1
    @TARS Can you be more specific? How can I make it shorter? Do I need to reduce the number of bullet points or sentences? Is there any specific text that I should remove or modify? Apr 25, 2023 at 7:55
  • 1
    My feedback pretty is pretty much the same as TARS' here, there's just way too much text. The warning nowadays shows on the right hand side of the question box when you're "reviewing your question". If I'm honest I think this will mostly be missed but it needs to be far less wordy if you have any hope of someone actually paying attention to it.
    – TheLethalCarrot Mod
    Apr 25, 2023 at 8:12
  • FWIW my original suggestion for this was: "Add a link to the story id guide, similar message to what is included in the "Draft your question" sidebar." This never actually appears to have been implemented and is maybe too terse of an idea but too verbose is also bad if not worse because no one will read it.
    – TheLethalCarrot Mod
    Apr 25, 2023 at 8:13
  • @TheLethalCarrot `@TARS I have shortened the tag warning. Please let me know if it is still too long. Any feedback on which specific text or bullet point should be shortened or removed would be appreciated. Apr 25, 2023 at 8:46
  • Compare the one on Arqade to what this would look like. People don't like reading, if you put a wall of text in their face they're just going to ignore it, after all, all they care about is getting an answer to their question. I might suggest removing some of the more unneeded bullet points, for example, country/language. 99% of the time it'll be Western and English.
    – TheLethalCarrot Mod
    Apr 25, 2023 at 9:28
  • 2
    The reason this is too long as it's written as a comprehensive guide, not a quick warning. Change that perspective and it will be easier to shorten I think.
    – AncientSwordRage Mod
    Apr 25, 2023 at 9:45
  • 1
    @AncientSwordRage `@TheLethalCarrot I've shortened it significantly, to 442 characters. Please let me know if you have any further feedback. Apr 25, 2023 at 9:50
  • 2
    Looks good to me, I've featured the post to get more eyes on it (hopefully) and then we'll go from there.
    – TheLethalCarrot Mod
    Apr 28, 2023 at 8:51

A few caveats on tag warnings

  1. Don't assume anyone will read them (they don't on Stack Overflow)
  2. They don't show on mobile. Try adding the tag "seo" on Stack Overflow and notice there's no guidance shown.

I would propose something a bit more compact and conversational than a bullet list

Story Identification answers depend a great deal on how many details of the story you can provide in your question. Details can include where you encountered the work, a time frame when you encountered the work, and what similar works you have ruled out. Even small details can matter! We have a complete guide to asking, which may help you find more details to add. Please read Tips for asking Story Identification questions

  • 1
    I see the SEO guidance on mobile. Maybe you're thinking of the old, removed mobile view?
    – Laurel
    May 10, 2023 at 13:15
  • 2
    I feel like people are far more likely to read a bullet list than a paragraph. Online, people skim like crazy. Sure the bullets take more space but you’ll get more people who actually read them. May 22, 2023 at 21:42

I set up the tag warning using the copy in galacticninja's answer. Please let me know if you see any issues or need to make any further tweaks.

  • Is there any way to see if anyone has actually read it?
    – Valorum
    Jul 24, 2023 at 19:54
  • @Valorum We can see how many times the warning has been shown (so far in the past couple hours - zero), but that of course doesn't guarantee that anyone has fully read it or anything.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Jul 24, 2023 at 21:21
  • @Valorum Back when I suggested that we add a tag warning for [story-identification], user b_jonas mentioned: "data.stackexchange.com says that out of our 22294 story-id questions (non-deleted, as of when the dump for data was made), only 63% were originally tagged story-identification." (emphasis mine) It would probably still be around that number. Jul 25, 2023 at 4:20

My suggestion, based on Galactig Ninja's:

To improve your chances of getting an answer, please provide as much information as possible:

  • When did you read or see it?
  • What was it?
    A book, film, comic, TV series, etc.
  • What details do you recall?
    No detail is too insignificant.
  • What did it look like?
    Describe the book cover, scenes, etc.
  • What works have you already checked and ruled out?

For more tips on how to improve your question, see our guide.

  • Does it make sense to link to the top-voted answer on that question instead of the question itself? The question doesn't really have anything useful to say to the first-time visitor, and finding the answer requires scrolling past an entire page of verbose comments.
    – DavidW
    Apr 25, 2023 at 13:20
  • 3
    FWIW, I think the target question should have its CW answer rewritten to incorporate any missing points from Valorum's answer so everything is in one answer.
    – DavidW
    Apr 25, 2023 at 13:21

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