We have lord-of-the-rings, the-hobbit, silmarillion, tolkien, rings-of-power, and middle-earth. And they're just the ones I've noticed. I'm inclined to think that anyone interested in any of these will be interested in all of them, so the tags should all be merged into middle-earth. Am I completely wrong?
The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and The Silmarillion are all separate works, so merging them would not be desirable. The other tags are meant to specify particular areas of Tolkien's legendarium. Someone wanting to learn more about the Rings for instance can look at that particular tag. The same goes for Middle Earth or for Tolkien himself. Therefore I don't think that any of the tags you specified should be merged...(and if they were to be merged a more apt name would be something like tolkiens-legendarium)
I disagree with merging all the tags, but I agree that they are used inconsistently and we should do some cleanup.
tolkien is necessary because not everything Tolkien wrote is set in Middle-Earth.
When it comes to Middle-Earth, I think we have broadly three audiences:
- People who've seen the Peter Jackson movies and are mostly interested in the movies and how they relate to the book.
- People who've seen Tolkien's influence (for example, from playing D&D), and might have read The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings and just maybe the Silmarillion.
- People who're interested in Middle-Earth minutiae, but don't know all of Christopher's publications by heart yet.
A good tagging system would help people in category 1 and 2 quickly find the questions they are interested in. Here, lord-of-the-rings and the-hobbit will appeal to audiences 1 and 2, but middle-earth is likely to come as too detailed. Audience 1 will likely ignore silmarillion.
I'm not convinced we need rings-of-power or akallabeth, or gandalf, saruman, sauron, ... (See the related discussions on character tags, such as the latest one.) In fact, I've gone ahead and merged akallabeth into silmarillion.
We should make a complete list of Tolkien-related tags (I don't have the time just now) and figure out how they're currently used and whether we want that to continue.
Once we as a community reach a decision, we should edit the relevant tag wikis and get at least most of the questions tagged the way we want them.