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Having recently answered a question relating to stargate, it started me thinking that perhaps we should consider how we're going to organise tags for "franchises" such as Stargate and Star Trek.

The question concerned is tagged and , which I am quite happy with as it treats as the tag for the franchise with sub-tags for the individual series. On that basis, anything pertaining to the movie should probably be tagged ?

All that said, if there are individual tags for each part of the franchise, is there a worth to an overarching tag for the franchise? I'd say yes, for example a question titled Are there differences between the stargates in the movie and SG1, SGA and SGU?" could appropriately be tagged .

Amidst all the above rambling (or, the opening act before the titles), I think I've come to pose the following questions relating to the tagging of franchises:

  1. Should the franchise tag be or ?
  2. Is it appropriate to have a tag for the overall franchise?
  3. For something like Star Trek, where there's could be a large body of questions relating to one individual , should we consider encouraging individual tags for each movie, as appropriate? e.g. or (I suspect that they should be actively discouraged, at least initially?)
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A franchise should be identified by its name such as "stargate" not "stargate-franchise", especially in the case of Stargate's series being entitled Stargate SG1, Stargate Atlantis, and Stargate Universe. (plus the movies)

That being said, I belive that it is a good idea to mark a tag, here, according to its name and/or assocated names. Tagging a Stargate Universe question can be tagged as "Stargate" and "Stargate Universe". This will allow people who are more intersted in "Stargate Universe" find "Stargate Universe" related questions as well as those people who like the entire "Stargate" Metaverse/Franchise.

Now I was just continuing your example but the same follows true for other franchises like "Star Trek" and "Battle Star".

If a question is about a specific Science Fiction work, include that work as a tag. If the question can be associated with a franchise, also include the parent tag. Like "Star Wars" could be included in the "Clone Wars" questions because the animated series "Clone Wars" is closly knitted to the "Star Wars" franchise.

No, don't use the franchise in the tag name unless it is the name of the work but do use any tag that is associated with your question. Such as a specific work and a link to parent work. Just a note, linking the author is also not a bad idea.

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Generally, a question about a franchise or universe should use the franchise name as a tag, and there is no need for more specific tags. Examples: , , , ,

There may be a few very popular franchises where it makes sense to have more specific tags, but before creating them, consider:

  • Might someone subscribe (favorite) that tag, or browse questions in that tag?
  • Is this tag useful in a search?

Names of authors, works, universes, franchises, and so on should feature in plain text in the question body. So they're not particularly useful in searches. They are useful for subscribing and browsing, which is why we use them. But sub-franchises? Generally, no. There should only be a tag for the franchise as a whole.

There may be a few exceptional cases of large franchises, but a more specific tag is only warranted if there is a sizable number of people who are fans of one subfranchise and do not care about the other subfranchises.

In some cases, I think it makes sense to combine the franchise tag with a medium tag, e.g. . But that assumes that the medium tags are themselves ok, which is doubtful.

Closing note: please read Jeff Atwood's tagging guidelines.

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    I think StarGate is large enough that (like ST) there are fans of one series and not others. Doctor Who (Torchwood, K-9, SJA) also seems to fit this. I can't think of other examples offhand, and I scanned through the existing tags without finding any. So personally, "yes" to separate StarGate tags, but also "yes" to not in general. – Tony Meyer May 11 '11 at 2:29
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The number of franchises where I wouldn't have sub-tags is vastly outnumbered by the number of franchises I would have sub-tags. Only 2 "franchises" come to mind where I wouldn't have sub-tags: Starship Troopers, because honestly, who watched the sequels, and Firefly, because there is not enough material to separate the series from the movie. Everything else I can think of -- BSG (orig, neo, and Caprica), Star Wars, Star Trek, Stargate, hell, even Being Human (UK and US) -- can justifiably be broken into sub-tags.

Perhaps a good solution would be to do something akin to tag synonyms. Subscribing or searching for a base tag would also include sub-tags, e.g. searching for stargate would also return stargate-sg1 results.

  • I suspect you haven't read Jeff's tagging guidelines. Given that and his other posts on the subject, tag hierarchies aren't going to happen. And you write “can justifiably be broken into sub-tags”, but you never say why you think the sub-tags are justified. – user56 May 13 '11 at 6:54
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    I thought it would be apparent why sub-tags would be justified. As an example though, in the Stargate universe, questions pertaining specifically to the Pegasus galaxy are only answerable by people who have watched Stargate: Atlantis. If this were only tagged with stargate-atlantis, people interested in the entirety of Stargate would have a harder time finding such a question. I understand Jeff's desire to not implement tag hierarchies, since they don't really make sense for the trinity, but I'm of the opinion, at least when it comes to the sci-fi SE, that hierarchies are useful. – MBraedley May 13 '11 at 14:22
  • Stargate is one of the most popular franchises here, and I'm not convinced it needs subtags. If you're looking for S:A questions, just search for “Atlantis” in the [stargate] tag. Tag hierarchies are rather less useful here than on sites like the trilogy, where particular versions or implementations of general technologies come up pretty often. – user56 May 13 '11 at 18:58

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