I'm not proposing to burninate all media tags;
I'm just proposing to remove them from questions where they really don't belong.

Media tags in action

We haven't reached a decision yet about what to do with the media tags. There are two main uses for them:

  1. On to specify what the OP is looking for (example: "I'm looking for a book I read as a kid")
  2. To differentiate between works released in different media (ie: "I'm looking for an answer from the Harry Potter movies specifically")

I'm not proposing to touch any of these uses.

However, I found there is a third and a fourth use that are both unnecessary and often redundant.

Missing work tags

  1. Questions about specific works that do not have a tag.

For example, this question about The Road had only one tag: . We do have a tag now, but we didn't at the time, so the OP probably thougth "it's a novel, so I'll tag it ". I edited it to have the proper tag, .

I propose giving all questions like this their proper work and/or author tags.

Department of redundancy department

  1. Questions where the media tag is simply redundant, because it's used together with specific tags for the work, author, series, franchise and so on, without falling under use 2 (differentiating between different media for the same work or franchise).

For example, this question about continuity between Snow Crash and The Diamond Age had, again, the tag . They're both novels, so that's true, but there are no other media we might be confused with, there are no "novel-experts" that might be of any help, so I removed the tag from the question.


  1. On questions that are tagged with a media tag in absence of a specific tag for that work, tag them with a tag for the specific work, for the series, for the author, or the franchise, preferably using tags already in existence, but creating them if needed.
  2. On questions that are tagged with a media tag in conjunction with a specific tag for that work, (or author, series, or franchise), simply remove the media tag but only in those cases where the media tag is redundant (in other words, not falling under use 2).


You can either search for the lot of them in one go:

is:question ( [movie] or [short-stories] or [books] or [comics] or [novel] or [tv] or [video-games] or [anime] ) -[story-identification]

or one at a time:

[books] -[story-identification] (171 questions)
[movie] -[story-identification] (691 questions)
[novel] -[story-identification] (97 questions)
[anime] -[story-identification] (53 questions)

...and so on. Keep in mind that those numbers are the numbers of results returned by those searches, but, as not all those need to have their tags cleaned, those are not the numbers of edits to be made.

Of course, these will contain many false positives, since it's just a search for media tags not used in conjunction with .

But I plan to go through these, add work tags and author tags where needed, and remove media tags where unnecessary or even redundant.

Who's with me?

Also see the general tag clean-up effort called Tag Wars.

  • Surely this would require retagging thousands of questions, defacing the front page for weeks at a time
    – Valorum
    Jan 6, 2016 at 15:13
  • Or have you found a friendly developer who's willing to destroy the tag entirely?
    – Valorum
    Jan 6, 2016 at 15:14
  • 2
    @Richard I'm not proposing to destroy the tag, I'm just proposing to remove media tags from questions where they really don't belong.
    – SQB
    Jan 6, 2016 at 15:20
  • Which leads me back to 'Surely this would require retagging thousands of questions, defacing the front page for weeks at a time –' Can you give some idea of numbers and how much disruption you're proposing to cause?
    – Valorum
    Jan 6, 2016 at 15:22
  • 3
    @Richard but why would that be defacement? Especially if enough questions of those are unanswered, it would be a good way to give new attention to old questions.
    – SQB
    Jan 6, 2016 at 15:24
  • 1
    It was agreed a while back that if you want to go on a 'tagging spree', doing so 5 per day was appropriate to avoid swamping the homepage (e.g. the page that most users visit). What you're proposing would seem to go very far beyond that. I'm trying to understand the scope and scale.
    – Valorum
    Jan 6, 2016 at 15:32
  • 5
    The mass cleanup is going to involve screwing up the front page. This was briefly mentioned in the original cleanup post, and is something that other sites accept as part of cleanup days. This is part of why we're trying to figure out a good day/time to do it. Not only to coordinate efforts, but to pick a time where we minimize pain. It's not ideal, but the alternative is the cleanup taking months.
    – phantom42
    Jan 6, 2016 at 15:52
  • As far as I'm concerned, since I've turned off the star-wars tag, the site acts like a ghost town anyway. sort newest usually works for me over active anyway. So I'll try to keep an eye on this for a date and lend a hand.
    – Radhil
    Jan 6, 2016 at 16:16
  • @Richard Approximately 4200 media tagged questions. Approximately 2500 with story-identification alone. The highest media tag, movie, has 1100 questions, but removing [the top tags that work] with the movie tag leaves about 550 questions, many of which are still using it to differentiate between written works. If we we make books & novel synonyms, we narrow the pool considerably. TL;DR: I do not think this particular suggestion will actually affect thousands of questions.
    – user31178
    Jan 6, 2016 at 17:48
  • @CreationEdge - So, if we exclude Story-ident, that still seems to leave a lot. Loads, even.
    – Valorum
    Jan 6, 2016 at 17:54
  • @Richard But you have to exclude all the cases where it's used to differentiate between two versions of the same-named media, per the proposal. Once you do that, the pool drops considerably. But yes, it'd still be hundreds.
    – user31178
    Jan 6, 2016 at 17:56
  • A good argument for changing our usage of media tags could be made by looking at the revision history of this new user's questions.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Jan 8, 2016 at 0:26
  • @CreationEdge - books and novel have different meanings at the moment. The books tag is supposed to be used to distinguish from (e.g.) the film of the same work. Many questions tagged books should really be tagged novel.
    – Fruitbat
    Jan 10, 2016 at 12:39
  • @Fruitbat If you look at my analysis, you'll see that almost all books questions are using the wrong label, and should be using novel instead. They are different in name only, and are used in identical ways. That usage is never going to change, because it doesn't make sense. They should be synonyms.
    – user31178
    Jan 10, 2016 at 15:37
  • Personally, I feel all media tags are meta tags that should be abandoned. media + story-identification should become identify-this-medium (possibly while keeping story-identification); media + franchise should become franchise-media (again, while keeping the main franchise tag).
    – SQB
    Jan 10, 2016 at 16:26

2 Answers 2


After discussing the cleanup with those involved, looking at the results of our current tag usage, and looking at our previous discussions on tagging:

I'm currently against this.

I think before we start doing any sort of large scale retagging effort, we first must come up with a cohesive, consolidated tagging policy and philosophy.

Otherwise, we're looking at either continued confusion and misuse of tags or recurring/multiple major clean-up events.

I don't think this clean-up or the others are bad ideas, but I think that the forward-planning for tags is more important than the immediate cleanup.

Once we have a full game plan, we can do a single, massive retagging that makes all the changes at once. Many questions that may be subject to multiple retagging efforts can just be done a single time (I have reasons to suspect there could be many). Synonyms can be made, or tags renamed by mods, which will also eliminate some work. The least disruptive approach to this is waterfall, not iterative.

  • "we first must come up with a cohesive, consolidated tagging policy and philosophy" - have you heard of herding cats? :-)
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Jan 6, 2016 at 20:54
  • @randal'thor When we are working from tagging discussions spread over 100+ meta questions, at different points in time and levels of voting, it's hard to say what's what!
    – user31178
    Jan 6, 2016 at 20:55
  • 3
    @CreationEdge - Agreed. This is a total mess, with people busily retagging stuff whether they're getting agreement or not. It also doesn't help that a very small number of people are viewing and voting on these questions.
    – Valorum
    Jan 7, 2016 at 11:18

I'm against this for a couple of reasons

1 - I fail to see how this would improve the site or its usability in any dramatic fashion. Yes, I can appreciate that it's annoying to have the tag on the question you've highlighted but at the same time, I don't see how it actively harms the site either.

2 - Without any idea of the sort of scale of what you're proposing, this could potentially swamp the front page with hundreds, potentially thousands of largely meaningless edits

The pain seems to outweigh the benefit, especially since it's an open invitation for the 'tagging crew' to screw up the front page for an unknown period, potentially running into days or weeks.

  • 1
    days or weeks? the front page has something like 40 questions. once 40 non-cleanup posts come through, the front page is completely restored. right now, the front page only goes back for 5 hours.
    – phantom42
    Jan 6, 2016 at 16:20
  • @phantom42 - Which is fine, except that this post is asking for carte blanche to do this retagging for as long as it takes, with an indeterminate number of posts.
    – Valorum
    Jan 6, 2016 at 16:31
  • 1
    @phantom42 - have you considered the impact on people who try to view ALL updates? (including via front page, OR RSS feeds)? To be honest, if you could do this via bulk update to back-end data, I'd consider that a far superior approach. Jan 6, 2016 at 17:05
  • 2
    i have, but the concern mentioned was the front page. like i said - there is no perfect solution, just a matter of finding one that hurts the least for the least amount of time.
    – phantom42
    Jan 6, 2016 at 17:06
  • @phantom42 - Well, the thing that hurts the least is not doing it all.
    – Valorum
    Jan 6, 2016 at 17:06
  • 1
    and that's a valid (non-)approach. the point i was making was that the front page will not be screwed up for days or weeks.
    – phantom42
    Jan 6, 2016 at 17:07
  • 1
    SQB can comment and clarify, but i was under the impression that this was meant as part of the main cleanup that would be done as part of our scheduled blasts, not an ongoing "whenever" effort
    – phantom42
    Jan 6, 2016 at 17:08
  • 3
    @Richard that's only true if you are not of the opinion that it is constantly hurting the site to have them the way they are. An opinion I happen to hold.
    – KutuluMike
    Jan 6, 2016 at 17:39
  • @MikeEdenfield - In which case, we're back to "which hurts more, fixing this minor problem or buggering up the site for weeks?"
    – Valorum
    Jan 6, 2016 at 17:42
  • 2
    I agree with you that this can't be something that's done progressively over weeks. We've already agreed to take the pain of short, coordinated, schedules bursts of "buggering up" the front page; I feel any attempt to clean up the media tags needs to be part of that.
    – KutuluMike
    Jan 6, 2016 at 17:53

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