In the question Who killed this Harry Potter character? the asker is talking about events from the book Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I tried to tag the question but someone else undid it and it was explained that the "tag wiki description says it's about the objects, not the book/films".

Since we have tags for each and every Star Wars film and such, why don't we have tags for each Harry Potter installment, especially considering how popular HP questions are on this site?

  • 2
    How important would the tags be for telling you what the question is really about? Many of our HP questions are not related to any particular book, and for those that do concern a specific event, what book that event occurs in isn't usually very relevant. We don't have experts in PoA or OotP.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Feb 10, 2016 at 1:33
  • 4
    (1) Tags can help you avoids spoilers. If you're reading/watching them in order and want to avoid spoilers for the one's you haven't gotten to yet so you click to view all SS questions or all CoS or PoA questions etc. (2) If, like you say, the question isn't specific to any particualr book/film, then they don't have to use the tag.
    – RedCaio
    Feb 10, 2016 at 1:43
  • 5
    @RedCaio I'm not sure that's really true since a lot of answers will reference later works in passing, or as part of building up a strong case and some will depend entirely on information that comes later. It's been so many years now that I don't think it's reasonable to worry about Harry Potter spoilers, if someone comes here to ask about HP without having finished the series I really think that's their error and, in some cases, if you'd been reading the books as they came out you'd naturally expect to wait for later books and see if they clear up your queries
    – Au101
    Feb 10, 2016 at 2:47
  • @Au101 (1) Spoilers don't expire. It doesn't matter if it's been a month or a decade; if it's a spoiler, it's a spoiler. (2) I never said tags are a perfect way to avoid any and all spoilers about the parts you haven't gotten to yet. I said "Tags can help you avoids spoilers"
    – RedCaio
    Feb 10, 2016 at 2:55
  • 2
    @RedCaio whereas I would argue that, at best, tags would provide a false sense of security. If memory serves, the absolute majority of Harry Potter answers I wrote cross books and many existing answers to questions that could sensibly be retagged with a book-specific tag have spoilers in them that it would be an almighty hassle to clear up. I'm unconvinced that the linked post proves spoilers don't expire. If anything, it seems to me to suggest a middle-ground between our two positions, if not outright aiding my case
    – Au101
    Feb 10, 2016 at 3:02
  • 2
    It sounds like the only argument being made in favor of these tags is that they could theoretically help mitigate spoilers. As far as I know, in the more recent tagging policy discussions (where the checklist rand is using came from) no one ever suggested that spoilers should or do have anything to do with tags. Maybe we should have a separate meta post on that general issue (though I agree with Au101 that it seems futile at best to use tags as spoiler warnings; ignoring the whole franchise tag is a far better way to avoid spoilers imo).
    – Ixrec
    Feb 10, 2016 at 7:55
  • 1
    Similar question: meta.scifi.stackexchange.com/q/6798/3567 I'm pretty sure book-specific tags were burninated in a previous tag purge, so there's probably useful discussion there as to why we thought they were unnecessary.
    – alexwlchan
    Feb 10, 2016 at 14:31
  • Strongly related (not dupe): Deathly Hallows tag: Book or Objects?
    – Möoz
    Feb 10, 2016 at 22:29
  • We have tags for the different volumes oF LotR.
    – ibid
    Feb 11, 2016 at 6:44
  • since all 7 star wars movies have individual tags, I see no reason why harry potter cant have the same!
    – Skooba
    Feb 18, 2016 at 20:38

3 Answers 3


This post has a tag scoring sheet, copied over from another site, to determine what makes a good tag. Let's see how a particular tag (a tag for a particular book in the HP series) scores:

  1. Does it make sense to be an "expert in "?*
    No (people can be experts in HP, but not in a particular book); score -1.
  2. Does it make sense for a question to be tagged only with "?
    No (there should also be a tag); score -1.
  3. Does have a single, universally-unambiguous meaning?
    Yes; score 2.
  4. Is likely to be used correctly just based on its name?
    Maybe ( might be confusing as you mentioned, but probably wouldn't be); score 1.
  5. Are there "enough" (> 15) but not "too many" (> 10% site-wide) questions that qualify for ?
    Yes (I haven't actually counted, but I'm almost certain there are); score 2.
  6. Are people like to use to find questions to answer?
    Maybe (e.g. if they've just done a reread of one of the books); score 1.
  7. Are there likely some users (be objective!) who will favorite or ignore ?
    Maybe (I doubt it, but who knows); score 1.
  8. Could be reasonably used to feed questions to a specialized chat room?
    No; score -1.
  9. Can be used to search for questions (for any reason) in a way that keyword searching cannot accomplish?
    Yes; score 2.

Total is 6, which is apparently not enough for the tag to be worth creating. From the linked question:

tags that score > 12 are "good" tags, tags that score < 8 are "terrible" tags, others are likely good but may need some clarification/renaming/etc.

  • 3
    This just looks like a bunch of numbers and words. Care to elaborate on what you mean and how this answers my question?
    – RedCaio
    Feb 10, 2016 at 2:58
  • 5
    @RedCaio What I mean is that by the closest thing we have to an objective standard for tags (which obviously isn't perfect), the tags you suggest probably aren't worth creating. That doesn't necessarily mean I, you, or the community will agree with this result, but I've left any subjective discussion and opinions out of my answer.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Feb 10, 2016 at 3:05
  • 1
    7 and 8 seem to be pointless questions for works that are part of a collective work. 7: No, because they'd ignore the collective work tag instead. 8: Absolutely, but the collective work tag would most likely be used instead. I no longer think these criteria are a good fit for our stack.
    – user31178
    Feb 11, 2016 at 15:50
  • @CreationEdge: Maybe we want a built-in bias against installment tags. They seem less useful than collective work tags to me.
    – Kevin
    Feb 12, 2016 at 5:11
  • 1
    @Kevin Perhaps, but I think our criteria questions should be explicit on that, instead of double or triple penalizing it for contradictory reasons. The list was pulled from another stack, and not really customized to us yet.
    – user31178
    Feb 12, 2016 at 5:21
  • @CreationEdge: I wouldn't call that double penalizing. For series where different installments are of varying popularity (e.g. Ender's Game and friends), 7 could easily be a yes, and perhaps 8 as well.
    – Kevin
    Feb 12, 2016 at 5:22
  • 1
    @Kevin I would rate 7 and 8 as Yes for this myself, and even 1 as a maybe (at least for the non-core 7 books, such Beadle the Bard) But in general, I think we need a more cohesive collective works policy, anyway. My tags analysis thread shows how varying our practice is.
    – user31178
    Feb 12, 2016 at 5:29
  • @CreationEdge: Another factor is that canonicity can get complicated for some works. Are the movies "installments?" Do we need a separate potterverse-movies tag? How do we generalize this to other franchises like Doctor Who (which has a very loose notion of "canon") or Star Wars (which has a very tight definition)?
    – Kevin
    Feb 12, 2016 at 5:32
  • @Kevin I agree. It's a mess we can't solve in comments. I've not got a solution, yet. Although I don't mind pinging Rand over and over!
    – user31178
    Feb 12, 2016 at 5:37
  • 1
    I'd score 2 as "yes", since while the question would benefit from having the general franchise tag, it would certainly be clear what the question is about from having just the instalment tag. I think 2 is meant to weed out meta-tags, which an instalment tag isn't. So that would replace a -1 with a +2, bringing the score up to 9.
    – SQB
    Feb 12, 2016 at 9:21
  • 1
    Also, I'd grade 4 as a yes, if we use a correct tag name. deathly-hallows wouldn't cut it, but something like hp-the-deathly-hallows or even harry-potter-book-7 would. So that's another +1, bringing the score up to 10.
    – SQB
    Feb 12, 2016 at 9:24
  • 1
    I would score 1 as a yes: if you just finished reading one of the books, but that's the only book you've read, then you're an expert on just that one book. In fact, I come up with a score of 16 for a well-named single-book tag: maybe on 4 and 8, yes on everything else.
    – Martha
    Jun 9, 2016 at 4:31

Outside of our tag scoring, I think there's a more simple solution for not having those tags:

Events in the books are generally well-known enough that citing the specific book would be superfluous. Additionally, many of the questions may actually require answers that draw upon multiple instances of the work.

In general, our use of individual work tags is spotty (as in usual in our tag use):

  • A Song of Ice and Fire has no individual work tags.
  • Lord of the Rings has 3.
  • Mistborn has 1 of 6.
  • Ender's saga has at least 3, of 15 or so existing books.
  • His Dark Materials only has 1 (and that one only has 1 question, even though it's also a movie!)
  • Sword of Truth has 0 of 14+ tags (if you count the Richard and Kahlan novels, and Law of Nines, it goes up).
  • The Chronicles of Narnia has 0 of 7, just .

Granted, those last 5 have very few questions to begin with (a shame, in my opinion).

Having said that, I don't see any reason to remove individual work tags, if people start using them, with one caveat:

The question should be requesting answers that are contained within that book (or film) only. To me, it actually makes more sense with the films, as they are more self-contained than the books. (Note, this caveat is just my suggestion. I just don't see a reason to remove individual work tags in general. We should be creating tags, not destroying them.)


My evaluation of the checklist scores 12 (but see my note at the end):

  1. Does it make sense to be an "expert in "?
    +1 — Possibly. While people will most likely be an expert in , they might be fond of a specific book and may have reread it more than the others.

  2. Does it make sense for a question to be tagged only with ?
    +2 — Yes. While the question would benefit from being tagged with as well, being tagged with just makes it clear what the question is about. It's not a meta tag.

  3. Does have a single, universally-unambiguous meaning?
    +2 — Yes, if chosen well. Some of the books share most of the title (the part after "Harry Potter and ") with an important object or set of objects that may have a tag of their own (most notoriously the ) but a tag name like or even would be unambiguous.
    The only problem here could be the films, but we can follow our convention of adding the release date after the title.

  4. Is likely to be used correctly just based on its name?
    +2 — See previous.

  5. Are there "enough" (> 15) but not "too many" (> 10% site-wide) questions that qualify for ?
    +2 — I haven't searched, but very likely, based on the size of the franchise tag.

  6. Are people likely to use to find questions to answer?
    +1 — Possibly, if they have just read the book.

  7. Are there likely some users (be objective!) who will favourite or ignore ?
    +1 — Possibly, if they are in the process of reading the heptalogy, or if a new book has just been released

  8. Could be reasonably used to feed questions to a specialized chat room?
    -1 — No. The franchise, likely, but not the separate works. But see the note below.

  9. Can be used to search for questions (for any reason) in a way that keyword searching cannot accomplish?
    +2 — Yes. A number of subjects come up in different books. A user who's in the process of reading the series might want to exclude questions about later books, or search for questions only about the book they've just read.

However, the play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child will be released as a book. Then, when a new title has just been released, I expect people using the tag for the specific work, either to answer questions, or to avoid spoilers. Perhaps even to feed a topical chatroom.
So my score for the tag would be 16, around the time of its release.

  • 2
    What about people who have read some but not all of the books? Surely they would give a Yes for 7?
    – OrangeDog
    Feb 17, 2016 at 14:01
  • @OrangeDog That's basically my Cursed Child argument.
    – SQB
    Feb 17, 2016 at 14:12
  • 1
    Yes, but it applies in all cases and time, not just for soon after Cursed Child is released.
    – OrangeDog
    Feb 17, 2016 at 14:13
  • Thankfully the community has utterly rejected this checklist so we're no long obligated to do math :\
    – KutuluMike
    Jul 31, 2017 at 13:35
  • @KutuluMike "Oh dear, maths."—JKR
    – SQB
    Mar 23, 2018 at 14:09
  • @OrangeDog I've re-evaluated my checklist and adjusted for "all cases and time".
    – SQB
    Nov 6, 2018 at 20:35

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