There are nine questions tagged . It has no tag wiki. Browsing the list of questions, it’s not clear to me what its intended use is.

Some of the questions appear to be seeking references for something. But most good answers on the site should include references anyway, so I’m not sure how the tag would help.

Do we need this tag? If so, what should its usage guidance be? I’m not suggesting that we make any effort to re-tag questions that should or shouldn’t have the tag, but if we keep the tag, then I think it should have a tag wiki excerpt to help with its usage.

Edit: It’s been a week, and it looks like no one is especially interested in keeping the tag. Should we remove it?

  • The reference tag now has a tag wiki. The tag is presumably here to stay.
    – Molag Bal
    Commented May 6, 2016 at 17:41

1 Answer 1


I can see two possible uses for this tag:

  1. Find me a work with property X. This appears to be the most common use of the tag currently. Examples include:

    Frankly, I struggle to see how this use fills an unmet need. is already this to an extent, and the rest seem well-served by franchise or author tags; I'm struggling to think of a counter-example.

    There is, of course, also the complication that every question on this site is fundamentally a "Find me a work with property X" question. Those are, at least, the kind of answers we encourage.

  2. Questions about references within works. By which I mean references to real works of fiction, not footnotes1. Examples include:

    I struggle to see how having this tag is an improvement over simply using two "works" tags (which you should be tagging your question with anyway). To take the first of my above examples, what benefit does add that the combination of and doesn't already provide?

    There's perhaps a case that someone might be interested in finding questions about references between works of fiction, regardless of the work(s) in question. I'm not sure how credible you find that; it seems like an extremely niche use case, but then I don't know what the kids are into these days.

My thoughts

If we're going to keep it, the second option I've presented here is by far the better one. The tag should be removed from (most) questions, other questions should have it added, and all of that fun stuff.

Personally I lean towards killing it, though I wouldn't raise a fuss if we decided to keep it. I just don't see the benefit, myself.

1 Although I do love me some footnotes

  • If we kept it with the second meaning, I suggest it be renamed to "allusions" or something else more explicitly clear. I have seen a number of questions on which that tag would be appropriate - "Is Thing A inspired by Thing B" is a moderately common genre of question on this SE, and it might help people review what's been asked before if such a tag was more widely used with a clear meaning.
    – recognizer
    Commented Mar 10, 2016 at 3:01

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