I would like to apologize in advance for the long post, this post encompasses a full change to how we use tags on Movies and TV by focusing on the types of tags that we allow on the site, rather than the individual tags themselves. As we've got many people attached to some very suspect tags, this is to keep the discussion above these attachments and focus on objectively improving the way we use tags on this site.
If at any point you feel that you want to make a case for keeping individual tags or groups of tags, but overall agree with cleaning up our tags, post and answer making your case for not removing a particular tag or subset of tags. Likewise, if you only want to discuss a particular part of the post (for example, genre tags), feel free to post an answer focusing on just that section.
To be clear, no immediate re-tagging effort will be taken at the conclusion of this post - this post serves only to establish policy on how we tag. A tag clean up post will follow once we reach a consensus on policy.
Before we start, here are a few things to consider. When Gaming Stack Exchange first started as one of a new breed of Stack Exchange 2.0 sites, they ran into the exact same situation that we're currently in and Stack Exchange stepped in and started cleaning it up. They had a wide variety of meta tags (tags that are essentially keywords for the content that appears in the question, for example tagging something with technology because it's about an energy weapon) and over-tagging everything.
The way that we currently use tags currently on Movies and TV Stack Exchange is a little bit of a mess. We've had past attempts at cleaning up bits of it but overall there is still a lot of tag misuse. On a site about a subject where potentially anything could be used as a subject title, using tags like vampires to describe a movie that contains vampires when there is the potential for questions about a movie called Vampires makes the tag system confusing.
As we've already seen with the Aliens tag, using tags that describe the content of the question rather than categorize the type of question it is lead to misuse of the tags in question. For that reason, I feel we should have a nice and simple set of tags which cover broad categorizations with distinct names for our core purposes and remove all current "meta" tags - the information portrayed by these tags should appear in the body of the question, rather than in the tags themselves.
It's not just the obvious overlaps from running out of unused words or phrases for movie and television show titles, during our time in beta we picked up some fairly glaring contradictions in the way the site works, for example - we actively blacklist the use of movies, but we have two tags to discuss TV shows with tv-shows and television.
My suggestion is that we adopt a simple system allowing only specific categories of tags, leaving the rest of the tags for Movies and TV show names:
This is what we're all about. We are Movies and TV Stack Exchange! There are lots of different tags, some with lots of questions and some with only one question, and in the future it will be this category of tag that grows the quickest. As we become more active, more questions will be asked about more movies and more TV shows, creating more name tags. In the instance of clashes between movies and TV shows with the same name, the TV show should be suffixed with -tv. In the instance of multiple medias with the same name, these should probably be suffixed with -year.
As we also allow questions about directors, actors, and other prominent people within the film industry (well, there wouldn't be many movies or TV shows without these...), people's names (including alan-smithee falls into this category. It's unlikely that there will be any overlap here but I feel that the director should get precedence in any conflicts.
This is for directors and company tags in particular - just because a movie is directed by an individual or created by some company is not necessarily a reason to add that tag, multiple name tags should only be used in the instance that the question being asked is specifically about those topics. This should also apply to multiple movie tags when a single franchise tag would suffice.
If a series of movies is popular enough that we get questions about it, these should be appropriately tagged as the name of the franchise. For example, marvel-cinematic-universe and james-bond already exists.
This makes the movie-franchise tag redundant so this should be removed.
Note: This post is not about whether these questions are on topic or not. This section can be removed if that ever changes, etc. At the time of writing, this category of question is on topic.
These tags are used for identification questions:
Since we allow questions about the film industry itself, we do need some descriptive tags to cover that content. Unfortunately the system doesn't support sub-tags otherwise I'd suggest that "industry roles" be sub-tags of "film-industry" but I don't think we'd end up in a situation frequently where both groups of tags are used at the same time.
Further to the above, there are also many other roles within the creation of cinematic media (such as foley) which currently do not have a tag, although we do have several meta tags that have questions that could be re-tagged with more suitable industry role tags (there's probably a few questions within sound-effects, for example). This would be worth a consideration when looking at how to dispose of the meta tags.
Movie specific tags
These tags cover the individual roles and components that make up movies and TV shows, whether that be for questions about screen writing or questions about the credit sequence.
I had a long think about this and I think that while it would be nice to limit them to specifically being used on identification questions, we should still keep genre tags because they're a useful filter and it is plausible to apply this as a filter to industry tags also, this might need a future edit maybe? Furthermore, removing genre tags would break our link with Science Fiction and Fantasy Stack Exchange, since they list questions tagged science-fiction. (I think Anime hand Manga have a similar link as well).
I'm personally not a huge fan of genre tags and for me, these can go if the community decides, their inclusion here is primarily down to the functionality they provide for other sites - I don't think identification questions should have anything other than the identification tag against them!
- time-travel (seems like a sub-tag of science-fiction to me but it does have 38 questions and 6 followers)
- animation (is animation a medium or a genre? we're using it as a genre...)
The tags that are left (needs another title on this section?)
These tags are technically on topic.
Tags that should be deleted
These tags either overlap with existing movies that questions could be asked about, are purely meta tags - portraying information that should be described in the question body itself, or questions that do not fall into any of the other categories and have a very low subscribers to questions ratio (indicating they're poor as filters). I have tried to justify why each and every single one of these should be deleted. As stated earlier, if at any point you feel that you want to make a case for keeping individual tags or groups of tags, but overall agree with cleaning up our tags, post and answer making your case for not removing a particular tag or subset of tags.
Did you know that we actually blacklist the movies tag? Why does TV get to have two tags and why do we need short film? In all instances, these are tags that aren't followed by anybody and aren't going to be used as filters. These tags are also misused heavily, especially on identification questions.
Unbelievably, we've got four adaptation tags. The primary "adaptation" tag even has the tag wiki "For questions about movies or TV shows adapted from other materials, for example books or video games." - In every instance, this information should appear in the question body if the question is about the adaption. In an ideal world, this information would also be in the tag wiki for the movie tag (for example, Lord of the Rings is adapted from...)
Adaptions has been cleaned up already!
Advertising is but a single component of marketing, why does it have it's own tag? Merge it into marketing. So are movie posters...
Copyright is a subset of legal, we don't need two tags. One of them should go.
These tags are all meta tags by definition
As mentioned earlier, meta tags that are essentially keywords for the content that appears in the question, they describe the content in the question rather than what the question is about. For example tagging something with technology because it's about an energy weapon. They don't add anything to the question because they then later appear in the body of the question and/or the title of question. Another good example of a meta tag is tagging a question with title because you're asking about the title of a particular movie, the question title itself will almost definitely include the word title and then it will get included again in the body of the question. The tag added nothing.
Tags are not intended to be used as substitutions for words that should appear in the title of the question. This is covered here by Stack Exchange's VP of Community Growth, Jaydles. You don't need the tag title as a tag, because your question title should clearly state that you're asking about the title. It's just an unnecessary tag.
These tags have already been cleaned up as part of Cleaning up the General Topic Tags:
I feel these ones do not have a use and should be removed:
- translation (I appreciate this could have a legitimate use, but at the moment it's used as a meta tag in pretty much every case. One particular case where it's used with title should be tagged film-industry anyway, in my opinion)
- awards (should be tagged with the name of the relevant award, film-industry or... judging by our existing questions, have the question deleted)
- reference (To demonstrate how bad this tag is, it has 50 questions and no followers, that aside, it's horribly misused on pretty much every single question it's on and we could probably do with a sundance-film-festival for the remaining one that would be untagged, after all, we have an academy-awards)
Tags that might have a use but are currently misused
These tags might have a use, I don't know your opinions on this matter. Currently my opinion on the matter is that these be deleted as looking at the questions currently assigned to them they appear to be used primarily as topic or subject tags in conjunction with an identification tag.
These ones are used in conjunction with multiple name tags and I'm not sure that's required either:
Horribly abused on a variety of questions. Additionally, if we're suffixing duplicates with the same name by year, the remake tag becomes completely redundant.
- realism (this tag is horribly misused, there are only a handful of questions where this is the only tag and they can be re-tagged according to subject)
- most-appearances (I personally think this one gets a little bit too close to being a trivia tag, unlike first-appearances it has 3 questions and 0 followers so it isn't even really used by anybody)
- historical-accuracy (We're not historians and in nearly every instance this is accompanied with a Name tag, out of the two that's left, one is specific to american-cinema and the other is a duplicate asking for recommendations)
- plot-explanation (In every single instance, this is also tagged with a Name tag)
- first-appearance (merge into cinema-history perhaps)
I know that this is a lot of tags to delete, but I feel that this particular clean up has been long over due. Many of these tags have been bought up before by people other than me and although positively voted, no action seems to have been taken in many instances. Quoting Jeff Atwood:
In my defense, in the spirit of Wikipedia's Be Bold, we also like to encourage direct action to improve the site -- not next month, not next year, but hey how about.. right now?
What are your opinions? Can we please adopt a sensible and consistent tagging policy?