What questions should we use for? Most questions about short stories currently lack it so should we burninate it? If not, should we add it to all questions about all short stories?


3 Answers 3


Keep it.

It's a category that Makes Sense.

Short stories are a specific enough corner of literature, and enough of their own medium, that some users are likely to have special interest in that category. (Me, for example. I read primarily short fiction; I'm a huge fan of the form; I run an online short-story discussion club.)

While I certainly won't be interested in every question, being able to see what short-story questions the site has is extremely valuable to me -- much more than being able to search for any one short story in particular. Just as not every question on Stack Overflow will fall under my expertise, but it's a good categorization for the site to have, is a broad but extremely useful categorization.

Bear in mind Shog9's answer on guidelines for tag-burnination: Does this tag even need to be burninated? Does it describe its content (yes), is it unambiguous (sure), does it add any meaningful information (even if it doesn't for you, I can assure you it does for me).

The basic conclusion there is: if some people are finding a particular tag useful, and it's not causing confusion or ambiguity or misuse, there's no reason to burninate it. "This tag is not helpful to me" is different from "This tag is not helpful to anybody."

A "short stories" tag makes sense, it's useful, and I'd definitely like it to stick around.

  • 1
    The vote has stabilized on all answers, so unless there are objections I will accept this and begin to implement it.
    – Benjamin
    Feb 10, 2017 at 10:58

Burninate it.

Let's think. One of the reasons for tags is to attract experts. Can there really be an expert in 'short stories'? No1, as short stories is a large genre, and it's impossible to have read all of them, or even most. Does it add anything useful to the post? No, because it mentions the story and most likely mentions that it's a short story. Would anyone follow or block the tag? Probably not. See the first point.

Seems to be pretty useless to me. Burninate it!

1With the exception of user14111.

  • 4
    Ummm. Sure there can be an expert in short stories. A heck of a lot more than there can be an expert in "symbolism" or "reading-order." Short stories are a fascinating form of their own, with strengths and weaknesses; they're a great place to do experimental things that wouldn't work in long-form, or to portray something brief with tight focus. And it's a form that's relatively niche these days, which makes it really handy to be able to quickly find the whole category, instead of hunting and pecking individual titles.
    – Standback
    Feb 9, 2017 at 11:46

If we keep it, we still don't need a tag crusade

If we do keep the tag, then searching and tagging existing short-story questions is a possibility, but I generally don't advise it. It's busywork, and it floats a large number of "older" questions up to the top of the site.

But if the community accepts as a useful tag, they can help tag new questions that need it, or existing questions that happen to rise to the top, or catch their attention. 10-30-50 incompletely-tagged questions is not really an issue; helping tag incoming questions appropriately is a good thing (and something most SE sites need to do anyway).

  • Is there a way to tag something without it rising up in the active feed?
    – Benjamin
    Feb 9, 2017 at 11:44
  • 1
    You mean we should have that tag but keep it non-consistent? Feb 9, 2017 at 11:46
  • @Benjamin : Not last I checked.
    – Standback
    Feb 9, 2017 at 11:48
  • @AnkitSharma : I'd rather it be consistent. I can never guarantee consistency, because the community might always have missed a question. "As consistent as community moderation can make it, from this point on" is good enough for me. (If re-tagging wouldn't be massive or disruptive, I'm all for it; it's just pretty low-priority for me.)
    – Standback
    Feb 9, 2017 at 11:50
  • 'Tagging existing short-story questions is a possibility, but I generally don't advise it - it's busywork, and it floats a large number of "older" questions up to the top of the site.', this is the reason of tag Inconsistency most of the time. Feb 9, 2017 at 11:52
  • @AnkitSharma : I count 18 questions with "short story" in the text, and without the tag. We could bump them all up together, or we could say that a year from now, we'll probably have 150 tagged questions, + the same 18 untagged ones. IMHO neither option is a significant problem.
    – Standback
    Feb 9, 2017 at 12:00
  • OTOH, this seems to be detracting from the point that was more important to me, so I'm going to separate that bit to a different answer. (Hmmm. Actually all the comments are about the retagging, so, I'm gonna seperate the other bit into its own answer :P )
    – Standback
    Feb 9, 2017 at 12:01

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