As I do not have the reputation to create tags and there was no corresponding tag to the author/book I was asking about, I spent a fair amount of time searching for an appropriate tag and couldn't find any. I think this is a scenario which is likely to happen to new users. So my proposal is, could someone create some tags like novel, fiction or something like clarification, analysis etc. for cases when the corresponding author is not yet listed in the tags?

Okay, so I have been not clear enough so I would make another attempt:

I believe there is a problem with how tags work on this site. And the problem is, that if a new user wants to ask a question about a book or author that does not have a tag yet, might be scared off from writing that question when they do not find an appropriate tag (as choosing a tag is mandatory). This might suggest that a new member is not allowed to write a question about different books/authors other than that's already been asked. We could be possibly losing new members.

So for this reason, I would suggest, that a general 'novel' tag is created (there are already tags for short-story and poetry) so it can be chosen by someone who does not have a reputation to create tags.
In the description of the 'novel' tag could be explained that it is only to be chosen when no other tag fits.
And when a higher ranking member edits the question, they could create a tag for the mentioned author/book and delete the 'novel' tag.

One remark: As far as I am concerned it does not have to be the exact tag 'novel'. It could be something else like 'fiction' too. It was just an example. I just wanted to point out that there is a problem which restricts how members under 150 reputation can use the site and I believe that the consequences can be graver than intended.

I would like to clarify why I think this question is not a duplicate.

  1. The other question was asked during the private beta when everyone could create tags, this is not the case anymore
  2. My question is not really a discussion starter, but a feature request (as the tag clearly states)

But let's assume for a moment that it is a duplicate. Then I would guess that the answers from this other question stand in this case too.

There are 2 answers:
1. The first one says that the OP should create a new tag for the book if they find it fitting:

So if the OP thinks the work they are asking about merits a titular tag, so be it.

But in my case, the OP is not able to create a tag.

  1. The second one says that everyone can create a tag as they see fitting, and we should clean up later.

    I try to look at tagging as a kind of lazy topiary: let them grow however they want until they get in the way of the path, then trim 'em back.

So none of these answers are against creating a 'novel' tag.

So if you are against creating the 'novel' tag then please create a new answer as to why.

If you still think this question is a duplicate, because the 'novel' tag should be allowed (I do not see why not, as there are 'poetry' and 'short-story' tags too) then please do create this tag for the sake of novice users.
As stated before, this question tries to be a feature request (for the very simple reason I am not allowed to create a new tag) and not a discussion starter. But if you would like to discuss then you are of course welcome to do so.

  • Maybe I wasn't clear enough: I am not asking if I - as a user - should create tags because I am actually not allowed to. I am requesting that the site - maybe the administrators - create some general tags otherwise new users cannot ask a question without clicking on a random tag which has nothing to do with the actual topic.
    – ylka
    Commented Mar 3, 2017 at 11:53
  • Yes, but that is one of many questions which addresses whether general tags should exist.
    – Benjamin
    Commented Mar 3, 2017 at 11:58
  • I've marked this question as a duplicate because, to my understanding, the question of when general tags should be created falls squarely under when tags should be created all. If this isn't quite what you were going for, or I've misinterpreted, please let me know, or alternately, possibly edit to clarify. Thanks!
    – user80
    Commented Mar 3, 2017 at 12:51
  • Related: meta.literature.stackexchange.com/questions/608/…
    – Shokhet
    Commented Mar 15, 2017 at 18:01

1 Answer 1


I understand the problem (I've also experienced it, as a new user in public beta), but I don't think that a [novel] tag is the solution. It has the potential to get really messy, and is not in keeping with the general purpose of tags. As long as this site is new enough to retain "beta" status, there is an intentionally low(ered) reputation required to create new tags. 150 points is really not a lot, especially for new users who already have an account (with 200+ points) elsewhere on the network.

In the event that a new user does come here, asking a question about a work or author without a tag, a high-rep user will be along to fix it soon enough.

  • I do not think that this is a solution, because I am convinced that new users can be shied away from asking the question in the first place if they cannot find an appropriate tag. And that was my idea in the first place, that a high-rep user has to edit the tags anyway, so they could delete the novel tag whenever it occurs (and replace it with appropriate ones). But I do really appreciate your answer and that you did consider this problem. I also understand the fear that the 'novel' tag would flood the site.
    – ylka
    Commented Mar 13, 2017 at 8:04
  • 1
    Right. The purpose of this answer was not really to propose a new solution to the problem, more to explain why [novel] is not a good idea. I don't really have any suggestions wrt how to fix the problem ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
    – Shokhet
    Commented Mar 13, 2017 at 13:52
  • meta.literature.stackexchange.com/q/608/481
    – Shokhet
    Commented Mar 15, 2017 at 16:13

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