Hierarchical Tags

Page last updated: August 8, 2019 (view history)

DISCLAIMER: This article is an early WORK IN PROGRESS. It will likely go through significant revision.

What are hierarchical tags?

Hierarchical tags (occasionally known as subtags and similar terms) can essentially be thought of as specifiers to a parent tag:

Similar to groups, tags also support a hierarchy by separating "sections" with periods. For example, tagging something with rock.progressive will cause it to still be treated as though it has a rock tag (being found in searches and affected by filters), but is more specific and could allow more detailed filtering/searching.

This is a good starting point, but it doesn't expound very well on how you're intended to use them, nor does it really go into how the community has come to use them. Thus, the purpose of this document is firstly to explain some of the conventions of how these tags are used on Tildes; secondly to explain and note where they are used and not used currently; and thirdly, to put forward a "standard" of sorts by which to use them for the future

Examples of hierarchical tags:

Here are some examples of hierarchical tags in action which demonstrate how they modify and narrow down their parent tag:

These are quite commonplace examples and fairly straightforward; however, hierarchical tags are used on Tildes in a number of other ways not reflected by either of these examples. This gets to the crux of this document: how else are hierarchical tags used on Tildes, where are places they might be better used or not used at all, and what sort of standard--if any--exists for hierarchical tagging and how can that standard be improved upon and made more consistent?

Hierarchical tags in practice

Mostly group-specific tags

Many sections have group-specific or mostly group-specific uses of hierarchical tags. This section covers most of these conventions, organized by the group or groups they are best associated with.


For medicine., health. and similar tags, use is somewhat complicated. These tags should generally parallel, but currently and historically do not.

medicine. is more frequent than health., generally speaking. The following existing constructions should mostly be used for medicine. tags: * medicine.veterinary and other branches of medicine. Wikipedia compiles a helpful list of these branches which you can draw from. * medicine.ethics and similar constructions * medicine.technology and similar constructions

Constructions like alternative.medicine should be avoided and converted to the above where they exist.

health. is similar. The following constructions exist and should be used and emulated accordingly: * health.public (for public health) * health.environmental (for environmental health) * health.brain (for brain health)

...and so on, as needed.

The tag public health is extant, but should generally be deprecated in favor of health.public to follow with the trend above. However, the similar tag mental health is so well established that letting it stand is probably a better idea.



~music is, frankly, kind of a fucking disaster without consistent tags. Here is an effort to parse out every running tag that exists or which needs to probably become the standard, based on the hierarchical tag system.

under the folk heading


under the rock heading

rock.alternative; rock.art; rock.carnatic; rock.experimental; rock.folk; rock.indie; rock.industrial; rock.opera; rock.progressive; rock.psychadelic; rock.pub; rock.punk; rock.rap

under the pop heading

pop.art; pop.indie; pop.jangle; pop.noise; pop.power

under the punk heading

punk.art; punk.post



In the absence of a ~socialscience group, post social science-related topics in ~science with a socialscience.[discipline] tag - such as socialscience.psychology, socialscience.sociology,socialscience.anthropology, (examples here).


Sports has a large number of specific tags, some of which make use of hierarchical tags. However, this is one of the few cases where hierarchical tags are messier, more ambiguous, and just a general pain in the ass (particularly the occasional use of football.) and should probably be deprecated across the board for those reasons.

The specific mess of football.

The tag football. and similar conventions should probably be mothballed. This tag is, while technically correct, a giant mess because it tries to contain what could be as many as six different sports (and their countless variants) into a single tag, even though many of those sports only nominally resemble each other. It should probably be de-rolled in all cases and broken down as follows:

Current tag(s) Convert into
football.soccer soccer.football soccer football
football.american football (referring to American football) american football
football.college college football
football.canadian canadian football
football.gridiron gridiron football
football.australian (rules) australian rules football
football.gaelic gaelic football
football.international rules international rules football
football.rugby rugby
Possible use cases

Beyond the football. tag, there is some on-and-off use of the [sport].college convention for college sports related topics. This is fine, but to keep things simpler, it may be best to the college [sport] convention, in line with how the football. tag should probably be used going forward.

Mostly group non-specific tags

There are also a number of tags which are more general and occur or can occur in several or all groups on the website. Some of the more common conventions of hierarchical tags that are generally not group-specific are:


recurring. is a relatively new set of hierarchical tags, but is used fairly simply. The interval of the thread is used as the subtag, i.e. weekly, biweekly, monthly, and so on. There are three established tags in this vein which cover all known use-cases as of now.

The tag recurring.daily can also be used (as can any other permutation of interval) but thus far has not.

nsfw., trigger., tw., cw. and similar tags

nsfw., trigger., tw, and cw. are all universal tags that have been used in one form or another to separate out content which might be objectionable and which are still useful for these purposes. Although all four have been used, the community has largely settled on a standard of using trigger. over tw. and cw. with potentially triggering content primarily for reasons of clarity (the trigger. tag also been put forward by Deimos previously as a way of handing potentially triggering and objectionable content). nsfw. is also sometimes used, but this is less frequent and usually carries a different implication than trigger. does.

As mentioned above, if you are using intending to use a tag of this sort, the preferred option in almost all cases is trigger. over tw. or cw.. For all intents and purposes, tw. and cw. should be considered mothballed and previous uses of them should probably be converted into trigger. at some point (particularly the duplicates tw.death, tw.suicide, and tw.selfharm).

The main established tags under the trigger. banner are: * trigger.death * trigger.selfharm * trigger.suicide * trigger.sexual violence * trigger.rape * trigger.assault * trigger.child abuse * trigger.transphobia * trigger.homophobia (not used yet, but presumably applicable due to trigger.transphobia's existence)

These are self explanatory for the most part, and cover most bases; however, if you feel that a particular topic is likely to be triggering for some people, it would be courteous to tag it accordingly in line the above tags. (Do also note that all of these tags can be and often are applied as standalone tags instead of being grouped under trigger. due to the fact that trigger. has waxed and waned in popularity over Tildes's existence.)

If you are intending to post graphic content, or content which has the potential of exposing people to graphic content (broadly construed), nsfw. is generally preferable over trigger.. nsfw. is quite rare, but one example of it in action is the nsfw.racism tag on Ignore The Poway Synagogue Shooter’s Manifesto: Pay Attention To 8chan’s /pol/ Board due to the exceptionally racist content screencapped as a part of the submitted article. nsfw.sex is also seen on Do Police Know How To Handle Abuse Within Kinky Relationships? due to the explicitly sexual nature of the article's subject, but this is more of a courteous measure than a necessary one--a qualified nsfw tag is generally not necessary, and if one is a moderator will most likely add it after the fact.

economics. and similar tags

The economics tag can occur in several groups, most often ~science, ~news, and ~misc. While it can take hierarchical tags, standalone economics is usually fine. Nonetheless, with specific branches of economics like microeconomics and macroeconomics, hierarchical tags should probably be used (thus economics.micro, economics.macro, economics.applied, and so on). Examples of this in action (and further specification under this scheme) are: * economics.trade (economics and trade) * economics.micro.urban (urban microeconomics) * economics.policy.employment (economic policy with respect to employment)

However, when placed in ~science, the standard is always socialsciences.economics over economics. to align with the standards of tagging in that group, thus socialsciences.economics.trade instead of economics.trade. Given that economics. in this case is itself a hierarchical tag, it may be pertinent to break off the last hierarchical tag into its own tag where it would lead to three consecutive hierarchical tags, like so:


The law tag takes a very large number of modifiers and can be used in just about every group due to the fact that law generally transcends the current set of groups Tildes has. Historically, topics related to law have been tagged in the [modifier] law format (i.e. medical law, copyright law, us law, and so on); however, this has generally been phased out by the community in favor of using hierarchical tags for the modifiers. Therefore, with respect to pre-existing tags, constructions like medical law should be deprecated in favor of law.medical. In addition, the following tags which do exist should be converted accordingly:

All single modifier tags should follow a pattern like this. In other words, if you were going to tag something as "abortion law", you should do law.abortion instead of abortion law. Currently well established tags following this format are: law.citizenship, law.international, law.labor, law.marriage, and law.juvenile.

The following tags with location tags in them (and similar tags like them) should be converted slightly differently from the above tags. Instead of being rolled directly, the locator tag (or what would be the locator tag) should be broken out from the tag, and the tag that is left should have its modifier turned into a hierarchical tag if possible. Thus:

However, this should generally not be done with tags which refer to specific laws. For example religious neutrality law, blue laws and safe haven law are tags which should not be converted to use hierarchical tags because it makes little sense to do so.

There are also two specific tags which should generally not be rolled, which are martial law and law enforcement. Martial law is mostly used to refer to a specific state of affairs rather than an actual subset of law, so it makes little sense for this to be grouped into the law tag, while law enforcement is not really law in the sense being tagged here and is also covered by other tags like policing; using law.enforcement for this purpose would also be ambiguous, since it more likely would refer to enforcement of legal doctrine.

The use of the sharia law tag is ambiguous. Since sharia is de jure a form of law, it would make sense to roll it like the other examples so that the tag is law.sharia; however the two uses of it on Tildes are sharia law and there is currently no real consensus on whether or not to roll it in this manner.

hurricanes., cyclones., and typhoons.

Tropical cyclone news generally fits into several places, most often ~news, ~enviro, or ~science. Generally, the standard for tagging tropical cyclones, whether they are hurricanes, cyclones, typhoons, or other similar storms is to use the applicable term for the storm in question, and then use a hierarchical tag for the storm's name. Actual examples of this are:

This is relatively straightforward, and covers the nomenclature of all existing basins. However, some basins have not been represented on Tildes thus far, so here are the two cases where standards overlap for reference:

For convenience purposes, storms which are named but have not hit hurricane status should probably still be referred to with the corresponding cyclonic storm tag for their basin, even though they have not formally reached hurricane, cyclone, or typhoon status.

If there is no name to refer to (i.e. a name has not been designated for the storm), a hierarchical tag should probably not be applied at all, since that would get messy and likely necessitate updates. With storms that have only nicknames or lack a name under the nomenclature since they predate cyclone naming (for example, the 1938 New England Hurricane) there's really no best way to do things, however, using a truncation of the nickname may be the most preferable option (for example: hurricanes.1938 new england).

The text of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0.
You can propose changes to this page by editing the copy of it available in the wiki for the ~tildes.official group on Tildes itself.