- What are hierarchical tags?
- Hierarchical tags in practice
- Mostly group-specific tags
- Mostly group non-specific tags
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:
canadashows that this topic is about something in the country of Canada.
canada.qcshows that this topic is about something in the province of Quebec within the country of Canada.
canada.qc.montrealshows that this topic is about something in the city of Montreal in the province of Quebec within the country of Canada.
askshows that this topic is asking a question.
ask.recommendationsshows that this topic is asking for recommendations.
ask.surveyshows that this topic is asking for people's opinions ("best", "worst", "favourite").
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.
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.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
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.
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.
consistent use of place standard for subtags. note that abbreviated and truncated forms generally win out with the subtag despite longform use on the tagging document: no
canada.british columbiafor example; rather
note no use of
politicsis standalone tag. ditto no
electionsis also standalone.
~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.
- For religions, use
[religion name].[denomination]- such as
- For languages, use
[language].[dialect], such as
In the absence of a ~socialscience group, post social science-related topics in ~science with a
socialscience.[discipline] tag - such as
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. 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|
Possible use cases
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.
monthly, and so on. There are three established tags in this vein which cover all known use-cases as of now.
recurring.daily can also be used (as can any other permutation of interval) but thus far has not.
cw. and similar tags
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
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
As mentioned above, if you are using intending to use a tag of this sort, the preferred option in almost all cases is
cw.. For all intents and purposes,
cw. should be considered mothballed and previous uses of them should probably be converted into
trigger. at some point (particularly the duplicates
The main established tags under the
trigger. banner are:
trigger.homophobia (not used yet, but presumably applicable due to
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
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
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.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
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:
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.
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:
medical law(convert to
international law(convert to
labor law(convert to
employment law(convert to
antidiscrimination laws(convert to
copyright law(convert to
maritime law(convert to
environmental law(convert to
gun laws(convert to
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:
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:
usa federal lawsis converted to
usa. (To elaborate in this case, the
usais separated, leaving
federal lawswhich can be converted into
us lawis similarly converted to
european lawis converted to
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
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.
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:
typhoons.yutufor the Pacific typhoon basin's Typhoon Yutu
hurricanes.michaelfor the Atlantic basin's Hurricane Michael
cyclones.idaifor the South-West Indian basin's Cyclone Idai
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:
- the Pacific hurricane basin and the South Atlantic basin would both be represented by the same standard as the Atlantic basin (thus,
hurricanes.patriciafor the Pacific Hurricane Patricia and
hurricanes.catarinafor the South Atlantic Hurricane Catarina)
- the Australian, North Indian, and South Pacific basins would be represented by the South-West Indian basin's standard (thus,
cyclones.tracyfor Australian Cyclone Tracy,
cyclones.fanifor North Indian Cyclone Fani, and
cyclones.gitafor South Pacific Cyclone Gita).
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).