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Contents


For help, advice, talk and arguments about combining or separating tags, go to the Combiners! group.

All of the currently-open tag combination and separation votes can be seen here: http://www.librarything.com/tags_combinations.php

The Guiding Principles

Tag combination is driven by a single basic rule: Tags should be combined only when they are the same in both meaning and usage on LibraryThing.

Examples:

  • There is no discernible difference in either the use or meaning when it comes to terms like "wwii," "ww2" and "world war two."
  • While some might claim they are synonyms, tags like LGBT and GLBT have very different top books. It's likely they encode differences in perspective or identity.

When in doubt, attention should be paid to the effect that tag combination will have—how books and users will be linked together—rather than to abstract question of semantics. Combining the many trivial variations on "World War Two" allows more users to participate in an interesting, valuable tag. Little interesting is lost. Combining LGBT and GLBT, by contrast, takes two relatively full and different lists and "averages them out," producing little improvement and much loss.

Rules of Thumb

  • Combining acronyms with non-acronyms should be avoided in general. For instance, combining "science fiction" with "SF" is not good, since other people use SF to mean "San Francisco" (or something else entirely).
  • Combining singular with plurals should be avoided in general. For instance, 'prayer' might mean the general concept of prayer where 'prayers' may mean a set of prayers. Similarly, multi-word and single word terms should be carefully researched before combining. For instance, "am history" could mean "American History", "Amarillo History", or "for a morning history class."

Non-English Tags

LibraryThing allows tag combination across languages. This, however, presents a problem, as the top books may well differ. Compared to "World War Two," the German "Zweiter Weltkrieg" and Swedish "Andra världskriget" are likely to include relatively more books related to Germany and Sweden, or by German or Swedish authors and not available in other languages. In such cases, effort should be made to determine if the intent of the tagging is different or not, and to the effects. For most non-English tags, the numbers are low enough that uncombined tags have relatively sparse and uninteresting tag pages.

Proposing Combinations/Separations

To propose a combination: on the tag page, scroll to the bottom of the green side bar on the right - you will see a line "Q: Can I propose a tag combination now?" followed by an Answer that contains the link "Yes you can" - click the link and a box will appear at the extreme bottom of the green right side-bar (below any current proposals) type or copy/paste your suggestion here and hit the "Submit" button.

To propose a separation: on the tag page of a tag that includes one or more other tags, scroll to the bottom of the green side bar on the right - you will see a line "Q: Can I propose to remove a combination?" followed by an Answer that contains the link "yes you can" - click the link and a box will appear a the extreme bottom of the green right side-bar (below any current proposals) click the arrow for a list of all of the currently included tags. Select the one you want and hit the "Submit" button.

Tag voting

All of the currently-open tag combination and separation votes can be seen here: http://www.librarything.com/tags_combinations.php

Threshold: At present, an answer meets the threshold if it has more than four times as many votes as the opposite, and is winning by 8 or more votes.

Closing votes: For a vote to close it must have been open for at least a week. It may close at any time after that.

Decided votes: For a vote to be decided, it must be at a threshold when it closes.

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