Messing With Story Tags

Someone who calls himself ‘gayp3389’ removed four tags from the last chapter of my story ‘Dirty Little Bastard’. I have now put them back because their removal was totally inappropriate. The tags removed were:
‘Incest’: the story involves sex between three half-brothers, so this tag is not only accurate but required as a warning to readers who find such topics immoral or disturbing to avoid reading it.
‘Skinhead’: the story is about a man being transformed into a skinhead!
‘Reality Change’: the story is about reality change!
‘Tattoo’: all the characters are heavily tattooed!

I would like to thank Martin and Gay Spiral team for setting up the systems that warn writers of such changes and allow us to lock the tags, which I have now done. I actually found the changing of these tags as annoying as I would have done someone editing my work without permission.

Can I suggest to those who wish to change tags on stories that they seek permission from writers first? Most of us are very careful about which tags to apply to our work and they are usually accurate and appropriate.

You can lock your tags already if you want to make it impossible for other users to change tags (lock icon on the top right of the tag change widget).

To implement an approval mechanism for the authors would be a huge amount of work and I don’t think it would work well, especially as many authors are not even active any longer, so they cannot approve anything.

In general, most tag edits done by readers are sensible and are improving the tag quality. Of course, there are some people who don’t understand the system or just want to bother people. That’s why I’ve added the notification mail a while ago. That seemed to be the best compromise.

Thanks, Martin. I cery much appreciate all the hard work and innovations you put into the site. I was just venting, really, and trying to prevent such a thing happening again.

Best wishes,


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Is it worth considering unilaterally locking the tags on older stories? Any necessary changes should have settled down by now and if notifications only go to the author, changes to orphaned stories will go unnoticed. Presumably the author will be able to unlock the tags again. If anyone notices a significant issue with the presence or absence of a tag, they can always post a message here.

I’m not envisaging a new automated process, only something done manually once or infrequently.

I wouldn’t say that tags on older stories are settled, in my opinion, older stories often lack a lot of tags that they should have.

I also get notified of all changes to tags made on any story. Granted, I don’t check if the changes are appropriate, but I can see if someone like deletes them all or tries to harm a story by adding inappropriate tags (yes that happened in the past), and in such cases, I’ll intervene.

As for now, I’d like to keep it the way it is. Authors can lock the tags on their stories if they want to.

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I like leaving it open for people to change tags, if need be. Usually adjustments to the tags tells me tags I should be using and help my stories read a wider audience. There have been a few weird instances like mgreene mentioned where people removed or added tags in ways that were strange–I once got into a tag slap fight because someone didn’t understand the difference between first and third person–but the tags are easy to change and to lock down if people are being weird about it. The benefits of having open tags outweigh the irritations, for me.


I agree that it’s probably a good idea to leave tags open to change. Most readers are sensible and intelligent about it. When I first began submitting stories to this site back in 2017, some of the tags did not exist (1st / 3rd person, for example). I was also pretty poor at correctly tagging my own stories (I think I got better at doing this as I went along). Thank goodness for Martin’s author notification system!


Yeah, I lean this way too. Sometimes people tag something in a story and I never realized that people might be searching for that particular style of thing. It’s always fun when you find out you accidentally wrote someone’s kink without realizing it.

That said, yeah, I love that the balance of power lays with the author so we can lock it down if someone’s being unreasonable about adding or removing tags from our stories.


Couple things.

Firstly, like Martin said, a lot of the older stories do not adhere to the current tag guidelines (in particular, older stories will almost never have the required perspective tag i.e.; first person, third person). They often just have minimal tagging in general. It would be actually be nice if people who found themselves reading and enjoying one of these tag-deficient older stories would patch up the tagging when they finish the story. It might help more readers find that story.

Secondly, sometimes newer authors really do seem to need help tagging their stories. Of course if they know what they are doing and don’t want anyone adjusting these, they can lock their story tags.


Agreed. I only complained because the re-tagging of my story was totally wrong and inappropriate.