Archive FAQ > Tag Sets

What is a tag set?

Tag sets are tag 'bundles' that can be used for running a Prompt Meme or Gift Exchange, but are set up separately. Tag sets make it possible for your challenge to include tags which haven't been created on Archive of Our Own (AO3), while also allowing access to existing tags. Some examples where tag sets can be useful are:

  • A Gift Exchange focused on a fandom which is fairly new to AO3, involving characters and relationships that haven't been used on the site yet.
  • A Prompt Meme that wishes to limit the available choices to a specific set of fandoms, relationships, and/or characters.

You can add a tag set to your Gift Exchange or Prompt Meme when you first create it, or later from its Challenge Settings page, and tags in the set will appear in the Sign-up form. Refer to the Collections and Challenges FAQ for more information.

The owner of a tag set can add as many co-owners and moderators as they like to help them manage it. Moderators don't have access to the settings, but they can assist by processing nominations. For more on this, go to How do I add or remove someone as a co-owner or moderator of my tag set? Refer to How do I open nominations? and the following questions for information on the nominations process in general.

Tag sets that other users have made can be found listed on the Tag Sets page.

Some tag set owners may choose to make their tag set visible or hidden, and/or make it publicly available for others to use in their challenges. Please note that the user who created a tag set can delete the tag set or change it without warning, so before using someone else's tag set for your challenge, please be sure that you trust them not to change it at an inconvenient time.

How do I find tag sets created by others?

Tag sets are listed on the Tag Sets page, which you can access as follows:

  1. Log in and go to "Browse" and then "Tags" on the menu at the top of the page in the default site skin (below the site logo)
  2. Select the "Tag Sets" button towards the top of the page, beside "Most Popular".

You can browse these, or you can find a specific tag set by entering all or part of the tag set name in the search box near the "New Tag Set" and "Tags" buttons.

Some tag set owners may choose to make their tag set publicly available for others to use in their challenges. Please note that the owners of a tag set can delete the tag set or change it without warning, so be careful when opting to use a public tag set in your challenge. A tag set that's available for public use will have the statement "This tag set can be used in challenge settings by anybody" on its page. This shouldn't be confused with "Open to the public," which is the message displayed when a tag set is accepting nominations.

If you're trying to find your own tag sets, refer to How do I find tag sets I own or moderate?

How do I find tag sets I own or moderate?

There's currently no navigational way to find tag sets that you own or moderate. However, you can modify the URL in your address bar to take you to your Tag Sets page. Copy the following link and change USERNAME to your own username:
archiveofourown.org/users/USERNAME/tag_sets. You can also use this method to find tag sets by a specific user.

If you're trying to find another tag set, refer to How do I find tag sets created by others?

How do I create a new tag set?

When logged in to the Archive of Our Own (AO3):

  1. Select "Browse" and then "Tags" on the menu at the top of the page in the default site skin (below the site logo).
  2. Select the "Tag Sets" button towards the top of the page, beside "Most Popular".
  3. Select the "New Tag Set" button.

This will take you to a page which lets you set the parameters of your tag set, as outlined below.

Management

In the Management section you can add (or remove) owners and moderators. Anyone you add as an owner or moderator must have an account on AO3.

Enter their username or pseud in the text box beside "Add/Remove Owners" or "Add/Remove Moderators". If the username or pseud isn't already an owner or moderator, they'll be added as one. If they're already an owner or moderator, they'll be removed. You can't remove the sole owner of the tag set. For more information refer to How do I add or remove someone as a co-owner or moderator of my tag set?

Description

In this section you set the following options:

Title
This is a mandatory field. You can only enter text in this field, up to 255 characters (the symbols , ^ * < > { } = ` \ and % can't be used).
Brief Description
Enter a description of your tag set, up to 1250 characters. You can use HTML code and other symbols in this field (be aware that any coding or formatting characters are counted toward the 1250 limit).
Visible tag list?
Check this box to allow others to preview which tags are included in your tag set.
Usable by others?
Check this box to make your tag set publicly available for other challenge moderators to use. Please note that changing this setting will not affect challenges already using your tag set.
Currently taking nominations?
Check this box to open nominations—you will need to do this in order to set up your nomination limits as well.

Nomination Limits

If you've checked "Currently taking nominations?" you'll be presented with an area to set up the limits you want to place on nominations. Enter the maximum number of Fandom, Character, Relationship, and Additional (freeform) tag nominations you'll accept from any one participant. If you allow both fandoms and characters/relationships in the same tag set, the number of characters/relationships is per fandom.

Tags In Set

There are two ways to enter tags into your tag set: manually or by accepting nominations. You can do either or both of these. If you want to manually add tags to your set, this is where you can do that.

You can use tags that already exist on AO3, or add new ones. You can also select the Categories, Ratings, and Warnings tags that are allowed.

Please note that if you're including fandoms in your tag set, you'll be limited to those fandoms in your challenge. If you're not including fandoms in your tag set, you won't be able to associate new characters or relationships.

If you want to add multiple tags that already exist on the Archive, you may want to consider using our batch load feature instead.

Tag Associations

This section is empty when you first create your tag set. After you've submitted tags, or accepted nominated tags into your tag set, you can return to this section to add or edit their fandom associations. Refer to How do I add associations to tags?

Actions

Once you're happy with the options you've selected, and have manually added any tags you want included, select the "Submit" button at the end of the form. We suggest you bookmark the resulting page to allow you to easily navigate back to your tag set.

How do I delete a tag set?

If you have owner-level access to the tag set, you can select the "Delete" button on the tag set page, and confirm the deletion in the pop-up window. Tag set deletions are immediate and irreversible. All information in the tag set, including added tags, nominations, and associations, will be immediately destroyed, and the tag set will be unavailable for any challenges.

If a tag set is the only one in use by a challenge when it's deleted, the challenge will revert to allowing all Archive of Our Own (AO3) tags.

How do I change whether my tag set is available for public use?

From your tag set page, select the "Edit" button. In the Description section, check "Usable by others?" and then select the "Update" button to make your tag set publicly available for other challenge owners to use.

To make your tag set unavailable, just uncheck "Usable by others?", and then select the "Update" button at the bottom of the page. Please note that making your tag set unavailable will not affect challenges already using your tag set.

How do I change whether the tags in my tag set are hidden or visible?

From your tag set page, select the "Edit" button. In the Description section, check "Visible tag list?" and then select the "Update" button to make tags included in your tag set visible to users.

To hide tags in your tag set, just uncheck "Visible tag list?", and then select the "Update" button at the bottom of the page.

How do I open nominations?

From your tag set page, select the "Edit" button. In the Description section, check "Currently taking nominations?" and then select the "Update" button to open (or reopen) nominations.

Selecting this checkbox will present you with an area to set up the limits you want to place on nominations. Refer to How do I set limits on nominations? for help with this section.

For information on closing nominations, refer to How and when do I close nominations?

How do I set limits on nominations?

From your tag set page, select the "Edit" button, and make sure that "Currently taking nominations?" is checked. In the Nomination Limits section, enter the maximum number of Fandom, Character, Relationship, and Additional (freeform) tag nominations you'll accept from any one participant. If you allow both fandoms and characters/relationships in the same tag set, the number of characters/relationships is per fandom.

When you have your settings to your satisfaction, select the "Update" button to confirm your changes.

How do I fix a mistake I made in the number of tag options for nominations?

You can't change these options if you have any tags already nominated. You'll need to review or clear all nominations first. Once the nominations have been cleared or reviewed, select the "Edit" button on your tag set page. You can then alter any of the options you set for your tag set, including nomination limits.

How do I approve or reject nominations?

If you have nominations waiting for review, a "Review Nominations" button will be available on your tag set page. Select this button to open the Review Nominations page for that tag set. This page is broken up into different sections, and the formatting of the tags gives you certain information about them. Refer to Why are nominated tags formatted differently? for more information on this. If a tag has been nominated more than once, this will be indicated before the "+" checkbox with "(x#)", e.g. (x2).

New tags nominated to fandoms you've already approved will be listed in the first section. New tags nominated within fandoms you haven't yet approved are in a second section. The third and final section contains all Additional (freeform) tags that have been nominated.

In each section, you can use the "Approve All" or "Reject All" buttons to check all the appropriate checkboxes, and the "Approve None" or "Reject None" buttons to uncheck all the the appropriate checkboxes.

To process them individually, check the "+" box to approve them, or the "x" box to reject them. If you want to approve the tag but need to correct or alter it (for example, if someone nominates "Divine Cassandra" but you want the tag to be "Cassandra Pentaghast"), you can enter the corrected tag in the blank textbox beside the approve/reject checkboxes (or below them in a mobile device) and then approve as normal.

If the nominated tag has been wrangled as a synonym (for example, Strawberry has been made synonymous with Strawberries), the canonical will be suggested on that tag's row, or directly below it on smaller screens. You can check the box to approve the canonical tag instead.

Note that tags nominated in the tag set must be unique. The system will become very confused if you try to nominate "Dazai Osamu" for two different fandoms. You would need to alter the nominations to be "Dazai Osamu (Bungou Stray Dogs)" and "Dazai Osamu (Literary RPF)". Refer to How do I correct a nominated tag if I want to accept it in a different form?

Since nominated tags are connected to the Archive of Our Own (AO3) wrangling, sometimes the wording needs to be very specific to make the tag unique. For example, a participant nominates "Natasha Romanov (Comics)" in the "Marvel 616" fandom. Because this tag is already a synonym of the canonical "Natasha Romanov" tag, the system automatically associates it with all of the Marvel fandoms in which she appears, and users will be able to create a sign-up in your challenge for Natasha Romanov in any Marvel fandom, not just Marvel 616. You would need to alter the nomination to be more specific, such as "Natasha Romanov (Marvel 616 Winter Exchange)".

Refer to How do I add associations to tags? for information on how to add fandom associations. Tag wranglers will be able to properly connect any new tags or associations after they've been used in a posted and revealed work. For more information on revealing works, refer to How do I reveal works or lift their anonymity in a collection I own? in the Collections and Challenges FAQ.

When you've made your selections, go to the end of the page and select the "Submit" button. No changes will be made until this button is selected.

Once a tag is accepted into the tag set, it can be removed by deleting it from the tag set, but you can't revert it back to the nominated tag queue. Refer to How do I delete a tag from my tag set? for more information.

Why are nominated tags formatted differently?

Tags which have been nominated can be found when you select the "Review Nominations" button on your tag set page. The formatting of the text will tell you about the status of that tag on Archive of Our Own (AO3), as follows:

Canonical 'Coffee' tag, bolded with dotted hyperlink underline
Bolded with a hyperlink means the tag is a canonical tag on AO3 (a tag that's been marked 'common' and appears on the site's filters).
New 'Mauve Chair' tag, no formatting applied
Regular text (no formatting at all) means it's a new tag that hasn't been used on AO3 before and therefore has no associations or synonyms.
Unformatted 'Dessert' tag. The canonical 'Desserts & Sweets' tag is in parentheses next to it, bolded with a dotted hyperlink to indicate that it's canonical.
Regular text with a bolded hyperlink to an existing canonical tag in parentheses beside it means the nominated tag has been linked to the canonical tag as a synonym. In these cases, the option to select the canonical tag instead will appear on that tag's row.
Unwrangled 'Limes' tag, in regular unformatted text with a gray highlight
Regular text with gray highlight indicates the tag has been used on AO3 before, but hasn't been made canonical or made synonymous with a canonical tag.
Canonical 'Lena' tag, unbolded with dotted hyperlink underline
Regular text with a hyperlink indicates the tag is a canonical tag on AO3, but isn't associated with the fandom it's been nominated with.

For more information on how tags are wrangled on AO3, please refer to the Tags FAQ.

Can I approve or reject tags while nominations are open?

Yes you can. You don't need to close nominations before you start processing them. Refer to How do I approve or reject nominations? for instructions.

How do I correct a nominated tag if I want to accept it in a different form?

If you want to approve a tag but need to correct or alter it (for example, if a tag is misspelled, or someone nominates "Clara Oswald" but you want the tag to be "Clara Oswin Oswald"), you can enter the corrected tag in the blank textbox beside the approve/reject checkboxes (or below them on a mobile device). Select the "Submit" button at the bottom of the page to make your changes.

How and when do I close nominations?

From your tag set page, select the "Edit" button. In the Description section, uncheck "Currently taking nominations?" and then select the "Update" button towards the bottom of the page to close nominations.

When you do this is entirely up to you. You can do so when you've received enough nominations, or on a date and time you determined in advance—for example, if you announced that nominations would be open from [Date] to [Date]—or at any time that suits you. There is no way to automate opening or closing nominations. This needs to be done manually by checking or unchecking the box at the appropriate times.

You can re-open nominations at any time. Refer to How do I open nominations? for a reminder on how to do this.

How do I clear nominations?

From your tag set page, select the "Clear Nominations" button. This will take you to a confirmation page. Select the "Yes, Clear Tag Set Nominations" button to remove all nominations on your tag set. Users will be able to submit further nominations after you have cleared previous submissions, if nominations remain open.

Note: This will delete all unreviewed nominations from your tag set and cannot be reversed, so please proceed with caution. Refer to How do I approve or reject nominations? for information on how to review nominations.

How do I add tags to the set myself?

From your tag set page, select the "Edit" button. In the Tags In Set section, you can add Fandom, Character, Relationship, and Additional (freeform) tags using the "Add:" textbox beneath the relevant category. You can also specify the Categories, Ratings, and Warnings that are allowed in your challenge by checking (or unchecking) the boxes provided, if you want to use those tags for matching.

You can also batch load multiple character or relationship tags, provided they belong to the same fandom. Refer to How do I add multiple tags at once? for instructions.

To remove a tag from your tag set, refer to How do I delete a tag from my tag set?

How do I add multiple tags at once?

From your tag set page, select the "Batch Load" button located near the top of the page. You can add tags in the format: Fandom,Character,Character,Character,... (that is, tags separated by commas but no spaces) to include the fandom tag and its character tags, or select the checkbox beside "Relationships instead?" to include the fandom tag and its relationship tags in the format:
Fandom,Character/Character,Character & Character,.... You can't enter Character and Relationship tags at the same time.

Please note you can only use Batch Load to add Fandom, Character, and Relationship tags that have been made canonical. For more on canonical tags, refer to What is a canonical tag? To add new tags to AO3 for use in your tag set, you'll need to add tags individually in the Edit page.

Some examples:

  • 방탄소년단 | Bangtan Boys | BTS,Jeon Jungkook,Park Jimin (BTS),Min Yoongi | Suga,Jung Hoseok | J-Hope,Kim Taehyung | V,Kim Seokjin | Jin,Kim Namjoon | Rap Monster
  • Homestuck,Dave Strider & Dirk Strider,John Egbert/Dave Strider,Jake English/Dirk Strider,Rose Lalonde/Kanaya Maryam,Dave Strider/Karkat Vantas,John Egbert/Karkat Vantas

How do I add associations to tags?

After tags have been approved for inclusion in the tag set, any that were submitted under a fandom they're not canonically associated with will show up when you select "Review Associations". You can approve these new associations by checking the box beside the listed tag and its new association, and then selecting "Submit" towards the bottom of the page.

To manually adjust associations, select the "Edit" button. Scroll down to the Tag Associations section (near the bottom of the page) and select "Add Association". This will open additional input menus, where you can choose which tag to create the association for using the "Tag" menu. Then choose the fandom to associate it with from the "Parent tag" menu. These menus will only populate with tags that have been approved for use in your tag set.

If you've made an error, you can also remove any associations you've added from this section. Check the box next to the association to remove it, and add the correct association as described above.

You can select the "Add Association" button as many times as you need. Once you have all your tags and their fandoms partnered up, select the "Update" button at the bottom of the page.

Note that any tags you use which already exist on Archive of Our Own (AO3) will come into the tag set with all their associations in place. You can add additional associations, but you can't remove any applied by AO3. If you want to use a tag but not pull in all its associations, the best way to do so is to word the tag in a way that hasn't already been wrangled on AO3. You can find out a tag's synonyms as follows:

  1. Select "Search" from the main menu at the top of the page, then "Tags".
  2. Enter the name of the canonical tag you're searching for, such as "Apples", then select the "Search tags" button.
  3. A list of matching tags will be provided. Canonical tags are in bold. Select the one you want to review.
  4. On the tag's page, there is a section titled "Tags with the same meaning."
  5. Add a tag to your tag set that does not appear in the "Tags with the same meaning" list.

How do I delete a tag from my tag set?

From your tag set page, select the "Edit" button. In the "Tags In Set (check to remove)" section, you can preview all tags that have been added to your tag set, organized by type.

Check the box for the tag(s) you want to remove, then select the "Update" button towards the bottom of the page. If you've added any of the default Categories, Ratings, or Warnings and wish to remove them, uncheck the relevant box and then select the "Update" button.

If you accidentally delete a tag, you can always re-add it manually. Refer to How do I add tags to the set myself? for information on how to do this.

How do I add a tag set to my challenge for people to use?

You can add a tag set to your Gift Exchange or Prompt Meme when you first create it, or later from its Challenge Settings page. To get to this page, select "My Collections" from the "Hi, [username]!" menu, and then choose the challenge from the provided list. Once there, select "Challenge Settings" from the menu on the left (or at the top in a mobile device).

Go to the Tag Options section and enter the name of the tag set you wish to use in the text field beside "Tag Sets To Use". This is an autocompleting field, which means you can start entering the name of the tag set and a list of suggestions will come up. You can enter multiple tag sets.

Note that if you're including fandoms in your tag set, you'll be limited to those fandoms in your challenge. If you're not including fandoms in your tag set, you won't be able to associate new characters or relationships.

Don't forget to set your Character and Relationship settings:

  • Leaving both boxes unchecked allows any tags within the tag set to be used in any combination. It doesn't allow participants to make use of any AO3 tags that aren't in the tag set. This is the only option which will allow participants to sign up to your challenge without choosing a fandom.
  • Checking "Fandom only" requires participants to select fandom(s) from those which are included in the tag set. They can then use any character or relationship tags associated with that fandom, whether they are in the tag set or not. This can be an existing fandom association on AO3, or one added by you via the tag set. If you have no fandoms defined in your tag sets and select this option, your participants will not be able to complete a sign-up.
  • Checking "Tag set fandom only" requires participants to select fandom(s) from those which are included in the tag set. They can then use any character or relationship tags which exist in the tag set, whether they are associated with their chosen fandom or not.
  • Checking both boxes has the same functional result as checking "Fandom only". However, where "Fandom only" populates the character and relationship tags' autocomplete fields with all associated tags across AO3, checking both boxes populates the autocomplete only with those tags you have included in your tag set. Participants can still add tags from AO3 which aren't in the tag set by typing them out manually rather than relying on the autocomplete.

Once you've selected your tag sets and Character and Relationship settings, go to the end of the page and select the "Update" button to apply your changes.

What is the difference between a co-owner and a moderator?

Owners can access all of the tag set's maintenance options. That is, they can edit the settings (such as adding or removing co-owners or moderators, including the original owner), delete the tag set, review (accept or reject) or clear nominations, review associations, and batch load tags.

Moderators, on the other hand, are only able to review (accept or reject) nominations and associations.

To learn how to add people to these roles, refer to How do I add or remove someone as a co-owner or moderator of my tag set?

How do I add or remove someone as a co-owner or moderator of my tag set?

From your tag set page, select the "Edit" button. In the Management section, enter their username or pseud in the textbox beside "Add/Remove Owners" or "Add/Remove Moderators" and then select the "Update" button. If the username or pseud isn't already an owner or moderator, they'll be added as one. If they're already an owner or moderator, they'll be removed. You can't remove the sole owner of a tag set.

For more on the difference between these roles, refer to What is the difference between a co-owner and a moderator?

What does it mean if fandom tags are in Uncategorized Media?

Fandoms that haven't yet been placed in their appropriate media category by our tag wranglers are automatically added to the category "Uncategorized Media". This will happen if, for example, you add a fandom tag that hasn't been used on Archive of Our Own (AO3) before. This shouldn't have any impact on your ability to use the tags as normal.

For more information, please refer to I just posted a work with a new fandom tag and it's not showing up under the category I expected on the 'Fandoms' page - why?

What do I do if fandom tags are in the wrong media category?

Note that a fandom that includes the text "Ambiguous Fandom" or "All Media Types" may not be incorrectly categorized. Please refer to What do '- Ambiguous Fandom' and '- All Media Types' mean? for more information.

If you've added a brand new fandom tag via your tag set, it will not be categorized until it has been used on a published work. It will remain in Uncategorized Fandoms until that time. Note that the categorization of fandoms is a manual task performed by tag wranglers, and the change won't be immediate.

If you believe a fandom is incorrectly categorized, please refer to I think that I found a mistake in a canonical tag or in the way something is wrangled.

What do I do if tags are associated with the wrong fandom?

Tag wranglers do their best to associate tags with the correct fandoms, and some tags are shared across multiple fandoms (such as fandoms in the same franchise, which usually share characters). For example, the character "Zelda (Legend of Zelda)" is associated with more than ten game fandoms, because the character appears in each of them.

You can add additional fandom associations manually via the Edit Tag Set page; please refer to How do I add associations to tags? for instructions on how to do this. However, you can't remove any that already exist on the Archive of Our Own (AO3).

If you believe a tag is incorrectly associated, please refer to I think that I found a mistake in a canonical tag or in the way something is wrangled.

Where can I get more information if my question isn't answered here?

For more information on collections and challenges, refer to the Collections and Challenges FAQ. Further information about Archive of Our Own (AO3) tags can be found in the Tags FAQ.

Some other frequently asked questions about AO3 are answered in the broader Archive FAQ, and some common terminology is defined in our Glossary. Questions and answers about our Terms of Service can be found in the Terms of Service FAQ. You may also like to check out our Known Issues. If you need more help, please contact Support.

For help with your specific challenge that isn't covered in this FAQ or the Tutorials, please add AO3_Support as a co-owner and then contact us and we'll do our best to help you.