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VNDB has a system for tags and one for traits. Tags are used to categorize visual novels, while traits tell something about characters. This also makes them somewhat different in use. This page describes some general guidelines and tips on using tags and traits.
Tags can be assigned to visual novel entries using a voting system. Every user can add a tag to a visual novel by going to the "modify tags" tab of a visual novel page.
Tags can be assigned a vote from -3 to 3. This vote should be interpreted as follows:
- -3: This tag really doesn't apply to the VN.
- -2 and -1: These not very often used, but can be useful to show that you disagree, but are not 100% sure.
- 0: It is possible to change your vote to '0' to remove it.
- 1: The tag does apply to the visual novel, but is not too apparent or only plays a minor role.
- 2: The tag certainly applies to the visual novel.
- 3: The tag applies, is very apparent and plays a major role.
While everyone is pretty much free to link any tag to any visual novel, please keep the following in mind while voting:
- Read the description of each tag before you link it to a VN: some tags may not always mean what you think they do.
- Try to be as specific as you can. For example, if a game has drama elements, rather than voting on the "Drama" tag, try to look for a more specific child tag that describes what kind of drama a player can expect.
- Some tags can act as spoilers for the plot of a VN, this can be indicated by voting on the spoiler status. It is highly recommended to not leave this as "Neutral", and really try to give an indication of whether the tag is not a spoiler at all or does spoil a bit.
- Tags are supposed to reflect the things you'll be experiencing as you play the game, even if some things might get revealed to be lies or illusions towards the end of the story. In cases like this, add both the (arguably incorrect) tags and the tags describing the situation after the truth has been revealed, making sure to mark the "correct" tags as spoilers.
New tags can be requested by everyone, but they'll have to be accepted by a moderator before the tags will be browsable. Applying the following guidelines significantly increases the chances that your tag will be accepted and lowers the workload of the moderator team.
- Tag names should be self-describing. While the meaning of a tag can be obvious if you look at its place within the tag tree, when displayed on a VN page only their name is visible and not the parent tags. The name should thus fully describe what the tag means and should be used for. For example: a tag to describe a male protagonist should be fully named "Male protagonist", even if its parent tag is "Characters > Protagonist".
- Tags should be used to describe objective information about a VN. Subjective tags like "Awesome protagonist", which would have a different meaning for each individual, are not allowed.
- Tags should only cover information that VNDB itself doesn't cover already. So tags about release information or the length of a VN are not allowed.
- The above rule also holds true for any other information about the VN itself which is (not yet) covered by VNDB, like staff or licensed state in a country.
Traits can be assigned to characters. Contrary to tags, traits can't be voted on. Instead, traits are part of the editing system, and modifying the traits for a certain character involves editing the character entry itself.
Unlike tags, traits don't have any "levels": a trait either applies to the character or it does not. Here are some guidelines and tips when assigning traits to characters:
- If no traits are present yet and you're the first person to add traits, please try to be as complete as possible. Browse through the trait tree and try to find as many traits that apply to the character as possible.
- Spoilery traits should always be marked as such.
Anyone can request new traits to be added to the database. However, these need to be approved by a moderator before they can actually be assigned to a character.
Traits are categorized into "groups", the top-most trait in the tree defines in which group a trait is. Unlike tags, traits don't need to have a globally unique name, but they must be unique and self-describing within the same group. For example, there can be multiple traits with the name "Blue", but one is in the "Hair" group while the other is in the "Eyes" group. So make sure to keep the group in mind when naming a trait.
Read the descriptions of the various trait groups and meta traits to get a feel on how they are supposed to be used.