FAQ – Tags on writeups.org
Entry tags on WORG are a controlled vocabulary , and are assigned by the editor.
They’re another way to explore the site. You can use them to, say, find Swedish characters, super-scientists, or horror-themed characters.
Tags are just one way writeups.org entries are classified. There are also categories, sub-categories, power levels, and roles. These are covered in the Help with searches page.
All entries have been tagged with “generation 1” tags over 2020 and 2021.
The “generation 2” tags are starting to roll out in 2022, but it’ll be very slow. So if you list entries with a given “Generation 2” tag, this list is very much INCOMPLETE.
A broad net
The tags are deliberately broad, and applied in a loose, *generous* manner.
The goal *isn’t* to be exact or punctilious. The goal is to allow you to explore the site along one general, even fuzzy, concept.
Also, for characters with a series of writeups, the tags are all on the first entry and the other entries are left untagged — to prevent clutter. This can sometimes look odd. For instance, Carol Danvers is tagged as a “pirate”. This seems weird until you remember that much latter, as Binary, she was with space pirates the Starjammers.
(This is lifted for characters who go through a dramatic change, such as the Cat becoming Tigra. She essentially became a new character, with mostly different tags).
Generation 1 tags
- “Type” tags..
- “Powers” tags.
- “Expertise” tags.
- “Genre” tags.
- “Silo” tags.
- “Identity” tags.
- “Era” tags.
- “Arcs” tags.
- “Writer” tags (not deployed).
Generation 1.5 tags
Five changes taking place in early 2022.
Generation 2 tags
Rough list, still evolving..
Cluster #1 — Type tags
In this document, the tags are grouped in vaguely-defined, arbitrary clusters. It’s just a way not to list them all as one big pile.
If your scenario requires an assassin or a police detective or a kaijuJapanese term for a rampaging giant monster, like Godzilla. or whatever, these tags may serve your needs.
They’re mostly orthogonal with our “role” attributes. You could be a hero and a ninja, or a villain and a ninja, or an organisation of ninja. You could be any ninja you want, I really don’t mind, I’m not your ninja dad.
“Alternate Reality Echo” is a variant version of an established character, from another reality. Say, the Batman of 2050 or Batman (Thomas Wayne). ExpiesFictional character heavily based on another character are usually included.
As with every tag, these are flexible. “Military” might mean that the character is serving in the military, used to be a soldier, commands military or paramilitary forces… Their stories involve military stuff, is all the tag is saying.
Cluster #2 — Power type
A given character can of course bear multiple tags. Snowbird (Narya) is a shape-changing (demi) goddess with animal powers. Eh. “Bear” tags.
A brickVideo game slang for a very durable (and often very strong) character is primarily defined by their strength and durability, and these must be notable. At least Class 40.
ChiA sort of universal life force/energy in Chinese-influenced cultures. is, like all tags, broad. Unusual abilities derived from martial training, meditation, concentration, etc. will fall under that heading.
A gadgeteer is somebody who can build gadgets, not somebody who merely uses gadgets.
“Immortal” doesn’t require literal immortality. But it denotes a character who can appear in stories set over an abnormal number of eras.
“Psionic” is broadly defined. If the character is chiefly defined by powers like telepathy, telekinesis and other mental things then they likely qualify. Even if the quasi-scientific fluff associated with “psionics” in a stricter sense is absent.
(As tagging went on, “psionic” came to be applied even to magicians if they do stuff like telepathy or telekinesis. If you need a character with “mind powers”, that’s the tag.)
“Mutant” is defined in the Marvel sense, as a “next step” in the pop version of evolution. Homo Superior. But this also covers various non-Marvel characters such as Captain Comet (Adam Blake) or Odd John. As always, mutant ≠ mutateA person mutated after birth, as opposed to a born-this-way mutant.
“God” usually means characters such as Thor, Hercules, Athena, Isis, Anansi, Manitou and other members of superhuman tribes who were worshipped at some point.
“Alien” is a sapientCapable of intelligent reasoning non-human. Space aliens, Elves, exotic otherdimensionals, faeries, etc..
“Robot/synthesoidAn artificial being built using organic-like tissues, rather than robot-like hardware” includes golems.
There are power tags that could exist, but don’t. This is because it’s simple enough to find relevant characters using the text search engine, using the name of the DC Heroes Powers.
Typical examples would be “Regeneration”, “Lightning”, “Teleportation” or “Illusion”.
There’ll be false positives. But it’s a reasonable compromise compared to tagging every possible power.
Cluster #3 — Expertise
This tag only appears if the person can be considered world-class, or close to it, in the stated domain. It is for leading authorities.
“World-class” depends on the setting. It has a very different meaning in a bleakly realistic story and in a Golden Age super-hero comic book. The tagged characters are masters *within the limits of their genre*.
“Marksman” means any kind of ranged weapons. So it could mean a master archer or a master sniper or a master forks-flinger.
“Melee” is any melee weapon. Rapiers, big hammers, nunchaku, etc.. Or any ninja weapon you want. I don’t mind. I’m still not your ninja dad.
“Intruder” primarily means “thief”, but there are intrusion experts who aren’t thieves. They could be spies, reporters, etc..
Cluster #4 — Genre
“Genre” is the fuzziest, wobbliest, haziest tags cluster.
It’s about the “voice” of the story.
There are many things you might consider genres that don’t fall into this cluster as defined here. For instance “post-apoc” is considered an era, not a genre. Since the voice can range from the unbridled positivity of the Atomic Knights to the awful grimbleak of The Road.
Ditto for “western”.
When hesitant, we use the definitions for those words found on Wikipedia. Since these are a simple, widely shared, trivially accessed reference text. But honestly it’s more of a “we know it when we see it” thing.
Some major genres are also out of scope for writeups.org. The biggest by far is romance. Lots of stories we cover have romantic elements, and many even have good romance subplots. But they’re subplots, not the crux.
There’s no “super-hero” genre. It’s more of a meta-genre. And it’s our bread-and-butter, so 90% of entries would be tagged thus which is useless.
“Blaxploitation” usually means 1970s movies done for an audience of Black men, where Black characters had leading roles. By extension, it catches comics inspired by this genre, such as Luke Cage and to an extent Black Lightning.
“War” means a story set in a total conflict. The characters thus tagged aren’t necessarily soldiers, but tend to be.
“Fantasy” covers everything from sword-and-sorcery, to high fantasy, to sword-and-sandals, to low fantasy, etc.. If people fight with swords and it’s not a historical or quasi-historical story, it’s prolly tagged “fantasy”.
“Horror” is when the bulk of the story is about such. As of the 2010s, a *lot* of material in other genres has come to include horror elements, but here we mean a story that is primarily horror.
“Action” is meant here as high-action, low-plot, low-worldbuilding, low-characterisation work. Like with horror, the tale has to be mostly action, rather than be a hybrid with strong action elements. It is often used for video games that are first-person shooters, brawlers or hack-and-slashers.
“Steampunk” is defined here broadly, as anything that uses XIXth century aesthetics. And particularly steam-powered mechanical engineering, coal-based heavy industry, Victorian inequality, etc..
“Thriller” is a high-suspense tale that is more complicated than the Action genre, and isn’t horror. *In practice*, that chiefly means detective/mystery stories, crime stories, technothrillers, spy stories, noir, point-and-click…
Pulp fiction is largely defined by its era (1900s to 1940s, give or take) and respectable people thinking that it’s trash. Pulp fiction is exciting, formulaic, written quickly, scandalous and easy to read. It’s also where a lot of classic 20th century genre fiction was born.
Cluster #5 — Silo
Outer space and maritime characters tend to primarily interact with each other. So it’s a silo. If there’s a space adventure or an undersea adventure, you can hit these silos to populate it.
DC Comics silos
- DNAO Supergirl.
- DC Implosion.
- Flash’s Rogues.
- Gotham City (includes Blüdhaven).
- Green Lantern.
- Great Disaster.
- Jack Kirby’s Sandman.
- Planet DC.
- 7 Soldiers metaseries.
- Sovereign 7.
- War That Time Forgot.
- Wonder Woman.
The “DC Implosion” is a specific, late 1970s era when many DC Comics titles were launched… and soon cancelled. Here’s an article about it .
“Dixonforcer” is a made-up term referring to a specific kind of villain and/or mercenary created or used by Chuck Dixon back when he was a prolific DC Comics writer. These are simple, plug-and-play, ready-to-use designs that just work. They’re usually street-level guys.
“Horrorsplosion” is my made-up term to refer to the wave of early 1970s horror-themed Marvel Comics characters. This took place after the Comics Book Code was relaxed a bit.
Notes about the silos
The comics silos are characters and settings that tend to be in their own corner of the narrative universe.
Might be because it’s a specific location, there are specific themes, it was a specific era that didn’t take, there are rights/ownership issues, etc..
Cluster #6 — Identity
(There is some discussion of those in the FAQ.)
This is where the *stories* were created.
It helps interested people find the clusters of character profiles from outside the US or UK.
The Canadian material doesn’t encompass stuff created by folks in Canada for US publishers. So frex most of the work from John Byrne or the post-doctors Bioware video games studio.
“Francophone” material rather than “French” since it also encompasses material from parts of Belgium, of Canada, etc.. Same reasoning for Hispanophone material since there are also stories from Latin America.
“Other international material” is a catch-all for material that’s not from the UK or US, but doesn’t have a dedicated tag.
Characters that were created for writeups.org have the corresponding tag *if* I know/can remember where the contributor’s from. Unless they have the “Original sample” tag (below).
- Nationality (African countries).
- Nationality (Australian).
- Nationality (Brazilian).
- Nationality (British Isles).
- Nationality (Canadian).
- Nationality (Chinese).
- Nationality (French).
- Nationality (German).
- Nationality (Israeli).
- Nationality (Japanese).
- Nationality (Mexican).
- Nationality (Nordics).
- Nationality (Other Eastern Europe).
- Nationality (Other Latin America).
- Nationality (Other Western Europe).
- Nationality (Other Asia).
- Nationality (Other Middle East).
- Nationality (Other Pacific).
- Nationality (Caribbean countries).
- Nationality (Russian).
- Nationality (Spanish).
- Nationality (Vietnamese).
This is where the *character* is from, irrespective of who created them where.
We only list nations for which we have a significant number of profiles. Since, y’know, there is a fair few countries out there . And we have to deal with many additional, imaginary countries.
When an imaginary place is clearly the equivalent of a real country (e.g., low-fantasy Russia) the character will likely be tagged as having that nationality.
Nationality (Nordics) covers the usual — Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Iceland. One advantage of grouping ’em is that it can also cover all the faux-Viking, faux-Norse, etc. fantasy characters. Let’s also throw in some faux-Ancient-Scot ones.
The British tag is specifically British *Isles*. Because for some characters described as being “Irish” there’s zero further indication, so let’s broaden the scope a bit to catch everyone. Will also be useful if the UK flies apart, eh ?
As with all tags, this is broad. If you happen to be a giant scorpion monster that lives in Mexico, then you get Nationality (Mexican). Even though you can’t request the passport.
Ditto, if you’re an American dude who’s been living in London for years. You get flagged as British. It’s not truly the case, but WORG wants people looking for Britain-based characters to find you.
The character’s general features and skin tone, irrespective of nationality, era or anything. If you’re a Japanese-looking girl robot, then “Eastern Asian-ish ancestries” applies. If you’re a half-elf from a Middle-East-themed fantasy land, then “MENA ancestries” applies.
(As you may be getting by now, we’d rather have people occasionally go “nah, I don’t think that character should get that tag” than miss a character they might be interested in.)
This one is primarily useful for :
- Readers with an interest in minorities representation in genre media.
Filling this tag often feels awkward. I’m not exactly a big Joseph de Gobineau -style labels fan, y’know ? But folks looking for representation have a use for it.
The “OUEWM” abbreviation isn’t in general use. It’s just a way to cut down on the tag’s display length.
Likewise, I know there’s still a fair bit of debate as to whether we should go with “latinx” or something else. I like “latine”, but I don’t think it has enough of a footprint yet.
“Desi” means people and cultures from the Indian subcontinent (India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, etc.). It keeps the tag shorter.
“MENA” is the standard abbreviation for “Middle East & Northern Africa”. This tag started as “Maghreb/Mashrek ancestries” but most people wouldn’t understand that, then became “Middle-Eastern/Maghreb ancestries” which was too long to display well. Then switched to the business-like “MENA”.
“Pacific ancestries” covers a *bunch* of different folks. First Australian, Māori, Polynesian folks, Micronesian folks, Melanesian folks, Tonga, Samoa, Papua, Borneo, Kanak, etc. etc.. Basically it’s what often gets called Oceania, though I’m not sure how well-known that term is (hence the use of “Pacific”). Obvs, it also includes imaginary people resembling those real ones, such as the Karui in Path of Exile.
Characters with a Pinoy or Indonesian ancestry ended up “dual-classed” as both “Pacific” and “Asian”. It’s the least confusing approach we could come up with.
“Romani/Traveller” is, unsurprisingly, a shorthand for Romani, Sinti, Traveller, Yenish – and other loosely similar cultures I might not now about. Plus fictional echoes of these.
Folks with mixed heritage get the main applicable tags or just OUEWM. Mostly depending upon how people looking at them would likely categorise them. It doesn’t take much for standard categories to break down, or be interpreted differently by different folks. That, plus most of the characters we deal with have an appearance that may vary a bit from artist to artist…
This tag is primarily for :
- Romantic subplots.
- Readers interested in queer representation in genre fiction.
I’m only using the first four letters to keep it short. But it’s the broad version, as with everything in this tags cluster. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, biromantic, transgender, intersexed, non-binary, two-spirits, asexual, etc.. Plus sexual and/or romantic orientations that can only exist in fiction.
It includes characters who are queer-coded but not clearly established as being LGBT+. This because of all the decades during which characters couldn’t be openly stated to be gay, lesbian, etc..
I was gonna include a few transvestite characters, due to historical associations with queerness. But ‘pon further thought I think that it’d just confuse readers using modern definitions.
For people interested in disability representation in genre fiction.
It covers severe physical handicaps, such as disabled senses or limbs, severe chronic conditions, etc..
A few characters with mental disabilities are covered. But this is selective, due to the catastrophic history of genre fiction when it comes to psychological and neurological conditions.
For characters who identify as such for cultural, religious, heritage, etc. reasons. It can get complicated.
Another tag wot’s mostly for readers interested in minorities representation in genre media. Just keep in mind that such stories are often remarkably adept at dodging religious matters, unless they’re too baked into their dominant culture.
As with nationalities, faith/culture tags only exist where we have enough character profiles to populate them.
These ones too are a broad net. It includes fictional (or so ignorant that one wishes that they were fictional) depictions of those faiths/culture.
“Animist” is a grab-bag for faiths/beliefs/traditions centred on nature and spirits. It’s particularly broad since often, such beliefs are left undetailed and are just the rationale to cast shamanistic spells, druidic spells and the like.
“Jedi” includes Sith and the like.
“Vaudou” likewise catches a broad array of faiths and cultures — Haitian vodou, Santeria, Candomblé, Fon vodun, Créole voodoo, etc. etc..
Children and/or teenagers as protags has played an important role in genre fiction. From the introduction of Robin up to Stranger Things and the like. So a tag is useful. The vague cut-off point is 18, but it’s mostly about the character status and maturity.
Older folks are much less of a genre convention. But since we have a tag for the kids why not have one for the olds. Here, the vague cut-off point is 60 or so.
Cluster #7 — Era
This is the general era during which the main stories with that character are set.
This is primarily useful when planning a story set in that era.
Only the Golden Age of comics gets its era\setting tag as “1930s/40s”. It’s the most stand-alone one, with a big and clear continuity break at the end.
By the 1960s or 1970s (depending on the medium) geeky ideas about never-ending narratives with continuity start infecting the mainstream. So there no longer are truly distinct era. Everything returns forever.
“Cold War” tags characters who are strongly involved in fighting for/against Communism during the Cold War. Not everything from 1948 to 1991 is tagged thus – it’s about the conflict, not the era.
“Post-Apocalypse” is listed here between near and distant futures. But that’s just because it’s the most frequent case. Some distant past eras are post-apoc (say, the DC Universe after Sheeda Harrowings).
- 1930s debut.
- 1940s debut.
- 1950s debut.
- 1960s debut.
- 1970s debut.
- 1980s debut.
- 1990s debut.
- 2000s debut.
- 2010s debut.
- 2020s debut.
This is when the character’s story starts getting written (filmed, programmed, whatever) in the real world.
The *stories* could take place in a different era. As with all those Old West cowboy comics that were published during the 1960s.
“Venerable” is just a tongue-in-cheek, brief way of stating “before the 1930s”. 1930 (The Shadow, Gladiator, etc.) is a reasonable date for when pulps start forming the birth matrix of super-hero comics.
This tag is a bit atypical. Normally, writeups.org isn’t concerned with the real world, behind-the-scene, non-diegetic elements. But in recent years I’ve started noting the year of first appearance in the “Context” intro to the profiles, so heh whatever.
(It’s also atypical in that every single entry will have a tag from this cluster, which suggests that it’s not quite a tag but a different kind of taxonomy. But let’s stay practical for the nonce).
Cluster #8 – arcs
The are small but coherent series of profiles that happen to exist on WORG. They could be subcategories or tags, but in these cases a tag feels more appropriate.
(FAQs get both a tag and category to facilitate discovery.)
“TTRPG conversion” are systems (or at least notes) about converting stats between the DC Heroes RPG and other tabletop RPGs.
“Original sample” is an original character that was created to serve as a window into a video game world and story – especially CRPGs. For instance, in articles about the Mass Effect computer role-playing games, we can’t present a generic protag. We have to present a specific version of Commander Shepard.
“Real world” covers persons who existed in the real world, though their stats are often exaggerated so they “scale” to match their fictional equivalents. It doesn’t cover the series of “typical character played by this actor” writeups.
Cluster #9 — Writer
- BM Bendis.
- Otto Binder.
- John Broome.
- Ed Brubaker.
- Kurt Busiek.
- Chris Claremont.
- Gerry Conway.
- Peter David.
- Steve Ditko.
- Warren Ellis. 🙀
- Steve Englehart.
- Gardner Fox.
- Neil Gaiman.
- Mark Gruenwald.
- Tony Isabella.
- Robert Kanigher 😿.
- Jack Kirby.
- Stan Lee.
- Paul Levitz.
- Frank Miller.
- Alan Moore.
- Grant Morrison.
- Ann Nocenti.
- Denny O’Neil.
- John Ostrander.
- Mars Ravelo.
- Greg Rucka.
- Gail Simone.
- Jim Starlin.
- Tezuka Osamu.
- Roy Thomas.
- Mark Waid.
This cluster was considered for a while. But as time passes it looks increasingly less likely we’ll deploy this.
Six “generation 2” series of tags will be deployed in early 2022 throughout the site, to prevent different taxonomies from coexisting.
1/ The “Pacific Ancestries” tag is spun off from the OUEWM tag. Already done, with definitions above.
2/ Ditto for the “Romani/Traveller” one. This already done, with definitions above.
3/ The “Distant Past” tag is split into three more specific tags. Already done, with definitions above.
4/ The “Nationality (Otherplacian)” is split into seven more specific regions. Already done, with definitions above.
5/ The “TTRPG conversion”, for conversion systems, is added. Already done, with definitions above.
6/ One round of further refinement is scheduled, to deploy the following geography tags — Greece, Egypt, Philippines, Koreas, Subcontinent (India/Pakistan/Bangladesh/Sri Lanka), Italy, Thailand.
- Animal (fauna).
- Ape (fauna)
- Arthurian myth.
- Arts theme.
- Children’s content.
- Comic relief.
- DiMEGaMec (Distinctive MEGS Gaming Mechanic).
- Exotic Adventures.
- Fake reality.
- Feminist – clear theme of feminist activism.
- Fourth World.
- Greek myth
- Guns & Pouches.
- Hero for hire.
- Hidden culture.
- Mysterious Egypt.
- Mysterious Orient.
- Something around the notion of jobber/Z-list/habitual loser villain, but I’m not finding a way to make this work because subjectivity.
- Romance — the character has a strong romantic story arc partially defining them.
- Rule 63.
- Serial killer.
- Setting notes.
- Sex worker.
- Sports theme.
- Super-biotech — can employ it, doesn’t apply if just the source of char’s powers.
- Urban decay.
- Vega System (DC Comics silo).
- Weird science.
- Working class protag — “protag” since working class opponents are a dime a dozen.
This is stuff we’re SLOWLY deploying from 2022 onward. As of this writing, the expected end date for these is… 2034. Since these tags are assigned as part of the rebuilding of every single entry to better standards.
“Barbarian”, “Princess” and “Witch” are intended as *broad*, loose pop culture archetypes rather than any technical definition.
“Blobber” is slang for an older genre of computer role-playing game. Where you control an adventuring party but in an abstract, unindividualised way.
“Mysterious Egypt”, “Jungle” and “Mysterious Orient” marks pulp-era tropes, often found in pop fiction throughout most of the XXth Century.
And of course
- Those that belong to the Emperor.
- Embalmed ones.
- Those that are trained.
- Suckling pigs.
- Fabulous ones.
- Stray dogs.
- Those included in the present classification.
- Those that tremble as if they were mad.
- Innumerable ones.
- Those drawn with a very fine camelhair brush.
- Those that have just broken a flower vase.
- Those that from a long way off look like flies.