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While I still think that we should get rid of the symbolism tag, there does not appear to be a strong consensus in favor of doing so. This being the case, somebody who has a good idea of why we should keep the tag needs to clarify the tag wiki to make it clear about which questions it should be applied to. As of now, the excerpt reads as follows:

This tag is for questions looking for meanings, either explicit or subject to interpretation, behind a character, a setting, an action of a character, a plot point.

What does this even mean? What is "the meaning behind a plot point"? Is this for questions like "Why did X happen in anime Y"? If so, there's probably at least a few hundred questions to which this tag should be added - and I don't think we want that. So this needs fixed.

Whoever fixes this should also fix the body of the wiki, which currently reads:

Use this tag when the aim of the question is to clarify the intended (or not) meaning of a character, a setting, an action of a character, a plot point, ...

This is a complementary tag, it should be used in addition to some other tag that specifies the franchise in question (e.g. for a question regarding the meaning of something that happens in Naruto).

Again, it needs to be made more clear what questions merit having applied.

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    I feel that it's a weak tag and should be merged/synonym-ized with tropes, if anything.
    – кяαzєя Mod
    Apr 18 '14 at 15:50
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This is a hard one to define. Essentially, the questions we want (IMO) are questions such as "What's the significance of the 'w' finger position in Elfen Lied?" or "What is the purpose served by cicadas in anime?". Basically, the question set should be about deeper meanings which aren't obvious or explicitly stated.

Now you're probably asking, "Doesn't that mean this tag is entirely opinion-based?" No. Take, for example, the two questions I linked above. Both were able to be answered objectively; this should be the case for all questions in (or, at the very least, they should be good subjective).

Here's a few examples:

  • What does [X thing] mean in context of [Y scene]? - Good! Often, especially in a series like Evangelion, the author has gone to great lengths to have symbolism and hidden meaning in their media. But, this must follow the guidelines for "good subjective" questions, and should have some citation to the answer. (Example: Do the moths during Grumman's thoughts have any symbolic significance?)
  • What meaning did "[X quotation]" have? - Probably good. In general, asking about specific phrases will lead to an objective answer since most people wouldn't ask something like, "What is the meaning behind 'Hello!'?" This is where we need to consider other close reasons, such as "too broad". (Example: What is the meaning of the phrase at the end of the last Cowboy Bebop episode?)
  • What are the main symbols in [X episode or series]? - Probably bad. Not only is this an out-of-universe list question, but also in many cases (cough Evangelion again cough) would lead to us overflowing the Stack Exchange database due to such a long answer. (No examples... whew.)
  • Does [X episode or series] have a symbolic meaning behind it? - Good. Contrary to the point above, this is concise and usually objectively answerable question. (Example: Is there a meaning/message behind Akira?)

I have no problem with this tag staying. I mean, there are entire professions based on visual symbols, symbolism of literature, and so on. I do not think it's a stretch to suggest that there is expertise to back up this field.

The thing I think we want to avoid here is another tag like , wherein there was no possible audience or experts for such a tag. Instead, we should limit symbolism to pertaining to symbols found in real life, such as religion, politics, and other things existing outside of the universe of anime. Thus, questions asked in this tag should be well-defined, referenced where necessary, and should seek answers which are objective or which fulfill the aforementioned six guidelines of "good subjective" questions.

My vote? Keep the tag, redefine it. Here is one possible solution, though I'm open to other alternatives:

This tag is for determining intended significance or correlation between a symbol such as character, quote, or setting, and an aspect of culture or history originating from real life.

Use this tag when the aim of the question is to characterize the correlation between meaningful elements of an anime or manga, such as a character or quote, and its symbolic counterpart outside of the anime universe.

This is a complementary tag, it should be used in addition to some other tag that specifies the franchise in question (e.g. for a question regarding the meaning of something that happens in Naruto).

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