Author Merge "Shoujo Ai" tag with "Yuri" Rejected
My gosh when did the suggestions forum become so active I can barely keep up I don't have enough time to read and understand this much text sorry for those who are expecting a reply from me
this is my last post
essentially what you are asking is to remove the ai tag.
many people know what the ai tag means and specifically search for it.
why is the ai tag a problem? aside from some people saying its redundant, because others say its not.
How do people find "ai" once its gone? (answer with actual tags that exist, not with sentences)

its been fun chatting but i need to sleep
@Teasday If you're going out of your way to exclude H/Smut yuri content, wouldn't you be toggling off all H/Smut anyway? You'd have to be quite the someone to be "I don't want my pure shoujo-ai lesbians to be doing anything naughty but go ahead and pump that hardcore het milf smut directly into my veins". I was never gonna assume it'd be easy to impliment, just that it's something worth trying to impliment as you're continually improving the site. There's probably a fair few users outside of this particular debate that would love a tag exclusion setting to be implimented.

@Ooshi_Somen They search for Yuri and determine for themselves what they want to read using the other descriptive tags. It's just like browsing the Action section of a DVD store. There's all different kinds of action films, but you can easily see if there's one you don't want to watch cos there's guns in it.
If we are going to remove the Shoujo ai tag because it is not a real term, then we cannot use "smut" either, as it is not a neutral word. I think smut has a dirty connotation, that doesn't correspond to the purity of the sane and normal sexual relationships that can be found in both het and nonhet relationships.

The problem is when people have different values: if all sex is dirty, then smut is appropriate for all explicit content. If what is dirty is only the perspective of the manga but not inherent to sex itself, then we need an explicit content tag on top of smut, or rename smut into something neutral.

At that point I would agree with not using shoujo ai anymore.
@GoggledAnon I've tried to stop assuming what kind of filters people want and need. I could see people excluding yaoi but not shounen ai so why wouldn't it apply to yuri :shrug:

And yeah, the other most recent thread in the subforum at the moment is by VigorousJammer also suggesting a complex tag exclusion mechanic and me responding with, in short, "not happening atm, possible ui requirements seem complicated, we'll see what happens with the site rewrite". All I can say here is the same thing.
I mean, replacing "smut", "ecchi" and what not with more descriptive tags (like "nudity", "sexual content", etc.) sure would be nice, but this is beyond the scope of this topic.
@Haikaka It's not so much the term itself, but rather that it is a conflicting term that makes categorisation difficult. (eg. If there was a "Naughty" tag on top of a "Smut" tag.) If Shoujo Ai was the only tag that existed here, then as much as I hate the term, I could deal with it as there's only one category I need to file things under. But the fact there's Shoujo Ai and Yuri together, well, you can read my earlier posts as I've explained it enough times already.

@yassaimossai That's basically all we need. Given that the average definition of shoujo-ai is "yuri without sexual content", just having an all-composing yuri genre with tags denoting if there's sexual content or not is a lot clearer than something you can maybe get a vague idea of at most with a google search. I think having tags visible in the search results would be useful to that extent.
Last edited 8 days ago by GoggledAnon.
Yeah Ecchi in particular is definitely more of a... weeb brand term than strictly accurately descriptive. We could've used 4-Panel instead of 4-Koma, Parody instead of Doujinshi, Another World instead of Isekai. This is just the result of the bubble of internet we happen to live in.
I do not deny the need to delete this tag, just that doing this needs further rework, and just pointed some unclear point I think we need to discuss as a consequence.
I thought we already had this convo many times?
And we will have it as long as the tag Shoujo ai exists...
From what I understand, the problem people have with merging these tags is a very specific scenario:
"I want to globally exclude gay sex and only see non-sexual gay romance while still having access to works featuring straight sex".

In general, I don't believe global filters should be used for such specific scenarios, and it's perfectly fine if someone is forced to use advanced search to narrow the search results down to their exact criteria instead of only relying on excludes. But that's my personal opinion, and I don't know if global filters were created with this purpose in mind or not.

However, even with existing tags this problem is still present. Let's look at these scenarios:
1. "I want to globally exclude straight sex and romance and only see works featuring gay sex and romance".
2. "I want to globally exclude straight sex and only see non-sexual straight romance while still having access to works featuring gay sex".
You could argue that such specific scenarios shouldn't even be considered because it's impossible to make a system that fits everyone, but I would argue back that "I want straight sex and romance, and also gay romance, but no gay sex" is also a pretty specific scenario, and people who actually do filter their results so specifically are in the minority.

The first scenario is impossible using global excludes, because there's no separate tag for straight romance/sex. It's only possible via advanced search by specifically picking "yuri/shoujo ai" or "yaoi/shounen ai".

The second scenario is impossible using global excludes, because there's no separate tag for straight sex, and excluding "smut" would also exclude works featuring gay sex. It's not even possible via advanced search, since you can't specifically exclude "straight smut".

In other words, the current system has the exact same problem that a potential new system would have. So it seems to me that the core of the problem needs to be addressed instead. If differentiating content by the sex of the characters involved in it is important, I would suggest something like "F/F", "F/M" and "M/M" categories, similarly to what AO3 uses. It's simple and avoids unnecessary confusion. Narrowing it down further should be done using genre/theme tags.

And to differentiate NSFW content, I would suggest a set of "adult-only" tags: "nudity", "gore", "sexual content", "sexual violence" (as a separate tag from regular "sexual content" for people who specifically want to filter out non-consensual sex) and "ecchi", I guess, because I can't come up with a proper English alternative. Maybe something else, but nothing comes to mind right now.

Since, according to Plykiya, "hentai" tag is currently used to also tag non-porn works that just feature naked genitals, it can be replaced by "nudity" in those cases. "Hentai" toggle would therefore only be used for actual porn. That way people can separate, for example, a fluffy boys' love story that has nudity (like bathing together) and no sex from DEEP β™‚ DARK β™‚ FANTASY and hardcore fucking in every panel.

So in other words, the new system would be:
1. Want to read a story that has no sex? Pick a gender category and exclude adult-only tags.
2. Want to read a story that has sex, but isn't centered around it? Pick a gender category and adult-only tags, exclude "hentai" from your search.
3. Want to read porn and only porn? Toggle "view H only".

Bonus scenarios that somebody mentioned earlier in the thread:
4. Want to read a fluffy gay romance story that isn't specifically centered around romance (romcom)? I don't see how you can do it with the current system either, but you could probably try excluding the "romance" tag and including "comedy" or something to that extent.
5. Want to read a romantic story with drama? Pick a gender category, include "romance" and "drama".

Regardless of whether we're talking about the existing system or the "new" one, sometimes you won't be able to narrow down the results as much as you want. For how extensive the tagging system is over on sadpanda, I won't be able to make a search query there that matches all of my fetishes and doesn't show works that I'm not interested in. Same applies here — sometimes there's just no way to narrow your search results to "I specifically want gay romcoms that are gay but don't feature any outright romance", and you will be forced to scroll past a few actual romance mangas on your way to your goal.

I understand that this goes far beyond the simple tag change/merge, and it's not something that's easy to implement (or that important, really). But since it was brought up, I figured I might as well talk about it.

Disregard the sidenote if you saw it, I have selective brain damage that makes it impossible to see the things I'm looking for.
Last edited 7 days ago by yassaimossai.
Forum Moderator
I have marked this suggestion as Rejected since @Teasday has enumerated the reasons why we will not be implementing this suggestion at this time. Feel free to keep talking about it, if you like.
I'm leaving my two cents anyway. Frankly, it's absolutely ridiculous that a serious site is still using the term "shoujo-ai" at all, and refusing to adapt to how the actual community uses words. It's a distinction that simply does not exist in the heads of any creator or scanlator, and the result of that is plain to see - you have manga being tagged with them apparently at random. A romance about a girl sexually harassing another girl and falling for her (Hino-san no Baka) or a comedy about a girl trying to buy another girl's body (Shouraiteki ni Shindekure)? Pure and innocent shoujo-ai, of course. Whole piles of manga with "yuri" literally in the title, often published in Yuri Hime? Those aren't yuri, silly, why would you think that? Cute manga about a guitarist girl and her underclassman having confusing feelings about each other (Whispering You a Love Song)? That's, uh... both at once? Somehow? Yagate Kimi ni Naru's anthology is shoujo-ai rather than yuri? Why? Girl Friends is both, but the sequel chapter is just shoujo-ai, and similarly for Kisses, Sighs and Cherry Blossom Pink stopping being yuri when it turns from an anthology into a full-fledged series about girls kissing and going out with each other. And that's before getting onto basically any yuri doujin, which end up as a complete crapshoot which term will be used - or sometimes, it's both! It's one thing to say "well, we don't necessarily use every term in the same way as the original Japanese", but when it reaches this point with a term this frequently used by both creators and fans alike, it simply becomes, as the previous examples and many more demonstrate, pointlessly confusing and ridiculous.

It's been suggested earlier in this thread that the solution to this is simply to report the "incorrect" tags. This suggestion misses the crux of the issue entirely. The problem is that nobody knows what the terms mean, or can agree on where the distinction is drawn, not even the people scanning and uploading them. If the actual creators and translators can't agree on the precise nature of the distinction, how on earth is a Mangadex user supposed to meaningfully use them to find the content they want? And that's before we get into series that have sexual content at the end, which would... suddenly change the category? Or maybe make it both? I don't even know. Like, most romance manga don't start out with sex, so is it "shoujo-ai" for the first few chapters, then it suddenly turns out to have always been yuri at the end? None of this makes sense, or is any actual help for an end-user who just wants to find and read manga - and all those "incorrect" tags from uploaders are doing is helping them find it. This doesn't strike me as evidence of a helpful, understandable, useful tag.

Now, in this thread, there's been a lot of fuss over the terrible issue this would cause for all those people who really want to see sweet pure girls love but want to avoid so much as seeing any icky, nasty sexual relationships between them. Now, because of the "nobody actually knows how to use these tags" issue outlined above, they already can't do so, but let's ignore that. Maybe suddenly a grand revelation happens, everyone now fully understands and agrees with each other on the distinction, Comic Shoujo-Ai Hime opens in Japan, etcetera. Personally, I'd say the bigger issue is that those people just don't exist. Most people who want to read yuri just, you know, want to read yuri, and they aren't interested in whether or not the fact a fade-to-black sex scene happens twenty chapters in or something. No yuri creator makes their creative decisions based on criteria like that, no yuri scanlator chooses what to translate based on criteria like that, and I do not believe that any yuri reader picks what to read based on criteria like that.

Teasday has said that "I've tried to stop assuming what kind of filters people want and need.". Okay, fair enough - maybe I'm wrong and, despite the genre itself making zero distinctions of that nature, there are thousands of Western readers who really want to. The issue is now what tradeoffs are being made in order to satisfy the need for that distinction - a need which, I maintain, is simply clutching at pearls and has never been demonstrated to actually exist. If there were no other issues created, after all, while it might still be mind-boggling that a site becoming increasingly central to the yuri fandom is still insisting on the ridiculous term "shoujo-ai", then fine, it doesn't actually matter. But it does. If I want to see what yuri works have been released, I can't simply select the genre, I have to go through the search interface and create an advanced search for two genres at once, which is just silly. One of the arguments in this thread has been that "outside of advanced search there would be no mechanism to filter out only "smutty" Yuri while leaving "tame" Yuri alone". Yet right now, there is no way outside of advanced search to just show me all the yuri, full stop, without risking missing out on series I and pretty much any yuri fan would clearly be interested in. Which one of those searches is the more fundamental, basic, and least "advanced"? Both options "assume what filters people want and need". The only question is which assumption makes more sense and is more useful.

Even more pressingly, it makes it impossible to search for yuri AND something else. If I want to read yuri fantasy or yuri comedy or whatever, the only thing I can do is create two separate searches, one for "yuri + fantasy" and one for "shoujo-ai + fantasy", and go through each set of results individually - sets of results which, again, because of there being zero consensus about what, if any, distinction there is between them, will have plenty of duplicates. That's an actual problem, not some theoretical "but what if someone want stuff that's gay but not too gay" distinction. The term "authoritative solipsism" has been used in this thread, and I have to agree, because that's exactly what I'm seeing here. If the people making this decision were the ones actually using the tags, I find it hard to believe that they would not already want these problems addressed rather than simply dismiss it with the fact that they "could see people" using the terms as they are now for something, probably, so eh, it's fine. The site needs to take feedback from the people actually using the terms into account. It seems to be that the tail is wagging the dog here, with the functionality of a tag or set of tags being determined not by the people who want to find that type of content, but by people who (theoretically, if they actually exist) want to avoid very specific types of content in a single very specific way.
Last edited 7 days ago by DYWYPI.
The reason tags work regardless of their actual definitions in Japan is because their intended meaning here is 1:1 with what's over there (ie. "hentai" will always mean "ero-media", "4koma" specifically refers to 4-panel comics, etc.). But Shoujo-Ai creates a split that doesn't exist in Japan, because Girls' Love, the term shoujo-ai derived its name from in the first place, is just another term for yuri, just as Boy's Love is to yaoi. Having a singular tag with a seperate array of content tags to determine whether it's "ai" enough for you doesn't need some complex reworking of site mechanics. It just needs people to have, like, eyes (assuming orange isn't too similar to white for colorblind users). As stated on the first page of this thread, you have users who are willing to go through all the shoujo-ai tagged entries and switch them over. After that, you just ditch the tag and tweak the definition of yuri to say "sometimes referred to as shoujo-ai". Just because there are action manga that are more violent than others doesn't mean we have to invent some softcore genre called "kobushi-ai" for the tamer stuff. You have the content tags telling you if it's really violent. Not to mention that by sticking with just "yuri", you have a term that authors actually use to categorize their manga, making it easier for users to apply categories correctly rather than going on assumption. If a manga is listed as η™Ύεˆ, then you can just categorize it as yuri without even having to read it.
Last edited 7 days ago by GoggledAnon.
I just caught the tail end of the discussion and I only skimmed the earlier comments... But from high-distance view, I'm kinda sensing a demographic/fandom gap here, which I'm thinking might be one of the reasons why this suggestion is receiving such an oddly heated response.

The general impression I'm getting is that manga fans who are into yuri and BL are more familiar with the more modern terminology, and so they use those terms according to those meanings; and meanwhile, fans outside of those circles would be more familiar with the more dated shounen ai/shoujo ai/yaoi/yuri terminology, and so they would be using those terms according to those meanings. And there's a vocabulary conflict here.

And people are naturally resistant to change. This is just a UI/UX given. (For examples, see: The new Reddit design, new YouTube design, new Gmail design, new Google Chrome design, new Tumblr darker blue design, new Twitter design, etc.)

My guess is that the more modern vocabulary usage will gradually percolate to the rest of manga fandom and then after several years have passed, this change suggestion will be less hotly contested. But who knows.

+1 to the AO3-style "F/F", "F/M" and "M/M" categorizing idea. I mean, AO3 actually won a Hugo award for their fanfic database system, so it might be worth cribbing an idea or two from them... (Admittedly, OTW probably has a lot more donation funding than Mangadex does, so their server infrastructure is probably much more beefy)
This is a joke?
@ununseti Categorizing it as "F/F", "F/M", and "M/M" is a great solution to the problem at hand, and there's no reasonable argument against it, at least that I've read here, beyond "it's too much work to fix it."
Forum Moderator
To be frank, yes, at this moment in time it's too much work to implement anything new to the current iteration of the site, barring major fixes to any issues that interfere with site functionality.

The dev team is currently working on a full site rewrite which will allow for future updates to go faster and smoother. This is taking up 99% of their time and attention on MD. I assume the other 1% is reading lewd manga. :v
@Zephyrus That's totally understandable. I just wish we received something slightly more concrete as a response than an outright rejection. Even something like "once the rewrite of the site is complete, we'll revisit the topic," would be satisfactory for me personally.