Some of the contents of the below overlap directly with things said by kiyah123 above. It is something I typed out during PM discussions with kiyah123, before this thread was made, setting out my own views on the topic, and has received only minimal edits before posting.
The different things that could be covered:
1 - The head facing more-or-less forwards, the eyes looking to the side
2 - The head turned to the side, the eyes looking forwards relative to the head
3 - The head turned to the side, the eyes looking to the side relative to the head in the same direction. A lot of these (but not all) are looking back
4 - The head turned to the side, the eyes looking back in the opposite direction (so forwards from the characters perspective but to the side relative to their head). This is the rarest of the four.
Currently looking to the side, sideways glance and side glance are all used for all four of these, though not in the same proportions. There is also a glance tag.
3 possible solutions:
- sideways glance is aliased to looking to the side, and side glance updated into it as well. This is then used to cover 1, 2 and those cases of 3 that are not looking back. This is the simplest solution, requiring very little tag gardening, but leaves #4 without a home.
- side glance is aliased/updated into sideways glance, which is then used for 1, 3 and 4. looking to the side is used on any image where the character is looking to the side relative to their position, so 1, 2 and cases of 3 that aren't looking back, with both being used for 1 and for looking to the side cases of 3, which are actually fairly similar to one another as cases of #3 which are significantly different from #1 would generally fall under looking back instead. This gives good searching flexibility but would require a fair amount of tag gardening.
- A somewhat more radical alternative would be to make another tag for head turned to the side (or other wording to that effect), which could also include facing to the side images. Then leave looking to the side as direction of the character's gaze relative to their body, and sideways glance as the direction of their gaze relative to their head. Again side glance gets aliased/updated into sideways glance. This provides the ultimate flexibility as:
#1 gets tagged with looking to the side and sideways glance
#2 gets tagged with head turned to the side and looking to the side
#3 gets tagged with head turned to the side, sideways glance and either looking to the side or looking back as appropriate
#4 gets tagged with head turned to the side and sideways glance but not looking to the side
However it would require all three tags to be applied accurately across the site in order to work, and would take a lot of tag gardening.
Another one I considered was if side glance is aliased/updated into sideways glance, which is then used for 1, 3 and 4. looking to the side is then reserved for #2 only. I don't really like this one myself, though, as there is no way to distinguish between #1, #3 and #4 and having a tag like looking to the side just for that seems confusing and, at the end of the day, wrong to me.
Of those 3 solutions, as you go from the first to the second to the third the end result gets better, but the amount of effort increases markedly as well. I personally like the third one the best, but honestly it may just be too much effort (and I'm not volunteering to do it all myself either), in which case the second is probably the best compromise.
As for the glance tag, I'd question whether it really warrants existing at all. Except in animated stuff, how can you really tell whether someone is looking there permanently or just glancing? Before someone brings it up, sideways glance makes sense because the key part is the sideways bit, and it's as good a term as any for the described action.