The tag is a mess.

Most of the questions under them are apparently just asking to identify a work (or series or collection) of sci-fi or fantasy. Most of them are also tagged , some aren't. IMO those should be tagged with and don't need this extra tag.

Three of the questions are concerning an already identified work, and are asking for the identity of a contributor, eg. the writer or illustrator or translator or whatever thousand roles people have in the film industry. We already have a tag that collects such questions, . That one might be the wrong tag to use from the signpost viewpoint, because if someone asks a question about identifying artists in print comic strips, then that needs comic experts, not movie experts.

Then there are three questions that are on topic, but in neither of the above two categories. You'll have to make individual decisions about these.

(I hope I didn't miss any question from the above, but it's possible.)

What tags should all these questions get?

  • What about questions like these, that are actually searching for an author, not a specific book.
    – Mithical
    Nov 29, 2016 at 14:17

3 Answers 3


Let’s get rid of it

  • The vast majority of the questions listed are standard questions. Sure, the querents don’t know who wrote the story, but that’s because they don’t know the story. As long as we have this tag, it seems, people will continue putting in on such questions.
  • A few of these are questions where someone remembers the title (or thinks they do), but does not remember the author. I submit that is still the right tag for these. There’s a reason it’s not . If they’re asking about a story even though they remember the title, it almost certainly means they can’t find the specific story that they’re after. A story is more than its title: it’s whatever one needs to uniquely identify it, including the author name if there’s more than one by different authors, the publication date if an author published two versions, and so on.
  • Some of the questions that don’t fit either of these categories probably don’t need the tag. For example, Who created the version of Kilgrave in the Jessica Jones TV series? could just be tagged . For the three questions about quotations, let’s just use the tag, which already exists and is pretty widely used.
  • The main difficulties are Who wrote "The Monsters" short story published by Purnell and Seeking name credits for pulp SF artists. These are perhaps the rare questions for which might make sense: the questioner knows exactly what the story is, and might even possess a physical copy, but for some reason the author’s name is not listed. On the other hand, there are two of these questions on the whole site. We could just tag these with .

The best course of action would be to merge into , and tag the few questions for which this is not appropriate with , , and .

  • Note that if the consensus goes in favour of this solution, then we'll need to make a list of the questions to be retagged before the merge happens, otherwise there'll be no way to find them again.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Oct 22, 2016 at 23:39
  • @CreationEdge - Hmmm, that seems reasonable enough.
    – Adamant
    Oct 24, 2016 at 0:01
  • I added it as a separate answer. Just saying here though, that I'm upvoting this one conditionally, on the hope we don't bother with the authors tag at all.
    – user31178
    Oct 24, 2016 at 0:13
  • @CreationEdge My reaction when reading this answer was "... the heck? We have an authors tag? Or are you proposing to create it just for these few questions?"
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Nov 26, 2016 at 22:39
  • @Rand We have the tag, and shouldn't
    – user31178
    Nov 26, 2016 at 22:40
  • Adamant and @CreationEdge: feedback welcome on my answer below. There are just a couple of questions we need to work out tagging for before I do the merge to get rid of the author-identification tag.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Nov 26, 2016 at 23:28

I'm also for merging into , but I'd suggest an alternative for handling some of those outlier questions, which is simply to let them stay as .

was suggested, but at the moment it's a fairly useless tag. It's used inconsistently and barely. If it were a good tag, I posit that it would have been much more broadly used.

So, with merging everything into , I suggest updating the tag guidance from:

Questions asking for help identifying a TV series, comic-book issue/story arc, movie, book, or other story. For help identifying an episode of a TV series, use the [episode-identification] tag instead.


Use for help identifying a story and/or its creator(s), including novels, movies, comic books, entire TV series, etc. Use with another tag to specify which type of media, eg. [short-stories]. For identifying a single episode of a known TV series, use [episode-identification].

Allowing story-id to include creators gets rid of the "need" to have a tag to specify that you're looking for the author. And, it also allows us to include other types of creators, such as those included in "story by:" credits, sources of quotes, etc. without having a bunch of meta tags that are rarely used and barely useful.

In short, a new usage for the tag will:

  • Reduce clutter
  • Reduce redundancy
  • Be more useful
  • Reduce the work needed to implement and maintain it

Judging from the other answers here, there appears to be a consensus in favour of getting rid of the tag and retagging most of its questions with . The easiest and least disruptive way to do this will be to merge the tag into , which can be done by a moderator without bumping any questions to the front page of the site.

EDIT: this has now been done. The tag is no more.

Here is a list of all the questions which were tagged but NOT (I've assumed that all those which had the tag already should have it), and the action I took for each one. Feel free to re-edit if you disagree with any of my decisions (especially #1 or #11); the point of having a list here is precisely so that we can find these questions again even after the merge.

  1. Looking for patronage era European scifi scientist/inventor male author? This is a difficult case, since it's asking about an author rather than any specific one of his works, but it could still be solved by finding a story, so I think it's OK to use story-ID tag.

  2. Trying to find author of short story called Man Alone Use story-ID tag.

  3. Who is the author of the following stories? This is basically a story ID question, even though it's asking about several different stories by the same author. Use story-ID tag.

  4. Which British author wrote about Shellworlds before Iain M. Banks? Again a story ID question, with some elements of . Use story-ID tag.

  5. Who wrote "Pate de Fois Gras"? Use story-ID tag.

  6. Which author commented that "we all got it wrong" about walking on the moon being televised? This is asking for a quote from a sci-fi author, not a sci-fi story. Use quotes tag.

  7. Does anyone know the book "The Eagle Flies Over England"? Use story-ID tag.

  8. Forgotten YA female sci-fi author 80s/90s This focuses more on the author than the stories, but it's still hoping to identify her from her works. Use story-ID tag.

  9. Whose definition of "science fiction" is this? This is asking for a quote from a sci-fi author, not a sci-fi story. Use quotes tag.

  10. Who created the version of Kilgrave in the Jessica Jones TV series?

    I don't think this one really needs an ID tag at all: it's a question about a specific, known show. Remove ID tag.

  11. Seeking name credits for pulp SF artists I'm still not entirely sure what tag would be appropriate here, but I removed the author-ID tag so that the merge doesn't affect this question.

  12. Who wrote "The Monsters" short story published by Purnell Use story-ID tag.

  13. Quotation about the future of technology being paper This is asking for a quote from a sci-fi author, not a sci-fi story. Use quotes tag.

  14. Name of the author who wrote "Killer" Use story-ID tag.

  15. Quote by Science Fiction writer: peace and prosperity are the exception, not the norm This is asking for a quote from a sci-fi author, not a sci-fi story. Use quotes tag.

  • #1 there is a case of the story-id usage guidance update I suggested, asking about a "creator". Identifying any one of the stories would identify the author, or vice-versa. For those where you say quotes, I personally recommend the format of story-id + quotes, so we'd be using quotes in the way we do novel or short-story.
    – user31178
    Nov 27, 2016 at 0:24
  • Illo is short for illustrator, btw. Still thinking on that one
    – user31178
    Nov 27, 2016 at 13:31
  • @CreationEdge Does that mean you think questions like this or this or this should also be tagged story-ID?
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Nov 27, 2016 at 14:02
  • Hmm. Seems quotes is already widely used singular. I guess just quotes, no story-id. Quotes-id would make a good synonym.
    – user31178
    Nov 27, 2016 at 18:14
  • @CreationEdge Not every quotes question is about quotes-ID though - for example, this or this or this.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Nov 27, 2016 at 18:47
  • In those three, I don't think quotes is an appropriate tag at all. Otherwise we'd have to use it for every question about an excerpt or phrasing, which isn't helpful.
    – user31178
    Nov 27, 2016 at 18:55
  • One which probably rightfully should have been tagged with it that I ran into today... scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/6407/…
    – FuzzyBoots
    Nov 29, 2016 at 13:42

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