16

The Problem

I'd like to follow all questions on works of one of my favourite authors, Ray Bradbury, but there's currently no way for me to do so.

Constraints

Our policy is to not put an author tag on questions about one of their works, so following doesn't work.

I could follow tags for the individual works. However, for Ray Bradbury that would be a lot of tags to follow. And even if I wanted to follow that many tags, I can't follow non-existent tags for works about which no questions have been asked yet.

Other Examples

Jules Verne is another example of an author whose works do not fall in one franchise, where a user in chat has expressed a desire to follow questions about his work.

And there are plenty of other authors whose works do not fall in one franchise.

How do I follow questions about works by a specific author?

4

TL;DR: We use the author tags when there are few questions per work and in total as current practice already, this should be incorporated into current policy.

Current Policy

Current policy would appear that author tags are to be used solely on questions about the authors themselves and not for questions about their works.

If the question is asking about a) aspects of the author's life, or b) aspects of the author's work that are not specific to a single work or franchise, then we tag the question with the name of the author.

What is the correct usage of individual works tags vs. author tags vs. franchise tags?

This meta post also quotes the same thing above and uses that to come to its conclusions.

This post about Fahrenheit 451 and Ray Bradbury has no clear consensus but does point to how things are done in practice.

Current Practice

This comment alludes to how things are done in practice.

Re: "author" tags... imho, the utility varies greatly depending on how many different titles the author contributes. For example, J.K. Rowling only has the Harry Potter world (at least as far as relates to SciFi/Fantasy), but authors like Heinlein, Dick, etc., have dozens and dozens of titles, many of which only have the author as a common factor. I see utility in have author tags for the more prolific writers. I might want to look through the Heinlein tag for ideas for other books of his to read, for example. – Beofett

In reality though things are currently slightly different: we use the author tags when there are few questions per work and in total. However, if there are main franchise/universe tags we should still be using them in place of the author tags.

Of course there is no explicit cut off on when we should stop adding author tags to works with higher than "few" questions so we use common sense.

What needs to be done?

Current practice should be incorporated into current policy.

Apart from that personally I don't think anything needs to be done. The author tags are already used in the proposed manner in cases where it is more appropriate and do we really want to group works by tag just because they have the same author? I don't think so. If the work is unrelated to another work in universe then they don't really need to be linked.

So how can you follow them easily?

Well depends on the author and the traffic they bring to the site. I believe Ray Bradbury and Jules Verne already have their author tags used as "all works by author" so not a problem there. Though I'm not too familiar to check all the works to see if this is the case.

In cases where the author tags are used solely for questions about the author well then there's generally quite a few questions already. To take the below example adding the author tag wouldn't make it easier to find new questions about Wild Cards, The Thousand Worlds or whatever other work he's letting distract him at the moment because they would be lost in the storm of Game of Thrones and A Song of Ice and Fire questions. (Note: adding the author tag to GoT questions wouldn't necessarily be the case but the point still stands even if it is solely applied to ASOIAF questions).


To take things to an extreme example lets look at George R. R. Martin. There are currently, that I'm aware of, 4 universe tags that relate to his works and the author tag:

In this case do we really want to have to retag 2,383 questions to have the author tags on them and then dilute questions about the author themselves. This would then also hold true for , although slightly different because there's only really one work here.


On a side note this might not work as you expect. For example, if you watch but ignore questions tagged with both will still show up as highlighted. See this answer to the meta announcement, for example.

Tag conflict example

  • I think I've stated quite clear that I do not want to add an author-based tag if there is a perfectly fine franchise tag already. I even use harry-potter / jk-rowling as an example of that. I only want to use an author-based tag in absence of any other franchise tag. – SQB Aug 1 '18 at 14:45
  • @SQB Sure but added it to make me answer more complete – TheLethalCarrot Aug 1 '18 at 14:47
  • Up voted because using the author tag itself has my preference, but I disagree that this is current policy or even practice. – SQB Aug 1 '18 at 18:27
  • @SQB To be clear I said current practice not policy. – TheLethalCarrot Aug 1 '18 at 18:45
  • Your "current" practice reference is 2 years older than when the policy was actually decided. Doesn't seem terribly current, to me! – user31178 Aug 1 '18 at 19:18
  • 1
    @WebHead Well that’s the nearest reference I could find, though my current practice section mainly comes from how we do things currently! – TheLethalCarrot Aug 1 '18 at 19:25
  • The point of it being practice as opposed to policy is that there isn't a recent meta post supporting it ;-) @WebHead – Rand al'Thor Aug 1 '18 at 20:21
  • @Randal'Thor Maybe, but I'm not sure we have any evidence that it's also "current practice" and not just "Oh, here's a couple examples from a few years ago." It's such a small portion of our tags, that I think any data on it is stale enough to not really be useful. We have no real practice, nor policy. – user31178 Aug 2 '18 at 19:29
  • Although, I do recall recently having advised people not to add author tags, unless it was specifically about the author, even if it was a "small number of works", and I do believe that's the way we went. Unfortunately, I believe this was done in comments on various metas and not answers. I'll have to check. But, to me, the "current practice" is enforcing the "no author tags unless it's about the author", so my main objection is with the wording used here, suggesting that no one was paying attention to author tags since KutuluMike's meta. But, I have. – user31178 Aug 2 '18 at 19:35
  • @WebHead so my main objection is with the wording used here, suggesting that no one was paying attention to author tags since KutuluMike's meta. I didn't mean to word it that way, if there is something I can reword to change that let me know. – TheLethalCarrot Aug 3 '18 at 8:02
  • Just making it known. I think the comments here suffice as a flagpost. What I want to know about, though, is how you propose handling existing questions that would qualify for author tags, and if you have examples. – user31178 Aug 3 '18 at 15:06
  • @WebHead Well if they would qualify for the author tag there's only really 2 ways of doing it 1) slowly going back through the old posts and doing a couple a day and 2) a mass edit event after a meta post proposed by the community. As for any examples, I'm not sure as I don't really follow authors where this is a problem. Though before any changes are made a general meta post should be posted so we can check authors where people think this should apply. – TheLethalCarrot Aug 3 '18 at 15:13
  • "...questions tagged with both will still show up as highlighted" — don't you mean will show up as ignored? That's what your screenshot shows. – Wildcard Aug 6 '18 at 22:04
  • @Wildcard It shows both effects, I didn’t properly test myself just quoted the linked meta answer. – TheLethalCarrot Aug 6 '18 at 22:26
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Solution

In absence of another franchise tag, we tag questions with .

Explanation

An author's works can be said to form a franchise. In absence of another franchise, we can use that. That should show up among the suggested tags when typing the author's name, and its use should be clear from the name of the tag.

Examples

  • JKR's works all fall under — or at least the ones on topic on this stack. There's no need for if one would want to follow everything JKR.
    A user can follow and be done.

  • Jules Verne's work have no such overarching franchise. So we tag questions about his works with , alongside the tag for the specific work.
    A user can follow and be done.

  • George Orwell's only works that are on topic on this stack are 1984 and possibly Animal Farm. Those two works should have their own tags that can be followed; no other tags are necessary.

  • Ursula K. Le Guin's works fall under two main franchises, Earthsea and Hainish Cycle. Works in those two franchises need no additional tags. Other works, like "The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas", should be tagged with , even if they have a tag for the individual work as well.

  • We already have author tags that we use in place of franchise tags when there isn't a universe/franchise name and the questions for that author are low. Jules Verne is a good example of where this happens now (read the whole chat transcript on that conversation, it was a mistake on my part). – TheLethalCarrot Aug 1 '18 at 12:09
  • For when questions on an authors work become "too large" and the works aren't connected anyway just the work tag is fine. – TheLethalCarrot Aug 1 '18 at 12:09
  • 2
    @TheLethalCarrot Could you turn your comments into an answer? As far as I know, we don't have a meta supporting your proposed usage of author names (except for short stories specifically), even if it is what we've been doing in practice. Would be nice to have it as a meta answer to be voted on. – Rand al'Thor Aug 1 '18 at 12:29

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