If an identification question has an accepted answer, it would make sense to tag it with the author's name. Or should we not tag it and leave it as a sort of trivia question for others?

  • Point of clarification: are you asking whether we should always tag them (i.e. the policy is that once the story is identified, the question should be tagged) or whether we could (i.e. it's possible to tag the story id question, but not mandatory)?
    – Andres F.
    Commented Jan 15, 2019 at 22:04

7 Answers 7


No, I don't think so. Not all story identification questions are resolved unambiguously, and sometimes the asker misremembered details. If you know the name of the author already, the question is often not interesting.

The tags on a question are tags that searchers might use. By definition, someone searching for an identification question does not know the name of the author. To retag the question would be counter-productive.

I would encourage using tags that reflect what themes the asker remembers, e.g. What is the title of a story about a elevator through time and the smallest possible change obviously, and (I'm not sure about that one — I put it in because it involves changing the timeline, but I can see the case against).

  • That is why I specifically wrote that the answer must be accepted. It would be nice to have a mechanism to associate a question like that with the author. Some sort of a hidden tag, perhaps?
    – Dima
    Commented Jul 28, 2011 at 15:53
  • 3
    @Dima If the user misremembered details (conflating elements of multiple stories seems fairly common in Story ID questions), an accepted answer doesn't mean that the entire question is directly relevant to the author of the work in the answer. There could be two answers, both right, both citing different works, and one could be accepted because it was "more right"... or simply more detailed, better written, etc., in which case the issue Gilles describes is still valid, despite there being an accepted answer.
    – Beofett
    Commented Feb 27, 2013 at 13:17
  • I'm voting for this but will suggest a less stringent variation: tagging with the author should not push out another, more descriptive tag. Simply put, if these questions are to be useful they have to be searchable by someone who also doesn't recall enough to find it themselves, which is why tagging with the author is secondary. Commented Feb 28, 2013 at 1:44
  • 2
    "By definition, someone searching for an identification question does not know the name of the author." Knowing the author != knowing the work (especially for an obscure work or a prolific author). An asker might also search based on suspected author(s). (I am uncertain on this question.)
    – user11683
    Commented Feb 19, 2014 at 1:41
  • The whole idea of searching for someone else's identification question makes no sense. (I'm also in the camp the they shouldn't even need allowed as arbitrary and 'too localized') Commented Aug 1, 2015 at 14:43
  • 2
    @ThePopMachine Why wouldn't it? I know for a fact that plenty of people do it — Science Fiction & Fantasy's story-identification tag is littered with deleted answers that say “I was looking for that! Glad to have found it!”
    – user56
    Commented Aug 1, 2015 at 14:48
  • One logical exception, of course would be when the OP has noted that they believe the author is Biggs Namewriter.
    – RDFozz
    Commented Jan 15, 2019 at 20:55
  • @RDFozz - Indeed. If OP knows that it's an Asimov story, they're more than entitled to tag it [Story-ID], [Asimov]. If they turn out to be wrong, we can always remove the tag later
    – Valorum
    Commented Jan 15, 2019 at 21:09

I'm going to say that yes, providing that the answer is clearly proved to be the correct one (by an answer being accepted, for example). If there is any doubt, the the author's name should be excluded, until all doubt is removed.

  • 6
    Although this answer is the most upvoted, I must clarify that this is not standard practice on this site. We do not retag story identification questions based on their answers, even if they're accepted.
    – user56
    Commented Feb 25, 2013 at 11:15
  • 1
    As I said on a comment to Giles' answer the author should be excluded if there is a more descriptive tag that could use that slot instead. Commented Feb 28, 2013 at 1:45
  • Note that (except if the OP states the author's name in their post) there may be answers that were well-received, but didn't happen to be what the OP was looking for by other authors. It would seem odd for them to be included if the question is tagged with an author (or a franchise, or anything not coming from the actual question itself, rather than from the accepted answer).
    – RDFozz
    Commented Jan 15, 2019 at 20:57

It's a nice idea, but where there isn't a tag in place for the author remember that (it seems to me that) quite a few of the questions are raised by first-time or relatively new visitors who may not have or indeed ever gain the rep required to create a new tag.


Current standard practice or not, yes, I'd like to see this happen. My argument for is that if I subscribe to an author's tag, it's because I am interested in seeing discussion about the author and their works. I'd like to know what others are saying about them, what is sticking out to other readers (what one person remembers might be different from what I remembered; what struck them powerfully might be different from my own interaction with the work). I'm following an author tag because I am a fan, and even though an answer might be accepted, if I am a knowledgeable fan of that author, I might be able to contribute to the question/answer through comments or provide an even better answer :)


One reason tags exist is not for people searching for answers, but people searching for questions. People who follow an author's tag are going to have interest in story-identification about their works.

Note that this is beneficial even if the tag were placed incorrectly, in fact particularly so, because an expert on that author's works is more likely to recognize the mistake than others would. And of course they may also help to confirm or add weight via comments or additional answers when they believe it is correct.


I'll say Yes, because it would help in ordering the information after the question has been answered, as Dima pointed out.

Also, it might be an interesting metric later for figuring out what author has the least memorable titles.


I think it would be a waste of time to add these tags. Single use tags without a tag wiki get deleted automatically by the system eventually (see Do not expire single-use tags that have a tag wiki), so we would just end up writing a whole lot of unnecessary tag wikis or else have things deleted. Plus, after all this time of not doing it this way, it would be too much work to change.

Instead of relying on tags, use an advanced search: [story-identification] isaccepted:yes is:a + title of the work.

You can tweak this search to remove the requirement that the answer be accepted or search for just an author instead of a title. It's very flexible.

Feel free to add more information to answers (accepted or not) to make it easier to find them. (This is especially important when the title of the work is generic.) For example, it might be good to add the full name of the author, the year of release, or a description to the answer.

  • 2
    Mmmmh​, IIRC we're not concerned by that automatic tag deletion thing. Like, you used to be able to opt out (but can't anymore), and opt out we did. Edit: yeah, we did. This query returns 6-years old stuff
    – Jenayah
    Commented May 3, 2019 at 6:22

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .