I recently noticed that tag was used to tag a series of questions by one user who appears to be working through Spinoza's Ethics.

All of the questions deal with a translation/grammatical difficulty that is only circumstantially related to the text. It would be similar, in my mind, to tagging a question about the passive periphrastic because my question was occasioned by something I read in a Cataline oration.

What criteria are we using for the creation of author tags? Should all questions be tagged if they contain a substantial quote from a certain author? Or perhaps there is a critical mass that must be reached first?

  • Good question, you had me pondering. I find Joonas's reasoning compelling, though.
    – Cerberus Mod
    Commented Dec 21, 2016 at 18:12
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    Yes, I do appear to work through it... most likely will have more questions about it, too. If this tag is not appropriate you are always welcome to change it to something more suitable. Many thanks
    – Aili J.
    Commented Dec 21, 2016 at 23:01
  • Honestly, I don't really see a point in author or work tags. I asked the same below, but I'll repeat it here: Is there a purpose that the author/work tags serve? What knowledge is gained by focusing only on e.g. Spinoza, or really any author?
    – cmw Mod
    Commented Dec 24, 2016 at 16:49
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    There might be perhaps some other person who wants to read the same author and might experience some difficulties as I do - in this case it is useful, otherwise, on academic level of course there is no point. So it all depends how wide audience this site wants to reach.
    – Aili J.
    Commented Dec 24, 2016 at 21:33

1 Answer 1


I created the tag, but I am not against deleting it from some or all questions if we decide so.

In my opinion, an author tag should be used whenever the question is about the work of a specific author and there is room for a tag. I would use the book tags, such as , similarly. In your example I would include the tag without a doubt. If the question mainly concern's Cicero's style or Aeneid's plot, the appropriate tag is a must, but such questions are relatively rare.

If there are more important and descriptive tags for the question, I see no problem with leaving such tags out. But I think such tags do provide a benefit, even if only a marginal one. If I want to know what kinds of problems people have come across reading Spinoza, I will first search that tag.

My answer to your question: All questions should be tagged with the author tag if they contain a substantial quote from a certain author. Similarly with book tags. Such tags can be left out if more important tags reach the limit of five.

This is how I have tagged so far. I am willing to change my behavior in this respect if that is the preferred policy.

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    With the hundreds of Neo-Latin authors out there, is there really a need to tag each and every one? Is there a purpose that that serves? What knowledge is gained by focusing only on e.g. Spinoza, or really any author?
    – cmw Mod
    Commented Dec 24, 2016 at 16:48
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    @CMWeimer I take a via media: there are authors like Cicero or Virgil whose style has had a vast impact on Latin, and I could imagine any number of valid questions about them as authors. Someone like Spinoza, though, is writing in vanilla academic Latin, and all the questions so far could have been just as easily posed about another representative text from another author.
    – brianpck
    Commented Dec 24, 2016 at 19:05
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    The gain is of the same kind for all authors: finding information about an author. It's not always very useful, but sometimes it is. I admit the gain is often small, but I see no negative effects in using author tags.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta Mod
    Commented Dec 24, 2016 at 19:22
  • @brianpck I hope you don't mind me asking - what is 'vanilla academic Latin' :)
    – Aili J.
    Commented Dec 24, 2016 at 22:02
  • @brianpck I guess I'm thinking of it through StackOverflow lens. Tags there are useful for sorting, so that people into the C language have easier access to C-related questions. I can't really see that being very useful here, but maybe I'm not thinking outside the box enough.
    – cmw Mod
    Commented Dec 25, 2016 at 0:11

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