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We recently had a question about famous-names-in-photography-writing Ken Rockwell and Thom Hogan. Another one that just came up specifically is about something Bryan Peterson says in one of his books, and earlier I asked something which is really based on something I read from Michael Freeman.

Should these questions be tagged with "ken-rockwell", "thom-hogan", etc.?

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I would really be careful about tagging based on the content of answers and not questions.

Beyond that, I'd also hesitate to tag unless the "personality" is extremely famous. How many programmers, I mean individual programmers, have their own tags on Stack Overflow?

Bear in mind that search works perfectly well for finding these sorts of things on the site as well, assuming the person's name is reasonably unique.

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  • Yeah, I do mean based on the content of the questions. – Please Read My Profile Apr 26 '11 at 11:51
  • Two points. Firstly the authors mentioned are certainly famous in the photographic community. Secondly your argument about search could be applied to any tag. But tags are nevertheless useful for a variety of reasons. The same reasons apply with equal force to author tags. Perhaps the most telling reason is that tags require a thoughtful decision and therefore they discriminate between an incidental use of a word and a relevant use of the word. They also reflect how the community categorises ideas in their domain. My point being that these reasons apply equally to author tags. – labnut Apr 26 '11 at 17:32
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    I would not equate photographic authors with programmers. They command a large public audience. They have an important instructional role. They become an important reference source. Books are the primary medium for collecting and collating knowledge for transmission to others. Their value is inestimable. This is not to take away from the value of programmers. It is just that they do not play such a large role in the collection and dissemination of knowledge as authors do. Authorship is always central to the discussion of ideas so it is entirely natural to tag by author. – labnut Apr 26 '11 at 17:45
  • Could you explain your reservations about tagging according to the content of answers? – labnut Apr 26 '11 at 17:53
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Yes. It would in effect become a citation list.

In the world of academic literature, citations are a powerful way of evaluating papers.
The number of references to authors and their works is a helpful guide.

In our case it would give easy access to all references to these authors so that the reader can gauge how this community views, values or assesses these authors.

As a test of the idea I performed the following Google searches:

  • Patterson -Newest -"Questions containing" site:photo.stackexchange.com,
    etc.

with the following results (there may be some duplicates):

This is a surprising and interesting result.
By tagging the questions according to referenced author we can achieve the same end as the Google searches but in a more accessible way.

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    I guess most of the hits are in answers, not questions. And it does not make sense to tag questions based on what was cited in answers. – Jukka Suomela Apr 23 '11 at 17:43
  • @jukka, @mattdm. The problem is that answers can't be tagged. But the questions can be retroactively tagged. Which is what frequently happens anyway. In any case tagging the question according to a citation in an answer seems to be quite fine to me. I think the real test is to what extent it adds value to photo.SE. I've made my view clear on that. – labnut Apr 23 '11 at 17:55
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    In general, I am strongly against re-tagging questions based on answers. If you think that answers should have tags, perhaps you could suggest that SE people implement this feature? – Jukka Suomela Apr 23 '11 at 18:07
  • @jukka, @mattdm. The OP asked about tagging questions according to the content of the question. That is what I am agreeing with. The subordinate question of tagging according to answer is merely a derivative matter where we hold differing opinions. I've given my rationale for and you should give your rationale against. In this way we can explore the matter usefully. But perhaps we should not hijack mattdm's thread with a derivative matter. It deserves its own treatment because it goes far beyond authors. I leave it to mattdm to decide if it needs further exploration. – labnut Apr 23 '11 at 18:29
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    My question here was specifically about tagging questions which refer to specific authors, photographers, or personalities with that person's name. I think retagging questions based on the answers is a separate issue altogether, regardless of the tags used. – Please Read My Profile Apr 24 '11 at 18:02

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