We have and . I think it should be uniform whether a name is stated in full or initialised. If this is not resolved early and enforced it will become virtually impossible to reach a consistent feeling later.

I suggest initials only for every case of 2 or more given names, and full name otherwise. Opinions?

  • Another problem with naming author tags is what order Hungarian names should be shown, eg. for Szabó Magda. See chat.stackexchange.com/transcript/message/34307926#34307926
    – b_jonas
    Commented Jan 19, 2017 at 11:34
  • 2
    @b_jonas - just use Hungarian notation.
    – DVK
    Commented Jan 19, 2017 at 17:26
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    I'd suggest it's good to make a habit of proposing the problem ("author name tags are inconsistently written") and nothing else in the question, and proposing a solution ("let's use this consistent format") separately in an answer. If both are proposed together, it mixes signals as to whether someone should vote based on the merit of discussing the problem vs the merit of the solution proposed. In this scenario I've downvoted the question, because I do not agree with the proposed solution, and could not upvote it lest I risk my vote being interpreted as endorsement of the solution as well. Commented Jan 21, 2017 at 17:59

2 Answers 2


I've been trying to set some consistent standards for author tag names, e.g. ensuring that we never use just a single name for the tag: thus instead of .

However, to your question about initials versus full first name, I don't think we actually need to be consistent: let's just use whatever name the author is most commonly known by. It seems silly to call a tag when not many people know his first names (and in fact he hardly ever used them himself, even among friends). Most authors have a "brand" name, a name by which they're most commonly referred to, and we can use that for the tag name. We can even allow mixtures of initials and full names, e.g. .

By all means add other versions of the name as synonyms, but using the author's most commonly used moniker will make the tags and questions more searchable and enable people to find questiona about that author and their works more quickly, which is always a good thing.


I don't think we need to enforce a strict policy about this. Margaret Peterson Haddix is how the author is referred to colloquially. C.S. Lewis isn't usually referred to as Clive Staples Lewis. J.K. Rowling is usually referred to by that name. Same thing with H.G. Wells. However, Fitz James O'Brien is usually referred to with their full names.

For the sake of intuition, tags should reflect the most reasonable name someone would search for. Whichever one is more common should therefore be the dominant tag.

When we get the tools to do it, however, we can synonymize other well-known abbreviations for author names - that's exactly what tag synonyms are for.

  • 46 seconds ... are we reading each other's brainwaves or something?
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Commented Jan 19, 2017 at 11:17
  • @Randal'Thor Must be, if this keeps happening!
    – user80
    Commented Jan 19, 2017 at 11:39

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