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This is the tag wiki excerpt for the tag.

For questions about literature written in Russia, in Russian, or by a Russian author.

That doesn't seem quite right to me. According to the usage for this tag, a question regarding the works of a British author who writes an English novel while in Russia should use this tag. In that case, the work being discussed doesn't seem Russian to me at all; rather, it's written in English by someone from England who was merely living in Russia at the time of writing. Thus, I think the "written in Russia" portion of the tag wiki excerpt should be deleted. What are your thoughts?

(I was asking this because I was considering asking a question about the works of Stephen Graham.)

marked as duplicate by Rand al'Thor, Gallifreyan, Nathaniel, user58, DForck42 Jan 24 '17 at 22:51

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    Honestly, I'm leery about the idea of having tags like this (I believe we also have a nazi-germany tag) at all. If you have a question about a work of Russian literature, why not just tag it with the work name and author name? – Rand al'Thor Jan 23 '17 at 1:13
  • @Randal'Thor My thoughts as well. – fi12 Jan 23 '17 at 1:13
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    @Randal'Thor - because it's plausible to have people who are "more" expert at specifically Russian literature (or literature of nazi germany, or at least German literature in general); and this tag would let them pick among hundreds and eventually thousands of questions effectively without searching for any one of dozens or hundreds of Russian authors individually. – DVK Jan 23 '17 at 12:23
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I kind of agree with Emrakul's answer, but there might be one scenario in which a tag (or something like it) could be useful: when asking a question about Russian literature as a whole.

The questions currently bearing this tag, such as Is there evidence of anti-Semitism in Dostoyevsky's books? and Did Strugatsky brothers ever comment on "predicting" the Kasparov-Karpov World Chess rivalry?, are actually about specific Russian authors. We don't need a general Russian literature tag for these questions. However, if somebody wanted to ask a question about, say, how the Russian Revolution changed certain aspects of Russian literature as a whole, or whether any books published in Russia during the Cold War cast the US in a positive light, then we wouldn't have a specific work or author tag for those questions, so a tag would make sense for them.

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    I think I actually agree with this guidance over my answer. A Russian literature tag would be useful in the generic, but shouldn't be used on questions about specific books. I can see that. – Aza Jan 23 '17 at 1:27
  • I agree with this in theory, but there are two problems I can see with implementation: first, defining "Russian" (and who gets to define it) is historically a non-trivial issue with some very strong feelings on the line; second, the very existence of the tag will encourage misuse (as we've seen already) and require extra curation effort above and beyond the benefit of having the tag. I say, at the very least wait 'til we have such questions before deciding if the tag is useful for them. Right now we're talking about a different kind of use for the tag. – BESW Jan 23 '17 at 5:26
  • @BESW Sure: since none of the existing questions with this tag are about Russian literature as a whole, for now we can just edit it out. – Rand al'Thor Jan 23 '17 at 16:45
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I don't think this tag is very useful at all, no matter how you define it, and that maybe we should remove it entirely. Hear me out.

What counts as "Russian" literature is kind of a hazy line, and it depends on who you're asking and what criteria you're using. Using a tag for "Russian literature" forces you to rigorously define it, and that's bad for literary discussion.

Removing this tag entirely, and letting the work stand on its own, frees the site from having to decide anything about what constitutes "Russian literature," nonetheless what constitutes "literature" to begin with. But if you want to discuss something from Russian culture in a literary way, you can just tag the content based on its name.

Answers should be bearing in mind the source culture anyway. Besides, the book tags stand for themselves. A book's title is going to give more context about that book than a lump-sum "Russian literature" tag will.

  • After posting my comment above (which pretty much agrees with this answer), I've reconsidered and would now suggest a slightly different approach - see my answer. – Rand al'Thor Jan 23 '17 at 1:26

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