While there are some question-askers that confuse literary interpretation with authorial intent (dealt with elsewhere), there are also some who ask specifically about authorial intent on a specific topic, like this question.

Do we need a tag for this? A tag might help to ensure that these questions are not misconstrued as questions about analysis divorced from authorial intent, and might also prevent answers that do not address the question asked by the OP.* (This suggestion assumes, of course, that the original poster understood what they were asking, and made certain to indicate the precise nature of the query in the body of the post)

I don't have a specific wording in mind for the tag; might work, but if you have other suggestions please do post an answer.

*Should this be termed the "unintentional fallacy"? :P

  • Do we need questions about authorial intent on this site at all?
    – user111
    Commented Mar 5, 2017 at 23:47
  • 2
    @Hamlet If someone wants to know specifically about what the author intended on a particular issue in a work of literature, that seems like a totally valid question. People are allowed to specify that they're looking for answers using a particular lens.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Commented Mar 5, 2017 at 23:49

1 Answer 1


Please no.

Using a tag to say "I'm looking for answers of this type, rather than that type" isn't really what tags are for; it feels a bit meta-taggy, akin to having, say, and tags.

What's the point of tags, in general? They're supposed to aid searchability and enable experts in a particular topic to easily find a list of all questions on that topic. Well, there are no experts in authorial intent in general, and I doubt anyone would ever want to have a list of all questions asking about authorial intent in any literary work.

I get that you want to have some kind of marker on a question to signify that it's seeking answers based on authorial intent rather than any other possible lens, but I think a tag is the wrong way to do that. Just make it clear in the text of the question itself.

  • Maybe we could edit the help center to encourage people to specify which one they're looking for. Commented Mar 6, 2017 at 0:08
  • @EJoshuaS That might be a good idea; this page is pretty bare at the moment. Might be worth starting a meta post about that (or even just posting another answer to this one). On the other hand, it's early days yet and maybe we don't have a clear enough scope yet to start customising that page.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Commented Mar 6, 2017 at 0:13
  • The argument in favor of having a tag is that people who are looking to answer questions may be more interested in one kind of question (e.g. "Pure" literary analysis vs. Authorial intent). I agree that you'd probably never search only for authorial intent, but you might search it with other tags. Commented Mar 6, 2017 at 0:56
  • Who's allowed to propose changes to the help center? Just moderators? Commented Mar 10, 2017 at 18:11

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