1

What is the point of the tag? We have tags like , , , and , where the tag conveys something about the medium, e.g. a song lyric is meant to be sung. But I don't see the point of the myths tag. A myth could be a short story, or oral literature. Could we get some clarification here?

7
  • Another way of thinking about this question is that myth is a genre. Do we want genre tags? – user111 Jul 10 '17 at 19:54
  • Most myths don't have specific known authors; some don't even have titles. How would we tag, say, a question about some tale from Greek mythology? Just greek-literature and nothing else seems a bit ... lacking. It would be nice, as b_jonas says, to have a way for mythology experts to find questions that interest them specifically. "Mythology" is an area of literary expertise, just as "Russian literature" or "the works of Shakespeare" are. – Rand al'Thor Mod Jul 10 '17 at 23:47
  • @Randal'Thor taxicrash.github.io/2015/01/04/Defining-Myth-Folklore-Legend – user111 Jul 11 '17 at 0:22
  • Thanks, that looks interesting! I'll have to read it tomorrow though - kind of half-asleep atm. – Rand al'Thor Mod Jul 11 '17 at 0:34
  • @Randal'Thor keep in mind that the blog post is written from the perspective of folklore studies and mythological studies. (Those are two distinct fields BTW, but in the case of mythological studies, the field consists of less than ten people who study it seriously). So please don't quote that blog post on this site, which has different words (genre) and different concepts than those two fields. – user111 Jul 11 '17 at 2:05
  • @Randal'Thor Myths either are oral literature, or they have specific authors. The Greek myths are preserved today because people wrote them down. If you're quoting the original Greek myths, then you have an author and the title of the work it appeared in. If you're quoting a modern retelling of a Greek myth, then again, you have an author and the title of the work it appeared in. – user111 Jul 11 '17 at 2:07
  • @Randal'Thor myth is not a branch of literature. From the perspective of mythological studies, it is it's own branch of academia, which, depending on who you talk to, is pseudo-scholarship or just unpopular. From the perspective of folklore studies, it's a specific category of prose narratives. From the perspective of literature, myth is just a genre of stories, and like all genres, defined by politics and marketing. – user111 Jul 11 '17 at 2:09
4

There are a lot of people who are interested in mythology and knowledgeable about it. That we have a Mythology SE website going fine proves this.

Thus, the tag serves as a signpost, so that people who know a lot about mythology and want to answer questions about it can find these questions on this website.

10
  • I downvoted this answer because we shouldn't be creating tags for the sole purpose of making life easier for people on other sites. Tags should be created to benefit the members of this site. – user111 Jul 11 '17 at 1:47
  • @Hamlet: As is common on StackExchange, there's an overlap between the users of the two sites. – b_jonas Jul 11 '17 at 2:09
  • OK. I'm a member of both sites. As a member of Mythology, the myths tag is extremely helpful. Explain why it is helpful as a member of Literature. – user111 Jul 11 '17 at 2:12
  • @Hamlet At least one of the [myth] and [norse-mythology] tags are helpful because it let andejons find the questions about Norse mythology on this site which he can answer well. I'm not sure if we need the general [myth] tag or only the more specific tags. – b_jonas Jul 11 '17 at 9:39
  • 3
    @Hamlet This answer doesn't say the tag should exist to help people from other sites. It says the tag should exist to help experts in mythology (and mentions the Mythology SE site just as a way of demonstrating that such people exist). – Rand al'Thor Mod Jul 11 '17 at 11:10
  • 1
    @b_jonas Currently the norse-mythology tag is only used for questions about Neil Gaiman's book Norse Mythology and not for questions about actual Norse mythology in general. Which, FACEPALM, is a really awful idea, but nobody's got round to fixing the tag wiki and usage yet. – Rand al'Thor Mod Jul 11 '17 at 11:11
  • @Randal'Thor if people are asking about norse mythology in general, and not a specific representation of norse mythology (e.g. Gaiman's Norse Mythology, the Prose Edda, or the Poetic Edda), then I would be inclined to say that such questions should be moved to Mythology. – user111 Jul 11 '17 at 12:55
  • @Hamlet Why? Oral literature is on-topic here (you even wrote the answer saying so). – Rand al'Thor Mod Jul 11 '17 at 13:58
  • @Randal'Thor hmmm, let me figure out the best way to explain my reasoning. – user111 Jul 11 '17 at 14:01
  • 1
    @Hamlet the [norse-mythology] tag may be broken then. But a lot of modern literature other than that book references mythology. I expect more questions about such connections, and many such questions will be good and on-topic on Literature. – b_jonas Jul 11 '17 at 14:40
2

On the Mythology Stack Exchange, people ask questions about "The Myth of Hercules" without specifying which Myth of Hercules they are interested in. So answers on Mythology need to, among other things, break down the different versions of the myth.

When it comes to oral literature, things are a little bit different. You can ask about "motifs" which are essentially "tale types": a way of categorizing all of the different versions of a story floating around in oral tradition.

Myth is not a tag we should use on this site because it really is a genre. For example, when it comes to something like Norse mythology, the term "Norse mythology" is unclear. Are you talking about the Christianized version of Norse mythology recorded in the prose and poetic eddas? Are you talking about the oral tradition that we have no real record of? Or are you talking about modern adaptations of Norse mythology?

One of the things that defines questions on Literature is that people usually read the books they ask questions about. I think this leads to very good questions. A broad concept such as "myth" and "[culture] mythology" encourages people to ask broad questions, which then need to be answered with a frame challenge. If we can, we should guide people in the direction of working out the frame challenge aspect of their question themselves.

Not having a tag is a very good way to get people to think about the fact that there are multiple versions of myths, and to get people to state whether they are asking a comparison question or a question about a specific version.

Let's say you have a question about Norse Mythology. You try to tag it with , but you realize that the tag refers to Gaiman's adaptation. (Or we rename to to make this clearer). So then you're trying to figure out what tags to you. It might take a bit of thinking, but you should eventually have to decide whether you want to ask about the Prose/Poetic Edda, Gaiman's adaptation, both, or neither. And your question will be improved because of this.

Myth is not an easily definable topic; like a genre, it shouldn't get it's own tag.

An answer to this question referenced the fact that a Stack Exchange exists about the topic to support the fact that myth is a field and that it should get its own tag. But if you look at the mythology meta, you'll see that they had, and still have, a very hard time defining what mythology actually is. We already decided that we shouldn't have genre tags because genre is too hard to define. The same should go for the myth tag.

2
  • 1
    You have to remember that almost nobody ever reads tag wikis. It won't be "try to tag it with norse-mythology, but you realize that the tag refers to Gaiman's adaptation"; it'll be "wonder what tags to use for this general question about Norse mythology as a whole, see there's a tag called norse-mythology, use that with no further thought". Having a tag whose name seems to refer to one thing but which is actually used for something different is generally a REALLY REALLY bad idea. – Rand al'Thor Mod Jul 11 '17 at 17:00
  • @Randal'Thor or we can rename the tag to something like gaiman-norse-mythology to make this crystal clear. – user111 Jul 11 '17 at 17:12

You must log in to answer this question.