Sorry for all the questions about tagging lately. This question will hopefully be simpler to answer.

The question Looking for a poem about the (fictionalized) writing of The Canterbury Tales Prologue is tagged with and . The problem is that the question isn't explicitly about The Canterbury Tales; it's about a work of literature that is based off of The Canterbury Tales.

One of the concerns that's worth taking into account is that Looking for a poem about the (fictionalized) writing of The Canterbury Tales Prologue is already at five tags.

  • I would argue that someone who's interested in The Canterbury Tales will also be interested in whatever the question is looking for. On the other hand, a question like "I'm looking for the work that is like X but not X" should not have the X tag. Check this one's revisions. Commented Jul 12, 2017 at 7:50

2 Answers 2


There's a couple of possible scenarios I can think of which fall under the situation you describe.

The question is about a fan-fiction based on some original work.

For example, consider my question Identify non-Doylian Holmes short story: Watson outstrips Sherlock and Mycroft. This question is about a Sherlock Holmes story, just not one written by Arthur Conan Doyle; thus I used the tag but not (which led to the odd fact of the former tag having more questions than the latter). There are a couple of ways to justify this:

  1. The story being asked about is in some sense part of the same series, thus gets the title tag, but not by the same author, thus doesn't get the author tag.
  2. People interested in Sherlock Holmes stories may also be interested in non-Doylian ones, so it makes sense for them to find a list of all questions about any Holmes story by a simple tag search. If they're purists and only want to look at questions about the original Doyle stories, that list can also be found by a simple tag search, just with two tags instead of one.

For the same reason, I would say that this question should have the tag.

The question is about a story which is about another story.

This is the situation with the Canterbury Tales question you mentioned, and it's a little harder to deal with. There are (at least) two ways of looking at this, with different conclusions.

  1. Do we want to tag questions according to what the story is about? The answer to this seems to be no, judging from our current tagging system. We're not using a tag for questions about WWII literature, or an tag for questions on books about animals, so why should we use a tag for asking about a story about Chaucer, even if that tag does already exist in the system?

  2. Is this question relevant to Chaucer experts? I'd say the answer to this is yes. Someone who knows a lot about the real Chaucer and his works might also know a lot about portrayals of Chaucer in fiction, or at least be interested in such stories. Imagine if the question was about a non-fiction biography of Chaucer; I doubt there'd be any objections to putting the Chaucer tag on it in that case. And fiction or non-fiction doesn't make a difference to the question's Chauceriness.

  • So what should we do about this question?
    – user111
    Commented Jul 12, 2017 at 14:45
  • 2
    @Hamlet Well, I've presented what I think are solid arguments for both options, and it's not really clear which is more useful. Perhaps it's one of those cases where we need a larger sample size of questions before deciding on what tagging rules will work best?
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Commented Jul 13, 2017 at 15:36

I'm going to go with:

Title tags should only used for questions that are about the actual text of said book. Author tags should be used more generally.

If you look at the rational for title tags, you learn that people want title tags in part because they are only interested in a subset of the works an author has written. The implication is that title tags are for people who have read that exact book, and author tags are for more general expertise.

Let's stick with precedent and use title tags for the specific case of questions about a specific work, and author tags for questions that are simply related to one author.

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