I just asked a question related to Lawrence Kohlberg's theory of stages of moral development.

When I went to tag the question, I wasn't sure if I should be including a tag for Kohlberg. I looked to see if there were any other tags for academics (e.g. Freud, Piaget, etc.), but found none, so I did not add it.

Perhaps Kohlberg isn't the best example, but more influential/recognizable academics might garner enough related questions to make tags with their names useful.

Should tags for notable individuals be used on this site? If so, should they be in the format of last name only, such as , , , etc.? Or is full name prefered (e.g. , , , etc.)?

2 Answers 2


It sounds like a good idea and I agree that full name is better. That said, I'd add a few caveats.

  • I think that both general and specific topic tags are more important than tags for famous researchers. E.g., is more important than a tag for sigmund freud. So I'd hope that at the very least, researcher tags would be used in addition to topic tags.
  • Most questions on this site ask scientific questions. While particular researchers may have been particularly active in answering that question, I don't think such general questions should be given an author tag. Rather, author tags seem most relevant to evaluating or interpreting particular theories and work of particular authors.
  • I don't think there would be many authors who are sufficiently famous to warrant their own tag. I just don't think we get enough questions about specific authors. That said, probably Freud and perhaps Piaget might be exceptions. I like the general rule that you should be able to point to at least three existing questions where the tag should be applied before creating the tag.

I also like the idea of experimenting with the idea for a few clear examples to see whether such author tags seem to work and whether they get many followers.


I don't see how it could harm anything, and I see the following benefits:

  • I'd (personally) love to look at questions somehow related to Chomsky, and a few others. I think those would be great tags for engagement.

  • Tags influence titles which influence search results, and people tend to search by name - so there's definitely a clear benefit there.

  • I don't see how they could fall into the 'meta' category of tags, it's kind of hard to apply those inappropriately unless you're just flat out mistaken

I'd go with the instead of nomenclature, however synonyms would be quite handy here to allow for people to apply them correctly either way.

Definitely, no complaints out of me if these start appearing :)


I don't want to use these tags in lieu of the main topic tag, but in addition to them, where space permits. Think about this search if you will:

is:question score:3 [psychoanalysis][sigmund-freud] hasaccepted:1 answers:3

This saves me from having to manually open a bunch of questions just to close the ones that aren't related to my query, because whatever I'm working on revolves only around Freud.

The only down side I see is the possibility that new users will go to apply the researcher tag, note its existence and popularity, then stop adding tags as they congradulate themselves on a tag well done. However, doing it wrong when it comes to tagging has always been something that many new users do.

I'm not pushing strongly in either direction, I'm just noting that I have no objections if we do this (well, barring any pitfalls I haven't identified).

  • Wouldn't a tag referring to the theory/are/concept make more sense than a specific researcher? The theory after all is what the discussion will be about, not the researcher. psychoanalysis seems better than sigmund-freud unless the question specifically delves into Sigmund Freud's life, beyond specific theories/work, which then may or may not be on-topic. Maybe I am misunderstanding the purpose for such tags, but I dont think its a good idea.
    – asheeshr
    Commented Sep 15, 2013 at 15:44
  • @AsheeshR I rather like the way that Jeromy refines it, as the top level tag is important, but I can't deny the convenience and benefits of having the researcher tag in addition. Updated my answer a bit.
    – Tim Post
    Commented Sep 16, 2013 at 4:37

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