In WordPress an author is a user role which gives the user the ability to:

  1. upload files
  2. add posts
  3. edit their own posts
  4. delete their own posts

The author is unique from other user roles because he or she has a very front end facing role in the WordPress site.  Usually the author has a bio page and picture that are many times displayed on the blog or business site.  The authors posts (content) is what makes the blog what it is.  Without this content there would be no blog.

Also see User Role, Content

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