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'Author' in the WP context can refer to two different things: the person who has written a certain post/page or the role a user has.

Anyone who has sufficient rights on a site can be the author of a post/page. Admins and editors, for instance, do not have the role 'author', but they can publish posts.

The default user role author is in fact the 'lowest' role that gives a user authoring capabilities:

  • delete_posts
  • delete_published_posts
  • edit_posts
  • edit_published_posts
  • publish_posts
  • read
  • upload_files

Note that the delete and edit rights in the case of the author role only extends to their own posts.

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