There is an tag in scifi stackexchange with only 9 questions

Going through them, all the questions tagged with are about specific comics which are written around a known work of scifi and/or fantasy

But if there are comics that I don't understand, is it allowed to ask for an explanation of such comics here? Suppose a comic is clearly not about physics/astronomy/real science of any kind, but it is not clear what the comic is about either. Can I use the tag for an explanation of such comics here?

  • Related: Is tag:xkcd going to be contentious?
    – TARS
    Dec 7, 2016 at 14:40
  • 1
    I don't understand the down votes on a question seeking clarification of scope.
    – SQB
    Dec 8, 2016 at 5:07
  • @SQB - possibly, because people see (correctly or not) a question worded as "are XYZ allowed" as a positive proposal to disallow XYZ; and downvote in sign of disagreement because they want to keep XYZ. Dec 9, 2016 at 20:16
  • @dvk they should learn to read the whole question first then
    – user13267
    Dec 9, 2016 at 23:31
  • @user13267 - fact of life. People don't read. Dec 10, 2016 at 0:06

1 Answer 1


As long as it's clear that the aspect of the comic you're asking about is in some way related to science fiction or fantasy, and not romance, sarcasm, math, or language, I don't see why not.

If you look through the questions tagged , you can see a proud history of such questions:

Although these are fairly old questions (the most recent is from 2013), they're certainly not off-topic.

There needn't be any recognizable SFF work behind the comic for a question about it to be on-topic; I would liken those cases to our story-ID questions, which are contentious but largely accepted. As long as there are identifiable SFF elements (or good reason to believe there's an SFF inspiration), I don't see why such a question would be off-topic.

I would, however, caution you to do some basic research before asking your question. Lack of research effort is a common downvote reason, and the logic behind any XKCD joke can usually be easily identified by Googling some key words from the comic (the first question I linked to above is a great example).

If there's no clear SFFnal connection in the comic (as in the example posted in the comments), that would be off-topic. Such a question might be on-topic at the proposed comics.se (if that ever happens), but in the meantime would be better-served in chat.

  • Those questions are about xkcd comics clearly centered around scifi/fantasy (question 1 has an alien looking character in the comic, question 2 has an LotR reference). I am talking about the validity of cases where I am not sure what the question is about, and possibly the comic is not about a scifi work (but definitely not about math or science either)
    – user13267
    Dec 7, 2016 at 14:52
  • @user13267 Do you have an example? Dec 7, 2016 at 14:59
  • @user13267 Seems totally off-topic then. Otherwise you could ask about any property under the premise that there might be some unknown speculative fiction layer behind it.
    – TARS
    Dec 7, 2016 at 15:00
  • May be some old ones like this? xkcd.com/8
    – user13267
    Dec 7, 2016 at 15:04
  • 1
    @user13267 That one I'd say no; I'm going to refer to our story-id policy, which is that a question must have identifiable SFFnal elements (or good reason to believe there's an SFF inspiration). Chat would be a better place for the more general questions Dec 7, 2016 at 15:12
  • ExplainXKCD.com has a lot of information too.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Dec 7, 2016 at 18:11
  • 1
    @JasonBaker while I agree with your criteria, I disagree with your evaluation: red robot-like spiders climbing free-floating cubes seems quite SFFnal to me — not referencing anything SFFnal, but SFFnal itself.
    – SQB
    Dec 8, 2016 at 5:06

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