Currently all questions about Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality are tagged with too. Should we actually use this tag on all these questions?

2 Answers 2


Yes, they should be tagged .

While Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality is a particularly well-known piece of fanfiction which has its own tag and a dozen questions about it, there are untold thousands of other fanfictions which are never likely to have more than a single (or even a single) question about them on this site. If someone does want to ask a question about a random little-known HP fanfic they've found online, I think it makes more sense to tag it and than something like .

  • Who's going to search tags for titles of individual fanfics? Except for a few particularly well-known ones like HP:MOR and My Immortal, nobody except the author is likely to be an expert on one specific fanfic. But someone might be very well-read in HP fanfic in general, and want to search the site for questions to answer.
  • It does usually require some knowledge of the original canon to answer questions about its fanfic. OK, HP:MOR is telling a different story from the real HP, but someone who doesn't care about HP won't care about MOR either. With many less-derivative fanfics, knowledge of the canon might even be enough to answer a question about the fanfic. By and large, it's our users who're going to be answering questions about HP fanfic, so why not tag them accordingly?
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    (I do see the counterarguments as well, as laid out in b_jonas's answer, but I wanted to have a "pro" answer as well as a "con" one to be voted on.)
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Aug 12, 2017 at 17:20
  • "A tag is a keyword or label that categorizes your question with other, similar questions" - Note similar, not identical
    – Valorum
    Aug 12, 2017 at 21:01
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    I feel like it should be something like [hp-fan-fiction] as opposed to [harry-potter] and [fan-fiction]. As I feel like our main tags should be for canon articles. like we have [star-wars-legends]
    – Edlothiad
    Aug 12, 2017 at 22:10
  • @Edlothiad - I don't think we need that level of granularity for the, at most, few dozen questions we're going to end up with
    – Valorum
    Aug 13, 2017 at 8:15
  • I'm a counterexample to your second point: I read and enjoyed HPMOR, but have little interest in canonical Harry Potter.
    – Brilliand
    Sep 25, 2017 at 21:26

No, they should not be tagged [harry-potter]

While Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality is clearly a fan fiction that makes a lot of nods to Harry Potter, it is a very different story. It doesn't try to match the Harry Potter book canon at all. It's not like Cursed Child or the Sirius motorbike story JKR wrote, which tries to build on the books, although with at least some contradictions.

As a result, most questions about Methods of Rationality aren't Harry Potter questions at all, and they do not need Harry Potter domain experts. Thus, the tag is useless on them.

Mind you, we do have three questions that ask about a comparison of Methods of Rationality and Harry Potter canon, and these three do need the tag:

But all the rest of the questions shouldn't have the tag.

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    I've mentioned before that I don't think fan fiction should be eligible for this site. It just assumes that everyone who potentially might answer the question has read the fan fic, and it excludes those who have only read canon. If we must have fan fiction on the site, I would prefer to see fan fictions marked accordingly: [fan-fiction] Aug 12, 2017 at 10:34
  • @Slytherincess fan fiction isn't eligable in the sense that you shouldn't consider fan fiction as an answer to Harry Potter questions. But fan fiction is eligible in that you can ask questions about fan fiction itself. The only problem is that since there's a lot of fan fiction and most of it is terrible quality, many such questions will be about fan fiction that nobody cares about and are generally just not worth asking. See also scifi.meta.stackexchange.com/q/251/4918 .
    – b_jonas
    Aug 12, 2017 at 13:04
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    @Slytherincess I don't see what's wrong with that? Questions about LotR assume everyone who potentially might answer has read Lord of the Rings; questions about Charlie Bone assume everyone who potentially might answer has read The Children of the Red King series; questions about HP:MOR assume everyone who potentially might answer has read Methods of Rationality. A fanfic for a work of SF/F is, itself, a work of SF/F, and can similarly be followed or ignored according to whether or not one's read it.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Aug 12, 2017 at 17:06
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    Agreed about the tag though - a fan-fiction tag on all questions about fanfic would be nice (there already is such a tag, but I'm not sure how consistently it's used)
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Aug 12, 2017 at 17:09
  • Things written or even canonized by J.K. Rowling are not fan fiction.
    – Adamant
    Aug 16, 2017 at 3:41
  • @Adamant Yes, those aren't fan fiction. I just don't read HP fan fiction enough to know examples of fan fiction stories that try to match the canon well, and nor would people who read this post recognize them if the post mentioned such examples.
    – b_jonas
    Aug 16, 2017 at 10:48
  • @Randal'Thor -- I get what you're saying. I just err on the side of this site being an archive of professional canon(s), which means to me published professionally. Mine is just one person's opinion, that's all. Stack Exchange is to make the internet better; I don't think taking questions about a fan fic facilitates this goal. And I think when people like the fan fic in question, they might fight for the right to include fan fic when maybe perhaps otherwise they might not. Of course I could be totally wrong, but this is my take. $0.02 :) Aug 22, 2017 at 12:44
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    @Slytherincess: The next step, of course, is to exclude that low-brow genre fiction in favor of True Literature. But then, we wouldn't have a site.
    – Kevin
    Aug 25, 2017 at 6:08

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