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At the moment, so long as what we see on SFF is SFW, it is acceptable.

However, I'd like to discuss clarifying the scope of what is considered on-topic for SFF. Specifically requests for identifying erotica (usually in the form of fanfic).

Science Fiction & Fantasy Stack Exchange is for questions targeted towards science fiction and fantasy enthusiasts. This includes questions about:

  • Plot, character, or setting explanations
  • Historical or societal context of a work
  • Behind-the-scenes and fandom information
  • Story identification
  • Franchise/series reading or viewing order

Some examples of the content I am refering to:

And a couple non fanfic that also exhibit an erotic nature

At the moment it is considered on-topic because it is "story identification" and not explicitly forbidden.

To be clear, I am not asking for a clarification of policy, but a discussion and creation of policy.

Either we explicitly allow erotic story ID questions, or we disallow them.

  • 6
    In order to have a meaningful discussion here, we need to ensure that we're all on the same page with what we mean by the word "erotica". Presumably we're not talking about anything that contains a sex scene. Could you clarify (perhaps with examples from the main site) what does and doesn't qualify for the set of questions you're asking about? – Rand al'Thor Oct 19 '17 at 19:57
  • I remember a question asking specifically for nudity. Since the it was nudity of SFF characters it was considered on topic and left open. The answers as i recall them where then hidden with spoiler formatting. – Skooba Oct 20 '17 at 17:02
  • I'd like to muddy the waters a little more, so ... how about "alien warrior romance" (sci-fi!) or "werewolf romance" (fantasy!) story-ids? Some of the latter even contain substantial speculative ideation about the fusion of human and animal mentalities. Um. Or so my friend tells me. Yes. My friend tells me this. – akaioi Oct 23 '17 at 0:24
  • @akaioi - I don't see why those wouldn't come under the umbrella of SFF. – Mithrandir Oct 23 '17 at 9:38
33

They should be allowed.

  • As long as it's SFF, it's fine.

    We are a site about science fiction and fantasy. And, let's face it... there are very often explicit scenes in SFF. And sometimes there is a book that is erotica that is a SFF story. It is about SFF, so that's one point in its favor.

  • Context matters.

    It's been mentioned that it could potentially violate the TOS of SE. I disagree; that's not talking about cases like this. If you slip in a porn link on SO, you be heavily punished. Here too. However, on SFF adult material can relate directly to the site's topic. It's SFF; that's the point above. And would you consider every question on English Language & Usage asking about offensive words to be in violation of the policies? The context in which the questionable posts are being posted matters.

    Also - and this is important - such questions are not linking to or including sexually explicit things in the posts themselves. While there may be some inappropriate content in the story being identified, we're hardly going to link to videos because of a question. If all we are posting is that description of the story, perhaps a quote or two, and how we found it... I don't see why it should be a problem.

  • This entire site is unprofessional.

    You're on a site about Harry Potter and Star Trek. I'd say that's about as far from professional as you can get.

  • Young users

    This is a valid point. There are certainly young users who are on our site (I think it's relatively well known that I'm 15), but I don't think this should prevent the explicit questions. I might consider the use of spoiler markdown, but I don't think that young users really affects anything. It's an occupational hazard of browsing the Internet, unfortunately :/

TL;DR: As long as it's Science Fiction or Fantasy, it should be on topic.

  • 4
    This of course does not mean that I particularly care for such questions, but that's not a reason to close. – Mithrandir Oct 19 '17 at 20:28
  • 1
    This raises the question how SFF elements should be necessary to deem something SFF. I think that bar should higher than simple lip service to SF or F in terms of setting. Basically, if the setting can be replaced without changing the story, then it is not really SSF. – amflare Oct 19 '17 at 21:30
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    @amflare I'd argue that any work set in an SFF setting is SFF. Is Firefly not SFF because it's just a western set in space, or Harry Potter not SFF because it's just a high school novel in a magical setting? See also. – Rand al'Thor Oct 19 '17 at 21:48
  • @Randal'Thor - So... "Looking for a story where Harry shags Hermione fanfic" is going to be on topic, so long as they give enough details to enable identification? – JohnP Oct 21 '17 at 23:01
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    @JohnP - scifi.stackexchange.com/q/161160/33591 – Mithrandir Oct 21 '17 at 23:03
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    @Mithrandir - Fair point. Eww, but fair point. – JohnP Oct 21 '17 at 23:05
  • @Randal'Thor: On Harry Potter specifically: JK Rowling didn't even realize she was writing fantasy until after The Philosopher's Stone got published. But we certainly still call it on-topic. – Kevin Oct 22 '17 at 17:52
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    I think it's relatively well known that I'm 15 That is why you want to allow questions about erotic stories! I bet the security of adult sites (those "Do not enter if you are under 18" messages) is too hard to beat and you are trying to find a workaround... :-P – SJuan76 Nov 1 '17 at 21:11
  • @SJuan76 - *snort* – Mithrandir Nov 1 '17 at 21:14
27

If a question is overtly offensive, it should be flagged as such.

Gratuitous NSFW pictures, links to porn, unnecessarily graphic language ... all of these are at best things to be edited out of a question immediately, and at worst might be forms of trolling. These are the kinds of thing which really need to be off our site. I know nobody will disagree with this; I mention it only to highlight the contrast with the kind of content you're asking about.

Mature discussions of NSFW content are fine.

We have hundreds of questions which are about sex in one way or another. As pointed out in previous meta posts on this topic, things like Kirk's sex life in Star Trek, Jabba's intentions towards Leia in Star Wars, or the too-many-to-count rape scenes in Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire are all perfectly on-topic SFF questions and can be discussed in a mature and reasonable manner. Often sexual things are an integral part of a sci-fi or fantasy work, and as such are fair game for questions and answers on this site (provided they're not being discussed offensively, of course).


So, coming back to your question ... story-ID is acceptable, and (reasonable) sexual questions are acceptable. Why shouldn't story-ID questions about sexual content be acceptable?

(I could maybe get behind the idea of using a tag for such questions, so that people can put it on ignore if they don't want to see any posts about erotica, but that's a discussion for another meta.)


Just to address the specific counterpoints from your answer:

  1. There are many places on the internet that one can find this sort of content. There is no reason SFF needs to be one of them.

    This isn't an argument in favour of disallowing anything. There are many place on the internet that one can find Q&A about sci-fi and fantasy, but that doesn't mean we should shut the whole site down.

  2. Erotic literature is several levels removed from the universe in question. First it is a fanfic and not canon in any sense of the word, and second, it is not intended to expand, continue, or expound on the universe.

    But your question isn't about fanfic - it's about erotica in general, not all of which is fanfiction for a different canon. Again, consider A Song of Ice and Fire.

  3. For various legal and SEO reasons, we are not allowed to post or link any sexually explicit or pornographic material. Any properly sourced answer to a story ID question looking for erotica would be pushing the boundary. And a question that goes into any sort of detail could be seen as explicit content.

    Re. sexually explicit or pornographic material, see my first paragraph above. If people are clearly posting in bad faith, then they can be dealt with accordingly, but most of the community is able to discuss erotica sensibly. Re. detail in questions or answers on the topic - again, let's trust our users to be Nice and reasonable. Offensive content can be flagged and removed. It would be kind of disrespectful to ban discussion about sex on the assumption that the community is unable to handle it maturely.

  • I think there was a meta about putting content tags on questions and the result was in short "no". – Skooba Oct 20 '17 at 17:04
  • maybe i am just thinking of the answers here – Skooba Oct 20 '17 at 17:07
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    @Skooba It wouldn't necessarily be a content tag (to be put on all questions involving sex - which sounds like overkill), but could potentially be a genre tag (to be put on ID questions about erotica - does that count as a genre?) In any case, the tag issue would be something for a separate meta post - it was just a parenthetical comment here. – Rand al'Thor Oct 20 '17 at 17:32
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    I agree it would be overkill to have mature content tag or similar. An erotica tag could be useful as that is a distinct style of writing and story-id typically has lot of descriptive tags that really are not useful elsewhere. – Skooba Oct 20 '17 at 17:35
  • I agree that A Song of Ice and Fire should be considered on-topic, but I think the question is about outright pornography that just happens to include SFF themes. There's a distinction between a story that includes sexual themes and a story whose sole purpose is sexual themes. Personally I'd prefer we left out the latter, not because they're offensive but because they're not really on-topic. (Same goes for Duck Tales, for example.) – Harry Johnston Dec 11 '17 at 20:15
-15

Disallow Erotic Story ID Questions.

There are several reasons we should do this:

1) While adult content is tolerated, SFF - and the SE network as a whole - are still professional, work oriented sites. There are many places on the internet that one can find this sort of content. There is no reason SFF needs to be one of them. Users are allowed on this site once they reach the age of 13. While we don't have to cater to people of that age, neither should we ignore the existence of that demographic.

2) Just because something is set in an SFF universe, or has some of the qualities of an SFF world, does not mean that it should be on-topic. Intent should be taken into account. Erotic literature is several levels removed from the universe in question. First it is a fanfic and not canon in any sense of the word, and second, it is not intended to expand, continue, or expound on the universe. It is simply hijacking the names and places and applying them to content that has a completely different purpose.

3) Its an acceptable continuation of the Stack Exchange Network Content Policy. For various legal and SEO reasons, we are not allowed to post or link any sexually explicit or pornographic material. Any properly sourced answer to a story ID question looking for erotica would be pushing the boundary. And a question that goes into any sort of detail could be seen as explicit content.

In short, it is unprofessional, unnecessary, not really SFF, and significantly raises the risk of violating SE rules.

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