30

SciFi.SE's identity is still being defined, and as such there's a lot of unresolved confusion wrapped up in dozens of topics about what types of questions are acceptable.

Let's stop creating disparate topics that don't get a definitive answer, consolidate our efforts, and use this topic (and this topic only) to propose types of questions that might make the grade here on SciFi.SE so we can discuss and vote on them. This way, we have one single source for what's on-topic and what's not that can be referenced when dealing with concerns about specific questions.

The end result of this exercise should be enough to formulate additions to the FAQ and an end to a lot of the confusion.

Ground Rules

  • One type of question per answer.
  • Provide a brief description of what the type of question is about.
  • Provide example questions that would fit the question type.
  • Use the comments to discuss why it should or shouldn't be a part of SciFi.SE.
  • Vote up answers that you think are on topic, vote down answers you think are off topic.

Summary (as of the 2011-02-27 update to the FAQ)

  • 1
    Thanks for taking the initiative, but I'm not sure I like the format. In some of your categories, I see both good and bad subcategories: how do we handle that? – user56 Feb 17 '11 at 19:24
  • 1
    @Gilles Comment on the problematic categories with your thoughts. Remember: what's on-topic needs to be able to be summarized in a FAQ; there can't be an 11-line algorithm to determine if a question is on-topic. – user366 Feb 17 '11 at 19:26
  • @Mark: Heh. I'd summarize that one as “if it's SF, it's on-topic”, but clearly there was demand for a more detailed answer. – user56 Feb 17 '11 at 19:32
  • 1
    By the way, I had a first go at classification a while ago. – user56 Feb 17 '11 at 19:34
  • 1
    This seems very similar to a question of mine posted some time ago as well... meta.scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/91/… But I definitely like your format better, adding in tons of example questions (Mine was still in the early days of the site...) – PearsonArtPhoto Feb 17 '11 at 22:43
  • It seems like there is a lot of overlap here between on-topic-discussion (where there is more usefully a dedicated question for each topic), and the tag wikis (i.e. where summaries of topics and excellent example questions can be written). It also seems to me that there's not so much confusion about what's acceptable as a disconnect between meta discussion and what really happens - and I'm not sure another meta question can help that. – Tony Meyer Feb 18 '11 at 3:26
  • 3
    Hot stuff, the kind of butter that should have been smeared in Area 51 – Eight Days of Malaise Feb 18 '11 at 4:18
  • 1
    @Tony the overlap is intentional: this is meant to be a singular, comprehensive source for coming up with the site's definition of what's on-topic as spreading it out over several unresolved meta questions hasn't helped us get to a point where we have a well-understood identity. See Suggestive Rules, hoop jumping and the need of a rulebook. for background information. – user366 Feb 18 '11 at 4:29
  • @mark I did read that question first. What I see is that for the most part there are two identities that are reasonably well understood. One in meta, and one on the site. I'm skeptical that clarifying meta will help with that. (But I'm happy to try!) – Tony Meyer Feb 18 '11 at 5:38
  • I'm beginning to wonder how well the area 51 model really works. I mean, I bet that only a small fraction of the users actually participated in the area 51 site. In fact, 39 is the exact count, while there is around 900 current users, less than 5%. Let's let the current user base hash out exactly what we want now, which has changed even over the course of the last month, and not worry too much about what those 39 people wanted months ago, without seeing what it'd be like exactly. – PearsonArtPhoto Feb 18 '11 at 14:18
  • 3
    @Pearsonartphoto This is the whole purpose of beta, adjust the aim when we see thing are not going to work correctly. – DavRob60 Feb 18 '11 at 17:30
  • 4
    I think when all is said and done, we should just leave the controversial ones out of the FAQ. If we ever make up our minds at some distant point in the future, perhaps we can include them, but for now... – PearsonArtPhoto Feb 24 '11 at 13:05

15 Answers 15

21

In-Universe Speculation and Extrapolation

Related tags:

These types of questions take a concept featured in a work of science fiction or fantasy and ask why it wasn't done differently.

Example Questions:

Previous meta-discussion:

  • 2
    Unlike the real-world speculation questions in-universe speculation questions can be authoritative (based on canon) and provide more than just easily Googleable information. They should be taken on a case-by-case basis and edited to always ensure they're asking for an in-universe explanation, not a guess. – user366 Feb 17 '11 at 19:36
  • 1
    Answers aren't necessarily based on canon, they can be based on authorial pronouncement (e.g. in interviews) or cite literary analysis. On the other hand, some “why” questions have no answer (it just happened that way). – user56 Feb 17 '11 at 19:41
  • 1
    @Gilles canon is all material considered genuine, which almost always includes the author's intent. – user366 Feb 17 '11 at 19:47
  • @MarkTrapp: You should consider another title. When I read it, I was about to downvote until I saw the examples. How about extrapolation, rather than speculation? – Borror0 Feb 17 '11 at 20:44
  • @Borror0 it's really about questions that might contain conjecture, which would cover both. Added. – user366 Feb 17 '11 at 20:59
  • @Mark Trapp -- How is this category different from the real-world speculation questions? For example, the question about the Matrix power source (scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/1263/…) has an authoritative answer based on current understanding of science. – Martha F. Feb 18 '11 at 5:27
  • @Martha The difference is that these questions can be answered with in-universe information (it's explained in canon) or information about the creation of the work (it's explained by an author interview, for example). In the case of real-world speculation, they are asking primarily about how in-universe elements relate to real-life (like if the Matrix power source is scientifically plausible). – user366 Feb 18 '11 at 5:33
19

Contextual questions

Related tags: , ,

These types of questions deal with the context in which science fiction and fantasy occurs: including history, etymology, and society. They have definitive answers about specific facts or events related to science fiction and fantasy.

  • How does this differ from scholarly analysis of the science of a work? (meta.scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/350/…) Why might we allow etymology but not biology as acceptable for our analysis? To be logically consistent, I think we should accept both. – Martha F. Feb 18 '11 at 5:12
  • 1
    @Martha The difference between these questions and the real-world speculation questions is that these don't require expert-level knowledge about a subject other than science fiction: a science-fiction enthusiast can answer them with very little research on a set of historical facts. I've edited the description to more closely match the example questions and try to clarify. Although I do think etymological questions should be on English.SE, I've been proven wrong on that with respect to Programmers.SE. – user366 Feb 18 '11 at 5:49
  • @mark I think saying that anyone can do sociological or historial analysis but it takes an expect to do hard-science analysis is a weak argument. Are you saying there are no soft-science experts, or that any scifi/fantasy enthusiast can match their skills? – Tony Meyer Feb 19 '11 at 7:12
  • @Tony I'm saying the example questions provided in this question type don't require expert-level knowledge: they're hard facts that could easily be found and verified by non-experts. It doesn't require any analysis to find what was the first novel to fuse science fiction and western, find the origin of the phrase "on the gripping hand", etc. They're recall questions, not analysis questions, unlike the real-world speculation questions. – user366 Feb 19 '11 at 9:41
  • @mark perhaps you could edit this to match your comment? Or would you prefer me to add two new answers that do a better job of distinguishing between real (soft) science and non-expert-level knowledge? – Tony Meyer Feb 21 '11 at 23:04
  • 1
    @mark I still don't understand how you can say that "What changes in society led to "BNW" becoming accepted" can be answered without knowledge of both sci-fi and sociology. It does require analysis - it is not a "recall" question. – Tony Meyer Feb 24 '11 at 2:17
18

Explanatory Questions

These types of questions ask for an explanation about a concept, character, or plot element in a work.

Example Questions:

Previous meta-discussion:

  • 3
    This type of question should be SciFi.SE's bread and butter: detailed explanations of concepts that people have trouble understanding. These types of questions can sometimes be answerered with a quick Google search or Wikipedia query, but the better answers will always provide synthesized information based on experience reading the works. – user366 Feb 17 '11 at 19:37
  • There are at least two subcategories here: questions that can be answered with chapter and verse, and questions that require speculation. There've been voices arguing for the former and against the latter, and vice versa. Distinguishing them by policy would be difficult, though, since the asker usually wouldn't know! – user56 Feb 17 '11 at 19:38
  • @Gilles in-universe speculation is a separate topic, but as I mentioned there, the questions are good in theory, but should be taken on a case-by-case basis and edited to make sure questions ask for verifiable, in-universe information. – user366 Feb 17 '11 at 19:43
16

Story Identification Questions

Related tags:

These types of questions provide a set of details about an unknown story in hopes that answerers will be able to identify the name of the story.

Example Questions:

Previous meta-discussion:

  • 2
    These are too localized and too broad simultaneously: too localized in that they are specific only to the question asker who has a very unique set of missing knowledge and too broad in that there are potentially an infinite number of stories that could fit a given set of facts. Ultimately, there are no ways to authoritatively answer the question: one can only guess. – user366 Feb 17 '11 at 18:33
  • 5
  • 1
    @Gilles the problem is this: let's say I'm looking for a story, google up all the facts I know and I find an exact match on SciFi.SE. Great! Except the answers provided aren't the story I'm thinking of. What then? I create an entirely new question with the exact same content as the first question but with the added detail, "except it's not what was mentioned in the first question". Story identification is, by definition, applicable only to one person: there's no way that can be sustainable. – user366 Feb 17 '11 at 19:41
  • 1
    @Mark: Please take this debate on the existing meta question, or even in chat, as it's unlikely to converge. – user56 Feb 17 '11 at 19:45
  • @Gilles again, the purpose of this question is to consolidate all discussion on what's on topic so there's one place to reference instead of having dozens of unresolved threads. – user366 Feb 17 '11 at 19:49
  • 5
    I think these questions are great. Regardless of whether or not a Googler will find the accepted answer correct or not in @Mark's example, the answer will help them in their search. As well as the fact that there is a definitive answer - the book the OP was looking for. In the case of StackOverflow, there are often multiple possible answers for a problem - only the OP knows whether or not an answer will solve their particular problem. I see these as the same type of question. – morganpdx Feb 17 '11 at 19:53
  • 6
    @Mark: If an identification question has multiple answers (even after the asker has come back to answer comments that prod his/her memory), it's because it's not detailed enough, and it should then be closed because it's a bad question, not because it's a bad type of questions. – user56 Feb 17 '11 at 20:08
  • 1
    @mark it's nice (probably) to have this single overview of what types of question are acceptable. However, this post doesn't subsume all previous discussion, and it doesn't replace it, either. Comments to an answer are not effective for that. Discussion of these should take place in the relevant meta thread. – Tony Meyer Feb 18 '11 at 3:09
14

Reading Order Questions

Related tags:

These types of questions ask for advice on what order a series should be consumed.

Example Questions:

Previous meta-discussion:

  • 3
    These are a good topic for SciFi.SE as long as the series deal with Science Fiction or Fantasy, and the answers meet the guidelines in Good Subjective, Bad Subjective: they can be authoritatively answered and are an opportunity to provide more than just easily Googleable information based on actual experience. – user366 Feb 17 '11 at 18:38
  • I agree, but I'm having a hard time coming up with a whole lot of examples that meet the criteria you lay out in your comment. – shadowfission Feb 18 '11 at 16:49
  • @shadowfission the Discworld, Ender Wiggin, and Glitter Band questions has some great answers that meet the six guidelines and what I'm talking about, even if the accepted answer doesn't. I've also added the Voyager/DS9 viewing order for an example of media outside books. – user366 Feb 18 '11 at 18:14
13

Bibliographic questions

Related tags:

These questions are about what a librarian or bookseller would typically know. They ask where to find bibliographic information, or how to obtain a work that isn't published in an obvious way, or where to find recommendations.

Example questions:

  • 4
    I think these questions should be allowed, as long as they're good questions. For example, “Is this work available somewhere?” (where the answer is not obvious on Amazon/IMDB/ISFDB) is useful and has a definite answer. Same reasoning for “Is there a reference site for X?”. On the contrary, “List as many sites with X as you can think” is bad open-ended. – user56 Feb 17 '11 at 21:03
  • 1
    There are a few works which are extremely difficult to find. For these, I think this kind of question is okay. Specifically, the first question seems fine to me. I don't know about the later questions, however... – PearsonArtPhoto Feb 22 '11 at 13:16
  • I'm on the fence about this one. I agree that the first question seems fine, the second and maybe 4th are ok, and the rest are pretty iffy. – morganpdx Feb 23 '11 at 19:55
  • 4
    I should add that I consider 1,2 good; 4,5 maybe; 3,6 bad. – user56 Feb 23 '11 at 19:58
13

Questions where the answer has a small number of items, which might be presented as a list

These are not the same as the "list" questions described in another answer here:

  • Every item that applies should be in a single answer (i.e. compared to one item per answer). As such, this is absolutely not a poll.
  • All the items are of essentially equal importance (i.e. votes are for the complete answer, not for an item on the list). Again, not a poll.
  • There are a very limited number of items (i.e. an amount that comfortably fits within a single answer).
  • These aren't recommendations.
  • The answer could be written as prose rather than as a list (but the person who answered felt that including a list would make the answer more readable).

Example good questions:

Example poor questions:

Related meta questions:

  • Saying they're qualitatively different doesn't make it so. These are the same as every other list, just with a (slight) chance of having less answers. – user366 Mar 1 '11 at 1:54
10

Real-World Speculation Questions

Related tags:

These types of questions take a concept featured in a work of science fiction or fantasy and ask how it relates to real-life.

Example Questions:

Previous meta-discussion:

Later meta-discussion:

  • 1
    These "questions" don't have actual answers: they're jumping-off points for discussion. Every question should have an answer, so they don't really belong here. – user366 Feb 17 '11 at 19:09
  • These questions raise two problems. One is that answering them requires scientific knowledge, and this site isn't a site for experts on science, so answers may not be good. Another is that some questions can have multiple answers (but note that having multiple answers is intrinsically bad, what's bad is having no answer). – user56 Feb 17 '11 at 19:27
  • There's a considerable difference between asking about links between technology in hard sci-fi and existing technology and asking about links between magic/soft sci-fi and existing technology. The latter is covered by meta.scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/81/… - the former doesn't have a meta discussion yet (AFAICT), but the consensus seems to be on-topic. – Tony Meyer Feb 18 '11 at 4:06
  • 2
    I think that these questions are some of the most interesting ones that have been posted here. In particular, I think that questioning whether one of the basic assumptions of a work corresponds to our current understanding is a reasonable one. In addition, I disagree that needing scientific knowledge is a barrier. If the answers aren't good, they can get voted down. However, science fiction fans are often interested in science, and eliminating that connection seems to be counterproductive. – Martha F. Feb 18 '11 at 5:06
  • 1
    @Mark Trapp -- the first and third questions listed do have definitive answers. In the first, the answer is NO. In the third, the answer is "not without major changes to the procedure." – Martha F. Feb 18 '11 at 5:20
  • @Martha I should clarify: I meant to say they don't have actual on-topic answers. They're either discussion topics (like the time travel one) or questions about science (like the others), not science fiction. So on a site that's for enthusiast science-fiction fans, such questions are always going to be soft discussion questions. See No Artificial Intelligence in Area 51 for background. – user366 Feb 18 '11 at 5:39
  • 3
    @Mark Trapp -- I don't agree that the science behind science fiction is off topic. The very fact that we categorize hard vs. soft science fiction means that we are judging the works by the science they refer to. If we're going to allow questions about the sociological understanding of science fiction (scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/1167/…) then we should similarly allow the discussion of the scientific understanding of such work. – Martha F. Feb 18 '11 at 17:31
  • @Martha: I have a guideline that if there was a Science Stack Exchange site, questions that are borderline shouldn't be rejected on both sites. However, it's bad to allow questions on a subject that definitely requires expertise (science) if the expertise isn't there. In related news, there's a chat sequence about this issue. – user56 Feb 22 '11 at 0:22
  • 1
    @Gilles: From the chat sequence, it sounds like the problematic issue with such questions is if advanced science is required to answer the question, it should be off-topic. However, for most of the questions along these lines (scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/621/…), high school level science is enough to evaluate the answer. That would be firmly in the category of general knowledge. In addition, even if higher level science is required, it is of interest to the community, so there is value in allowing these questions. – Martha F. Feb 23 '11 at 14:38
  • I compare this to the food science questions on Seasoned Advice, such as cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/11305/… or cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/6869/…. The answers have quite a bit of science that may be beyond general knowledge, but they are useful to the general population. – Martha F. Feb 23 '11 at 14:43
  • @Martha If all it takes to answer is general scientific knowledge anyone is likely to have (i.e. high-school science), it falls on the other side of the spectrum of questions we don't want here: questions that are too simple. The goal is to make a site interesting to people who have a deep knowledge of scifi: not to make a site for the merely curious about other topics. That doesn't work. – user366 Feb 23 '11 at 18:52
  • 2
    @Mark: In my experience only a small minority (even amongst the people who've been to high school) know high-school science. What about allowing, say Wikipedia-level science (that's higher than high-school science but still easy to get citations for)? – user56 Feb 23 '11 at 19:02
  • @Gilles: Wikipedia doesn't meat the interestingness threshold: if the bar is high school level or Wikipedia-level science, every one of these questions can be answered with the first page of a Google query. – user366 Feb 23 '11 at 19:56
  • 2
    @Mark: My answer (scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/621/…) to the question about mutation rates in Waterworld relies on high-school-level science, and yet it was highly rated by others on this site. And the answer could definitely not be answered by Google. I'm not sure how this could possible be categorized as uninteresting. Other such questions would have similarly interesting answers. – Martha F. Feb 24 '11 at 4:10
  • 4
    A big part of what sci-fi is all about is thinking about what's possible in the future. I think that this category of questions is entirely appropriate, and good for the community. Sci-fi asks many questions about what is possible, and I think the community has the skills to answer them. Besides, we can't always count on people having high school science level, especially in all of the sciences. – PearsonArtPhoto Feb 25 '11 at 20:23
-2

Questions directly questioning fundamental rules about the physics of the given universe, as applied current laws of physics.

This is the type that basically says "How come ____ happens in ___ when we know that ____."

Note, this is quite different than asking for an explanation of a technology that only exists in a sci-fi or fantasy world. This category also does not include the "Is (some explanation of something) a real phenomena? Those would fit into Real-World Speculation Questions

-4

Recommendation/Categorization Questions

Related tags: ,

These types of questions provide some background information about the question asker in hopes that answerers can recommend new material for the question asker to consume, provide a fact or concept and ask for a list of all works that talk about said fact or concept, or ask for all the examples of the use of a work in popular culture.

Example Questions:

Previous meta-discussion questions:

  • 1
    These types of questions aren't useful to a functioning Q&A site: they can't be answered definitively because answerers will never have enough information to do so as they can't read the question asker's mind and they are purposefully general and broad when we want questions to be as specific as possible. – user366 Feb 17 '11 at 18:28
  • 5
    This is an extremely broad category. I don't think list or recommendation questions (pretty different beasts) are intrinsically bad or good. Lists are intrinsically open-ended, but some can be good, particularly if they call for most relevant (as opposed to most popular) answers. Recommendations are intrinsically subjective, but they can be good subjective. – user56 Feb 17 '11 at 19:30
  • @Gilles that's a interesting distinction, one that hasn't been present in many (if any) of the recommendation/list questions. On several occasions, question authors have explicitly stated they wanted to keep the question as broad as possible. Stack Exchange isn't a good format for coming up with lists of things, exhaustive or not, but it is good at identifying the most questions: most relevant, for example. – user366 Feb 17 '11 at 19:33
  • 2
    Only a day or two ago one of these was marked as a CW. Regardless of whether or not we allow these, I was under the impression that they were certainly not CW material... I think this discussion in particular needs to be clear. It's my understanding that currently, we allow recommendations as long as they are not just lists of possible answers by different people; i.e. one person answers with a list of recommendations within a single answer which can be marked as the best answer by the OP. I don't see that happening, really, at all. – morganpdx Feb 17 '11 at 19:49
  • @morganpdx I agree with your points, just to clarify: all questions automatically turn to CW when they get a sufficient number of answers. It's very likely that's what happened. – user366 Feb 17 '11 at 20:01
  • @Mark oh really? Is there a magic number where that happens? What was the idea behind that feature? – morganpdx Feb 17 '11 at 20:37
  • @morganpdx It's 30 answers in most cases, but 15 on select sites; Meta Stack Overflow has the numbers for other cases. I believe the reason is that if a question is garnering that many answers, it could benefit from community collaboration as many of the answers likely duplicate others. – user366 Feb 17 '11 at 20:39
  • @Mark I see - thanks for clearing that up. I was under the impression that it was strictly a moderator-initiated action. – morganpdx Feb 17 '11 at 20:44
  • 2
    @Mark: Would you be ok with splitting at least between lists and recommendations (preferably before this answer gets any vote)? They're very different beasts, even if people have tried to frame list questions as recommendations lately. – user56 Feb 17 '11 at 21:08
  • @Gilles I originally had them split, but after going through the questions for both, there are no functional differences between the two: it's just "here's a starter fact, give me a list related to it" whether the starter fact is a concept or the question asker's personal interests. If you can find examples of questions that are more than just "give me a list of stuff", by all means, create a new question type. – user366 Feb 17 '11 at 21:17
  • @Mark Trapp here a list question – DavRob60 Feb 17 '11 at 21:26
  • @Mark Trapp And one other – DavRob60 Feb 17 '11 at 21:28
  • @DavRob60: It would be more readable if you edited the question to add these examples. But there've been a lot of them, so you should only look for more if you think that significant subcategories are not well-represented. – user56 Feb 17 '11 at 21:37
  • 1
    I think list questions can be interesting and appropriate, but experience shows that most of the ones that are asked are bad. A good list question should not call for community wiki. In particular, one-work-per-answer should be banned. Answers should not be ranked by popularity. Whether a work is good or bad should not enter the discussion. A good question should encourage answers that cite most significant works (with criteria such as most influential to the genre and most insightful treatment of the subject). – user56 Feb 17 '11 at 21:42
  • 1
    Labeling these questions as “recommendations” is misleading. Their uniting characteristic is asking for a list. Most do not ask for a recommendation at all. – user56 Feb 17 '11 at 21:56
-6

Personalized recommentations

Related tags:

These questions asked for recommendations tailored to the asker's tastes. Generally the asker lists some likes and dislikes, and expected answers are works or authors that the asker is likely to like.

Example questions:

Previous meta-discussion:

  • These questions are often open-ended, and by definition “localized” to a particular asker. (They're also subjective, but good subjective.) I don't like them much, but I'm not dead set against them. – user56 Feb 17 '11 at 21:29
  • These questions are not in any way different from the other list questions: they fit the exact same mold of "Here's X, what are things like it?" – user366 Feb 17 '11 at 21:36
  • 1
    @Mark: No, I insist. The list questions are independent of the asker, the personalized recommendation questions are not. For me that's a point against personalized recommendations. List questions are objective (after there was a major backlash against list questions, people started to ask “recommend me a list of X”, but that's just a framing device). – user56 Feb 17 '11 at 21:53
  • 1
    @Gilles none of the questions you've provided as examples are more than list questions: they're not personalized. "Is there anyone like Terry Pratchet" is not personalized. "High fantasy with female main lead" is not personalized. "Authors like Spider Robinson" is not personalized. They're general lists of stuff with "I want it" being the motivation for the list. – user366 Feb 17 '11 at 21:57
  • @Mark: They're bad recommendation questions because they're too broad (I couldn't find a narrow one), but that doesn't make them list questions in the same way as the others. – user56 Feb 17 '11 at 22:00
  • @Gilles the goal is the provide actual topics that have real examples; if there are no good examples of a worthwhile recommendation question that makes them significantly different from other list questions, obviously that's a problem with trying to classify questions as them. A FAQ or a pitch needs to be able to point to concrete things, not an abstract question that doesn't relate to actual usage. If there are actual examples of good questions that fit what you're thinking of, then list them; if you can't find any, it's incredibly confusing to put bad or irrelevant examples. – user366 Feb 17 '11 at 22:04
  • 1
    @Mark: If all the examples in a category are bad, that's a good indication that the category should be considered off-limits. It doesn't mean that the category doesn't exist. – user56 Feb 17 '11 at 22:10
-6

Questions about writing (filming, etc.) SF

Related tags: ,

These questions are useful to people who make SF. They can be about the artistic activity (writing technique, film production technology, …) or about promoting one's work (where to publish fan fiction, how to contact serious publishers, …).

Previous meta-discussion:

  • 6
    We already have a site for this, Writers.SE. – user366 Feb 17 '11 at 20:00
  • @Mark: I think most of these questions wouldn't be specific to SF anyway, so there's no reason to accept them. Writers is indeed a good place for questions about writing SF. – user56 Feb 17 '11 at 20:04
  • We do seem to get a few of these...would it make sense for us to be able to migrate it to Writers.SE on close? – morganpdx Feb 17 '11 at 20:46
  • @morganpdx: As long as either site is in beta, only moderators can migrate. When we get moderators, it would be a good idea for them to migrate questions that are good and are off-topic here and are on-topic there. – user56 Feb 17 '11 at 20:51
  • 2
    @gilles @morganpdx the catch is that you really need to know what the other site could consider on-topic, so you're not just dumping trash over the fence. Presumably this is where the moderator-only chat room gets used (i.e. you check first with a moderator there). – Tony Meyer Feb 18 '11 at 3:22
  • 2
    I think that if there are elements that are specifically sci-fi, it should be fine to include them, but general questions should be directed to the writing group. There are definitely sci-fi/fantasy elements which could be discussed here (And quite frankly, if you avoid the phrase "I'm writing ...", might even pass the test) I'm posting my musings on the first question in the meta form. – PearsonArtPhoto Feb 18 '11 at 14:08
  • The maths.se FAQ has a nice technique here - they allow some questions, but suggest that they would be better answered on another SE site. We could do similar. – Tony Meyer Feb 22 '11 at 0:01
-6

Questions about genre classification

Related tags: ,

These questions ask whether a particular work is SF or belongs to a particular subgenre, or ask about what makes up a subgenre.

Example questions:

Previous meta-discussion:

See also:

  • 4
    These questions should all be migrated to the meta-discussion site. – user366 Feb 17 '11 at 20:22
  • 1
    I think these questions fall into two categories: either they're about academic genre classifications, and then Wikipedia usually has the answer, or they're about fitting a particular work, and then they're sterile subjective questions. – user56 Feb 17 '11 at 20:22
  • 3
    @Mark: No! They definitely do not belong on Meta: they're not about the site. “Is X suitable for the site” is a meta question; “is X SF” is not. I regret that some questions were migrated to Meta and can't be migrated back. – user56 Feb 17 '11 at 20:24
  • 5
    Part of me hates these questions, but I can't help but feel that they are on-topic. Because we are still talking about sci-fi, even if the questions have a meta aspect. – Mark Rogers Feb 18 '11 at 20:18
  • I think the biggest problem with classification questions is that they are typically subjective, and it's hard to see how you'd get a good answer that wasn't just opinion or a link to an academic's opinion. – Tony Meyer Feb 24 '11 at 2:04
  • The Q&A process can provide for a good analysis of the work and it's suitability. And they lead often to a consensus. – aramis May 27 '12 at 9:17
  • @aramis In 100% of the samples we had before deciding to ban this type of question, we had neither good analyses nor a consensus. – user56 May 27 '12 at 12:43
  • Your definition of good is unreliable, then, Gilles. – aramis May 30 '12 at 4:42
  • @aramis Do you have any counter-examples? I can assist in locating now-deleted questions if you've lost the links. – user56 May 30 '12 at 8:12

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