Radically Edited in light of perpetual misinterpretation - 28/04/14

We have overlap between SF&F and M&TV, particularily with Game of Thrones.

As we're M&TV, we've encountered some people who only want answers about the TV continuity, and don't want the series 'spoiled' by people bringing in elements from the books that 'look forward'.

We're adjusting our tolerance levels to remove/hide such spoilers, unless they are overtly solicited.

If this community encounters people complaining that they don't want to experience spoilers, please feel free to point them to us, as in recognising this distinction of audiences we are now accommodating them. Or if you're more 'policy-led' rather than 'user-led', and are inclined to worry about intersite 'competition' rather than helping users: don't. Whatever seems appropriate given the case.

We've been told not to expect any co-operation from SF&F from this, and that's fine. I'm sorry that this can't even be expressed as a question, or discussion, or even supported by an example. Each time this was done, it only 'confused' what was always a very simple proposition.

I don't intend for any of this to be inflammatory, but this wasn't the sort of response I was expecting for what I considered to be an innocuous proposition. Obviously I now know that whatever we do on M&TV has little effect here.

The initial purpose of this discussion was basically of a fact-finding nature: discussion in the original thread had turned to questions about implementation and the wider affects of us adopting such a position. The question posed to this Community was related to, but not a duplicate of, the propositions/solutions being asked there.

That should hopefully clear up some of the confusion experienced here.

This has proven to be useful in this regard at least, as moving forward I'm now aware that policy not only discourages but forbids migration to a Beta, so any mutual facilitation will not be forthcoming. This gives us effective scope of how our actions will be acknowledged by sister-sites, or sites with overlapping elements.

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    Thank you for bringing this to our attention, to my best knowledge this is not an issue on our site as the majority of questions ask for any and all information from all sources. I'll wait and see how the community responds however.
    – AncientSwordRage Mod
    Apr 26, 2014 at 16:10
  • TL;DR: When it comes to questions about TV series or movies, derived from a book or series of books, like for instance Game of Thrones, to avoid spoilers: TV there, books here.
    – SQB
    Apr 26, 2014 at 16:18
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    1) In general, if a question is on-topic on the site it's posted to, it is not supposed to be migrated. This is the SE rule of thumb. You only migrate if it is clearly off-topic on the original site, a good question, and on-topic on the target site. 2) It is generally discouraged to have a large amount of migrations from a graduated site to a beta site, because if the beta site doesn't survive you've lost a lot of content. Migrations should still happen, and they do (hey, I mod a beta site, I get it) but to institute a general policy of migrating on-topic Qs from here to beta != good IMO.
    – WendiKidd
    Apr 26, 2014 at 16:25
  • (Sorry if that sounded abrupt; I used every single character and had to cut it down.)
    – WendiKidd
    Apr 26, 2014 at 16:27
  • @WendiKidd, no apology neccessary. As I've said in my response to Keen, we're only really trying to gauge if there is a precedent for this, as I guess the concept of an 'Active Audience' is Unique to M&TV so we're not sure how to cope with a constantly shifting landscape of what constitutes a spoiler. We're trying to find a sensible solution that's pragmatic but effective. Nightmare. Apr 26, 2014 at 21:48
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    "Or if you're more 'policy-led' rather than 'user-led', and are inclined to worry about intersite 'competition' rather than helping users: don't." - Well yeah, whatever. "I'm sorry that this can't even be expressed as a question, or discussion, or even supported by an example." - It surely can, but I'm sorry, too. "Each time this was done, it only 'confused' what was always a very simple proposition." - Proposition? Sure. Wording? Maybe not. But I see where this has gone now...
    – TARS
    Apr 28, 2014 at 21:04
  • ... "I think by this point people are so entrenched in their own perspectives the entire discussion over at SF&F has been compromised." - Ok, that I can definitely agree to, and for this I don't even need to read anything else than this question alone. ;-)
    – TARS
    Apr 28, 2014 at 21:05
  • @ChristianRau, I think you've mis-quoted me there, or editorialized at least! did I not add "and I'm just as much a culprit of this" or similar?! Comment has been deleted, but I'm pretty sure I counted myself amongst those hallowed ranks? tut-tut, you know better than to try and misrepresent me, Christian!! ;-) Apr 28, 2014 at 23:14
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    @JohnSmithOptional Hmm, indeed you did. I also admit that my last comments in reaction to the new question are far from sarcasm-free. But well, you had your frustrated and defiant response, leave me mine. ;-)
    – TARS
    Apr 28, 2014 at 23:36
  • It would be ignoble of me to deny you it! ;) I'm just pointing out that when approaching a 'misunderstanding', its probably not helpful to cross-post out of context comments from another site; particularily if they aren't accurate! I'm trying to defuse this situation so the central point isn't missed entirely; with limited success ;) Apr 29, 2014 at 0:02
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    Sorry, but the horse is still twitching: "I'm now aware that policy not only discourages but forbids migration to a Beta" that statement is not accurate. Questions can be migrated to a Beta site, on a case-by-case basis, if they are off-topic for the original site, but on-topic for the beta. The prohibition (if there is one) is on migrating entire categories of **on-**topic questions from a graduated site to a beta site, or on creating fixed migration paths via the VTC as off-topic dialog for non-moderators. We can, and will, continue to migrate non-scifi content to M&TV where appropriate
    – Beofett
    Apr 29, 2014 at 12:28
  • I think you're laboring under the assumption that there is anything left to dispute here: We've changed our tolerance over at M&TV, I wondered if you guys would acknowledge and facilitate it. People have said it doesn't affect SF&F so nothing is to be done; that's fine. That's all. We won't expect any consideration as to whether overlapping content is best served on M&TV, and that's also fine. Apr 29, 2014 at 13:02
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    You apparently misread what I posted in the comment. I said that you posted something that is factually incorrect. Just because you resolved the issue on another site does not mean incorrect information you post here won't be viewed by anyone else.
    – Beofett
    Apr 29, 2014 at 13:57
  • @Beofett VTC-based migration paths can't even be created IIRC, only mods can migrate to a Beta. I think I remember asking about it when M&TV was first created..
    – Izkata
    Apr 29, 2014 at 23:17
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    I've already explained: just because you have an answer does not mean no one else will ever see this thread. If incorrect information is presented here, it could confuse future visitors. Clarification so that the correct information is explained here helps avoid future confusion... and avoiding confusion by clarifying discussion is a good thing.
    – Beofett
    Apr 30, 2014 at 14:52

3 Answers 3


As such, questions which directly refer to the Book continuity are automatically migrated here.

I'd think this is a given, since books are off-topic for Movies & TV.SE.

I was wondered what this community would feel about reciprocating this distinction: If a question is being asked here which implicitly state they are referring to the TV Show (as in this example), they would be considered for discretionary migration to the M&TV site.

Not interested. We've had multiple Meta posts on the subject here in the past (here's one), and essentially, people are free to choose which audience they want to ask their questions to. We're more genre-oriented, Movies & TV.SE is more broadly interested in anything of film and TV.

Is this discussion now out of date? The recent discussion you linked has no indication the Movies & TV.SE community wants this boundary between books vs. TV questions to be created, except in the lowest-voted answer. It also has (at time of posting) 7 votes max on the answers, with no clear 'highest-voted answer', is this a large amount of participation for Movies & TV.SE?

Questions about Sci-fi and Fantasy Movies & TV are on-topic for us, we're not going to migrate them simply because books are off-topic for Movies & TV.SE.

I'm not going to get into how bad an idea it is to expect a bunch of migrations from a graduated SE site to a beta site, WendiKidd touched on it in their comment. The comment doesn't also address that we can't setup a migration path to a beta site, so you're asking for the mods here to move each question manually, as the community can't help.

  • Wow. Well that's a pretty brutal response to what was a question only asked in the spirit of 'Help'. We're (largely due to our relative size!) struggling to find a clear consensus on what to do, and a clarification of your policy was, whilst quite hostile for a new user, at least helpful in its succinctness. As I stated in the question, it's clearly only even an issue for us in trying to protect our mutual users from dealing with this; but, moving forward that's good to know too! Thanks, Lol. Apr 26, 2014 at 18:02
  • ...I've just re-read this, and it seems as though I'm being sarcastic. I'm honestly not, I'm genuinely impressed with the swiftness I got a conclusive response from this. We've got a long way to go at M&TV ;) Apr 26, 2014 at 18:09
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    To be clear: migrations to a beta site are against SE policy. They aren't just discouraged as Wendy said in a comment and it's not just that it's a bad idea: on other sites where someone has suggested adding a beta site as a migration target, SE employees have come along and said that's not the way it works. Beta sites have to stand or fall on their own, w/ot content migrated in from other sites. Apr 27, 2014 at 3:58
  • @JohnSmithOptional I was going to give an answer but I realize its pretty redundant because this answer says it all. From the other side of the fence, we do not intend to migrate questions asked about SF&F movies or TV shows here either. As clearly stated on more than once occasion its simply impractical to have any sort of managed migration between sites that would otherwise have overlapping topics - resulting in a sort of gerrymandering that is probably going to be unfair on one of the sites at the end of the day. Apr 27, 2014 at 23:05
  • I'm getting a little frustrated here, because I don't think people are reading the actual details of what I'm proposing (and drawing their own conclusions). If you follow the link, you'll see we've unanimously voted against separation and mass migration. We're trying to accommodate the distinction of audiences, to find a best working practice moving forward. To mark the distinction and help Users understand it, that's all. Apr 28, 2014 at 12:40
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    @JohnSmithOptional I'm sorry you're getting frustrated; we all want what is best for both communities. I read your entire post here. I have not read the entire (very lengthy) thread at M&TV yet, but I think it (should be) reasonable to expect that anyone reading your post here should have sufficient information to answer your question. To clarify one thing, though: in my experience, new users most frequently aren't vested enough in the platform to understand, or care about, the level of distinction you are talking about. They just want people to answer their questions.
    – Beofett
    Apr 28, 2014 at 12:46

I was just going to leave it as a comment, but then thought it might just get lost. @Keen's answer is fairly definitive from the Science Fiction & Fantasy side, I thought I would put a short perspective from the Movies & TV side.

Movies & TV is a broad media focused site - that could in theory have a large 'on topic' overlap with other sites, but practically the biggest overlap has been with Science Fiction & Fantasy.

It is fairly common for people to suggest or flag something as "Better asked on SciFi" and I decline all but a very small subset of these. If the question is on topic on M&TV then I will not migrate it. Advice from StackExchange on topic overlap is that any attempt to eliminate such overlap ends up as a sort of gerrymandering that unduly benefits one site or other, and is likely to be unevenly applied by the users or moderators responsible for managing it.

So to echo the sentiment from the other post - I'm not interested either. I love Science Fiction but we just have to live with this overlap and M&TV will survive on its own.

As for the M&TV meta discussion that started this - I do not read into the answers given there that people on M&TV are crying out for a solution to this "problem". Yes there are some niceties about how to answer a movie or TV question that was adapted from a novel, but I don't think this is a viable solution to that.

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    To be honest: I don't think anyone here (and possibly there) has understood the essence of the meta-conversation, I think people have read this situation entirely wrong. As has been repeatedly said: no one wants a separation. This has been wrongly inferred and people are missing the central point. What we're discussing is establishing a best working practice, for the sake of our Users. What this would give S&F an opportunity to do, is counter people bemoaning spoiling by making the distinction that M&TV privileges the process of not spoiling the TV continuity, S&F does not. Apr 28, 2014 at 10:07
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    Whilst I understand the point about 'mass migration' and widespread reform: that's an idea propagated by the critics. We're just trying to observe the fact that there is a difference in interest in our User-bases and try an accomodate them, without ruining a series. It's an idea moving forward, and all it requires is an observation of etiquette. If someone wants a GOT answer and solicits information from the book, WE STILL ANSWER IT. If someone wants only the book answer, WE STILL ANSWER IT but point out that wider 'spoiler-free' discussions are more appropriate at S&F Apr 28, 2014 at 10:12
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    @JohnSmithOptional " If someone wants only the book answer, WE STILL ANSWER IT but point out that wider 'spoiler-free' discussions are more appropriate at S&F" I'm curious... why are you answering book questions at M&TV.se? Are they now on-topic?
    – Beofett
    Apr 28, 2014 at 12:37
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    @Beofett - we're not, and I migrated a Game of Thrones question recently that was only relating to the books. We are however allowing people to answer questions including detail from the originating work (book, play etc). Apr 28, 2014 at 12:39
  • @iandotkelly Thanks. That makes sense. I may have simply misread John's comment. I get the sense that questions asking for the differences between movie/TV adaptation and the source novels/comics/etc. are also on-topic, which makes perfect sense to me.
    – Beofett
    Apr 28, 2014 at 12:42
  • @Beofett, exactly. If they pertain to both, they're fine for us. Again, the M&TV meta specifies this. However, if they draw sensitive material from source texts, we're exploring the possibility to 'spoilerbox' it, and wondered if SF&F did the same or recognised the distinction. This is the thrust of the discussion, Apr 28, 2014 at 12:54
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    @JohnSmithOptional That wasn't what you asked here, which seems to be the source of confusion. Yes, we recommend spoiler tags as best practice here, as I just commented on your answer over in the M&TV meta discussion. There have been extensive discussions on spoilers here. Here is a general summary.
    – Beofett
    Apr 28, 2014 at 13:01

So, out of frustration (and at the risk of " overly-elaborating simple ideas [so] that the key points may sometimes get lost", as Beofett puts it) I'm going to have to clarify exactly what it is we're discussing on M&TV.

There seem to be people misreading/misinterpreting/not reading what we're trying to achieve, and the goal of this discussion, so unfortunately this seems neccessary.

This is understandable, as there is a lot to read/digest on both sites and some people simply don't have time. I will concede that perhaps I've not been clear enough, but this answer hopefully serves of an example of the BEST SCENARIO of what the distinction is trying to communicate to users.


QUESTION: "I'm watching "XXXX" (in this case GoT) and seek clarification on this issue/development.

I'm only watching the TV series so don't spoil anything."

Which is presented with...

ANSWER: Hi. Here at SF&F, answers relating to TV/Movies and Books are both on topic. Whilst we hope our users employ discretion, we can't (and don't conisder it helpful) to strictly enforce this distinction.


The M&TV site has recently decided that it will primarily answer questions on the TV series and avoid indiscreet references to the Books. If you're looking for an environment to discuss the TV series without the risk spoilers, that site will be more facilitating.

Regardless, here is the answer you are looking for

Now note: No Seperation, No Witholding/Obstruction.

The only people (Keen included, although I agree with his points) who even interpreting this as some kind of Mass exodus or separation are the people who haven't understood what it's trying to achieve. No one has ever asked for separation. Ever. It was brought up by a user, and swiftly discredited.

Seperation/Policy Ammendment/Automatic Migration is not (and has never been) the objective: we are trying to create an environment for people to communicate without having their experience spoiled.

It's just a courtesy initiative that is USER LED, not policy led. The distinction exists to help Users.

It does not require anything other than the SF&F's acknowledgement of its existence. Nothing Radical, and as plenty of people have pointed out already, just common sense.

I at least agree with my detractors that this has become an entirely overcomplicated affair; but this complication has been borne out of a misunderstanding of what we're trying to achieve. Hopefully this clarifies that at least.

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    Clear as mud. Your cited example gives two responses. The first is that of SFF. We don't actually say that, but that's our policy. No change is needed to anything, policy or action-wise. Your second response is that of movies.se. Whatever that community decides is fine by us. Whatever you guys choose to do should be 100% independent of what we do.
    – phantom42
    Apr 28, 2014 at 17:20
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    Sorry (really, no sarcasm, I understand it may not be too easy), but instead of clarifying the point you really wanted to ask in an answer, it would already help to just clarify (or, I admit it, simplify) the actual question. People seem to have (as your comments and answer say) repeatedly misunderstood your question so I guess it would help a great deal to clean that from any contradictions or any reliances of individual words like "discretionary migration" to be interpreted with important meanings like "no actual migration at all"...
    – TARS
    Apr 28, 2014 at 17:52
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    ...It might be that it is just me for whatever reasons (not having been educated in the humanities, not being a native speaker, or just being plain dumber), but from some parts of your elaborations I just can't extract much information and have to rely on the parts I (think to) understand. But I fear (and hope?) that I'm not the only one...
    – TARS
    Apr 28, 2014 at 17:55
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    What ChristianRau said. Edit all the stuff out of the question that isn't relevant, and rephrase it to say what you mean. Putting 'discretionary migration' in the question title, and seemingly requesting migration in the question body as one of the few things that you're proposing SF&F does is confusing as hell if you're not asking for migrations.
    – user1027
    Apr 28, 2014 at 17:56
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    ...While this may sound a bit heavy and I don't want you to dumb it down too much either (and neither be non-constructive in any way), comments have proven that this seems a problem with the original question, so considering a little clean up would surely help the question better than posting a clarifying answer or adding verbose elaborations to bring across the feeling for motivating the actual question instead of the question itself (but Ok, that was the other meta discussion over there).
    – TARS
    Apr 28, 2014 at 17:56
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    Most of the question is irrelevant to the SF&F community, since you're discussing proposals on the M&TV side of things.
    – user1027
    Apr 28, 2014 at 17:56
  • @ChristianRau... man, I'll try to 'simplify' this, but it was very simple to begin with. It only became complicated through people misinterpreting it, and now those same people are calling for it to be simpler. It's real straightforward, but if I have to spell this out (and deter people from discussing/complicating/probing for disrepancies), it's going to get condescending.... Apr 28, 2014 at 19:42
  • @Keen, 'discretionary migration' was supposed to infer exactly that. We're catering for a specific user now, sometimes our user base will be in the best position to give them a delicate answer. SF&F mods can obviously use their discretion as to where they feel the question belongs; as it will be on topic on both sites, but better served in one rather than the other. No one asked for a policy change, or widespread enforcement. Apr 28, 2014 at 19:57
  • @JohnSmithOptional Thanks for clearing up what you were asking for... eventually.
    – Beofett
    Apr 28, 2014 at 20:03
  • @JohnSmithOptional "if I have to spell this out [...], it's going to get condescending" - I see. Being an optimist and judging by the more or less objective nature this discussion achieved to keep so far, I had not seen that coming, though. But seeing the end result of that "spelling out" in the new question, I have to agree with that assessment wholeheartedly.
    – TARS
    Apr 28, 2014 at 21:28
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    @JohnSmithOptional As someone who has been following this Meta.SciFi post, but has not read the M&TV one: It's not really that condescending as it is now. Only after reading this last "answer" post does any version of the question make sense to me, and looking back at the original question, it was dancing around the issue by specifically not mentioning the important parts - except in a single sentence adjacent to one mentioning question migrations. Hence everyone thinking that's what it was about.
    – Izkata
    Apr 29, 2014 at 4:36
  • @Izkata, that's because this isn't the same version of the question as was initially asked: what was a question soliciting discussion and negotiation became an interesting debate, which then (through people simply not reading the question and making wild assumptions that had already been devalued) became a very strange argument, which then had to be oversimplified into nothing more statement... it's not even interesting now, might as well be deleted. Apr 29, 2014 at 9:53
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    @JohnSmithOptional By "any version of the question" and "original question", I mean I did click into the edit history and check the very first version, too
    – Izkata
    Apr 29, 2014 at 12:09
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    It is hard when someone thinks they're writing one thing, actually writes something completely different, and refuses to acknowledge any responsibility for miscommunicating.
    – Beofett
    Apr 29, 2014 at 12:30
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    Last time I'm going to say this: you posted a long, rambling, poorly worded question that had a low signal to noise ratio. Migration paths was clearly something you mentioned (it was in the title, for crying out loud). You added a qualifier "discretionary", but never elaborated on it. The bulk of the rest of your "question" was meandering fluff. You then started badmouthing everyone here (both in this thread and the M&TV meta), deliberately misrepresenting the responses here, while ironically accusing everyone of having reading comprehension issues.
    – Beofett
    Apr 29, 2014 at 13:23

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