Our site's FAQ consists in

  • the official FAQ, in which the first section is editable by ♦moderators and the rest is identical across all Stack Exchange sites;
  • the community FAQ, which consists of all the Meta questions to which a ♦moderator has added the tag.

I don't think our community FAQ is as helpful as it should be. It contains 19 posts of varying relevance and searchability.

Please help improve the FAQ!

  • If you see a Meta question that deserves better answers or should be better worded, go ahead and answer or edit!
  • Are there Meta questions where you think the tag should be added or removed? Suggest them here.
  • If you'd like to suggest improvements to the official FAQ (first section only), we're listening.

7 Answers 7


A mention of chat would be nice:

Open-ended discussion are not suitable for the site's question and answer format, but we welcome you discussing such topics in the site's chatroom.

edit to add:

There should be a mention of the various media we accept questions about:

  • Books (including short stories)
  • Movies
  • TV Shows
  • Plays
  • Comic Books
  • Etc.
  • This is already mentioned in the don't ask section. But we might point to chat near the part where we say we don't want recommendations.
    – user56
    Commented May 21, 2011 at 18:08
  • Yeah, that's what I'm looking for. The currrent placement of the mention of chat isn't optimal given the number of open-ended questions we keep getting.
    – user1027
    Commented May 21, 2011 at 20:38

Usefulness of "Plot hole" answers/comments

The meta question has 2 well-recieved answers (with similar high level content), one at +11 votes and one at +10 votes, over a period of over a year.

Short version:

  • Usually, in-universe answers are preferable to "no info in canon" or "plot hole" answers.
    • Bare "plot hole" answers are obvious and usually interesting to either OPs or other users, unless the answer contains unobvious information.
    • In larger universes, it's more likely than not that what seems like a "obvious plot hole" has actually been explained/retconned/addressed elsewhere in the univers.
    • Most users are on SFF to discuss in-universe stuff.
  • However, good "no info in canon" or "plot hole" are definitely allowed and in scope. In order for such an answer to be a good answer, it should fit one of the following:
    • The question explicitly asked for out-of-universe reason.
    • You have incontestable proof (e.g. admission from author themselves).
    • Explain how the answer "no info" was researched, in detail. Research should be exaustive for larger canon/universes, and clearly indicate what you did and didn't check (e.g. did you check JKR interviews for Harry Potter or only go from memory of reading 7 books? Did you check EU books for Star Wars if the question wasn't limited to G-canon? Did you check ST Technical Manual for Star Trek?)
    • Preferably, "plot hole" answers should be posted after a certain timeout period (couple of days) unless it satisfies one of the conditions above.

Long version explained in detail in the linked Meta


Given the removal of "General Reference" and "Too Localized" from the list of Vote To Close reasons, we should remove this line from the FAQ:

  • Do we want to open the door for such trivia questions by removing it, though?
    – Izkata
    Commented Oct 25, 2013 at 0:47
  • 2
    @Izkata That happened already, when we got rid of General Reference. This change simply updates the FAQ to reflect reality.
    – user1027
    Commented Oct 25, 2013 at 0:52

A suggestion for addressing both @apoorv020 and @Keen:

We have a broad policy as to what constitutes science fiction and fantasy - if you feel that it's sci-fi/fantasy, then that's likely good enough (we do, however, generally exclude children's stories, including children's cartoons). It also doesn't matter what medium the story is in (poems, short stories, novels, TV, films, games, anime, comics, ...) as long as you're asking about the sci-fi/fantasy aspect.

I think the FAQ doesn't need to be exact - as long as it conveys the right general impression. For example, I think that the conclusion about children's material is that if there was a question that was interesting to a sci-fi/fantasy 'expert', then it would likely be on topic, even though mostly they are not, but the FAQ doesn't need to go into that much detail.

A mention of horror would perhaps be good as well - but I'm not sure what the status of this is. Some meta discussion indicates that it's off-topic, but others indicate that it is on-topic, and all that discussion is fairly old now.


There are some overlapping questions in the community FAQ and some questions that duplicate information in the FAQ. Not sure whether they should be merged into one question for the community FAQ or removed altogether.

"Spy movies/ books: On topic?" and "Can I ask a question about video game based scifi/fantasy?" overlap with "Which mediums can be the basis of questions?".

"Are Google-able questions appropriate?", "How should we handle questions that are easily answered by Wikipedia?" and 'Should “trivially easy to find” be a benchmark for moderating the site?' overlap with each other and FAQ.

"Are list questions allowed?" overlaps with the FAQ.

  • The community FAQ overlap is definitely something I had in mind. Yes, we should have a single place that collects our idea of how we define the genre. There should be a single place for general references as well. The overlap between the community FAQ and the official FAQ is on purpose: the official FAQ is the chapter headings, the community FAQ has the details.
    – user56
    Commented May 21, 2011 at 18:10

I definitely think tagging should be addressed. Namely, when to create new tags (i.e. title tags for popular works vs. less popular works).

  • Do you think this question has enough information?
    – user56
    Commented May 21, 2011 at 18:11
  • Yes, I think that it has enough to get a new user going when asking a question.
    – Ryan
    Commented May 21, 2011 at 18:16

Mention of what constitutes science fiction/fantasy or any other relevant topic would be good, especially given the mismatch between domain name and site name. This answer by Gilles to the question "Would non-horror Speculative Fiction be on-topic for this site?" is I suppose what should be stated, and the corresponding question should be included in the community FAQ.

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