From http://area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/58307/mythology:

followers active in
49.1% Stack Overflow
20.6% Meta Stack Exchange
18.8% Science Fiction &...

This seems abysmally low to me given the subject matter overlap

What are some of the main reasons why not more of Mythology followers come out of SFF.SE fold, and what can be done to increase that? (the ultimate goal is of course to simply raise the # of proposal followers, but I see SFF.SE as a best case source aside from Worldbuilding)

  • We don't know how those numbers are calculated. It could be that 50% of the SO committers are also active on SFF
    – AncientSwordRage Mod
    Mar 26, 2015 at 18:29
  • @Pureferret - that's true,IMHO not pertinent to the spirit of my question. I'd have expected that there would be 200 followers from SFF within days, pushing the # to 100% instead of 18%. Mar 26, 2015 at 18:35
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    I don't think the overlap is as strong as you believe it is.
    – AncientSwordRage Mod
    Mar 26, 2015 at 18:41
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    yeah, my main attraction to sf&f is to authors with strong world-building skills that produce works with good internal consistant. Ive studied mythology (did papers on it in school) and it's just too sloppy and haphazard for me to really get into. its of interest to me, but I doubt I would be very productive on a SE site about it.
    – KutuluMike
    Mar 26, 2015 at 18:44
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    @Pureferret - that could be an answer :) Mar 26, 2015 at 18:47
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    It has a community promotion ad. Go give that some love (votes): meta.scifi.stackexchange.com/a/6660/3567
    – alexwlchan
    Mar 26, 2015 at 18:52
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    There's also an issue of lack of advertising of proposed stacks. I don't follow Area51, and I doubt most average users do either. If the system advertised random proposed stacks in the sidebar or something, it's possible/likely that a lot more stacks would get more commitments.
    – phantom42
    Mar 26, 2015 at 18:52
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    @Pureferret At a casual glance, I think the 18.8% is counting the committed users who have an account on SFF, regardless of their accounts elsewhere.
    – alexwlchan
    Mar 26, 2015 at 18:57
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    @alexwlchan Tried to tell my wife that I "vote" her, didn't go down as well as I thought...
    – Möoz
    Mar 27, 2015 at 1:57
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    I don't see why my interest in speculative fiction would imply that I have any use for Mythology.
    – Martha
    Mar 27, 2015 at 21:51
  • Two main reasons for me personally: 1. I didn't know it existed. 2. There's a huge difference in my level of interest and ability to provide meaningful content between SFF and Mythology. I'd probably browse a Mythology stack occasionally just out of curiosity, but I'd likely never post an answer. Apr 1, 2015 at 15:36

2 Answers 2


General perspective

As I commented on @SSumner's answer, even in canons where I think there is potential for strong overlap (I used the example of Lord of the Rings where I believe such potential really exists), many fans are just fans for the work's own sake, and not really interested in the deeper background and it's connections to our own real-world mythologies.

To be specific about the Lord of the Rings example, we have quite a heavy proportion of questions asked by watchers of Peter Jackson's movies who are looking for further explanations of events in the movies themselves but which may not be totally clear from the movies.

By way of comparison, we currently have 981 Lord of the Rings questions, but only 119 Silmarillion questions (this is going by tag counts and I'm ignoring mistaggings here). Of Tolkien fans, it seems to me that those who would be more inclined to follow Mythology are also more likely to be those with a deeper interest in the Silmarillion and related works, and we have relatively fewer of those.

Personal perspective

While I am interested in this proposal I am not committed. The areas of mythology I am most interested (but by no means even a semi-expert) in - Celtic (particularly Irish) and Ancient Near Eastern - are under-represented in the example questions (there's the expected heavy skew towards Norse and Greek, with a good sampling of Egyptian, which just makes me cold), and while I could redress that by committing and participating, it's also the case that my interest is more in terms of what those mythologies reveal about, and how they link to, our own unrecorded prehistory rather than the mythologies themselves.

In short: I like mythology for what it tells us about unrecorded prehistory, but my interest is in the unrecorded prehistory part substantially more so than in the mythology part.

Consequently I feel that the site would be of quite marginal use to me. I will definitely be joining and checking-in semi-regularly, however.


I can't see that the overlap would be of necessity strong. Of our top tags (story-ID, harry-potter, star-wars, lord-of-the-rings, star-trek, movie, and doctor-who), none fall clearly into mythology. Only a couple (marvel, via Thor and maybe some epic fantasy) would fall into scope over there. Sure, some of the stories may sound like fantasy, but that doesn't mean we are SMEs.

I know personally, I have very little mythology knowledge. I know some basic stories about Greek and Roman mythology, but that's it. I wouldn't be much use over there.

  • Hm. My anecdotal experience is diametrically opposite - I learned (and was fascinated) by classical mythology alongside SF/fantasy. Mar 26, 2015 at 19:23
  • I'd rank LotR as potentially having more overlap than one might suppose, but would also accept that many people are just fans of the work for it's own sake and not really much interested in the deeper background and it's connections to our own real-world mythologies.
    – user8719
    Mar 26, 2015 at 19:41
  • @DVK - it was interesting, don't get me wrong. And I read them at similar times in my life (ages 8-12 was my earliest recollection of both Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, AND mythology), but my personal level of knowledge is much less
    – The Fallen
    Mar 26, 2015 at 20:58
  • @DVK - I was too when I was younger, and sometimes I see some overlap in the things I read. I find myself at this time, though, being disinterested in immersing myself in mythology again. Not really why! :) Apr 7, 2015 at 1:11

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