An issues that has come up recently, that seems to recur every so often, is the question of what constitutes a "Gorilla vs. Shark" question on SF&F. We know such questions are off-topic, but what exactly qualifies a question to fall into that category?

Besides numerous discussions in comments on specific questions, there have been two previous meta discussions on this topic:

Inconsistency in Gorilla vs Shark closing?

Does "Elephant Vs Terminator" = "Gorilla Vs Shark"?

Part of the problem, I feel, is that people are basing their idea of what "Gorilla vs. Shark" means (as far as SE goes) on Jeff Atwood's rather famous post; however, Jeff's post doesn't always apply to the SF&F site.

I have, with the encouragement and assistance of a number of other users, put together a follow-up to Jeff Atwood's post, that is more applicable to our site. It's too long to post as a question or answer or on meta. Therefore, I think having it on the SF&F blog would give us a good, common place to link to when discussing and explaining close/no-close decisions on such questions.

In order for this to work, though, the blog post needs to reflect not just one person's interpretation of our close policy, but a genuine community consensus. So, I have put a draft of the post on my personal blog, and invite and encourage people to review it, to make sure it is an accurate representation of how the community wants to deal with these types of questions.


Any and all corrections, enhancements, or other feedback are welcome! (Please ignore any style problems -- Wordpress and Blogspot do not seem to get along very well.)

  • 1
    Great work on the post mate. TL;DR - not everything that asks for a comparison is S vs G. My take home message was that we shouldn't be so quick to close as a knee jerk reaction.
    – Möoz
    Commented Jun 24, 2015 at 1:16
  • 3
    As soon as the community signs off on this post we'll publish it to the blog. Commented Jun 24, 2015 at 14:19

1 Answer 1


I only know about this because it cropped up in the active queue due to @Machavity's link repair.

I think that in the 6 years since this was posted, SFF's attitude towards topicality has evolved to the point where no such questions should be on topic.

In order for SFF to stay on mission, in the spirit of Stack Exchange

  • questions must be answerable
  • answers must be based on facts
  • the only pertinent facts are the things that appear in the works themselves.

So we can never ask "Who would win?" We have to ask "Who did win?"

If someone released a SFF movie where a gorilla character fought a shark character, it would be perfectly OK to ask about that gorilla versus that shark.

OP's blog gave a couple of examples (Hulk versus Superman and Hulk versus Spiderman) that could be on topic because they might have fought. We have to ask "Did they fight?" before can can ask "who won?". Typically by OP citing the fight in their question.

How to properly ask "Was there a fight?" is trickier (because some property crossovers are more likely than others) and is probably best left for a separate question.

  • Superman fought the Hulk (and won) in Marvel vs. DC #3; dcvsmarvel.fandom.com/wiki/Superman_vs._Hulk
    – Valorum
    Commented May 28, 2023 at 22:29
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    This simply isn't true. We can compare like with like as long as there are common features in both fictional universes. Who's faster, The Flash or Bender Rodriguez? is perfectly answerable.
    – Valorum
    Commented May 28, 2023 at 22:31

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