Since the actual URL for the site is scifi.stackexchange.com I would abreviate it to SF.SE

  • S for Sci
  • F for fi
  • S for stack
  • E for exchange.

scifi.stackexchange -> SciFi.StackExchange -> SF.SE

However I see others abreviate it as SFF.SE instead. I assume they are drawing upon the site's name "Science Fiction and Fantasy".

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I personally think it's confusing to have people use two different abreviations for the same site, so which is it, SF.SE or SFF.SE?

My vote: I think SF.SE works for both because it can either mean

  • S for Sci
  • F for fi
  • S for stack
  • E for exchange

Or, if you're going off the full site name, it can mean

  • S for sci-fi
  • F for fantasy
  • S for stack
  • E for exchange.
  • 9
    SF = Server Fault. SFF = us
    – Kevin
    Jan 6, 2016 at 23:14
  • I typically go with SciFi.SE; it's only 2 extra letters...
    – Izkata
    Jan 9, 2016 at 7:08
  • It's always been SFF.se for me. Jan 10, 2016 at 2:18

2 Answers 2


Which acronym do we use?

Although our URL is scifi.stackexchange, which would suggest SF as an abbreviation, the community tends towards SFF, largely to avoid a name collision with ServerFault. It's pretty rare to see "SF.SE" used to refer to this site:

With the acknowledgement that SEDE is about five days out-of-date at time of writing, the community seems to overwhelmingly prefer SFF.

Wait, but ServerFault isn't an SE site

It's been pointed out in comments (by Ward and Catja, so hat-tip to them) that, strictly speaking, ServerFault's acronym should be (and, indeed, is) just SF, without the ".SE" suffix; the reason is because SF is so old that it has its own domain, rather than being a subdomain of stackexchange.com: serverfault.com takes you to SF, but serverfault.stackexchange.com takes you to a 404 page. In principle, then, "SF" and "SF.SE" shouldn't be an issue; one unambiguously refers to them, and the other to us.

The problem I have with this is that it's true from a technical perspective, but not from a user experience perspective. For the vast majority of users, I believe it would be more confusing to have two very similar acronyms referring to two very different sites. Personally speaking, I do know that SF has its own domain, but I'm rarely consciously aware of that fact; if I saw "SF.SE" in a context-neutral setting (Meta.SE, for instance), I would probably assume it was referring to ServerFault.

The other problem I have is that using SFF.SE allows us to drop the ".SE" and just use SFF without confusing anyone. While not strictly technically accurate, it's a convenient thing to be able to do.

Why is our URL scifi, then?

The URL is mainly a historical thing. Back in the deeps of time, the name of the site was just "Science Fiction" (despite fantasy being on-topic); that was changed pretty early, after it was realized that this was discouraging fantasy questions.

In the comments on the official rename announcement, SE employee Robert Cartaino explained why the URL didn't change:

What name are you suggesting? Ideally it should be less than 8-10 characters, be intuitive and easy to remember, and not obfuscate the subject of the site. Those criteria are preferable to 100% technical accuracy.

fantasy.stackexchange.com was soon added as an alias, in lieu of changing the URL.

  • really? Another SE already uses SF? Man, that's gonna bug me. Why don't we change the URL to scififantasy.stackexchange or scifi.fantasy.stackexchange or something? :) (or we could burinate Server Fault SE into non-existence, mwahahaha)
    – RedCaio
    Jan 6, 2016 at 23:16
  • 1
    @RedCaio Mainly history, a bit of convenience. See my edit Jan 6, 2016 at 23:24
  • I don't think the collision with ServerFault is a problem. Since it's serverfault.com, the usual abbreviation used is just SF. But here, it would be SF.SE. Jan 7, 2016 at 1:58
  • @Ward I thought of that too, and almost wrote something about it, but the more I thought the less sense it made for me. It just seems more prone to confusion; if you're not intimately familiar (for instance, I'm not usually mentally aware of the fact that SF has its own domain), the fact that "SF" and "SF.SE" mean two different things is non-intuitive Jan 7, 2016 at 2:44
  • @Catija I believe that was Ward's point, above Jan 7, 2016 at 23:06
  • That's what I get for not reading comments :P
    – Catija
    Jan 7, 2016 at 23:06

Personally, I use SF&F.SE or SFF.SE. As Kevin & Jason Baker said, SF.SE isn't unique enough.

I also refer to Movies & TV.SE as M&TV.SE.

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