For the pedants: yes, I realise that "FAQ questions" looks like a tautology, as it means "frequently asked questions questions". But in this context, the word FAQ refers to the tag, so it means "meta questions tagged " - not a tautology.

In case you haven't noticed, we have a tag on the SFF meta site. This is intended to be used for the most frequently asked questions about our site, those that come up over and over again. The posts with this tag should form a reference point to which we can direct new users who are seeking to learn more about our site. (Cf. this post listing all the questions on main meta.)

On SFF meta, the last post to be given the tag was in 2012. In the last four years (almost the whole of SFF's time as a graduated site), nobody has bothered with this tag or with creating a decent FAQ repository. But now ... the times, they are a-changing.

The tag is a "moderator-only tag", which means only mods can add it to a question or remove it from one. The purpose of this post is to try to gain community consensus first.

Questions currently tagged

A couple of weeks ago, I went through the questions then tagged and, after agreement with the other moderators, removed the tag from several which were horribly out of date, superceded by newer questions, or otherwise no longer worthy of being counted as FAQ. Ten of the original 21 still remain:

  1. What's the process for getting a closed question re-opened?
  2. Can I ask a question about video game based scifi/fantasy?
  3. Are works that aren't SF per se, but have occasional SFnal elements on-topic? (e.g. spy movies)
  4. What questions are on-topic, and what questions are off-topic?
  5. What are standard internet reference sites for SF?
  6. Is there an RSS feed for new questions?
  7. Where can I ask questions that aren't Science Fiction & Fantasy Stack Exchange questions?
  8. How do I contribute to the blog?
  9. What is the policy for spoilers?
  10. List of common abbreviations

Some of these (especially #5 and #7, also #4 and #10) need a bit of editing, some new content added, or at least checking to ensure they're up to date. But in my opinion, all of these 10 are worth keeping as questions. Let me know in comments or answers if you disagree!

Questions to be tagged ?

This is the main point of this post: to find questions on the SFF meta site which currently don't have the tag but which people think should have it. I'll post up some suggestions below, but I'm looking for community input here (especially from people who've been on this site longer than I have and are more familiar with its old meta posts). Please, speak up!

TL;DR: if you find any posts on SFF meta which you think are important enough to be -tagged, please post an answer below.

  • Should these be SFF-relevant FAQs only? Some of these and some of those suggested really seem like Meta.SE FAQs.
    – user31178
    Commented Mar 12, 2016 at 21:44
  • 1
    @CreationEdge I checked a few other sites, and they all seem to be mainly site-specific questions - scope, on-topic/off-topic policies, and so on - with some posts that could as easily fit on (and sometimes link to) Meta.SE. Among the existing faq-tagged questions here, the only non-SFF-specific ones are #1 and #6.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Commented Mar 13, 2016 at 0:17
  • Thank you for the explanation about the tautology - it was the first thing I thought of when I read this question! Commented Mar 17, 2016 at 5:02
  • Should the meme question be tagged faq? Right now, it's tagged site-faq, which doesn't make much sense. I guess I could propose it in an answer, but I wouldn't say the meme question is important, per se.
    – Molag Bal
    Commented May 19, 2016 at 14:43
  • @anaranjada Right: it's not an important thing like site policy or scope, so not worthy of the faq tag IMO. (I believe the site-faq tag refers to what's now called the Tour and used to be a community-editable FAQ page.)
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Commented May 19, 2016 at 20:46
  • It looks like site-faq is for questions about the FAQ itself, which is still ambiguous, since the FAQ used to be something else, like you mentioned. (I got my analytical badge on Stack Overflow, but missed my chance here.)
    – Molag Bal
    Commented May 19, 2016 at 20:54
  • @anaranjada Your "something else" link gives me an error page. Also, I didn't realise you were such an experienced SE user! I bow to your superior experience :-)
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Commented May 19, 2016 at 21:14
  • Really? It shows me the revision history of the old FAQ page. It works if I'm logged out too. My reputation graph gives a clue about my activity patterns: here for a while, then gone for months or years at a time, and then back. So you have probably spent more time active on Stack Exchange than I have.
    – Molag Bal
    Commented May 19, 2016 at 21:18
  • @anaranjada meta.stackexchange.com/questions/279464/…
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Commented May 20, 2016 at 1:08

6 Answers 6


Questions to be created for the purposes of being

My previous answer lists some already existing questions here which could be turned into posts, but there are also frequently arising issues which (as far as I know) aren't covered at all so far on the SFF meta site. I'll list these ideas here, and turn them into links if/when such questions are created:

  1. How to write a good story-ID question? We often need to leave comments on new story-ID questions along the lines of "when did you read/watch it? how old was it? what language was it in? was it a novel or a short story / film or TV series?" It'd be easier to have canonical meta guidance to point people to.

    EDIT: How to ask a good story-ID question? now tagged

  2. How to write a good story-ID answer? Similarly, we often need to leave comments on new story-ID answers along the lines of "please provide a summary of this story so that we can see how well it matches the OP's question; link-only answers tend to be discouraged, ..."

    EDIT: How to write a good story-ID answer? now tagged

  3. How to use the search facility? Possibly more of a main-meta question, but the fact remains that only today I learned something new about searching on SE, something which is particularly useful on this site. It'd be nice to have a canonical post to point people to, which questions like Is there a way to search but exclude questions with a certain tag? could be closed as a dupe of.

    EDIT: How do I search for questions on the site? now tagged

  4. How to use spoilertagging? Not the issue of when and whether to use it (which is already covered by one of the existing posts), but the technicalities of how it works. Again, it'd be nice to have a canonical post which questions like How to hide list or multi-line text behind anti-spoiler? could be closed as a dupe of.

Let me know in comments if any of these do already exist as meta posts, and I'll update my answer!

  • 1 & 2 could be the same thing. #3 is covered in the FAQ for searching that's linked on every search result page. It includes the wildcard info.
    – user31178
    Commented Mar 12, 2016 at 21:42
  • @CreationEdge Agreed on 1 & 2 (possibly). You're right about #3, but there must be plenty of people like me who've been active members of SE for years and don't know half of that stuff; plus all the newbies, and you've got a lot of people who'd appreciate a meta FAQ post to cover this info.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Commented Mar 12, 2016 at 22:05
  • Then I would suggest an FAQ that's "Tips and tricks of SE" post and compile the lot of them. It'd make it easier to spot even among faq questions!
    – user31178
    Commented Mar 12, 2016 at 22:07
  • @CreationEdge Once we've compiled a good collection of faq questions, I was thinking of creating a new meta question to list them all, under headings such as "Site scope", "Question closure", and like you say "Tips and tricks of SE" (under which would be listed posts on the technicalities of e.g. spoilertagging and searching).
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Commented Mar 12, 2016 at 22:10
  • I thought #4 (on how to use spoilers) was useless until I needed it just now. Should be a faq, probably.
    – Molag Bal
    Commented Mar 30, 2016 at 4:19
  • Here's somebody who would have benefited from the spoiler-tagging question.
    – Molag Bal
    Commented May 23, 2016 at 20:40
  • I strongly agree that #2 should be made faq. Also, I'd like to nominate How to find a quotation?, because it's relevant and has 4 epic answers. Commented Feb 12, 2017 at 8:23

My suggestions for new questions (first round)

  1. Should we exclude religious texts, and which? (the often-cited meta discussion which fixed the site's policy on religious texts) done
  2. Ways that you can contribute to the blog. (the place for people to post new ideas for blog posts)
  3. Are *all* list questions off-topic? (site policy on one of our main custom close reasons) done
  4. Closing Story-Ident questions as duplicates (where there's no acceptance) (also often cited, and one of our clearest policies) done
  5. What is our actual policy on science questions? (site policy on another of our main custom close reasons) done
  6. How do we actually use tags? (detailed discussion of tag usage data)
  7. Science Fiction and Fantasy Tagging Guidelines (the basics of tags and how they work)
  8. Is it better to flag with a custom flag or a preset one? (guidelines on flagging)

If you agree with some of these but not others, please leave a comment. The -ification process will be slow, and some can be done before others if they get enough support first.

Edit: #1, #3, #4, and #5 have now received enough support and been -ified. Please now cast your votes based only on the remainder of the posts listed here.

  • 1, 3, 4, 5 seem like perfect candidates, definitely tag them. 8 and 9 are very minor issues that don't deserve the tag imo. 2, 6 and 7 I'm not sure about, since my impression is faq is primarily for marking canonical policy statements about the main site, rather than tutorials on how to use the site or the blog or statistics on site usage, but maybe my impression is too narrow. Since all of that means I can't up or downvote this, perhaps we need fewer nominees per answer?
    – Ixrec
    Commented Mar 12, 2016 at 23:28
  • @Ixrec If you look at the list in the question above of the questions that already have the faq tag, it looks like tutorials on how to use the site or the blog are definitely within the range. Worth noting though that #2 here isn't actually a tutorial, it's the place to go with suggestions for actual blog posts.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Commented Mar 12, 2016 at 23:54
  • I don’t see any clear, brief answer on #1. #9 seems a little obvious, but maybe that’s just me. #10 by itself isn’t that interesting, but tips and tricks for searching could be interesting. I like the other questions.
    – Molag Bal
    Commented Mar 13, 2016 at 0:57
  • @Ixrec I removed the ones you said are "very minor issues" and added them to my other answer instead, since they'd need to be edited quite heavily to make them general enough to be worth faq-ifying. Also edited to address the issue of people agreeing with some of the nominations but not others.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Commented Mar 13, 2016 at 22:40
  • 1
    2: We have a blog? :)
    – SQB
    Commented Mar 14, 2016 at 8:39
  1. What constitutes a 'well received question'? removed

  2. Is it encouraged to delete your own questions if they have possible duplicates? done

  3. What's the best way to format quotes? done

  4. Why is one upvote +3 and another +10?

  5. Why am I getting too many downvotes on my posts? removed

EDIT: Found another one: Flag a comment for containing a spoiler when OP requested no spoilers? It says in the question that it is asking for guidelines.

  • #1 is only about technical support for the Curious/Inquisitive/Socratic badges; IMO badge-whoring isn't important enough to be worth a FAQ tag :-) #5 is too user-specific to be generally useful (SS-3: "why did I get downvoted?" top-voted answer: "because questions X, Y, Z that you asked are crap for reasons A, B, C"). #2 and #3 I can agree with, and probably also #4 (though again it's more of a technical support issue, for which we should probably be pointing users to main meta instead).
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Commented Mar 12, 2016 at 13:25
  • I think #2 would make a very good FAQ question. I’m not too crazy about the others.
    – Molag Bal
    Commented Mar 13, 2016 at 0:41
  • Now that you've removed #1 and #5, you have my +1. Though I still think #4 and the new one you found might be too minor to be worth FAQ-tagging.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Commented Mar 16, 2016 at 12:02

How to find a quotation?

This question is very well worded, and, what's more important, has 4 epic answers by some of our most experienced users.

It is a good addition to, among others, How to write a good Story-ID answer?.


A potential candidate here:

I haven't read the book/watched the movie/… May I ask a question about it?

There seems to be a bit of discussion in the comments about it being tagged . The only problem with it I can see is that it doesn't actually have an accepted answer :(

  • I agree in principle, but some of the answers to that question mention the "general reference" close reason, which doesn't exist any more. Maybe it'd be better to re-ask the same question, get some new answers, close the old one as a dupe, and FAQ-tag the new one?
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Commented Mar 17, 2016 at 11:09

The FAQ blog post is currently How do I contribute to the blog? However, it dates back to 2011, and some things (a lot of things) have changed since then. I propose we move the FAQ status to Questions about our off-site blog? as it is more up to date, and the relevant person is easier to reach there for clarifications.

  • Actually it looks like what was the most out-of-date answer on that old meta post (Technical details) has been edited to be entirely up-to-date, and the "Writing style" and "Spoilers" answers are as relevant as they ever were. So I don't think we need to remove faq from that post. We could make the newer post faq as well, but that one includes a load of background and history, whereas the older post is more focused on what people will actually want to know.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Commented Jul 17, 2017 at 22:03
  • Official Unofficial Blog Support Post might be a better candidate for faqifying.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Commented Jul 17, 2017 at 22:05

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