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The question https://movies.stackexchange.com/questions/208/twilight-science-fiction-or-fantasy aims to get an answer to what genre the Twilight movies fall into. Are these types of questions on-topic?

What genre a piece of work belongs to does seem subjective, but the answers could definitely be reflective of what the community accepts as the genre for a particular piece of work.

Where do we draw our lines for genre (what about 'urban fantasy' or 'speculative fiction' in general?)? How do we tag these questions?

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On Science Fiction and Fantasy, we go as far as banning “what is the definition of this subgenre” and “what subgenre is this movie”. Our experience is that such questions only ever get two kinds of answers, both useless:

  • summaries of the definition of a subgenre in Wikipedia;
  • sterile debates about the exact location of the boundaries between subgenres (as it there were precise boundaries) and about what word is appropriate for what subgenre.

I'm offering this as a data point; the genre scope of this site is broader than SF&F's, which might change the situation. Nonetheless, I do expect that most questions to be asked about genre will be non-constructive.

The case of Twilight: science fiction or fantasy? illustrates why we have this policy on SF&F. Do you want the official genre? Wikipedia says “supernatural romance fantasy”, IMDB says “adventure drama fantasy”. Do you want other possible interpretations? The one answer posted so far explains how there's a continuum and the movie is at some point on that continuum. When such topics come up, I like to argue that Star Wars is fantasy (lasers that stop? “long ago in a galaxy far away”?) and Discworld is science fiction (it's all rigorously explained by the laws of narrative imperative). That's not a consensual point of view, but it's not one you can refute, so why bother?

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I would argue that question is simply off-topic/not constructive here. This site is not about defining genres, or deciding which genre(s) a movie belongs in. The only reason it should matter here is for tagging, and when there's grey area, why not use both tags?

  • If you don't think that question is off-topic, vote to close in addition to discussing it here. – Laura Dec 8 '11 at 22:24
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    @Laura: I would love to, but I lost that privilege when we went to public beta, until I earn another 208 rep :) – Flimzy Dec 8 '11 at 22:32
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The question you links itself is not bad, because it bring up points to either side. That should help to avoid too much opinion and help the answerers themself to add analysis based with references. So I think that could be OK, if the question is similar in quality like the example. Poor questions asking for simple opinion on that should be closed as non-constructive.

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