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I have observed an issue with the usage of the tag. Upon browsing through the 180+ questions tagged with , I found that only a handful of questions seem to be using the tag as intended, according to its tag wiki description (written by a moderator; emphasis mine):

To be used on questions pertaining to the genre of science-fiction in general, not for questions about individual movies.

The majority of these questions incorrectly use the tag for specific movies or TV shows that happen to be in the sci-fi genre, rather than addressing the genre itself.

One of the suggested edit rejection reasons states that "tags should describe what the question is about, not just what it contains." If these questions didn't have the tag already, and an edit were suggested to add it, it should be rejected based on this reason.

The few exceptions (out of 180+) where the tag appears to be used correctly are:

  1. In science fiction films and anime, why do we see some planets are close in the sky?
  2. Why do movies think the moons in alien skies are really large?
  3. Can sci-fi gadgets be considered prior art?
  4. Of all the movies and TV shows ever made, which of them is set furthest in the future?
  5. What does Psychotronic (Series, Movies or TV Shows) mean?
  6. Has there ever been a movie in which humanity found a "Golden Record" of another species?
  7. First depiction of a quadruped robot-vehicle?
  8. Explaining wormholes using a sheet of paper
  9. Does David Lynch consider his own films to be science fiction / fantasy?

(Please note that I may have missed some questions about the sci-fi genre in general, so feel free to point them out so I could add them here.)

To address this issue, I suggest we take one of the following actions:

  1. Review the usage of the tag, and have moderators (who have the tools to mass-retag questions without bumping them) remove it from questions where it is being misused (all the questions not about the sci-fi genre in general).

  2. Considering burninating (deleting) the tag entirely, as it is rarely being used correctly, and there are other tags that could be used instead. The questions I listed above already have other relevant tags, so even if the tag were removed, they would still have appropriate tags.

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    I haven't taken a look at all the questions yet, but before you go and remove it from 5 million questions, you do understand that one and the same question could be about an individual movie and the intricacies of the sci-fi genre, right?
    – Napoleon Wilson Mod
    Commented May 7 at 6:41
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    @NapoleonWilson Of course. That's why I included examples of questions using the tag properly. If it's about the sci-fi genre, then the questions should have the tag. However, the vast majority of the questions tagged with [science-fiction] are not about the sci-fi genre but about a specific movie or show that happens to be sci-fi. Perhaps the mod team should take a look. Note that I do not plan to mass-retag. I'm sure you're well aware that only mods can do mass retagging without bumping questions. Commented May 7 at 7:04
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    I'm confused by the downvotes on my post. If some of the downvoters could kindly share their viewpoint through an answer, I would appreciate it. Do they believe that the issue I've highlighted, regarding the improper usage of the [science-fiction] tag, is not a valid concern? Or do they disagree with the tag wiki usage guidance I quoted, which was written by a moderator? Commented May 7 at 7:29

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I flagged one of the posts that incorrectly used the tag. However, the moderator who reviewed the flag declined it with the following reason: "seems very much about time-travel sh*t" (expletive censored):

Screenshot of declined flag reason with expletive censored

I respectfully disagree with this assessment. As outlined in my initial post, the presence of a science fiction element or even if a movie revolves around a science fiction concept does not warrant the use of the tag, according to the tag's usage guidance written by a moderator.

The tag should only be used for questions about the science fiction genre in general, not for individual movies that happen to fall within that genre. If we were to tag every science fiction movie with the tag, it would follow that we should also tag action movies with [action], comedies with [comedy], and so on—an approach that goes against our established tagging conventions.

To address this issue, I will be retagging questions that incorrectly use the tag, removing it from posts such as:

These questions, while involving science fiction films, do not pertain to the genre itself and therefore should not have the tag according to its intended usage.

To avoid flooding the question feed, I will limit myself to retagging 2-3 questions per day. Any assistance in this effort would be welcome as well. However, I reiterate my request from the original post for moderators to utilize their moderation tools for this task, as it would be much more efficient and would not bump the posts to the top of the feed.


"the presence of a science fiction element or even if a movie revolves around a science fiction concept" - This isn't about the movie revolving around a science-fiction concept but the question doing so. And that does seem what the tag is about, even if you possibly outline something different in your initial post. As I explained to you, a question might be about an individual movie and about the science-fiction genre itself. Of course questions about scifi aspects in movies are kind of a grey area in between. But in those cases I'd opt for not messing with tags of ages old posts.

- Napoleon Wilson

This is in reply to the comment above by a moderator. You make a fair point that questions about specific science fiction aspects within a movie could potentially be considered as pertaining to the genre itself, even if the question is focused on an individual film. It's a bit of a gray area, as you mentioned.

At the same time, I think it's important to maintain consistency with how we approach tagging across different genres. For instance, we wouldn't typically use the [action] tag for a question solely about a specific action sequence in an action movie or the [comedy] tag for a question about a humorous scene in a comedy film. The tag guidance seems to suggest that the tag should be reserved for questions about the genre itself rather than individual sci-fi aspects within a movie.

Perhaps we could revisit the tag wiki at some point to provide more clarity on its intended scope and usage, but that's for another meta post.

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    Not the most professional of responses.
    – Valorum
    Commented May 16 at 19:13
  • "the presence of a science fiction element or even if a movie revolves around a science fiction concept" - This isn't about the movie revolving around a science-fiction concept but the question doing so. And that does seem what the tag is about, even if you possibly outline something different in your initial post. As I explained to you, a question might be about an individual movie and about the science-fiction genre itself. Of course questions about scifi aspects in movies are kind of a grey area in between. But in those cases I'd opt for not messing with tags of ages old posts.
    – Napoleon Wilson Mod
    Commented May 29 at 12:09
  • And with regards to your request at the end, you...kind of...know that...moderators can't do more than you for retagging questions, right? ;-) It is possible to merge tags into others for making them disappear without bumping questions or generally touching all the posts individually. But I don't see that being possible here even if everyone agrees with your interpretation of the tag.
    – Napoleon Wilson Mod
    Commented May 29 at 12:14
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    @NapoleonWilson I don't know the full capabilities of moderator tools since I'm not a moderator. What I do know is that SE moderators can easily mass-retag or mass-remove tags from questions. Wouldn't it be more efficient to have a moderator mass-remove the science-fiction tag, and then users manually re-add it to the few questions using it appropriately (some of which I've already listed in my original post), rather than doing it manually for 180+ questions? Commented May 31 at 6:32
  • Well, they can't, that simple. Whoever told you that misinformed you, I'm afraid. What we can do is merge a tag into another one. This can be used to rename tags or delete them entirely if it could be merged into a single target tag. None of this seems to work here, though. And honestly, deleting it wholesale for you to add it back to the 50 questions that need it...seems kinda bass akwards. Even more so when it's still unclear which from the 180 questions you'd prefer it disappear on really shouldn't have it.
    – Napoleon Wilson Mod
    Commented May 31 at 20:46
  • The action and comedy examples are good points, though. I do agree that it's often somewhat superflous to have a science-fiction tag if the question is really just plot-explanation about a piece of sci-fi tech and I'd personally prefer not to use it. At the same time however, it seems an area grey enough that in most cases I'd likely not bother to remove it either.
    – Napoleon Wilson Mod
    Commented May 31 at 20:52

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