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The full and official verbiage defining how the Anatomically Correct tag should be used can be found here: Anatomically Correct Series. But there are some aspects of it that I think deserve some minor revisions.

Suggested Changes 1 & 2

Creature descriptions (1)should include important behavioral attributes (2)and a clear physical description.

... should read as either ...

Creature descriptions (1)must include important behavioral attributes (2)or a clear physical description.

... or ...

(1)It is best if creature descriptions include important behavioral attributes (2)or a clear physical description.

The reason for suggesting that "should" be changed is because "should" is often interpreted differently depending on who you ask. Depending on how an individual processes pragmatic language, "should" will either mean it is a mandatory rule like when a mother says, "You should always brush your teeth before bed.", or it could be read as a an optional suggestion like you "You should check out this new movie!" So, when writing things that are meant to be taken as rule, "should" is always best avoided because it creates confusion and conflict. So first we need to decide if this was even meant to be an optional or mandatory requirement, and then clarify it accordingly

My reason for suggesting we change "and" to "or" is more significant IMO. When discussing the anatomy of a fictional creature, you need a goal or there is no question. If you know the behavior, then you are probably asking about what physical characteristics would support it. If you know the physical, then you probably need to know about what behaviors would correspond with that body plan. In fact, I went through the Anatomically Correct series listed, picked 5 random creatures and all 5 questions would fail this criteria because they either did not establish the creature's physical or behavioral characteristics, all 5 were asking for help to derive one from the other.

When you know both in good detail, chances are, you're just asking for an open ended critique which will inevitably fall afoul of one or more vote-to-close criteria.

Suggested Change 3

(3)The best answer is expected to be the one that provides the greatest detail, the greatest creativity, and the greatest capacity for suspension of disbelief.

... should read as either ...

(3)The best answer is required to be the one that provides the greatest detail, the greatest creativity, and the greatest capacity for suspension of disbelief.

... or ...

(3)Unless otherwise specified, the best answer is expected to be the one that provides the greatest detail, the greatest creativity, and the greatest capacity for suspension of disbelief.

This is along the same lines as the "should" issue. As it is, it is unclear if this is meant to be the default assumption if no criteria are given in the question or if Anatomically Correct questions require the OP to use this as the basis for a best possible answer.

(AFTER FURTHER THOUGHT)

The more I think about it, I think the best approach to #3 is actually a more significant rewrite.

Answers must provide a good capacity for suspension of disbelief.

The greatest detail and the greatest creativity are certainly factors that can and should impact the best answer in many cases... but a brief or "overused" answer can still be the best answer when talking about anatomy.

I think the real point of this rule is that it the OP must be looking for an answer that provides a good capacity for suspension of disbelief for "anatomically correct" tag to make any since. So an answer that just arbitrarily says that a dragon flies using magic is obviously not actually addressing the anatomy of the dragon, and I think that is what needs to be avoided when using this tag.

Used thus, I could see this rule being very similar to the Science Based tag where the use of the tag implies something about the importance of reality based credibility being an expectation.


My personal interpretation of the rules are that the changes should be (1)"...must...", (2)"...or...", and (3)"Answers must provide a good capacity for suspension of disbelief."

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    $\begingroup$ I'm happy with both changes. Over the years, I've come to realize that rules should either be definitive or not exist. Wishy-washy has caused us a lot of pain (and I'm the one who wrote that original verbiage). +1 $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Jan 27, 2023 at 23:24
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    $\begingroup$ I'd argue that Changes 1 & 2 ought to read "must ... must ..." As JBH says, wishy washy results in problems down the line as "should" almost always gets interpreted as "I ain't gonna bother!" If we're going to change the verbiage, especially with the recent misuse of the ACS, make it mandatory to include both. $\endgroup$
    – elemtilas
    Jan 28, 2023 at 4:43
  • $\begingroup$ "the best answer is expected/required.." how are you going to enforce it? $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch Mod
    Jan 28, 2023 at 5:39
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    $\begingroup$ @L.Dutch --- The only way we can: 1. cajole the OP to comply; 2. VTC for noncompliance. $\endgroup$
    – elemtilas
    Jan 28, 2023 at 6:14
  • $\begingroup$ Why don't you just edit the series instead of making this question? $\endgroup$
    – Rhymehouse
    Jan 30, 2023 at 0:51
  • $\begingroup$ @Rhymehouse (a) The original series was created by another user and we should be polite and (b) trying to get community concensus is also polite. However, considering how low Meta participation is nowadays, I can't help but agree with you. Nosajimiki... unless the mods are dead set against this, I'd post a comment on TrEs-2b's original post that points back to this post and give him a week or so to respond. If he doesn,t' change it. That's my vote. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Jan 30, 2023 at 3:38
  • $\begingroup$ @L.Dutch Good point, I think the best approach on edit #3 is to move the onus to the people answering it. This would keep the tag constant with how we handle things like the "Science Based" tag. (See my revised statement above) $\endgroup$
    – Nosajimiki
    Jan 30, 2023 at 15:57
  • $\begingroup$ @Rhymehouse because the Rules themselves are a bit inconsistent and nebulous. Gotta make the rules something that can be uniformly applied before you worry about applying them. $\endgroup$
    – Nosajimiki
    Jan 30, 2023 at 16:06
  • $\begingroup$ I think it's time to post a comment pointing back to this post on the ACS page asking for comments within a week or two. If you don't hear anything, make the changes. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Feb 6, 2023 at 6:02

1 Answer 1

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I made the change from "should" to "must" as recommended in proposal #1. I elected to leave the "and" in proposal #2. I also didn't make change #3 as we've never had problems with the answers, only the quality of the questions.

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