In complement to JBH's and Elemtilas's answer , I'm in favor of destroying the hard-science's tag wiki. Not necessarily the tag itself, just all the stuff about restricting answers and much. It's not really about how people want to use WB:SE, or to try to reverse how people are trying to build worlds. Here's why :
People rarely use it as it was intended
Out of the 50 newest hard-science questions, and without checking the original version :
- At least 8 misunderstood that the tag is mutually exclusive with science-based or science-fiction. That's one out of 6 questions. I saw even one or two using all three tags at once.
- 7 hard-science questions have negative scores, vs 4 in the newest overall. Alone it doesn't mean much, but let's add to that the most negatively received one reaches a -5, even when compared to the lowest general question at -4 which is a one-liner about how to write a story (off-topic, no effort displayed from the querent, ...). Also, while looking at questions which received at least one downvote1, I've seen a fair share of >3 downvotes on hard-science, more than in general.
While point n°2 is debatable, the 1st one is quite staggering. People really often do not use the tag like the wiki asks to, even on a very simple rule. I haven't reviewed each question's content as honestly I have other things to do2, however it is in agreement with my feeling people often don't use the tag correctly.
I'm not including how many queries were closed as an argument in favor of that. Still and because I don't want to hide all data I gathered, 6 of hard-science were closed vs 10 of the 50 newest questions. It isn't too far-off from each other, so nothing against the tag can be deduced from that. Also not included is the average number score on questions (both lying at around 3.2-3.3 between the newest hard-science and all newest questions) : The bias towards the tag's popularity rather than its quality is too strong here. Speaking of popularity...
There isn't enough rewards for the efforts required
When writing this, we have 28 questions tagged hard-science (including mistagged ones) this year. In comparison, we had 1040 questions since the 1st of january. That's less than 5%.
Meanwhile, what do we do with these kind of questions?
- People constantly reminding to not use science-based,hard-science or science-fiction at the same time.
- People nagging at each other telling that no hard-science answer can be found, often leading to closure and down votes3.
- Moderators having to add the "hard-science" banner manually. I haven't asked on meta to add the feature of linking automatically a banner along with a tag4. But it hasn't been added on 20 (out of the 50 newest) questions with the tag, therefore I'm p'etty sure this issue is still in the news.
While I know I'm not into hard-science -like, at all-, this does feel like a lot of efforts for this small faction of questions. Questions which are often misused by its querents, and efforts which could be put elsewhere.
The first two points also strongly hint the tag's rules can create bad mood. As I know that mechanics offered to a user (or player in my expertise5) can induce specific behaviors, I do conclude the tag's current rules plays a major part in those two points. We shouldn't be arguing just because a question has a tag or not. But the fact is, the tag's current rules create quite a bit of not-always justified actions and reactions. Why? Because...
There has been too much focus on the tag
Last but not certainly not least : I think everyone here forgot that tags are not the question's content. It's blindingly obvious when I read answers here. Let's remind what tags are with the help-center :
A tag is a word or phrase that describes the topic of the question. Tags are a means of connecting experts with questions they will be able to answer by sorting questions into specific, well-defined categories.
Tags can also be used to help you identify questions that are interesting or relevant to you.
Tags are categorizers first and foremost, with the primary goal of making questions easier to look for. The fact that everyone implied the tag was important enough that they forgot to remind the question's content is the thing to read/review first is the most troublesome issue for me. We tried to create another use of the tags by making it scope the answers. However, from the frequent ruckus I read here and there and the fact that 1/6 questions are not tagged correctly, it just does not work.
So let's cut this oozing wound once and for all with a surgeon's dexterity. While I do find the tag can be used to categorize questions about worlds relying heavily on science, its wiki content is prone to both mistakes and arguments. Let's remove this tag wiki content, but still explicitly allow people to ask questions in the hard science-fiction genre. If they want answers to be backed-up by equations and references, they will have to tell it in their question, not with a single tag.
1 : 23 received at least one downvote (vs 21 in the 50 newest questions). I am not including that data as it's very biased in having one picky-picky user downvoting hard-science questions. Plus, it's expected to have more downvotes on questions with more restrictions. More restrictions means higher standard.
2 : Like daydreaming and nightdreaming. Not that I find this talk utterly pointless, dreaming is just perhaps one of my most favorite activity 🌜🦋.
3 : too lazy to check every comments on the last 50 questions, so I leave that as an overall feeling.
4 : Again, I'm lazy. And with the recent activities on meta's meta, I'm not exactly incited to make any effort either : It's strategically pointless.
5 : A great example of toxicity coming from offered mechanics is the very infamous League of legends, which is very far off from other competitive, team-based games like Team Fortress 2 and its conga dancers and sandwich sharing players. Some -yet incomplete!- explanations for League of legends toxic community can be found here.