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The overlap between aerodynamics and flight is far too small to link these categories as synonyms. Only a small subset of things which fly (in fictional worlds) rely on a subset of aerodynamic principles (lift and drag). I think it’s pretty clear that racing haulers across the arctic tundra, racing hovercraft, and land yachts, as well as a supertall, 5,000 km, or 100 mile high building are going to need some expertise from the field of , but are very unlikely to be concerned with really much of anything to do with such as stall speeds, wing musculature, glide slopes, aerial maneuvers, hitting aircraft or birds, and vertical climb rates. It’s also likely that spiderlings, ginormous bumblebees, witches on moonless nights and trying to balance on their brooms or protect themselves, people walking on air, others with Superman-like powers, and floating islands should be very concerned with all those challenges associated with flight, but don’t need much if any help from aerodynamics. Monica approved the aerodynamics > flight synonym assignment back in 2019 but I can’t find anything for a discussion about it. That was a mistake, this is now the discussion.

Recommended definitions of the two tags:

Aerodynamics: For questions about the interaction of air moving around objects, particularly in relation to the forces and motion they experience as a result. The tag encompasses the principles and theories that govern the behavior of air and its effects on various objects, such as buildings, aircraft, automobiles, ships, organisms, and sports equipment. Use this tag when concepts like lift, drag, thrust, downforce, turbulence, boundary layers, flow separation, and weight, are crucial in designing efficient and stable objects within an atmosphere or gaseous medium.

Flight: For questions about things within the air in opposition to gravity. This may be by any means such as aerodynamic lift, jet propulsion, buoyancy, magical flight seen in folklore and mythology, a superheroe's power of flight through innate abilities, or any technological advancements. Also included are concepts such as dispersal of seeds through the air, "ballooning" transportation of spiderlings, avian flight, or any other organism traveling through the air.

Justification

My primary reason for taking on this site correction (which I really believe it is) derives from the extraordinary answer posted to my navigation question by @William. This user is not a frequent participant in this exchange with merely 5 answers spanning 5 years however, as I think this answer shows, it is a mistake to rate users by their volume. There is no logic in the strategy of achieving highest quality by throwing more... things... at the wall and seeing what sticks, as we do in deciding what topics are in demand on here.

My secondary reason is a personal vested interest in ground effect vehicles—things which actively avoid flight—which will have little benefit from experts in flight (I know, I have asked pilots. Ground effect is an evil they want to be rid of). If there is another "William" in the fringes watching an aerodynamics tag, I want that user's input, and so I want that user to have a home here even if they only contribute once per year, or less.

Quality is NOT improved by volume; noise is. And my decision to make the correction post was driven by precedent. But despite the circular logic—you have prevented questions from using that tag, the synonym clearly is at cause for some of that loss—per some comments, let's talk about numbers. For reference, I will use a community-elected moderator Monica's decision to remove the [tactics] synonym from [warfare] in 2019. That separation resulted in 23 auto-retagged queries getting the [tactics] tag. There are currently 62 questions about aerodynamics that exclude the [flight] tag, including high speed trains, high speed "chasers" evolved from caterpillars, and telekenetic land ships. A closer look will find some of these are involving flight—mostly ballistic, such as my own. But what is important to note here is that this community elected moderator never once mentioned the number of queries using the tags as a justification. The very last statement under the decision to break [tactics] away from [warfare] was this: "I’m focusing on the smaller issue of this one IMO incorrect synonym."

Aerodynamics is, as even my esteemed detractor has admitted, an incorrect synonym for flight. It is a perfectly good sub-category for flight, if this were that other forum. But we do not have sub-stacks or sub-categories. We have two things which are defined as the same: synonyms. [aerodynamics] is very simply not a synonym for [flight]. Thus, the choice is to either delete the tag, or to separate the tags; but I see no logic in treating them as equals on a community resource striving for excellence.

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    $\begingroup$ What exactly is the possible intent of a blind downvote to a discussion meta besides to create confusion? Maybe I’m wrong. So say it or nothing at all can improve - neither the site nor the poster. Even if you’re drafting a disagreement - that’s a simple comment. $\endgroup$
    – Vogon Poet
    Commented Sep 21, 2023 at 14:11
  • $\begingroup$ For context Monica was a community elected moderator when she approved making aerodynamics a synonym of flight. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Commented Sep 21, 2023 at 14:55
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    $\begingroup$ Thus all decisions are correct? Or is there another contextual interpretation of that fact? My understanding of a moderator role does not include being a final unilateral infallible authority in matters of truth; nor are any truths immutable over time even if I’m wrong. Explain the context we’re to assume please, I’m only more confused by that asside. $\endgroup$
    – Vogon Poet
    Commented Sep 21, 2023 at 15:07
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    $\begingroup$ Unlike Main, there's little value to explaining a down vote here. Questions here fall (almost without exception) into two categories: (a) Can we change X or set a policy? and (b) Why did Y happen? Voting on question type (b) is meaningless. Voting on question type (a) expresses approval or disapproval of the idea. In other words, there isn't necessarily something you need to fix to avoid the down vote as it's more likely they simply don't agree with what you want to do. (Voting for answers in Meta is basically the same, but the explanation is more appropriate as Meta is more of a discussion.) $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Sep 30, 2023 at 0:56
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    $\begingroup$ One more thing. If we were talking about any moderator other than Monica Cellio, your assertion about "thus all decisions are correct" would have merit. Monica was one of the earliest adopters of Stack Exchange, one of the most educated and intelligent people I've ever known, and had a level head in the way that Niagara Falls is just a waterfall. We who worked with Monica came to respect her and she more than earned that respect. Thus, if it was a decision Monica made. Yeah... you have an uphill battle. But that doesn't mean that things haven't changed. That's the argument you need to make. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Sep 30, 2023 at 1:00
  • $\begingroup$ The argument I am making is that simply there never was an argument made. Hence, "This is that argument." I think the grammar of my post is misinterpreted: I did not say Monica made a mistake, the denial of a democratic process was a mistake. Forums like this can't operate real time (or even moderatly quickly) because members have lives, and need time to process decisions. Level implies a predilection to allow community to weigh in on decisions. Simply put, that didn't happen. So this post can simmer and let the community decide if it was the right choice post-facto. 1 vote is placed. $\endgroup$
    – Vogon Poet
    Commented Oct 8, 2023 at 0:50

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We should not separate the tags.

The help center's guidance on creating new tags is as follows:

As a general rule, you should avoid creating new tags if possible, and new users are not allowed to create new tags. Even if you have sufficient reputation, you should only create new tags when you feel you can make a strong case that your question covers a new topic that nobody else has asked about before on this site.

Each question may only contain 5 tags at a maximum, so choose the ones that best describe your question.

You are correct that if we look at things pedantically the terms aerodynamics and flight don't necessarily have a lot of overlap. However in practical use there are very few questions on this site that are asking about aerodynamics separate from flight.

As of me writing this there are only 45 open questions on this site containing the word aerodynamic that don't already have as a tag. Most of these questions are primarily about flight under both the existing and proposed tag descriptions. Of the remainder or would do a better job describing the question. I count less than 5 questions where your proposed new tag would not be better described by existing tags. That's fewer than the number of questions questions saying "ignoring aerodynamics" or something similar.

Of the 308 open questions questions with the tag only one was asking about aerodynamics independent of flight. This strongly suggests that almost the totality of the questions with the aerodynamics tag were also asking about flight at the time. Given that one tag was functionally a strict subset of the other accepting the proposal makes perfect sense.

Of the examples questions you provided only one is really asking about aerodynamics.

  • Racing haulers across the arctic tundra is asking about motivations for the race. Aerodynamics are not even relevant to this question
  • Racing hovercraft is asking directly about the impact of aerodynamic forces upon the vehicle.
  • Land yachts is only tangentially related through how aerodynamic forces affect sails. Given that we already have a Sailing tag that is a better fit, tagging it with aerodynamics would be redundant.
  • None of the 3 questions about tall buildings are directly asking about aerodynamics. Aerodynamic forces may be discussed in particular answers but there is nothing about the questions that requires them to be considered.

Given these factors I don't think you've made a strong enough case case for the re-creating the aerodynamics tag.

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    $\begingroup$ “there are very few questions on this site that are asking about aerodynamics separate from flight.” you do understand that it is literally impossible for someone to attach the aerodynamics tag to question designing a bicycle helmet, don’t you? This taxidermy has made that physically impossible. Secondly, this is not a new tag. Someone created an aerodynamics tag, and locked it up as a synonym for something completely unrelated. Yes, we have caused the situation as you say: the site is inundated with flight questions where aerodynamics is applicable. Simply because it is not possible to use ae $\endgroup$
    – Vogon Poet
    Commented Sep 21, 2023 at 18:45
  • $\begingroup$ let’s put it simply. Demons and angels are having a bicycle race. How do I design an aerodynamic bicycle helmet for people with horns? Oh, wait! That’s not possible to ask on here, unless your demons are flying? Response? No, the angels fly you silly! Well, sorry. Bicycle helmets aren’t aerodynamic, because they don’t fly. This is rubbish. and nothing more. $\endgroup$
    – Vogon Poet
    Commented Sep 21, 2023 at 18:49
  • $\begingroup$ @VogonPoet I don't follow the reasoning by which you think that it's not possible to ask about aerodynamics on this site unless it's related to flight. The racing hovercraft question you linked is about aerodynamics, unrelated to flight and has been well received on this site for over a year without any controversy. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Commented Sep 21, 2023 at 19:07
  • $\begingroup$ “[A way to filter out questions you're not interested in and focus on the ones you do care about]( worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/help/interesting-topics) is to add watched and ignored tags.” Why would anyone focus on one tag over another? WHY do tags even exist? “Tags only exist as ways of organizing questions.” Why organize? Perhaps, we all have our forte and wisely choose to contribute in an organized rather than arbitrary manner. Look at anyone’s profile, there are no “Jacks of all trades.” They (and you) focus on what they know, as a courtesy. So why exclude any specialties? $\endgroup$
    – Vogon Poet
    Commented Sep 21, 2023 at 19:38
  • $\begingroup$ Answer simply: An [aerodynamics] tag likely improve/degrade the quality of the hovercraft answers? Imagine skyscraper aerodynamics experts with big hearts try to contribute here. What tag do they watch? Flight, obviously. Kettle logic, all of it. $\endgroup$
    – Vogon Poet
    Commented Sep 21, 2023 at 19:38
  • $\begingroup$ Are there questions requiring skyscraper aerodynamic experts on this site? Most of what I'm hearing you argue is that aerodynamics != flight. While this is technically correct, in practice there aren't enough questions to make the change worth it. If things changed and there was a sizeable quantity of questions primarily about aerodynamics, unrelated to flight then that would be the appropriate time to discuss de-synomizing aerodynamics. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Commented Sep 21, 2023 at 19:59
  • $\begingroup$ I think this answer would have been fair if it didn’t grab a new tag use qualifier and apply it to a tag synonym query. Right tool for the right job. Aerodynamics was already existing; new tag rhetoric doesn’t apply. It was removed by this synonym. That is what an answer will justify. $\endgroup$
    – Vogon Poet
    Commented Sep 21, 2023 at 20:04
  • $\begingroup$ Keep in mind that meta tags are strongly discouraged. Tags are there to categorize questions. A well written question will garner quality answers regardless of what tags it has. From what I've seen most questions get their answers from being new and on the main page. Given the incredibly broad knowledge base of users of this site I suspect that any aerodynamics question will receive quality answers without needing to be tagged as about aerodynamics. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Commented Sep 21, 2023 at 20:05
  • $\begingroup$ @VogonPoet While the mechanism of enabling it's use is different, we're still considering the exact same outcomes. Whether there should be a usable aerodynamics tag on this site. All my arguments remain the same. There are simply aren't enough questions about aerodynamics without flight for it to matter. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Commented Sep 21, 2023 at 20:15
  • $\begingroup$ I’ve seen nothing suggesting categories are strongly discouraged; in fact every tag has an associated badge encouraging categorical queries. I would look at your support in the FF when U have time. Discouraging categories is counterintuitive to the Stackexchange quality goals, love to see those arguments. Consider: to your point somewhat, a Webb telescope expert earns [space][exploration] badges vice only [space-exploration] for the same 400 points. When you find supporting posts, please link. $\endgroup$
    – Vogon Poet
    Commented Sep 21, 2023 at 20:29
  • $\begingroup$ Given that SO's guidelines around tag creation start with. "As a general rule, you should avoid creating new tags if possible" it's pretty clear that SO doesn't want unnecessary tags. This is further reinforced by the choice to make proposing and voting on tag synonyms an earnable privilege instead of restricting it to Mods and CMs. On top of that community initiatives to identify and remove unwanted tags are encouraged and supported by SO. There's also the 5 tag maximum to incentivize careful tag selection. You need to show there's a need for a we tag squashed 4 years ago without incident. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Commented Sep 21, 2023 at 22:57

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