As per a suggestion by Monica Cellio and a sort of consensus on the issue, the hard-science tag is ready for use. In fact, I decided to use test it out: How can a Type II civilization predict and influence accretion rates from a debris disk to a passing star?.
The resulting question frightened Serban Tanasa off into the woods. This is not a good thing, because it seems to be that most people want answers to their questions.1 I myself would probably not want to take a shot at an answer, because the resulting analysis could take up a lot of space and time. Given that I'm not too concise,2 I would be a bit afraid of the work I'd have to put in.
I asked the question, though, because I wanted (and still want) an answer from a true expert.3 I've come up with some ideas to figure some of it out already, but they would involve a large simulation to test. Given my (nearly lack of) programming skills, that's not feasible. However, I'm willing to bet that there are people who can answer this.
Yet I don't want all questions (or in fact, the majority of questions) using hard-science to be hard (i.e. difficult). Were that to happen, all the creativity that so freely leaps around on Worldbuilding would be . . . gone. So I propose that hard-science questions should not all be really-hard-and-expert-level.
We also need a range of questions where the tag could be used. Obviously, all questions on Worldbuilding (that don't purely involve magic) should be grounded in logic and science. But where should questions switch from science to hard-science? It's really up to the user, but there's a chance that the same thing that happened to science-based will happen to hard-science: overuse.
How difficult should questions using hard-science be? When should the tag be used? What about other boundaries of usage of the tag?
Here are some of my musings since the tag's inception.
- Serban's is easily the best and most successful. It has a catchy title and focuses on something that is near and dear to us all: blowing stuff up.4
Mine have been less popular, harder, and, I think, somewhat close to pure science. This is, contrary to what one might think, bad. I love science and using it to solve problems; I think that it's possible that I could solve one or both by boiling it down to the pure science part.
I think, though, that this is just me. I'll be honest: I'm always more interested in the science part of a question than its applications to world building, and that may have influenced my two questions.
1I also don't want Serban to die at the hands of some wild animal.
2I hit the 30,000 character limit in an answer on Skeptics, which set off warning flags.
3Well, besides the part about the Type II civilization. I don't know how many people are experts in that.
4Come on, at some point in your life you've been interested in explosions. Even fireworks.