This meta brought up the utility of having a way to describe our worlds. Setting up a framework in a way that doesn't clutter the question makes it easier to read among other things. We already have tags like science-based to solve part of this problem. I suggested tags like gaslamp-fantasy to define technical and magical limits of a society. However just having all the tags exist doesn't make it easy for the person writing such a question to tag it to describe their world. So:

  • What tags can we come up with to frame a world in a way that's accessible?
  • How does the "insider" (that knows to look at the tags) communicate that their question revolves around them most effectively to the "outsider"? Do we just take it for granted? Do we develop a catch-phrase?
  • Can we have a nice post somewhere (possibly another meta question) that can be used as a resource that groups these tags together? (since looking at tags pushes more frequent ones to the top not just the world-defining ones)
  • $\begingroup$ I've noticed a certain meta tag has a different color. Is it possible to set up a way to color-code tags of this type or is that unwieldy and too secret/ambiguous? $\endgroup$
    – Black
    Oct 13, 2014 at 23:50
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Colour coding is meaningless unless people know the code - which for new people that it would help the most they will not. $\endgroup$
    – Tim B
    Oct 14, 2014 at 7:11
  • $\begingroup$ Color coding of tags is not something that is accessible even to moderators. I think it's actually done internally by the software that runs Stack Exchange. $\endgroup$
    – user
    Oct 17, 2014 at 20:10

2 Answers 2


I could have sworn that this question (or those similar to it) had come up already in the meta but it appears I was wrong. However the question of tagging has been raised many many times on this meta.

The general advice on creating tags still stands. If you think a tag is helpful to a question, create the tag and use it. Don't try to create frameworks of tags.

We have and . If you think that there are likely to be enough questions on to warrant it, then add it to a question that asks about a gaslight-fantasy world. If the tag isn't used, it will end up getting culled. The key here is trying to decide if the tag will be used, don't just ask a question to get the tag created if you were not already going to ask the question. If you do create it, please assume responsibility for creating the tag wiki to make the tag use clearer.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Also, if you've identified the need for a tag but don't quite know what to name it, chat is a great place to get input. $\endgroup$ Oct 14, 2014 at 12:32
  • $\begingroup$ After letting this sit for a while it seems like most still agree with you (Darn democracy, I demand a dictatorship!). I can see this coming up again during "The Great Tag Overhaul" that we'll hopefully stick around to have later. Future prediction: solution to everyone's problems is we edit all surviving tags after the cull so their definitions are cleaner. $\endgroup$
    – Black
    Nov 1, 2014 at 22:46

So why tags over more question-based exposition? Defining a planet succinctly via tags or an archetype makes a question shorter and more readable, which is generally a good thing. It also helps the poster to frame their question when unsure of the specifics. If someone wanted to talk about a planet with a Renaissance setting they may not know more than the fact there were painters in that time period. Having an archetype or setting tags allows the poster to get the information crucial to their question without having to know anything more of the specifics. They could ask "If my Renaissance planet gradually loses all metal how would it change?" while maybe expecting something about the color titanium white disappearing in paints they may get more enlightening examples such as loss of the rapier.

Users can be reasonably expected to present an answer with the tags providing information not outlined in the question body. One such example is for questions tagged . Seasoned users can be expected to know and newbies can be expected to have taken the Tour which outlines the importance of tags. Users are also frequently helpful to each-other and can suggest reading whatever is appropriate for a particular scenario.

Tags don't carry the entire story by themselves though. You wouldn't ask a question "How would an ecosystem revolve around my creature?", tag it , and reasonably expect people to answer with unicorn-based answers. That's more reason in favor of explicity defining the world in the question body or using a phrase to draw attention to the tags.

A catch-phrase along the lines of "On a Custom-World limited in scope by what's listed in the tags..." would be much more accessible to a person hitting a StackExchange site from google for the first time, than a tag such as with a definition along the lines of "Questions with this tag are assumed to take place on a world as described in the question body, as well as any tags present." (although the tag itself may or may not be a bad one, it's up to us). In addition, if similar, well-worded "hints" appear often enough then the new and regular users will immediately be able to identify with what's expected (a custom world implicit in the tags).

As far as the mention of a framework I just mean a group of tags that the community would find useful in custom planet scenarios. Per previous meta questions we're going to just ride this one out for now and see how the tags develop, but I can see certain generic ones being indispensable. Specific one's such as would of course only show up if we get questions along those lines, it was just an example (it was meant to be short and extreme). I could see two ways of doing this and mentioned the first one grouping: create something along the lines of a good meta something that could be pointed out like a sticky would on a forum, color-code tags, etc. some seem more likely than others. The second idea (and the one I'm now leaning more toward) is referencing other tags within a tag's description like my example definition for below.

Per this meta we're just going to let the tags grow organically for now and focus/cull later. But for the purpose of archetypes its pretty important to have a common base so that those tags get more focus and end up surviving the cull and making a lot of sense together. I was looking for some answers that listed tags we already have that fit this description, and potentially tags that almost seem necessary but haven't yet received attention.

seems like a good example of the type of tag that almost seems necessary but hasn't received much attention. Currently we have answers that push this territory, which is fine. But I can see it getting attention as a tag when we stop asking questions specifically about FTL travel and more along the lines of "How is a space economy different than a regular economy?" where the poster wants semi-realistic answers but doesn't need/want a hard numbers answer that is implying.

So what tags do I think personally would be useful? How about fleshing out the current archetype set? How about listing the one's we already have?

We currently have tags that easily fit the archetype scenario: Planet in the following could also be read as "question" since the planet-type invoked would necessarily be referenced there. Some tags such as even requiring additional information.

  1. Time-period tags give the target feel for a Planet's technology level and culture:

  2. We have tags to specify the Planet's assumption on magic vs. technology (I'm seeing these as science vs. science w/ some magic vs. magic):

  3. Modifiers for technology levels:

  4. Specific archetype tags for a Planet may already be defined based on their common usage:

  5. Tags that can be used to indicate a planetary biome:

  6. "Adjectives" may modify the resulting planet:

We could easily add:

  1. Additional technology level tags:

    • For questions assuming Stone Age technology and a lack of metallurgy.
    • For questions where technology and culture is centered around that of Ancient Europe. Ancient Greece and Rome are typical examples.
    • For questions where technology and culture is centered around Present Day.
    • For questions dealing with what the world could look like in 50 to 100 years based on our current understanding of science and assuming focused, unhindered progress. Basically assuming "bleeding-edge" science will become mainstream. Compare with sci-fi.
    • For questions dealing with technology that's "ahead of the curve". Usually with no currently active or viable experiments in the necessary areas, and sometimes stretching the limits of being scientifically plausible. If you can't draw a road-map of expirements to get to a science or technology that is loosely science-based it is sci-fi.
  2. Additional basic biome tags:

  3. More basic biomes but maybe considered a slightly more abstracted tag by some:

  4. Reaching the limit of what would be considered a good fit for tag proposals and reaching into the territory where the current organic growth fits better (they fill the gaps of what's currently listed but aren't likely to have many questions):

    • / For questions concerning a biome similar to Earth's intertidal-zone.
    • For questions assuming Bronze Age level technology where metallurgy was possible but only soft metals can be worked.
    • For questions assuming Iron Age level technology where working harder metals was possible.
    • For questions that follow a blend of steampunk and magic (After defining this... in hindsight this is a horrible tag, even for filling gaps. You can just add the tags and be done with it. Ironically this illustrates the utility of having a good set of go-to tags over purely organic growth, since I honestly would have used this tag for a relevant question and might have been too lazy to define it and notice my mistake.)

Not worth a set of tags unless this area sees a lot of activity (but worth mentioning in a framework), and probably being said in the question body regardless would be the world government, if any, and normal economic level of the planet (subsistence, etc.) since it's possible to have high-technology but subsistence level living.

I'm was hoping to see an answer along these lines if not some simple suggestions. I feel like this is going to be very relevant at some point given the nature of this site. And I don't seem to be the only one since this question was actually based off another user's post. Once again, I realize we've decided "organic tag growth" for now but I see this as a crucial subset that may warrant breaking that rule while we can. If this means someone needs to go out and post questions designed around using these tags then so be it. I just thought it was worth bringing up and discussing since it should be a small but useful set that (crucially) meshes nicely. Drawing people's gaze towards "framework" tags that could be genuinely useful but aren't "in the wild" is helpful as I see it.

  • $\begingroup$ Me-me-me-mega post! Didn't realize I felt strongly enough about this to write something this long (0_o;). People agree/disagree with the premise? $\endgroup$
    – Black
    Oct 15, 2014 at 11:40
  • $\begingroup$ I agree with the premise. It definitely needs to be community-driven, though. We can't get to the point where a few people determine how everything is defined. $\endgroup$ Oct 15, 2014 at 11:49
  • $\begingroup$ @Danny Reagan Yeah that's why it's tagged discussion. I was hoping this would culminate in an accepted community wiki answer that people could edit/comment to as we go along to expand the framework to reflect the current state of affairs. At the very least a basic set of tags to spin and just let the rest grow organically like they already are. I see tags referencing other tags in their definitions as being possibly the best way to do this and gave an example between sci-fi and futuristic. $\endgroup$
    – Black
    Oct 15, 2014 at 12:05

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