One of the more confusing things about this site is the tag. Looking through the meta site, there aren't a lot of clear policies surrounding the tag.

One particular problem I have is that there are a lot of questions tagged as where the OP seems to have used the tag by mistake. For example, the question Would a 'World Tree' be feasible in real life? is tagged as , but a quick look through the comments shows that the OP isn't actually looking for hard science answers. So it seems reasonable to assume that the tag should be removed.

I would like to go through the tag and remove questions like that. I think doing so would make the purpose of the tag clearer to new users, and it would also make it easier for people who like real questions to find them.

But in a lot of cases it's not as clear cut whether a question is incorrectly tagged or not. For example, the question Could my moons-planet system be stable?: the answers don't meet the hard-science requirements, and the question is so simple I'm not sure it even needs hard-science answers, but the OP didn't really do anything to indicate that they used the tag by mistake. So maybe they're still waiting for an answer that meets the hard-science requirements?

What I'm asking for is a clear set of guidelines to determine whether a question should be tagged as hard-science or not. There has been a little bit of discussion on meta here and here and here, but there really isn't a specific guideline that someone could use to retag questions.

(Also, speaking of tagging, could someone create a hard-science tag on the meta site? This would make it easier to find all the policies related to the hard-science tag.)

  • $\begingroup$ On the meta tag, once we have something resembling a written policy, we can tag the relevant questions with faq. That's the usual approach on SE meta sites. Ideally we'd end up with one post that summarizes everything you need to know about the tag, and if we need multiple posts for some reason, they'd be linked from there. $\endgroup$ Jul 26, 2016 at 3:05
  • $\begingroup$ @MonicaCellio it's more that there's a lot of different discussions about this particular tag, and it would be nice to have all these discussions in one place. Although I agree that in the future, once policy is more clear, a faq question would make more sense. $\endgroup$
    – user171
    Jul 26, 2016 at 4:19
  • $\begingroup$ See also this post. $\endgroup$
    – JDługosz
    Jul 26, 2016 at 4:36
  • $\begingroup$ @JDługosz that would help, but I suspect you would still find people using the tag by mistake. New users might not understand what "scientific papers" and "citations" means, and therefore wouldn't process the warning. $\endgroup$
    – user171
    Jul 26, 2016 at 14:35
  • $\begingroup$ One of ways I found(not perfect) is to ask in comments if OP really wish HS, if yes and Q of OP isn't ready (not enough information provided, unrealistic setting, incompatible with this world requirements) I will inform OP about that, and will not try to answer Q. I discussed some questionable HS tagged Q with high free points ranks members - got answer it up to OP. so HS tag is not what it says - just accept that. So it's like demand best and hardest possible answer, in Q situation. Most cases totally not worth to answer, as for my opinion, because to get HS answer, Q have to be HS. $\endgroup$
    – MolbOrg
    Jul 27, 2016 at 0:47
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Quite a few users seem to be genuinely confused about the distinction between real and fictional science, such as this request for hard-science artificial gravity. The only real answer seems to be to remove the tag from such posts. $\endgroup$ Aug 4, 2016 at 8:15
  • $\begingroup$ @JohnDallman I agree. Having seen too many questions tagged hard-science when that was wrong or inappropriate or easily answered as science-based. Tag removal seems like the right approach. $\endgroup$
    – a4android
    Sep 6, 2017 at 5:37
  • $\begingroup$ @JohnDallman: I don't see anything in that question that shows a confusion about real vs. fictional science; rather, the issue is presumably that the OP didn't know that our "hard-science" tag has such a specific/nonstandard meaning. (Out here in the real world, physics is considered a "hard science"!) $\endgroup$
    – ruakh
    Jan 1, 2019 at 0:47


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