There are tags for and . Many questions are tagged with both.

I think this is confusing; people might use one or the other and questions don’t show up as a uniform category. Many use both; if reaching the limit you’ll have to leave off one.

Should they be merged, or what?

  • $\begingroup$ We'd need to be careful about the wording on the main tag, but I think you're right with this general idea. $\endgroup$
    – Ranger
    Commented Sep 7, 2016 at 2:33
  • $\begingroup$ Too bad tags aren't hierarchical where one can include another. So making tags that have such a relationship without constant patroll on their use will lead to this situation. $\endgroup$
    – JDługosz
    Commented Sep 7, 2016 at 3:15
  • $\begingroup$ When I hover over the [spaceflight] tag, I get this "For questions about the process of [...] Consider also [spaceships]". The same is true for [spaceships], i.e. "Consider also [spaceflight]", the two cross-reference each other. Is that auto-generated by relevance or part of the editable descriptions of the tags themselves? $\endgroup$
    – Nolo
    Commented Sep 16, 2016 at 8:34
  • $\begingroup$ The excerpt is manually written by someone, separate from the main description. Read the other answers and comments on this thread for evolving information on these tags’ text. $\endgroup$
    – JDługosz
    Commented Sep 16, 2016 at 8:40
  • $\begingroup$ Then maybe this is a dumb question, but wouldn't simply removing the suggestion from the excerpt help to separate the content for those tags? $\endgroup$
    – Nolo
    Commented Sep 16, 2016 at 8:45
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ No, we added the see-also to get people to use the correct classification rather than the first one they noticed. $\endgroup$
    – JDługosz
    Commented Sep 16, 2016 at 8:49
  • $\begingroup$ «consider also» isn’t great wording; people might think it means use both. I want to strengthen it to indicate they should read both and understand the differences. $\endgroup$
    – JDługosz
    Commented Sep 16, 2016 at 8:51

3 Answers 3


Very broadly speaking:

  • Spaceflight is about the process

  • Spaceships is about the technology

Yes, there will often be overlap between the two; a spaceship, during periods of interest, is likely to be involved in spaceflight, or the questions about it are likely to benefit from knowledge about spaceflight in order to answer. Hence, many questions that deal with one of the subjects can quite legitimately be tagged with both tags.

Compare the (current) tag wiki excerpts (my boldface here):

  • is described as For questions about the process of travelling through space, including in orbit around a planet or moon.

  • is described as For questions involving implemented theory or technology for travelling through space.

However, there are many times when the two are not interchangable. For example:

  • If I am building a spaceship to go to Mars, and need help with some specific aspect of that, I'm not asking about the process of spaceflight per se but rather the technology that enables spaceflight -- in other words, the spaceship. It is possible that the technology I am asking about is relevant for the process or experience, but the focus of the question is the technology.

  • Once I put a bunch of people in there and hurl them off to the Red Planet, particularly if those people are "passengers" not "crew" (compare an airliner), and ask about what it'd be like for them, the question is likely about the process of spaceflight as opposed to the hardware that enables travel through space -- in other words, spaceflight. It is possible that what I am asking about is influenced by the technological choices made in constructing the spaceship, but the focus of the question is on the process or experience, not the technology.

The two tags serve different purposes and should not be merged into a single tag.

That said, if anyone has ideas for how to clarify the difference between the two especially in the tag wiki excerpt, I'm all for seeing proposed edits there!

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Maybe point to this thread, and summarize the best description as part of the long wiki. The excerpt doesn’t like any kind of makup. But can still note that the other exists and to dig deeper. $\endgroup$
    – JDługosz
    Commented Sep 8, 2016 at 18:22
  • $\begingroup$ @jdlugosz i like your proposal. Seems to make the best use of the limited options available to tags. $\endgroup$
    – Tonny
    Commented Sep 9, 2016 at 14:21

There could still be a slight difference. Spaceflight, arguably, includes flying through space through means other than a spaceship, such as by spaceborne lifeforms. Spaceships, as a tag, could include discussion of things that spacecraft can do or that can happen to spacecraft when they are not traveling in space, such as how long a spaceship of a specific type could survive on the surface of a specific type of planet with a hostile environment (e.g. highly corrosive).

In response to Nex Terren's comment, there could still be a substantial difference. Spaceflight, as a tag, could specialize in discussion of the mechanics of flight while Spaceships could specialize in issues of spacecraft construction, combat, repair, or systems.

For example:

"What would a trip to Jupiter feel like?" might be a good question for Spaceflight.

"A 4-person spacecraft crashes onto a 50 km radius asteroid with no atmosphere. How likely would it be that the crew would survive?" might be a good question for Spaceships.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Okay, but does the difference mean that it would be meaningfully easier find similar questions? Or better: does combining them make it easier to find similar questions? And still: is the difference meaningful? I agree there's a sliver on the venn diagram that doesn't overlap, but is it enough to warrant them being separate? $\endgroup$
    – Ranger
    Commented Sep 7, 2016 at 21:28
  • $\begingroup$ @NexTerren I edited my answer to reply. Thanks! $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 7, 2016 at 21:37

I can’t show illustrations in comments so I'm starting a new Answer.


The excerpt (as of this posting) advises of the other tag and suggests reading the details. But there is no “info” link to click on. Do the available links/buttons vary with the context, displayed differently in different screens?

Instead of “see also” it might be a stronger “please read” to better indicate that education on proper use is needed, rather than supplimental.

  • $\begingroup$ It's "info" in the card that shows up when you hover over the tag, but "learn more..." once you've clicked on the tag or otherwise are viewing questions tagged with it. I agree, that's not ideal. $\endgroup$
    – user
    Commented Sep 9, 2016 at 18:10
  • $\begingroup$ Especially when mobile users never “hover”. This is a point of improvment in the consistency of the user interface. “learn more…” has elipses and “improve tag info” does not. Why need a separate link, if “info” would show it and provide an edit button in the wqy of everything else? $\endgroup$
    – JDługosz
    Commented Sep 9, 2016 at 19:45
  • $\begingroup$ I would suggest posting that as a feature suggestion on Meta Stack Exchange. That way the people who can effect the change are far more likely to see it, than in a comment on a site-specific meta. $\endgroup$
    – user
    Commented Sep 9, 2016 at 20:32
  • $\begingroup$ So the test details are site-wide? $\endgroup$
    – JDługosz
    Commented Sep 9, 2016 at 20:35
  • $\begingroup$ What you discussed in your comment 19:45 UTC (labels, hovering to display more information about a tag, ...) is network-wide, not something we can do anything about here on Worldbuilding specifically. What we could (and probably should) do something about here is the exact wording in the tag wiki excerpt. $\endgroup$
    – user
    Commented Sep 9, 2016 at 20:43

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