# Why use the phrase 'ftl'?

I see we have a new tag, called . This stands for "no faster-than-light [travel]", and indicates that nothing in the universe in question can travel faster than light. The tag is based off of the tag, which stands for "faster-than-light".

Why not spell out the phrase "faster-than-light" ($\to$ )? Many people may not know what "ftl" stands for, and this would mean that the question wouldn't necessarily have to explain what "ftl" means. And for those who think that's a mouthful, just look at - although I've suggested that it's unnecessary.

I don't think we need the tag because I'd assume that faster-than-light travel doesn't automatically exist in a given world, and we can assume that, unless stated otherwise, it does not exist.

That said, this is all complicated further by the fact that there is no , just a tag.

To summarize:

• We should either get rid of the tag entirely, or
• Spell out "no-faster-than-light"
• FTL is the "norm" for most sci-fi so having a tag to indicate its absence seems reasonable to me. I've no strong feeling either way as to whether it should be no-ftl or no-faster-than-light. Jan 5 '15 at 10:49
• I'd prefer that our tags make positive statements rather than negative ones if possible. What's the "science-based" equivalent of "no-ftl", the positive statement that expresses "spaceflight we know how to do and believe possible"? Jan 5 '15 at 15:58
• @MonicaCellio reality-based, maybe? Jan 7 '15 at 18:28
• That would work. It's broader than just ftl, which seems fine. Jan 7 '15 at 18:45
• The no-ftl tag has been killed.
– user
Jan 8 '15 at 8:45

I propose that the tag should be deleted.

There are two things a tag does:

First, a tag is an indicator of what a question is about. A question about the lack of faster-than-light travel can accurately be tagged with the existing since it has to do with the implication of (the lack of) ftl.

Secondly a tag can imply a set of rules about how the question should be answered. These tags by their very nature need to be used sparingly and need to have a wide appeal. is an example of this, where it states that answers must be based in scientific theory. (Note that this is not a replacement for asking for such).

FTL/No FTL is clearly not a candidate for the second category.

Thus the already indicates that a question is about ftl (or the lack thereof). Henry Taylor 's question is not about ftl, therefore the tag ftl is not appropriate (and nor the ).

Restrictions in questions are restrictions in questions, they do not need tagging as such. Regarding the specific question (which is currently closed as idea generation), I think it appears to be misusing tags.

I think that the no-ftl tag is my accidental creation. I was looking for a way to tag my question with a constraint as you've described. I didn't realize that using a non-existant tag would create a new one. I thought that it would push back at me like when I tried to use an "aliens" tag and it suggested that I use "alien" instead.

I have no objection (nor right to object) concerning the renaming of this tag from "no-ftl" to "no-faster-than-light". I would however support its continued existence as it is a valuable suppliment to the "space-travel" tag.

Space travel with ftl is like modern air-travel with no major inconvenience.

Space travel without ftl is like crossing the Atlantic in colonial days, life threatening and involving years of commitment.

They may be similar ideas, but they have vastly different effects on a story.
I doubt that the absence of an "faster-than-light" tag on a question would keep people from suggesting faster-than-light solutions.

• I would suggest getting rid of the [no-ftl] tag. It's what what we call a meta tag, and we really discourage their use. See The Death of Meta Tags. Tags are designed to describe what the question is about (an area of interest someone might follow) and it's difficult to imagine someone would be looking for "no ftl" questions. The tag is being used for other purposes which should be described in the body of the post. We don't need to enumerate a question's constraints as tags. That isn't what they are for. Thanks. Jan 5 '15 at 14:04
• I have removed the [no-ftl] tag from my question. I don't know if that will remove it from the list of available tags, but I've done what I know how to do. Jan 5 '15 at 15:05
• Yes, unused tags are removed (I believe nightly) automatically. Jan 5 '15 at 15:07
• I agree with @RobertCartaino. If a question wants to limit responses to ones not involving FTL travel, you can say that in the question. (See also my comment on the question.) Jan 5 '15 at 16:00
• Related Question : That question that I asked which formerly had a "no-ftl" tag, has been put on-hold as off-topic. It has several good answers which I have up-voted. Should I accept one of the answers or just leave it as is. I'm not quite certain how I am supposed to handle the question now that it is on hold. Thanks for clarifying. Jan 6 '15 at 2:09
• @HenryTaylor Accepting an answer is still perfectly valid even if the question has been put on hold, if that answer answers the question. I like to think of the checkmark as "this answer was instrumental in answering my question to my satisfaction". So yes, you certainly can accept an answer even though the question has been put on hold, though no new answers can be added. From How does accepting an answer work?: The bottom line is that you should accept the answer that you found to be the most helpful to you, personally.
– user
Jan 8 '15 at 8:44