# should the name reality check change to plausibility check or possibility check?

i just think the name reality check misguiding/misleading, or not a good name for a tag that supposed to be asking a concept is possible or plausible for a fictional world building, base on the answer from here What is reality check suppose to be? rather than checking are the concept is real or checking reality or can be real, i know people like to use the term realism, but most of the time when i see people use this, they more referring the authenticity or accuracy of the concept base of real world or the existence in real world.

the new answer in my question here make me decide to ask, but i am not really understand english so maybe i was wrong or what i mention is no different, but at least for a new member that looking for first glance, that what i believe they think it was supposed to be about checking reality or has the real counterpart. (i do think so at first too)

also with this i think it make it possible/encourage for people with some magic or not base of real thing to use this tag regarding their concept, but if the tag become to broad or what i believe it suppose to be is wrong, and it actually was a tag for authenticity or checking reality, maybe make a separate tag for that.

in before you ask me to change the name myself (in case i have enough point to do so) i prefer someone else do it (i even just know you can change the tag name and i dont know how to do it anyway).

I don't know much about the tags or rules in Meta, since I usually just briefly lurk, so I'd appreciate it if someone can fix the tags to be more appropriate and I apologize if I've broken any rules here.

• "I apologize if I've broken any rules here." You didn't, don't worry. I'll try to post a more elaborate answer later. – The Square-Cube Law Jan 2 '20 at 9:02
• I am partial towards something like self-consistency-check - it is what "reality" is about in the tag. it's not about being "real" but whether were the premise real, some element would make sense. E.g., "if people had three eyes, would there be place for spectacles for two eyes". In the real world we don't have three eyes but we can make inferences about the fictional word. – VLAZ Jan 2 '20 at 9:24
• You've put a science-based on there which is the step up from reality-check, hence you get held to the higher standard. – Separatrix Jan 2 '20 at 14:08
• @Separatrix yeah but i dont ask about is there a real flying horse or such, i just want to know can a concept of such big flying creature as big as horse can carry human using their talon or feet without breaking their bone or something, base of science or physic or something. – Li Jun Jan 2 '20 at 14:20
• That's the trouble, you're asking if a flying creature the size of a horse can carry a human, but you haven't allowed for an environment in which a creature the size of a horse can fly so you're being pulled up on that instead. – Separatrix Jan 2 '20 at 14:54
• @Separatrix environment is base of real world or physic, i dont think i need to mention it since people probably assume so already, but i dont ask is there a real flying horse or such, but at least i know to make it possible for them to fly they need hollow bone or a massive wing but that make them cant be ride on the back due to that, hence i want to know regarding my concept, is it possible or something despite they have hollow bone or massive wingspan to make horse size creature flying and can carry human weight. i hope you get what i mean. – Li Jun Jan 2 '20 at 16:01
• I think you'd be better asking what changes you'd need to make to the world to allow a horse sized creature to fly with a passenger. – Separatrix Jan 2 '20 at 18:18
• Reality check and plausibility check and self-consistency check are three very very different things. A story can easily fail a reality check but remain plausible and enjoyable. A story can be totally unplausible and not verisimilar while being self-consistent. – AlexP Jan 2 '20 at 19:56
• @Separatrix you dont get it, thats not the point of my question, at least it theoretically possible for horse size to fly (as far as i remember) but it impossible for carrying passenger by riding their back due to that, so i want to know what about a method by being carrying using their hand or feet while using my design of saddle. – Li Jun Jan 3 '20 at 2:39
• @AlexP well i dont know..... thats the conclusion from my previous question here in meta, i let you guys decide, i am fine with making new tag for that too. but generally i still think the name reality check is seems misleading. – Li Jun Jan 3 '20 at 2:41

# YES ... but...

I actually concur. I see a lot of (more or less snarky) comments along the lines of "if magic is involved, reality check is out the window". As if the only kinds of fictional worlds that could be judged are those most nearly identical to Earth.

The name is, I think, somewhat misleading. Many people seem to assume that only "real" / "materialistic" things (as we experience them in the Real World) are suitable for the tag. I am a proponent of approaching a reality check from within the context of whatever kind of world the querent is asking about. If that world is a disc resting upon an undetermined number of oliphants standing on the back of some gigantic tortoise and has magic, well, then that is the baseline by which I'd judge the reality check. It's no different than judging a futuristic technology or device in an Earth-like fictional world.

I would prefer seeing the addition of new tags rather than the replacement of the current tag.

Sometimes we find questions that aren't really asking for an assessment of (simulated or quasi) realism per se; but rather are indeed asking about plausibility (likely or credible based on given information) or possibility (able but not necessarily likely based on given information). I think such tags would be a useful addition to the armamentarium of our eager querents and would also help us respondents formulate an appropriate answer.

• Reality check and plausibility check and self-consistency check are three very very different things. A story can easily and completely fail a reality check but remain plausible or verisimilar and enjoyable. (A great example is Liu Cixin's Three Body Problem.) A story can be totally unplausible and not verisimilar while being self-consistent. I have always taken and will always take "reality-check" to mean "can this happen in reality"; if the question is about verisimilitude or self-consistency then it should state so explicitly and not request a reality check. – AlexP Jan 2 '20 at 19:57
• @AlexP -- Exactly! I only disagree on your point about reality check only happening "in the real world". Since we deal in fictional worlds, that logic rather defeats the whole purpose of the tag in this forum. If this were a general Fiction or Historical Fiction or Alt-Historical forum, I'd agree with you 100% on that point. – elemtilas Jan 3 '20 at 2:43
• The vast majority of fictional worlds are supposed to work just like the real world, if not to actually be part of it. Departure from the rules which govern the operation of the real world should not be undertaken lightly, and should be as limited as possible. (And I most definitely object to the idea that this site is about magical worlds. It is not. Building a world does not imply the necessity of building a new physics; it may be the case, but it does not have to be the case. That's why I say we should separate "reality" check from "verisimilitude" or "plausibility" check.) – AlexP Jan 3 '20 at 2:50
• @AlexP - I wonder if we're inhabiting the same forum! I'm not interested in doing the digging myself, but I really doubt the "vast majority" of fictional worlds we deal with here are supposed to work just like the real world. Just perusing the first page of queries, we've got magic and dragons and mind control and superheroes and centaurs and shapeshifters and fantastical energies and mimics and forest slimes and lots more magic. Whatever worlds people throw at us, it's just our job to accept their context and provide answers & reality checks as needed. – elemtilas Jan 3 '20 at 5:17
• Kindly note that I never said this forum is about "magical" worlds --- it ìs about making fictional worlds! (It is true that a large proportion of those worlds are either straight up fantastic magic or scientifico-fantastic magic!) At least we concur that the "reality check" tag is insufficient on its own. We can leave for another day what actual purpose it ought to have if & when other tags are introduced. – elemtilas Jan 3 '20 at 5:19

# No, because...

The three terms "reality check" and "plausibility check" and "self-consistency check" do mean different things, but I don't think we need different tags. I think we need one tag that means "does this make sense given the constraints I'm listing here?" We have "reality check" which can be whatever reality wants to be specified by the author. I think we've worked hard to get the community to generally recognize the three major tags "science based" "hard science" and "reality check". I'd rather not change the names of any of them as long as they're good enough.