Personal view on the problem: mutual exclusivity is is not strongly enough suggested by the language use by the description of
hard-science. I'm suggesting replacing the "contrast with" with a wording explicitly asking for "mutual exclusivity".
Here goes my argumentation:
science-basedFor questions that require answers based on hard science, not magic or pseudo-science, but do not require scientific citations. Contrast with the hard-science and reality-check tags.
hard-science- Requires answers backed up by equations, empirical evidence, scientific papers, other citations, etc. Contrast with: science-based and reality-check tags.
My natural expectations, I can put pink and crimson in contrast and perceive they are different - depending on the context, they can be even strongly contrasting. But I can mix them and the result is still a tint of red. Thus, to me the "contrast" wording does not suggest the "don't mix them, they are mutually exclusive".
Which illustrates the core of the problem: the reliance on on a wording that may be expected to vary from "perceiver" to "perciever" and from context to context.
There are other examples of tag definition, which are better (more explicit) in this regards. For example
magic- For questions that have to do with magic, as opposed to science/technology.
Now, this one is more clear in saying "don't mix
magic with any science or technology related tags" and I argue that the use of "opposition" (rather than "contrasting") will make the intended use of
hard-science clearly mutually exclusive.
I can imagine a single wording that is even more unambiguous, and this is straightly saying "
science-based is mutual exclusive with
hard-science" and vice-versa in their respective descriptions.
Yes, I'll grant the point that my "natural interpretation" on the semantics of "opposed" may be askew with the majority of native English speakers, among whom I'm not. And in the same situation are lots of other WB/SE users.
I don't think it would be fair to ask them to "learn first proper English" when a cheap solution to prevent the misunderstanding exists.
The problem is compounded with the expectation one develops by being exposed to the tags - most of the delimit a class of topics (
evolution), with "you can mix them" being mostly the rule rather than the exception.
Now, I understand there is a need to have exceptions to the rule, but it's only fair to:
- signal those exceptions unambiguously (if "mutual exclusivity" is intended, why not directly saying so?), and maybe...
- present the user a link to the rationale for those exceptions. After all, those exceptions explains are based on existing needs of the WB site and will inform the user in a context where the explanation makes immediate sense.
All in all, I think that things like this can improve the user experience. As it stands now, the "friction" between the 'user expectations' and 'WB site needs' is high enough to create non-trivial chances for a question to be rejected and the user getting into the idea of "rules that come to bite you just because you didn't take the effort to discover - in an amorphous corpus of law and who know how big - what rules are relevant in a certain situation".
I don't know about others, but were those situations to happen to me enough times, I will prefer to avoid WB rather than take the unknown maybe huge effort to discover "what is to be a good citizen who is not gonna be punished".
Here, they are contrasting. Not the most striking contrast, by still a strong contrast within the context. And yet they are a shade of red.
For reference and, alone, not bearing strong significance to my proposal - all started from the discussion in the comments in here.