Are mythologies from fictional sources on topic?

I'm thinking no, but I thought the question ought to be asked. We could ban these questions entirely, or we could just have a required tag .

Pros: Widening the site scope could drive more traffic. Both Game of Thrones and Elder Scrolls games are very popular, for example.

Cons: these are obviously made up from some writer's mind, not actual mythology.

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    I think they do not belong here, but rather on a fiction site or so. – codingEnthusiast May 4 '15 at 16:12
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    I strongly believe that these questions are better redirected to Science Fiction & Fantasy. (Virtually all fictional works that have well-developed mythologies are either science fiction or fantasy, after all.) – senshin May 4 '15 at 16:31
  • @HDE226868 I think that the question there is too broad, personally (each bullet should be a separate question. Note how long El'endia's answer is); I also think that there isn't a "line between" scopes of SE sites, many sites have the potential for overlap. – durron597 May 4 '15 at 17:01
  • @durron597 I see what you mean. – HDE 226868 May 4 '15 at 17:04

Those mythologies (just like the Middle Earth mythology based on Tolkien's writing, or the Discworld mythology in Terry Pratchett's writings) are generally on topic in the Science Fiction and Fantasy Stack Exchange site, so we wouldn't lose much if we don't allow them here, as long as we clearly direct people to that site in the help text.

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    Good point. Though, having overlap is not in and of itself a reason to make something off topic. – durron597 May 4 '15 at 16:33
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    I do no know how we would distinguish between "REAL" mythology and fictional unless we put a hard date for the cutoff like pre 1900. – Chad May 4 '15 at 17:11
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    @Chad IMHO real mythology would be stuff that a society, or at least a significant proportion thereof, actually believed to be true. – Semaphore May 4 '15 at 17:15
  • @semaphore - venganza.org ... That is really hard to set a firm guideline for. There was a significant portion of the population that believed in the Everquest mythos. We need a firm line, belief is not a firm line. – Chad May 4 '15 at 17:25
  • @Chad It is extremely obvious that FSM is a parody, though. And I don't think EverQuest was ever popular enough to count for "a significant portion of the population". – Semaphore May 4 '15 at 17:28
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    @Chad (a) factually incorrect (b) obviously I meant relative to their contemporary society. There was no EverQuest in 2000 B.C. – Semaphore May 4 '15 at 17:39
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    @Chad: I don't know what counts as a real mythology, and I don't want to decide whether Pastafarianism or Discordianism is "REAL" or not. I am talking specifically about mythologies that appear only inside works of fiction, and those fiction works are usually fantasy works. The examples the OP have given are like that, and I think his question mostly concerns such mythologies. – b_jonas May 4 '15 at 17:39
  • @b_jonas - While I agree with your goal, reasonable people might disagree what that definition means. Arguably all mythology is a work of fiction. So unless we want to have an On-Topic list of valid mythologies I really do not see how this can be a workable rule. People will come here and create problems some with that intent and others with genuine belief that their question belongs. – Chad May 4 '15 at 17:44
  • @Chad Your argument has been a rather transparent strawman, though. Anyway, I don't want to keep spamming poor b_jonas with a argument in comments, feel free to use chatroom instead. – Semaphore May 4 '15 at 18:48
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    @Semaphore: Avoid questions of validity!!! We need to steer clear of saying that X mythology is clearly "false", especially if there are some who believe it is true. The line between "authentic" and "fictional" mythologies needs to be based on something else other than belief. – El'endia Starman May 4 '15 at 19:54
  • @El'endiaStarman Well, yes, my point was precisely that if people believed a story was real, then it is valid mythology. But do people really believe modern fantasy fiction to be real? – Semaphore May 4 '15 at 20:02
  • @El'endiaStarman You make an extremely excellent point. To me, avoiding questions of validity means that we should leave fictional mythologies on-topic; if someone believes that Eru Illuvatar is real then we should allow questions about it. No? – durron597 May 4 '15 at 20:05
  • @Semaphore: But then you have the sticky question of "do people believe this story is real?". I mean, there are people who have a strainer on their heads in their official IDs (like driver's licenses) because they have a "sincere religious belief": Pastafarianism. If we're going to say that "fictional" mythologies are off-topic, then we have to pick some other criteria other than how many people believe in it. It's too fuzzy otherwise. – El'endia Starman May 4 '15 at 20:07
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    @El'endiaStarman I don't think we should conflate "the mythology created for a fictional universe" with whatever kind of mythology FSM is. The latter is intended to be a mythology (albeit as a paraody); the former is intended as fiction. TBH my original response was formulated with older writings (e.g. Homeric epics or Medieval invented myths) in mind. – Semaphore May 4 '15 at 20:13
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    @Semaphore: Actually...I think creative intent could work for that. We might have issues with, say, Atlantis, but I think that would work quite well for distinguishing "fictional" mythologies that go on SciFi.SE. +1'd your comment. You should make that into an answer. – El'endia Starman May 4 '15 at 20:15

Just wanted to make a couple of additional points:

  1. Real mythologies and fictional mythologies (by the way the word is "mythopoeia") though having clearly distinct origins share some of their purposes: conveying a vision of what the world is and why it is like it is, and building a moral or philosophical framework. So in this sense it would actually make sense to discuss them here as well.

  2. These mythologies, though fictional, borrow heavily from traditional mythologies and someone wanting to understand what part comes from the author and what part comes from actual mythologies will be better served asking the question here than on SciFi.

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Yes Fiction Mythology should be on topic.

Mythology is mythology whether it exists solely in a fictional world or existed as a form of worship for actual people. So long as the question is about the mythology and not about the fictional work it should be on topic here.

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    If you're creating canonical answers for the two positions, you should make them community wiki. – durron597 May 4 '15 at 18:13
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    @durron597 - I agree, and done. – Chad May 4 '15 at 18:15
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    Chad, since you are posting both sides of the same argument, I'm assuming you meant this to be some type of pseudo-poll to gain consensus by the vote. For future reference, it is generally better just to let everyone have a voice and to answer as you actually believe... rather than trying to post all sides of the conversation yourself. It's not difficult to infer what the community wants from the conversation, as you have seen here. See Polling is not a good substitute for discussion. – Robert Cartaino May 4 '15 at 18:47

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