Terminology - This tag should be used in questions regarding terms and their use.

Consider these two questions:

What does tsukkomi mean? and What does canon mean?.

When I asked what canon means, I actually had no idea of its definition. I see that everyone loves using this term based around anime and manga, and I get the vibe that people use it to describe something as legitimate, but I truly didn't know what it meant (not a troll question).

With that said, my canon question is closed for being off topic, but the tsukkomi question was kept open. In general, both words seem to be associated and used with anime, however, the titled question itself does not pertain to Anime whatsoever.

The only real difference I see between questions is that the tsukkomi question cites a manga description, thus enabling it to be on topic. Otherwise it would be offtopic if it didn't include any anime references and the answer doesn't require any anime references.

In terms of relevancy and usage, I do believe canon is a more common word associated with anime than tsukkomi. Based on that, I would like to think that it can be an on topic question. Perhaps rephrasing the question as What does it mean when an anime is referred to as canon? would make it on topic.

What qualifies as on topic terminology questions?

  • 1
    The former is asking about a term used to describe a character in an series (like "tsundere"). However the latter is asking about what a common literary term (like "irony") means. One is in relation to a specific series (examples given), the other is a general definition question. – кяαzєя Jan 8 '14 at 5:05
  • @Krazer The titles are pretty much the same. From what I understand, canon can also refer to a character in a series. Thus I can also use canon to describe a specific character from a designated series and it will also be on topic? – krikara Jan 8 '14 at 5:13
  • 1
    It's funny because it seems like tsukkomi is an accepted question due to being a Japanese word used in a manga description. If you replaced that with an English word, it immediately becomes off topic. Or if you delete the manga description, it also becomes off topic. If you take the tsukkomi question, and replace every tsukkomi instance with another Japanese (adjective) word, they should all be considered on topic. And this is problematic. – krikara Jan 8 '14 at 5:25

This seems quite similar to questions, and I think the same rules mostly work here. Terminology questions should be anime-specific, not just anime-inspired. Questions about in-universe terminology are always allowed. What follows is for general terminology questions.

Standard English literary terms and terms which are used to describe fiction generally are off-topic here, as they are never anime-specific. We can generally assume that readers of this site know what terms like "climax" and "character development" mean and questions about these aren't really about anime at all. Such terms are generally covered well by Wikipedia, and sometimes also by other network sites such as Writers.

Good terminology questions should be about terminology that is mostly/solely used in the context of anime/manga/etc, originated from anime/manga, or means something different in the context of anime/manga than other types of fiction. Some examples of terms which fit this are moe, waifu, and Type A vs Type B. None of these would be well-known to someone who is not knowledgeable about anime and otaku culture.

There's a grey area when a Japanese term that is used commonly in Japanese culture is also used commonly in anime/manga. Some terms like this are tsukkomi and omake. Neither of these really means something drastically different in the context of anime than in other media. However, these are terms that most non-Japanese viewers would only encounter in the context of anime/manga, so the question may still be useful to anime viewers. In this case, I think we can allow the question on a case-by-case basis if it is likely to be useful for future readers and something that would probably be asked again. Such questions are borderline and it should be decided by the community exactly where the line is.

I don't think there is a set list of criteria which will work in every case like this. One minimum requirement is that it can't be something answerable by a simple translation. So "What does kokoro mean?" isn't going to be acceptable unless the term is being used in a nonstandard way in some work. The term needs to be at least a bit difficult to translate into English in a single word or phrase, so that a simple dictionary check doesn't immediately answer it. It also needs to be at least somewhat common in anime/manga. As I said, this is a grey area, so I'd suggest just using your best judgement.

  • 1
    Grey indeed. If the asker has no idea what a specific word means, then they themselves cannot determine whether it is on or off topic. There are certain words that pertain directly to anime culture whereas other words address Japanese culture in a general sense. There is no way to tell if the question is actually on topic unless you know the word. – krikara Jan 8 '14 at 5:32
  • @krikara I don't see a problem with that. – Logan M Jan 8 '14 at 5:32
  • I feel that it is unfair to users. There is no consistency with terminology requests. – krikara Jan 8 '14 at 5:41
  • @krikara There are plenty of other areas which we haven't yet discussed either and don't have a community consensus on, and no can tell what will happen with those either. I'm not saying that this will forever be a grey area. Just that right now it is, and will remain that way until we get more questions on this line which force us to consider it more seriously. – Logan M Jan 8 '14 at 5:46
  • FWIW I do think the policy I've posted above is what we've been doing fairly consistently. Anime-specific terminology questions are clearly the highest voted questions in the tag, while the borderline ones are sitting with only a couple of votes and sometimes downvotes as well. Your question is the only one I've seen about terminology that's clearly not acceptable by the rules above, and the only one that's currently closed. – Logan M Jan 8 '14 at 5:48
  • I guess it just somewhat bothers me that anime-specific questions are widely accepted while anime-general questions are nuked out of orbit. Reason being if I simply just altered my question to make it anime-specific, it could become on topic. Assuming that the tsukkomi question fits the criteria from Help Center, we can use the same template and replace tsukkomi with words like Otaku(geek) or Tanoshii(fun). The question is OT by help center, but then needs to pass OT judgement by users. This is a problem in itself. – krikara Jan 8 '14 at 5:57
  • The actual tsukkomi question is pretty general too, only referencing a manga description. – krikara Jan 8 '14 at 5:59
  • 1
    I think you're getting confused somewhere. Anime-specific terms are obviously fine here, because we're a site about anime. Questions which are not specific to anime in any way are not fine, because we're not a site about everything else. We aren't a site for translating Japanese, for explaining English terms, for teaching you science, or for expanding your cultural understanding of Japan. Only for answering questions about anime. I don't know what you mean by Anime-general (that's an oxymoron), but general questions which are valid in a much larger context than just anime aren't in our scope. – Logan M Jan 8 '14 at 6:10
  • As for "tsukkomi", it's a grey area as I said because most English-speaking readers will only know it from anime/manga, and it's not uncommon in anime/manga. By contrast, "tanoshii" is obviously not okay as it's just a translation. "Otaku" is probably okay because it doesn't literally translate to "geek" without losing some context, especially since otaku themselves are often on-topic. – Logan M Jan 8 '14 at 6:10

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .