0
$\begingroup$

The question: How would a primitive people recharge energy weapons in a hard science fiction setting?

Pretty straight-foward. Author is asking how a primitive society could recharge energy weapons, with the stipulation that a small solar panel is not sufficient.

The answer, therefore, is that he needs to understand the different options, and/or an understanding that time + energy = more energy.

I detailed the answer with the information he needs, with source links, got upvoted, and the answer was deleted with the explanation that it "does not provide an answer".

In what way does detailing energy sources not answer a question asking about how to get energy? Ultimately, stone-age people cannot provide their own energy therefore the question is about what the advanced civilization needs to include in order to make it feasible.

The answer cannot write the story for the author, so JBH's comments on my post were inappropriate and incorrect. We are not here to write the story for the author. We need to explain the mechanics involved and help the author develop his own story.

Perhaps more to the point, rules about deletions are intended to handle egregious wrongs -- answers that clearly have nothing to do with the question, or which are offensive in nature. Deleting an answer because you didn't like it or felt it was an edge case, is not what Stack Exchange intends or what the rules or moderation privileges are meant to be used for.

This is analogous to someone asking, "How do I open a file in C#". You might list several different methods. Maybe there's a complaint that the question should have been more focused, but deleting the answer because it presents more than one option is not The Way.

$\endgroup$
0

2 Answers 2

3
$\begingroup$

Outside Perspective

I detailed the answer with the information he needs, with source links,

The issue here is that you really didn't "detail the answer". You did give a list of power supply types and their relevant wattages, but you failed to address how a society "at a level of technology that includes wooden and stone tools but not metal ones" would make use of a large wind turbine or a nuclear microreactor.

As examples of how much power output you get, the list is fine, but it falls to the respondent to weave that into a helpful answer.

got upvoted,

Yeah, you did. In reading through your response, I can't imagine why. Honestly, I'm not digging at you: answers that involved the Bhagdad battery and bamboo bicycle generators also got upvoted, when they really fail to address the same basic premise you failed to address.

and the answer was deleted with the explanation that it "does not provide an answer".

It's possible that you did not see JBH's explanation. I neither agree nor disagree with it, but provide it here on the off chance you can't see it: "What's particularly frustrating with this non-answer is that (a) you've repeated information the OP has already stated, (b) you admit that the answer depends on information not presented by the OP, (c) you don't actually present a solution to the problem. Worse, you don't know what kind of weapon is being used, what its energy requirements are, or just how primitive the primitives are. And yet you posted a response (I can't call it an answer) anyway. Strange as it may seem, the goal of Stack Exchange really isn't to answer anything and everything that comes along."

In what way does detailing energy sources not answer a question asking about how to get energy?

Largely because the OP did not ask about energy sources per se. The OP could easily have dispensed with the question entirely by providing the locals with an appropriate charging device.

The OP is, in fact, asking a question about people that she characterises as "primitive" and having only tools made from wood and stone (and presumably bone and horn and antler) but not metals.

Ultimately, stone-age people cannot provide their own energy therefore the question is about what the advanced civilization needs to include in order to make it feasible.

I agree with your finding of fact here. This doesn't answer the question, however, and I'm frankly surprised that you think it does. This is a comment, and should have been addressed directly to the OP as such.

The answer cannot write the story for the author, so JBH's comments on my post were inappropriate and incorrect. We are not here to write the story for the author. We need to explain the mechanics involved and help the author develop his own story.

This is actually incorrect as well. We're not here to help the author develop his own story at all. Far from it. We're here to help the author build or develop the world their story is set in. Which of course, is where I think you were headed with your response.

You just didn't have enough solar panels to get you there! My conclusion is thus that your response was deleted because it doesn't address the problem as stated by the querent.

Now, I would argue that if you had written So as I see it the advanced society must provide a charging solution and then proceeded to provide some kind of charging solution that would solve the problem, we wouldn't be in this situation. You could have said something like "a disposable charger unit with enough capacity to recharge the weapon x number of times; much like a gas canister weapon, it be sufficient for two or three hunting expeditions, but would then need to be traded for a new unit." Problem solved!


(Edit: The question has since attracted new answers, which are basically flavors of my deleted answer. The moderators are now on the hook to delete those answers as well, or else undelete mine. While I may not agree with this deletion, I don't think "consistent enforcement of the rules" is too much to ask for in any case, and, to that end, "be careful what rules you establish, because once established, you will be on the hook to continue enforcing them.")

Well, not exactly flavours of your answer --- because you didn't even provide two bits of metal in a lemon! Your answer was literally to push it back onto the querent by saying So as I see it the advanced society must provide a charging solution.

$\endgroup$
14
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ You are listing reasons to downvote. You are not listing reasons to delete. Your explanations don't jive either. The author specifically listed solar as insufficient, implying he's not opposed to power generation sources, just that they have to be beefier than that, which I covered as well (and which incidentally eliminates the lemon answer, as his ideas don't meet the solar wattage threshold. It must, therefore, be deleted under these new rules). I provided multiple charging solutions, not just one, just as you said I should do, so your answer here is internally inconsistent. $\endgroup$
    – JamieB
    Mar 1, 2023 at 1:11
  • $\begingroup$ @JamieB --- On the contrary! If I flag a response as "not an answer", this is the explanatory text: This was posted as an answer, but it does not attempt to answer the question. It should possibly be an edit, a comment, another question, or deleted altogether. Also, the OP did not say that solar panels are "insufficient", but rather that the guns are impractical to recharge with solar panels. I agree that "power generation sources" might be acceptable, but again, you didn't address how such people obtain or use them. I'm not sure what "new rules" you're citing. You did provide (cont) $\endgroup$
    – elemtilas
    Mar 1, 2023 at 3:16
  • $\begingroup$ (cont) several potential sources of power, all of which are beyond the understanding and technical capacity of the people in question. And, as I said, the question isn't really about what power source to choose, it is how the "primitive" people in question will make use of it. Lastly, I didn't say that you "should" do anything, let alone provide "just one" charging solution. My point is that of the solutions you allude to, you don't put any of them into the context of an answer. Rather, you provide a comment only. (cont) $\endgroup$
    – elemtilas
    Mar 1, 2023 at 3:18
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ "Insufficient" would be another way of saying "impractical" yes. If you have to play absurd word games to defend your stance, then perhaps your stance is in error. But it is a rarity on the internet to see someone admit an error, so I won't look for much of that here. The author can decide if my answer fits his problem. It is literally not your job. In any sense. The moderator can swing the hammer of doom as he sees fit, as is his right, but we can still call out the uneven application of authority, and the inconsistencies being used here. $\endgroup$
    – JamieB
    Mar 1, 2023 at 4:14
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @JamieB --- Well, no. The OP specifies what is meant by "impractical": s you would need multiple panels and several days to recharge them. Clearly, solar panels are sufficient. Also, I am a master words games, absurd and otherwise. A game for you: pot kettle black. I agree with you that it is the querent's job to decide the relative merits of any answer given. It is, however, also my right and the right of anyone else in the community to flag a response that doesn't answer a question. You can accuse me all you like. My purpose {cont) $\endgroup$
    – elemtilas
    Mar 1, 2023 at 4:20
  • $\begingroup$ (cont) here is to examine the query and your response with the ultimate goal of either helping you improve your own answer or else helping someone else avoid this situation. As for inconsistencies, I've called out L Dutch in the past. I don't have a dog in this race, however, so take my observations and conclusions and use them or ignore them as you see fit. $\endgroup$
    – elemtilas
    Mar 1, 2023 at 4:22
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ The author clearly states that solar panels are "impractical", "as you would need multiple panels and several days". Therefore he wants something faster. I explained what would be faster, as well as why manual inputs would be even more impractical than solar. I'm trying to help you understand the author, and the question, and therefore the answers, but honestly can't find the disconnect. The author's question is not unusual in any way, nor do we want or need him to elaborate on so many specifics. I don't think you want what you think you want. $\endgroup$
    – JamieB
    Mar 1, 2023 at 5:06
  • $\begingroup$ @JamieB --- Ye-ah. That's what I literally just wrote. Impractical. Not insufficient. As for the rest: just answer the question and you won't be in this situation! $\endgroup$
    – elemtilas
    Mar 1, 2023 at 15:12
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Ultimately, we find ourselves in this predicament because the new Worldbuilding community utilizes vote to close rather than downvote on questions, and delete rather than downvote on answers. This sort of problem will continue to crop up because every search result, every side panel, every old Q&A that floats up, says you're in the wrong here. You want to change the community, but you have years of precedent that you can't get rid of. It will continue to cause problems as long as you continue to ignore the history of this community. $\endgroup$
    – JamieB
    Mar 1, 2023 at 15:19
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @JamieB --- Well, we do agree on that to a large extent. I have often spoken against VTC when other options are better; and I also get the whole desire to change the community thing. That doesn't change the facts here. You provided a comment, not an answer. I'm reading it right now. You said it best: It actually started as a comment. It's simply my estimation that it never actually went from comment to answer. I should also note that I did not flag your answer for moderator intervention. Most likely, I would have downvoted it and then asked you to actually provide an answer. (cont) $\endgroup$
    – elemtilas
    Mar 1, 2023 at 17:09
  • $\begingroup$ (cont) Only after that point would I myself have considered flagging. It just turns out that someone else was quicker on the trigger. Same result for same issue. $\endgroup$
    – elemtilas
    Mar 1, 2023 at 17:12
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ The difference between an answer and a comment is usually legwork. I started a comment, then decided to go ahead and do the legwork to make it an answer. You simply can't get past the point that his question is about energy generation techniques. That is the answer he got. The comments in all this repeatedly show that the real issue afoot here is a few people misreading the question. I didn't answer your interpretation of the question. I can't help you with that. I answered the author's question, not yours. $\endgroup$
    – JamieB
    Mar 1, 2023 at 17:53
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @JamieB --- Well, yes and no. SE comments are primarily for seeking clarity, offering constructive criticism, or imparting some useful information pertaining to the question, answer or another comment. I agree with you that if your comment should be an answer simply through some additional legwork, then that legwork should be done. I've come across a lot of comments where I've either asked the other person to make that into an answer or else have done it myself. The problem you have is that you didn't actually do the legwork. You didn't turn your comment into an answer. For my part, (cont) $\endgroup$
    – elemtilas
    Mar 1, 2023 at 18:06
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ (cont) I'm not asking you to answer "my question". I didn't ask the question. I'm simply reading what the OP asked and then reading what you said. There's a disconnect there between what you say you're doing and what is actually on the screen. You gave examples of energy generation techniques. You didn't answer the question how would a primitive people with stone and wood technology generate power. Big difference there. $\endgroup$
    – elemtilas
    Mar 1, 2023 at 18:08
2
$\begingroup$

Quoting from the deleted answer:

the advanced society must provide a charging solution but what that solution is depends on the circumstances

which is basically a request for clarification to the OP. As such, it doesn't answer the question. At most it is a comment.

You state

This is analogous to someone asking, "How do I open a file in C#"

except that the OP asked

This is analogous to someone asking, "How do I open a file in an unspecified language?"

and you answered "it depends on the language"

$\endgroup$
0

You must log in to answer this question.

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