There is a LOT of information in the world and unlike the days of yore, it's available instantly. Most of that information is good. Some of it is bad. Some of it is really bad. But even if we only consider the good information — there is a risk to worldbuilders.
We are sometimes led to believe that worldbuilding isn't about rules, but about expressing an idea in terms of known science.
Inexperienced worldbuilders may trip over the belief that due to the volume of information they discover in the real world, it isn't rules that they should be creating, but existing science they need help discovering. In that regard, they perhaps see Worldbuilding.SE, not as a place to help them develop consistent rules for their imaginary world,1 but as a free research service that will uncover the facts that their experience on the Internet has led them to believe should exist.
How is this issue reflected in posts?
In a recent question about teleportation a new user was asking how to achieve an effect due to teleportation. In comments to my answer it appeared to me that the user didn't realize the difference between the need to set rules in an imaginary world and the belief that there's enough science involved with the idea that changing the application of science would change how he/she achieved the effect.2
Said another way: the user was confusing the aesthetic of the idea with the operation of the idea.
And what that means (at least to me...) is that the user — not realizing that there wasn't enough science to actually realize (vs. rationalize) his/her goal — kept throwing more technobabble at the problem believing that somehow the goal would be achieved.
I could be wrong, but I suspect the worldbuilder didn't realize that it's the obligation of the worldbuilder to set the rules of their world, and then use the Real World to rationalize (if necessary!) the rules. Too many worldbuilders think it's not their obligation to set those rules because (I suspect) they believe the rules "already exist" in the form of science they haven't been able to find with a Google search.
Question: What advice can we give worldbuilders to help them distinguish between "real life" and "worldbuilding rules" in a world that has so much instantly available information that it seems like a "real" answer should exist and they shouldn't need to set a rule?3
1 I sometimes worry that some worldbuilders don't believe they're building an imaginary world, but are trying to build an entirely real world. There's nothing wrong with "realistic" so long as everyone remembers that it has very practical limits.
2 Please note that I can't read the OP's mind and don't really know if what I just explained is the case. As I mentioned, it simply appeared that way to me. However, I've run into a fair number of questions over the last six months where users appeared to believe there should be science to solve their problem, not realizing that what they were asking about didn't actually exist, didn't actually have science to back it, or that the science was being misapplied in an effort to achieve the goal. Please do not construe anything I've said to believe I'm disparaging of the user who is only trying to build a world or write a story. Although, to be fair, I am running thin on patience with users who read something on the Internet or watch some Youtube video and believe they have a PhD's understanding of the issue.
3 This issue is NOT helped by tools like ChatGPT which can express an idea that's completely wrong in a way that to someone not educated in the art seems completely right. I'm beyond worried that the average user of ChatGPT-style services will become addicted to the sincerity of the response and be led to believe that every question they ask will have a decisive and veritable answer. Said another way, I'm worried that new worldbuilders don't think they need an imagination to achieve their goals.