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I can start with a chemical composition for a planet and ask "what kind of geography and mountain types are likely to result from this composition?"

Alternatively I can start with the requirement for a specific type of mountain and ask "how would I build a planet that results in this type of mountain?"

Are both these approaches on topic, or just one, or neither?

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Of course the wording of the question ultimately makes the final decision of if a question is off-topic, but I would expect both types of questions to be thrown out there. Sometimes someone is wondering "what would this do?" and sometimes they are wondering "How would you get to that situation?" Both are good questions

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I welcome both kinds of question (provided they are not off topic for some other reason). I would like to see questions that look for the consequences of specified decisions. I would also like to see questions that look for the required decisions to produce specified consequences.

Provided a question is not too broad and there is evidence that some thought has been put in prior to asking the question, I consider both types on topic.

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