# What should be the subjects of our fortnightly topic challenges?

Worldbuilding is beginning its fortnightly topic challenges. In that trichoplax wrote

As this question is already being used for answers on how to approach this, would it be clearer to have a separate "Theme suggestions" meta post rather than posting topics as answers here?

This is going to be that post.

So please, post suggestions! Only one per answer, though. The most upvoted answer each fortnight (not counting ones that have already been used) will be used in the next challenge. Heavily downvoted suggestions will not be used. See this Earth Science post.

Note that the answer suggesting a topic will be deleted when that topic is selected, to keep the answer space clean. A list for all to see will be kept under the "previous topics" heading below.

Current topic:

http://meta.worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/questions/3401/fortnightly-topic-challenge-29-government (21 March - 11 April), suggested by ASCIIThenANSI

Previous topics:

Question/Answer Generator: Provided by ArtOfCode for quick and easy generation of challenge questions and answers.

### Update on April 12th:

http://meta.worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/questions/3483/should-we-end-the-topic-challenges answer: regular fortnightly challenge is not needed anymore.

I'd like to see a load of medieval questions, not only because of their context, but because of the wide variety of other categories that frequently entail questions of such a foundation. These include magic and war, which just add to the depth of which our answers must reach to satisfy the hungry, medieval beast that is the OP. I think, if we encourage the use of it through a contest, we could get some highly refined, difficult to answer questions out of this tag.

It might be based on things that happened hundreds of years ago, but continues to hold a lot of potential for great questions and even better answers.

People are often saddened by the fact you can't move faster than light, and therefore sort of write relativity out of their stories. What they don't understand is the rich structure of relativity and what it allows you to do. For example, completely legit relativity does allow you to have a galactic empire (although it would take a lot of energy) (the trick is time dilation). It is surely stranger than fiction. Making this a fortnightly challenge would allow people to learn all the awesome stuff relativity allows you to do.

Because without communication, it would be a lonely world.

Because the subject of nourishment and food in general (sources, processing, storage, quantities, etc) is a vital part of world-building and species-building.

This tag could generate questions in relation to biology, culture, religion, society, technology and more.

While this opens up a lot of possibilities and debate, it is not contentious in this particular site, like it would be on Youtube comments or whatever. I think this would be exciting, because we're talking about past/future, alternate reality, or alien civilization; among other things. This is one of our tags, and this is one of the few sites where it can be discussed maturely. If not, why is it a tag?

• I think you're opening up a can of worms that this site is not prepared to deal with. You're going to have tons and tons of comment debates about wether a given ideology is true, whose opinions are best, etc. Prople will have different views, and the questions are likely to degrade into arguments. This may not actually happen, but that is what I think will. – Xandar The Zenon Mar 7 '16 at 4:48
• Ah @XandarTheZenon - you may be right, but I thought this SE was more mature. Also, when I look at the tag, the questions and answers have been very mature. I think it would illicit good questions and answers. We should not be afraid to ask questions about gender just because non-WB people like to argue about them. – Mikey Mar 7 '16 at 5:17
• All right, but depending on the context of the questions some problems might still arise. Upon further inspection, most of those questions do seem relatively sane. – Xandar The Zenon Mar 7 '16 at 15:11
• This is one of those topics about which we will need to be very disciplined. Answers will arrive that are pure opinion, based on no actual knowledge of the subject. These will have to be ruthlessly down-voted, with the explanation being that they're just opinion. If that sounds unlikely (or just very unpleasant), then this isn't a good topic. – CAgrippa Mar 15 '16 at 21:40
• @CAgrippa - agreed; but that's partly why I selected it. I know of few forums that can tackle this in a worldbuilding sense while remaining vigilant at self-moderation. You're right about the Opinion-Based issue. ... Still, some of our stories need help tackling gender: what better place to get community input? Also - City Design was already taken ;) – Mikey Mar 15 '16 at 21:45
• @Mikey - My concern isn't so much about opinion-based questions, but answers. Someone asks how gender might be constructed in a world in which primary and secondary sexual characteristics are not visible (because of clothing, etc.). Someone replies, but seems not to know anything about what "gender construction" is. Answers like that have to be challenged, and hard, or the people asking questions won't learn anything -- and nor will the rest of the community. – CAgrippa Mar 15 '16 at 21:49
• @CAgrippa - the questions already tagged gender have a lot of votes, a lot of upvoted answers, and a lot of accepted answers. I did LOL that this suggested tag has the most upvotes AND the most downvotes AND the most comments - so maybe you're right! – Mikey Apr 9 '16 at 23:09

We usually build our own worlds from scratch. Having to use certain features in a pre-built world and changing them to what is needed requires a whole different approach for both characters and their creator.

Alternatively, we can build a world and let it be up to the characters to change it.

Gaslit Victoriana. Copper, brass and smoke everywhere. C'mon, steampunk worlds are so different from our own!

Because they are often interesting to answer and are typically a greater challenge than others due to the speculative answers it can attract.

• Mind the distinction between this and the earth-like tag – James Jun 22 '15 at 20:50

I am going to recommend a repeat tag. was a fantastic topic for the fortnightly challenge.

The questions are generally interesting and always generate significant interest and passion. Last time we were slightly worried about it being too contentious but things remained civil.

Would enjoy this topic coming up again.

• So would I, but we have to be a little careful. Interest and passion is good, but everyone waving around uninformed opinions is not. Answers need to be rooted in knowledge, most likely in the form of researched examples. – CAgrippa Mar 15 '16 at 21:42

How about ? After all we only have 7 slavery questions on the site, it would be interesting to see what else the community can come up with

• Is there a tag for that? – Xandar The Zenon Mar 7 '16 at 4:52
• yeah there is; worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/questions/tagged/slavery – TrEs-2b Mar 7 '16 at 18:50
• I love slavery! – DaaaahWhoosh Mar 7 '16 at 19:19
• Goodness! I of all people should know that there is a slavery tag. What a joyous institution... Not... – Xandar The Zenon Mar 7 '16 at 21:47
• I think this is an interesting tag because here it opens up possibilities like "How could humans enslave an alien race?" or something similar. – ASCIIThenANSI Mar 21 '16 at 13:53

! Do a challenge on those!

• We'd need a specific tag though (preferably one that already exists). – Tim B Nov 26 '15 at 12:10
• New Tag Relationships – Caleb Woodman Nov 30 '15 at 22:43
• We do have interspecies-relations, since quite a while ago. Is that the one you were aiming for? (Please edit your post using the [tag:something] syntax to indicate which tag you are proposing we use for a challenge.) – user Dec 3 '15 at 10:42

I wont vote for Rome, because i spend my whole set of questions about Rome today. But i believe Zombies can get a go.

• Roman zombies ? – Vincent Mar 24 '15 at 4:14
• Good one. I will think about the consequences of a Roman zombie outbreak :P – Jorge Aldo Mar 24 '15 at 4:16
• I might very well ask about the consequences of a Wizard who can casts spells that turn people into zombies, during the Roman times... – Jorge Aldo Mar 24 '15 at 4:17
• @JorgeAldo You can't go wrong with zombie.....until you do. – JDSweetBeat Apr 6 '15 at 18:14
• Romero zombies. – March Ho Jul 24 '15 at 12:38
• @JorgeAldo What about the zombie outbreak near Fanum Cocidi, Caledonia that the Roman legion led by Marcus Lucius Terentius had to put down? – AndyD273 Jan 26 '16 at 21:08

is an unused tag, which could bring interesting ideas.

A science-fiction setting with a little drop of magic in it. I think that psionic capabilities can add a lot to different worlds for a relatively cheap price in term of balance of the whole world. And for that we should explore it more.

in combination with or for those not comfortable with hard science.

It's a more specific challenge and the goal is to see whether or not it's possible to explain the proprieties of a fictional creature with science. Sometimes a "no, it's not possible" is a perfectly valid answer and the question is not bad because of this.

ok minor edit, the proper form for this tag would be which actually exists on the site (as of now)

I recently signed up for an intro course to learn to blacksmith, as many worlds are medieval it seems an interesting and appropriate topic.

Not to mention one of my all time favorite chapters in any fiction book was the scene in Eragon where he and the elf forge him a new sword.

• Nice idea. I think you and bowlturner will be some of the go-to people on this one. – HDE 226868 Jun 19 '15 at 18:16
• @HDE226868 Hopefully this doesnt get selected until August then (that's when I have my class :) – James Jun 19 '15 at 18:19

The atmosphere is a fairly essential part of any world, and this should be reflected by use of this tag. Since the atmosphere is important, but often ignored, I think that questions that focus on it could have potential.

Of all the animals on earth, humans appear to spend the most time thinking about it and doing it. Aside from bonobos, who go to even greater extremes than us, there are practically no other animals which seem as obsessed with sex as humans. Just look at the internet; when you have to have special filters to keep sexually-related results off the results list, you know that it's a big topic. Despite that degree of importance, as of the moment I write this, this tag has only two questions.

Given that humans are so obsessed with sex, there are plenty of ways that sexuality can affect a world.

• Relevant xkcd: xkcd.com/1564. – HDE 226868 Aug 19 '15 at 16:35
• Hah! Now we have 7 sex questions. – Green Sep 22 '15 at 17:44
• I don't think this topic is really appropriate. – Xandar The Zenon Jan 24 '16 at 21:41

i don't see many questions with this tag although it is important in many aspects of our lives.

I am surprised we don't have a fauna request. We had Flora months ago! Need to fill the story with little beasties to pet, fight and eat!

• I want more questions like this. – Xandar The Zenon Jan 24 '16 at 21:41

Diseases can be downright terrifying if portrayed accurately. How they spread, how they work, how people react to them...

• Philip the expectation is a single tag, please select one and remove the other from your suggestion. Thanks – James Feb 24 '16 at 19:56
• No problem @James – Philip Rowlands Feb 24 '16 at 20:25

Because getting 20+ questions about oxygen requires a good deal of creativity.

• Second that do I. [deep inhale] – JDSweetBeat Apr 6 '15 at 18:12

Because they are a staple in certain types of fiction works, yet tend to only get cursory attention. We already have some questions about them; giving them their two weeks of fame could prove interesting.

Note the similarity to the already proposed mythical-creatures challenge -- "shapeshifters" can probably be considered a subtag of "mythical-creatures".

Of these tags, only currency already exists, but doesn’t world building often include the design of a custom system of measurement and units, which are often linked to coinage?

• Crissov the challenge is generally tied to a single tag. Can you narrow it down? – James Feb 24 '16 at 19:55
• Economics is probably a better tag – Daniel M. Feb 29 '16 at 20:10

Altering history is dangerous. You can accidentally destroy the Earth or cause yourself to never be born. Which is why we need a safe way to talk about what would happen if things were different.

Where would we go if we couldn't travel? Nowhere of course!

Because it's just too darn fun!

While specific, there's quite a few of them in literature and not much is know about how they work or what they do.

• We don't actually have that tag yet. – HDE 226868 Jun 6 '15 at 23:57
• Yep. But I guess the formatting works anyway? Anyway, the first question can make it. I have a few ideas... – Josiah Jun 6 '15 at 23:58
• I guess. Do you really want to start a topic challenge on a tag that doesn't yet exist? Scratch that, actually. If you can start some good questions and establish the topic, this could be an interesting one. – HDE 226868 Jun 6 '15 at 23:59
• Watch the sandbox. I'll work on a few. – Josiah Jun 7 '15 at 0:00
• I'm looking forward to them :-) – HDE 226868 Jun 7 '15 at 0:01
• We now have one question tagged energy-beings... – user Oct 28 '15 at 10:34
• bad flash backs to the ending of 2001: A Space Odyssey – tox123 Mar 27 '16 at 19:23

How about ? they don't get much attention.

Sometimes one needs to sit back, relax and enjoy a good meal. Why wouldn't the inhabitants of our worlds do it as well? How to build an exotic cuisine for an exotic world?

• Note that we have a food tag, so if this challenge gets used, we should use that tag rather than creating cuisine. (I realize that a comment I made about alien cuisine probably prompted this answer.) – Monica Cellio Feb 1 '16 at 23:19

While exploring James's history tags question, I discovered this tag and think it's fascinating. The Industrial Era was a hotspot of innovation and development, and I feel that there's loads of potential for industrial innovations in new and unique worlds.