I asked Where should I place my city in space?, most immediately because the challenge reminded me but I would have gotten to it eventually anyway. I intended to ask a science question -- given this information about size, population, and usage, what kind of placement makes the most sense? I know very little about planetary gravity, orbits, the effects of those on spaceflight, and so on, so that's where I was coming from.

But I was way too vague (that was much clearer in my head than in the question that came out), and I got lots of great input about societal and logistics factors, about worker commutes, tourists, the improved real-estate value of nice views, navigation, and lots more. This is all great stuff, and some of it I hadn't thought through before so I definitely appreciate getting the input.

But I can't help thinking that as a question on Worldbuilding Stack Exchange, quite aside from the great answers it got anyway, it could have been asked better. And while I don't have other specific examples to point to, I have the impression that this happens a fair bit on our site -- a question turns out to be broader than the author intended, which we only find out once the answers roll in.

Is this a problem? Or if not an actual problem, something askers can improve? If so, what should we be doing differently?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I very frequently have to comment on new questions suggesting ways they can narrow them down. $\endgroup$
    – Tim B
    Commented Feb 13, 2015 at 9:48

3 Answers 3


Maybe that is a problem but I don't see how it can be solved. When someone ask a question, it's because he don't know the answer and often doesn't know everything on the question's topic. With this lack of knowledge, it's hard to set the correct boundaries.

In my head, my questions always seems very simple. That's usually a bad assumption. People always bug on things that I haven't anticipated. This is because it's not possible to think at every possible details and inconsistencies. And because different people understand the same question differently.

Example: depending on your personal background, we might have a different interpretation about the same thing. God is an obvious one but gender and social engineering are more subtle.

Solution: Using the Sandbox can make the question more foolproof but it's not guaranteed.


I don't feel that this is a problem and once you have answers addressing factors you didn't consider you can't really change the question as it invalidates them. On this SE site, we don't like that.

I think that if you still need additional answers about an area was wasn't covered, asking another question focusing on those aspects would be the best way to do it. I wouldn't consider asking for a detailed explanation of a very specific aspect of a previous question a duplicate, especially if the previous question's answers didn't bring it up.


I think we should stay mostly as we are. It is true that questions here are hard to scope, but I think that's a good thing: it enables you, exactly as described, to get answers addressing factors that you haven't thought of that might actually be important further down the line.

If answers do not fully address your questions, then as the help center says , you can ask a new question. You can also (this is another emerging pattern on this site) comment on answers asking them to expand on a specific element that you were looking for.


You must log in to answer this question.

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