We don't have any examples of such questions yet, so I suppose it might be a little silly for me to be asking this on meta already, but I want to know.

Do we consider questions asking if something is realistic to be on-topic?

For example, say I considered a problem my world is having and came up with a solution. There might be some flaws in my solution, so I ask here if my solution is realistic.

I made this writing system based off tying knots in rope. [Examples] Could this writing system (or something very similar) have developed naturally? Would it be too difficult for everyday use?

Alternately, I could ask about the problem I'm having and see if people have different solutions, and then add the system I developed as an answer.

Q: If people had only three fingers, what kinds of writing systems could they develop?

A: Well, there's this fantastic Incan system that should be doable even with less fingers.

I might be particularly attached to my solution, however, so maybe in that case I should ask what kind of an effect this solution will have on the world at large, or perhaps what flaws it might have.

Would it cause any significant changes to the way people gather and share information if writing was not stored on paper, but on rope?

There's a few ways around it, but the core of my question remains the same. If I describe a particular effect in my world to the best of my ability, along with the reasoning for this effect, could I simply ask if it is realistic? Would we need extra criteria for such questions? (Answers must explain why instead of simply saying Yes/No, questions must indicate a few possibly problems, etc.) What do we think?


1 Answer 1


Questions in this area should be about the problem you're trying to solve -- e.g. "my people have only three fingers; what counting system would they most naturally develop?". As part of showing what you've already tried, you might go on to explain: "I'm considering a base-6 system on the theory that we developed base-10 because of 10 fingers, but am worried about (whatever caused you to not just do that but instead ask us)". People answering your question can then validate your approach ("yes, that works and that's not a problem because..." or "yes that can work, and you can address that problem by..."), or they can instead offer a completely different approach.

Tangentially related: over on Writers we're having a discussion about critique questions; here's what I wrote about that.

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    $\begingroup$ This. If the question is "Is this realistic?" then you've already solved it. You either need to unwind and ask the question without the preconceived answer, or to move forward to ask about the repercussions of your choice. $\endgroup$
    – Bobson
    Commented Sep 17, 2014 at 3:16

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