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We need to prepare for our site to enter public beta, and one of the things we need to do is define what goes in the help center and the tour. This is one of The 7 Essential Meta Questions of Every Beta.

Here's what the 7 Essential Questions page says about creating documentation:

Much of the site’s documentation will be the same as on every other Stack Exchange site: “be nice,” “how to create an account,” “how to ask questions” — it’s all pretty static. Even the sections about “what kind of questions should I (not) ask here?” comes primarily from the Definition phase of Area 51.

But the questions you want to discuss in meta are those issues specific to your site that need to be mentioned in the Help Center.

Take Super User’s “About” page as an example:

Super User is for computer enthusiasts and power users. …

Ask about…

Specific issues with computer software, hardware or networking Real problems or questions that you’ve encountered Don’t ask about…

Anything not directly related to computer software or computer hardware Questions that are primarily opinion-based Questions with too many possible answers or require an extremely long answer Videogames, consoles, or other electronic devices, unless they connect to your computer Websites or web services like Google, Facebook, Twitter, and WordPress Shopping, buying or product recommendations Issues specific to corporate IT support and networks.

These are then elaborated on in SU’s What topics can I ask about here? page.

It took us almost a year to figure out the list of “we want these sort of questions” and “we don’t want these sort of questions” on Super User. Area 51 gave you a head start but you should also be working out other scope- and documentation-related issues specific to your topic and your community.

Reference "on-topic" questions here on meta as well as Area 51 when creating these articles.

I suggest that we add an answer for each article in the Help Center (and one for the tour), and that me make them community wiki. This means that most people will be able to help edit.

Here is a common legend for answers to use to help with discussing various additions to articles. Feel free to add more if you want to use them.

  • Items in italics are debatable. Please discuss them in the comments. Mark items in italics using _underscores_.
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  • $\begingroup$ Anyone feel like its a little to early to lock this down? I don't think talking about it is a bad thing but there is a lot to figure and shake out still. $\endgroup$ – James Sep 25 '14 at 16:04
  • $\begingroup$ @James We aren't locking it down for quite a while, but I think that working on the FAQ will actually help us flesh out what areas we don't know the policies on. Then we can discuss it in chat and meta. So while I agree that it is too early to lock this down, I don't think it is too early to start working on it. I'm guessing we need to do this before public beta anyway. $\endgroup$ – DonyorM Sep 26 '14 at 2:19
  • $\begingroup$ I don't see this as being locked down, even for a site that has graduated from public beta. The community will always be reviewing the site and suggesting improvements and refinements. I think having a clear guide to what the current situation is will aid in that ongoing process. $\endgroup$ – trichoplax Sep 26 '14 at 9:25
  • $\begingroup$ Does anyone have anything else they want to say about this? If not I'll flag it and see if we can get it into the actual help center. There haven't been any edits for forever, and the question has been featured for a while. $\endgroup$ – DonyorM Oct 11 '14 at 3:16
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NOTE: This answer is for the "What Questions Can I Ask Here?" section of the help center. All text from this line on is intended for the article.


Worldbuilding Stack Exchange is a site for developers, designers, writers and artists to get help creating imaginary worlds. This includes geography, culture and creatures for the world. Questions on this site should be about building settings and the reasons around why they are the way they are. A setting might not be a planet; it can be larger than a multiverse or smaller than a village.

For example, questions are welcome that are about:

  • Creation of elements of a world (languages, species, buildings, etc.)
  • Effects of events or world elements, including technology and magic, on specific aspects of that world's societies, cultures, and environment

as long as they are not about:

  • Actions of individual characters, rather than elements of the world they inhabit
  • Character building
  • Elements of plot
  • General writing or storytelling (consider the Writers or Role-playing Games Stack Exchange sites)
  • Software that doesn't directly relate to Worldbuilding (consider the Super User or Software Recommendations Stack Exchange sites)

Note that questions must be specific as well as answerable. If you are looking for discussion, brainstorming, or an overall process rather than specific question-and-answers, the Worldbuilding Stack Exchange might not be a good place for your question.

If your question involves magical elements, you must provide enough details about the magic system in question so that answers may be given that conform to the particular magic system.

Please do not cross-post questions to multiple Stack Exchange sites. If you want your question migrated to a different site within the Stack Exchange network, use the "flag" action link below the question text to flag it for moderator attention, select custom reason, and request migration to your desired site. A moderator will then look into the request and take appropriate action.

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  • $\begingroup$ Feel free to add more. Before you subtract make sure you have a good source on my to subtract the bit (i.e. Another Meta post or Area 51), or post a question on Meta asking about it. $\endgroup$ – DonyorM Sep 25 '14 at 10:37
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    $\begingroup$ I'm not convinced about the "and the stories around them" bit. That's encouraging plot discussions a bit too much $\endgroup$ – Tim B Sep 25 '14 at 11:57
  • $\begingroup$ @TimB Yeah, I feel a bit ambivalent about the whole first half; it seems like it allows quite a bit, possibly more than we really want. However, I'm not in a good position to go through our Meta right now to update it, so for the moment I've been leaving that largely as it is. $\endgroup$ – a CVn Sep 25 '14 at 11:58
  • $\begingroup$ @TimB Notice that the and stories around them part is in italics. We're kinda having a discussion about whether or not we want plot questions on this site. Or have we decided on that? $\endgroup$ – DonyorM Sep 25 '14 at 12:04
  • $\begingroup$ We have a tenancy to close language creation questions as almost all of them are too broad. I'm wary about listing language creation when they generate a lot of VTC and not much else? $\endgroup$ – Mourdos Sep 25 '14 at 12:11
  • $\begingroup$ @Mourdos Probably a good idea. Should we change it to culture creation? $\endgroup$ – DonyorM Sep 25 '14 at 12:12
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    $\begingroup$ Culture is already listed. Reading over this again, we are listing topics, rather than the kind of questions that we like. For instance, we don't "design this for me". What we do like is questions that are specific and describe something about a world, how a world works or why something might be because of something else. We should also make clear that 'World' can mean anything from a Multiverse down to a Hamlet. $\endgroup$ – Mourdos Sep 25 '14 at 12:16
  • $\begingroup$ @Mourdos yeah how should we express the kinds of questions we want besides general topics? Or is that what you mean. $\endgroup$ – DonyorM Sep 25 '14 at 12:19
  • $\begingroup$ @Mourdos That's pretty much what I was trying to get at when adding the paragraph currently at the bottom ("Note that questions must be..."). $\endgroup$ – a CVn Sep 25 '14 at 12:24
  • $\begingroup$ I really want to say something about our massive overlap and how to determine if it is appropriate in its own section. We overlap with at least 10 other sites, I would say. $\endgroup$ – Mourdos Sep 25 '14 at 14:43
  • $\begingroup$ @Mourdos Do you consider overlap innately bad?? Or just gray area to be wary in?? I'm most familiar with Stack Overflow and SO unavoidably overlaps with several sites too. So I guess do we just need to attempt to define somewhat for each site how much of the overlap will be tolerated?? Side note: I know mods on other Stack Exchange sites have had trouble with people simply commenting on a question that it should move to say Code Review, OP copies the post (double post) to Code Review, and often that commenter gave bad advice. I think they prefer flagging. Just figured I'd put that out there. $\endgroup$ – Mark Balhoff Sep 25 '14 at 23:39
  • $\begingroup$ Ok, I just organized several of the statements into two statements. Does it still accurately describe the scope of the site? $\endgroup$ – DonyorM Sep 26 '14 at 2:45
  • $\begingroup$ @Mark I all for the overlap; I just want some guidelines on how to decide which SE you should be using to be up in the documentation. Something about how to determine appropriateness. I'm not sure how to describe it. $\endgroup$ – Mourdos Sep 26 '14 at 8:07
  • $\begingroup$ @Mourdos I think that is the definition of overlap, they could put it on either of the overlapping sites. But generally the question will be geared towards one site more than another. $\endgroup$ – DonyorM Sep 26 '14 at 8:29
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    $\begingroup$ It's official. What topics can I ask about here? now has the text of this answer as its contents. $\endgroup$ – a CVn Oct 30 '14 at 21:58
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NOTE: This answer is for the custom elements of the tour. Beyond these two lines it is all intended for the three or four lines of the tour that describes what we can or cannot ask. Discuss content in the comments.


Ask about...

Creating elements of a world.
Specific effects of events on a world.
Technology and magic.

Don't ask about...

Specific actions of individual characters, rather than the world they inhabit.
General Writing or Storytelling.
Software that doesn't directly relate to Worldbuilding

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    $\begingroup$ "Technology and magic." Seems way too broad in how it's currently stated. $\endgroup$ – Mast Oct 5 '14 at 12:49
  • $\begingroup$ @Mast This is for the tour, so it won't be very precise, people should still visit the help center. But I agree it would be better if it could be a little more precise. Do you have any ideas? $\endgroup$ – DonyorM Oct 7 '14 at 9:10
  • $\begingroup$ Cultural use of technology and magic, effects of using technology and magic, impact of allowing/forbidding magic on a culture, speed and paths of cultural/planetary technological progress, something like that. Although it tends to get too specific very quickly. $\endgroup$ – Mast Oct 7 '14 at 9:49
  • $\begingroup$ @Mast Yeah, that's part of the problem. For the tour, I think it is ok. But this would be bad if it were in the help center article. That needs to be more specific. $\endgroup$ – DonyorM Oct 8 '14 at 7:01

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