This was something that I was thinking about recently, but what is the community's opinion of having "flavorful" questions?

For example, I have asked a couple of questions on futurology which reference the fictional, and fairly whimsical/comedic, nation of Futurestan. I wrote them like that because I figured an easy, fun read would get more people to read the entire question than a dry list of assumptions. I have seen other such questions, but I would like to know if there is a widespread opinion on the matter.

  • $\begingroup$ I may write up an answer, but the community's reaction in the past has been a virtually unanimous approval of things like that. $\endgroup$ – HDE 226868 Jul 30 '15 at 19:30
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, I figured, but I couldn't find a canonical question. And I like canon. $\endgroup$ – Jake Jul 30 '15 at 19:30

I prefer to read questions that are engaging and fun to read. I don't do a very good job at doing this in my questions but appreciate it when others do.

I think the trick is to do both. Engage the reader enough to get them to keep reading but still provide concrete enough constraints that the question is not too broad and objectively answerable.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I agree. Fun is good, but should not get in the way of clarity. :) $\endgroup$ – Tim B Jul 31 '15 at 10:54

Tolkien used to say that he wrote about Middle-Earth so he could explore languages, and devise plausible histories for them. As a byproduct of that exploration, he developed a massive world that people all over the world and of all generations love to explore.

What I take from this is that good stories are often secondary: they come about not because someone wanted to tell a good story, but because someone found something so beautiful and interesting that the story told itself. I've found this to be true in my own writings, as my best work always seems to come from exploring someone else's world, while telling stories just for the sake of the stories themselves always falls flat.

Thus, I would not encourage people to wax poetic on their questions. Instead, I would encourage them to make their questions as useful and informative as possible. If something great develops on its own, then so be it. And honestly, I think that happens here: it's often from the blandest questions or the most matter-of-fact answers that my imagination gets inspired. I may enjoy reading the more verbose questions, but they don't stick with me, and they probably won't end up helping other users as much.


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