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Today, Worldbuilding SE celebrates its first anniversary. It was announced, and the day has come finally.


As part of the celebrations for the anniversary, a blog has been launched and several members of the community wrote some very good content for it already with, as of now, 13 posts about World-Building, Worldbuilding SE, and built worlds. I encourage all of you to have a look at the various posts.


Now to celebrate in some other way, I suggest that, in reply to this post, you mention a single question, from the first year, which you have found inspiring, interesting, funny, worthy of attention. It can be one of yours, but does not have to be. It would be good to write a few words to explain your choice. Maybe it had the best answer you ever read, maybe it makes you laugh each time you think about it, it's up to you.

But we should keep it to the simple rules

  • one question/reply per user,
  • each question only once.

If your favourite question is already mentioned, you'll have to write about your second best. If your prefered post is an answer, still indicate the question to which it answered, but you can specify that it was the answer that you liked.

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  • $\begingroup$ Wow this is very gratifying, I'm twice on this list :-) I should start coming here more often again ! This makes me sorry for not contributing more these days... $\endgroup$ – Sheraff Oct 12 '15 at 15:41

15 Answers 15

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My favourite question and answer are Is there a scientific explanation as to why aliens should look similar to us?

The question itself deals with the limit between being enjoyable for our audience and being realistic. As soon as you enter sci-fi it's a question you will ask yourself. In movies we are limited by humans actors and current technology : puppets, costumes, prosthesis, CGI... In literature we are not, so why not make our main sapient species arthropods ?

And the accepted answer, oh my. It's very detailed, explains feature by feature what is likely to be found in aliens and what is not. When we deal with evolution, we rarely go back to the very first lifeforms to see what first emerges, so this answer is also very useful to understand how all animal life on a planet can look like our planet or not. A gem.

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    $\begingroup$ I totally had missed that answer; it's definitely one of the greatest I've read here. $\endgroup$ – celtschk Sep 26 '15 at 13:32
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Creating a realistic world map - Landmass formation

Striking features of this question:

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    $\begingroup$ Note that the whole list is now on meta.worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/questions/2594/… $\endgroup$ – bilbo_pingouin Sep 23 '15 at 20:19
  • $\begingroup$ Well they were originally linked to each other, the latter repeating the whole list. So the effort wasn't so hard. And the later ones, by Vincent include a link to that meta post already. See, e.g., the thermohaline. $\endgroup$ – bilbo_pingouin Sep 24 '15 at 5:32
  • $\begingroup$ I'm going to edit the questions now to make them all link to the meta post $\endgroup$ – Tim B Sep 24 '15 at 17:10
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    $\begingroup$ Right, done. I'd been meaning to do that for a while. I've updated them all to use the same template at the bottom (well apart from the star ones which have a slightly modified template). $\endgroup$ – Tim B Sep 24 '15 at 17:24
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I'm going to go with the accepted answer to Natural Projectile Weapons. It's a long one (which is usually a good sign as far as I'm concerned), but it represents the best explanation of how evolution works that I've ever seen. Most of the answers I've provided that deal with evolution have this answer to thank.

One of the greatest parts about this site is that we get answers based in hard science, but revolving around fictional concepts. It's a marriage such as this that allows us to better understand why the world is the way it is, and how beautiful it is for being that way.

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I asked What's the most logical shape for my city in space (space station)? not because I needed it for a world but because I wanted to understand the reality behind two conflicting tropes: should space stations be basically rings or basically tubes? I learned a lot from the many good answers, some of which argued with each other -- enough that only now have I gone back and accepted one of them.

One of my "aha!" moments was the explanation in this answer of how rings "evolve" into cylinders over time. I'd never thought of it that way before, and in fact that changed by 90 degrees how I thought about interior layout and "levels" of a station.

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I particularly like the accepted answer to How do seasons work in a binary system (planet orbits one star, not both)?

It provides not only an exhaustive answer with good description of the geometry and assumptions, but additionally even provides code to make your own experiments.

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    $\begingroup$ That is a fantastic answer! I was very happy to get it. $\endgroup$ – Monica Cellio Sep 17 '15 at 19:57
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    $\begingroup$ @MonicaCellio I blame you both equally for this... You just cost me 100 rep! $\endgroup$ – Tim B Sep 19 '15 at 22:25
  • $\begingroup$ @TimB I dropped a hundred rep on that answer too... $\endgroup$ – James Oct 7 '15 at 20:16
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I haven't answered so far, as I have troubles to find a single question that I can juge better than the others. And I am not sure I remember which was the question that got me here (from writers, unexpectedly). So back in history, my first upvote was on Monty Wild's answer on sheraff's

How could dragons be explained without magic?

It is very informative and illustrate well the depth of worldbuilding by having quite clear answers on unexpected premises. And not just a 'cause magic.

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I'm going to go with the question that brought me to Worldbuilding: How do I drug a population in the most efficient way?.

I missed the private beta of Worldbuilding because the site really wasn't in my radar until late September/early October, around the time it went into public beta. I stumbled across this question somehow - I think it was via the Hot Network Questions list - and I was simply amazed at the ingenuity of some of the answers there.

That was what convinced me to take a look at other posts on Worldbuilding. 278 questions and answers later, I still marvel at that question.

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  • $\begingroup$ +1 Because HDE 226868 $\endgroup$ – PyRulez Sep 17 '15 at 20:09
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One of my favorites, not for reference, but just because I always wondered, was about building shipboard gardens to provide oxygen (with an excellent accepted answer).

My personal memory of the year was posting "What would be the possibility of a Dwarf orbiting opposite Earth," having forgotten the word [planet]. I hastily re-phrased it, but it made me laugh out loud.

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There are so many good questions I can't nominate them all, however numbers don't lie and there is just one question on worldbuilding that has had >20 thousand views. At the time of writing it has had 23,976 views. The next closest has had a little over 17 thousand, and those are the only two with over 15 thousand so it's not a close race.

How do you prove you're from the future?

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I've seen a lot of questions and answers that I've liked or been impressed with this last year, for a lot of different reasons. So I'm just going to pick a question from mine that I liked, and learned quite a bit from. It also happens to be the most popular question I asked.

Mosquito Assassin: What is the most deadly substance that can be injected into someone?

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I especially like the many answers to my question:

How to build a city surrounded by giant spiders?

I vaguely remember that I drew inspiration from a question by (I think) HDE226868. I cannot really remember what it was about, but it obviously struck me as a good one. I especially liked the [accepted] answer by Twelfth. His answer also inspired me to start writing more answers. Speaking of answers, my favorite answer that I have written is here (come on, who doesn't like suffocating dwarves?).

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  • $\begingroup$ I realize I am a little late, but I literally just now saw the link to the meta post. $\endgroup$ – JDSweetBeat Sep 28 '15 at 19:10
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    $\begingroup$ There aren't any time limit set in. We need time to decide on the best. As long as the question was asked in the first year, everything fine, I would say. $\endgroup$ – bilbo_pingouin Sep 28 '15 at 19:12
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I really enjoyed (and am using) the answers provided in this question.

A Human Hunter with Sonic Powers?

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The Reflecting Oven-Jay's evolution

I don't know why but it was a very satisfying question/answer. (Not only the top two answers complete each other and were accepted but the question itself originated from another topic by another user). The question also had me ponder evolution as a whole from a survival/need perspective. Something I had never really done on that level before.

To me, this is when Worldbuilding SE is at its best. : )

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One of the answers I've enjoyed the most: from What's the most entertaining way to prove to someone that they aren't real?

The first time I read it, it touched my funny bone and literally made me laugh out loud. At work. Especially because of the second comment.

I think it's a great example of a question which gets the creativity going.

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I shall go with the following question below:

Can an asteroid have a molten core?

The reason is similar to HDE 226868: I still won't forgive a certain clown, who dumped this question of mine at Worldbuilding. However, thankfully I still enjoy good quality answer/time here, so I am letting bygone be bygone. Anyway, I guess I should be on my way to building a new world. Hasta la vista, Baby!

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