I have a question which revolves around a group of characters plotting the mass extinction of a species. However, I haven't yet not posted it as I'm not sure it fits within the scope of Worldbuilding. (I have a very good description of the creatures they wish to eliminate, but no idea on the most effective manner to accomplish it.)

Is a question about how to do a mass extinction of a very specific species on-topic? Or am I barking up the wrong tree (or however the saying goes)?


Interesting idea. I'll say that it is on topic.

The ideal question here would be along the lines of

If [A] happens, will it create a mass extinction?

This has a definite answer (either yes or no). There's no subjectivity.

If you were to ask

How can I create a mass extinction?

then you're venturing into uncertain waters. In general, this kind of thing can be Too Broad, but here it might be okay, because very few things can (realistically) cause a mass extinction. You'll probably get some wacky answers about gamma-ray bursts and the like, but those are impossible for the immediate future. Only a small amount of events could cause a mass extinction.

If you phrase it as

What is the best way of starting a mass extinction?

then you're in trouble, because "best" is usually subjective. You'd need to give a set of hard, definite criteria for this to work. See the blog post Good Subjective/Bad Subjective, as well as How do I create open ended questions with subjective answers? right here on Worldbuilding meta.

I think that if you attack it the right way, the question will be fine. Although I don't think anyone has ever asked about them before on Worldbuilding (cue someone proving me wrong), mass extinctions are on-topic here.

  • $\begingroup$ Excellent, this is what I was hoping for! Thanks for the response! :) $\endgroup$ Oct 16 '15 at 23:09
  • $\begingroup$ @EBrown No problem! I'm looking forward to the question, if you ask it. $\endgroup$
    – HDE 226868 Mod
    Oct 16 '15 at 23:11
  • $\begingroup$ As luck would have it, I just did. :) $\endgroup$ Oct 16 '15 at 23:40

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