I'm not sure this is a good fit for meta or if it should be a chat discussion, but the votes will answer this question.

To explain crazy events in world building, one has two choices. Either science or magic. In the questions, this is reflected by the / tags and the tag.

From my SEDE query (I've always been pretty poor in SQL, so if the query's wrong, I apologies), we can see that the "science tags" are much more popular.

There's a reason behind this, who doesn't want to know how could dragons exist without magic or other crazy questions like this. I find it very interesting myself, and these are in my opinion the coolest questions.

So overall, the science-based questions seems to draw much more attention.

I'm wondering, what could be adapted when writing magic-based questions to make them potentially as interesting as science-based questions?

For example, most of the questions I've seen go along these lines : "Here's my magic scenario, I'd like to know how to do X or Y without involving too much magic". I feel like it is difficult to reflect this intent within the question. And well, it's hard to come up with a tag.

(This isn't an actual problem, the tag is already pretty popular. I'd just want to see if there's be something I could do to make my magic questions more interesting to answer)


3 Answers 3


I'm wondering, what could be adapted when writing magic-based questions to make them potentially as interesting as science-based questions?

A well described system of magic.

The reason science based questions are more fun to answer (or at least easier) is because we all know how science works. We can all recognize if something does or does not fit within the system. We can delight in the way an answer is made to fit in this well known system.

However, magic systems are far far more arbitrary. To get good answers for a magic question, a very well described system also needs to be provided. For such a system to be internally consistent, it usually has to look a lot like science, but more colorful. If such a description is absent, the answer usually comes down to "then some magic happens", which is (for me) rather unsatisfying. However, if a very clear system is also described, then we can see how the answer does or does not fit within that system.

The obvious problem with this is people will probably end up designing a system that makes an easy solution to the problem, rather than designing a complex solution to fit the problem.


In addition to Samuel's answer, I'd like to point out that questions that allow answers based around magic are usually too broad, or opinion-based, which are both cause for closure. Any answers are acceptable when they can use magic, because magic makes literally anything possible.

On Stack Exchange, good questions are ones that have a single answer; good answers rely on logic, knowledge, and research. If you're making up your own magic, research is out of the question. Any knowledge used in answers will be based either on existing science or facts you give about your world or your magic. And logic requires a set of axioms, or laws that define how things work; provide these for your magic system and people might actually have something to build on. Otherwise, all they can do is discuss, and that's not something we encourage here (except in chat).


There's another reason as well - most science based questions include the tag to stop people answering with magic. Magic questions on the other hand do not all have the magic tag or need it.

For example this question:How do centaurs get enough oxygen to run

I tagged it with and , not with at all.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks, that's the kind of tips I was looking for! :) $\endgroup$
    – IEatBagels
    Commented Nov 25, 2015 at 15:29
  • $\begingroup$ We've had some very popular magic questions. Look at the Alice series for example $\endgroup$
    – Tim B
    Commented Nov 25, 2015 at 15:32
  • $\begingroup$ worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/questions/10939/… $\endgroup$
    – Tim B
    Commented Nov 25, 2015 at 15:33

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