... taking any question that isn't accepted elsewhere.

This should be a reminder, or refresher.

These days, there are many questions about trying to set objective and clear limits for the scope of the site. But then, yesterday, I read that comment from a user from another site:

Such questions based on hypotheticals aren't really a good fit for Stack Exchange sites, as they're not likely to be useful to anyone else, and there isn't a ground-truth that can be examined when clarification is required. There is one exception: Worldbuilding is designed for such questions. If you want, flag this question for moderator attention, and we'll migrate it there.

It was on a question that got migrated to us. I have nothing against that particular user, I don't know them. But I'd rather like not to see such comments again. I know we are awesome, and we have some local specificities. Like, for example, we are more lenient than many sites with verbosity. We usually enjoy it even. Nevertheless, Worldbuilding is part of the StackExchange/StackOverflow Network (SEN). As such we follow the general definition that questions should not be open-ended, too broad or opinion-based.

A hint, if your question is too broad or insufficiently specified in your site, it probably also is in ours.

But the problem goes further. The last days, I have seen a few comments like

This question is sort of off topic for this community , it may be better if you ask at the physics stack exchange

Again, nothing against the user. Again, I don't know them. But, there are 152 sites within the SEN. Many have overlapping topics. An Anime of Science-Fiction or Fantasy would be on-topic both on Anime.SE and SFF.SE. Heck, if we talk about the Chronicles of Lodoss, it might fit in RPG.SE as well. For programming questions you have to choose between 4 or 5 sites. That does not make any of them less interesting.

So that's the same here. We don't want to close a question because it would be on-topic somewhere else. That might, or might not be. But this isn't our problem. The user chose to ask the question here, we should discuss whether it is on-topic here.

We shouldn't deny our users to answer a question just because someone else might take it.

Those two actions tend to the same thing, reduce the overall quality of questions here on worldbuilding. We don't want to collect questions that no-one else wants while sending good questions away. We should all actively support our new moderator team in ensuring that we keep a good quality of questions. And that even if the questions were on-topic somewhere else, people like to ask it here, because of our unique approach.


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Let's say a question was using tags that didn't match its question. Someone would probably go in and change the tags, so that user's question could attract the right kinds of answerers who will know the answer.

So I say, if we're not afraid to retag a question, why is it so wrong to migrate it?

We aren't at war with the other sites in the SE network; I like to think that we're all just different sections of a growing database of knowledge, available to anyone with access to the Internet.

The problem, though, is that the Internet is big. I mean really big. If someone asks a question that has a difficult answer, the person who's qualified to answer it might not regularly check this site. So, just like tagging questions, we try to put questions in places where we think the right people will see them. As a corollary to this, I would say that people on this site who can answer questions about things other than Worldbuilding shouldn't just lurk here. Go out, look on other sites, share your knowledge in the places it is needed most. Many of our top users already do this; if we're willing to share users, why can't we also share questions?

I think the unvoiced fear that many people have here is that Worldbuilding doesn't have a scope. We're worried that if we give up questions to sites that can answer them better, then we won't have any left to answer here. I don't think that's true, but even if it is I don't want to hoard good questions, keeping them from finding the right answers just so we can limp along pretending to be something we're not.

In fact, maybe the reason people think we're the catch-all site is because we never prove them wrong. They throw questions into us and never get anything back. If we start giving them questions that we don't think belong here, maybe they'll start realizing that we do have a scope, and they'll think twice about sending bad questions our way.

I don't know, these are just my thoughts, I think I only tangentially refuted your argument. I agree with the first part, I just completely disagree with the second.

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    $\begingroup$ I don't think your tag example really makes it. If you have a question about magic and alternate-history, replacing the first by the second, does not help it getting answered. If a question is about physics and Worldbuilding, why should we sent it away? If the question does not get any answer after some time, then sure, do migrate it. But maybe we can leave our community a chance to answer it. And more often than not, our answers are reasonably good. One can still mention that another site exist. I still don't see it as a justification to close the question. As long as it fits here $\endgroup$ Feb 18, 2016 at 20:40
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    $\begingroup$ @bilbo_pingouin What I'm saying is that if a question features magic but is about alternate-history, and it only has the first tag, changing tags should definitely help. Similarly, if a question features world building but is primarily about physics, it would help to move it. We may still be able to answer it here, but how would that be beneficial to anyone? The other site loses out on a good question, and we might not provide the best answer. It just seems inefficient and selfish to me, and I'd rather avoid both. $\endgroup$ Feb 18, 2016 at 20:52
  • $\begingroup$ Answering an alternative-history question omitting the magic side of it takes the risk of not really answering the question of the OP. Plus the way you ask a question on Worldbuilding is different than how you ask one on some other sites. As you added, we share some users between the different sites. The OP decided to ask it here. If it is about WB, why should we presume to know the intention of the OP and migrating the question? If it is within our scope we try to answer it. If we can't then sure. But let's assume the OP knows what he was doing. $\endgroup$ Feb 18, 2016 at 21:23
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    $\begingroup$ @bilbo_pingouin This is turning into a long comment discussion... but in a perfect world, I'd say migration wouldn't exist. The fact that it does exist implies that sometimes, the OP doesn't know what they're doing. For instance, maybe they don't know about the site they should be asking on. You're saying that we should just give them all the information and let them choose where they want to go; I'd agree, but I still think that'll lead to the same problems that make people think we'll answer any question we're handed. We have to draw a line somewhere. $\endgroup$ Feb 18, 2016 at 21:32
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, and my idea of a line is pretty clear. As long as a question is asked here and is about worldbuilding. Then we should try our best to answer it. $\endgroup$ Feb 18, 2016 at 21:34
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    $\begingroup$ +1 for "the reason people think we're the catch-all site is because we never prove them wrong." $\endgroup$
    – nitsua60
    Feb 19, 2016 at 19:14
  • $\begingroup$ We prove them wrong every time we close a migrated question, which rejects the migration. $\endgroup$
    – Brythan
    Feb 22, 2016 at 6:19
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    $\begingroup$ I think that we shouldn't just migrate a question that fits two sites. For example here the op may have high reputation so they can review close votes and add comments to answers. They may not have ever used physics.se so have no idea of how to respond to answers there. If it can be answered here, answer it here. $\endgroup$ Feb 26, 2016 at 20:35
  • $\begingroup$ @Bellerophon: No intention of starting a new discussion, but while I do understand the reasoning behind users having an individual reputation on each site (expertise in one field does not imply expertise in another), migration between two appropriate sites is one example where the reasoning does not work so well. $\endgroup$ Jan 5, 2017 at 19:58

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