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Part of Case study series:

How many humans can I abduct without getting noticed?

About worldbuilding? I doubt it. It does not really build a world; it just uses real world as a background.

Risking off-topic? I think not. When writing the question, I tried to provide clear criteria for an acceptable answer to avoid opinion-based or idea-generation answers.

Can Average Joe reboot the nuclear power plant?

About Worldbuilding? Again, I think the answer is no. It uses a quickly drafted world as a background and asks about actions of a specific person in that world.

Risking off-topic? I think there is a close reason for actions of one person. I decided to ask the above question because I know that asking about "one average person and their actions" is generally considered on-topic here

Killing off Indiana Jones

About Worldbuilding? Here I rather incline towards yes; although, I am actually building a temple and not a world.

Risking off-topic? I would say no. I tried to avoid opinion-based answers by adding how much resources I have and how many years the temple needs to hold

Society rules for marriages and love on multigeneration ship

About Worldbuilding? Yes, under the premise that a generational ship is a "world" in itself, although really tiny.

Risking off-topic? This could be an opinion-based question, although I tried to make the question as well defined as I could.

Additional info" This question was my "contest entry" to a biweekly tag challenge and it won the tag challenge.

How would a Martian colony be able to celebrate Christmas?

About Worldbuilding? No, but it builds a society rather than a world.

Risking off-topic? To me this is borderline opinion-based. Also, it is rather an old question, to showcase what was generally accepted.

P.S.: I typed all of above with kid on my lap, so there will be typos and errors. If I find time, I will revisit this question and edit it on myself, but if you see an error, please feel free to correct it.

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How many humans can I abduct without getting noticed?

I don't really think this is worldbuilding, it seems much closer to plot-building to me. It may also be borderline too broad. But I think for the most part, it's answerable and answers are judgeable, so this may be a good example of a good question that doesn't fit on Worldbuilding. Or maybe it does fit, I can see both arguments.

Can Average Joe reboot the nuclear power plant?

Again, this looks like plot building. It may be about any average person, but you're essentially asking what one person could do in a scenario. This is a lot of like that series of questions Serban asked about Alice and overcoming magical enemies; it could potentially be on-topic, but I think it's an edge case that's well worth considering.

Killing off Indiana Jones

I think this question has applications in worldbuilding, but may again be too broad. That said, the answers can be somewhat objectively judged, so I think again it could be considered a good question.

Society rules for marriages and love on multigeneration ship

Could be too broad or opinion based, but is definitely about worldbuilding. I think most society questions are going to be difficult to narrow down enough, so since I like society questions I guess I'm advocating allowing them.

How would a Martian colony be able to celebrate Christmas?

The problem with this one is that it has too many questions in one. Is it asking how they'd celebrate Christmas, when they'd celebrate it, or if they'd celebrate it at all? And are you asking for a scientific explanation for how Santa would make the journey? I think some of these questions are on-topic, others would be opinion-based without some work.

Final Summary: A lot of these seem borderline to me. Not necessarily bad, not necessarily good. I'd like to see some discussion on these, because I don't even know if most of these should be closed or not.

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  • $\begingroup$ I was surprised, because those questions are indeed my "Top 5" ordered by votes. As typical QA, I am testing the borders. I agree with your findings, that I am on the edge here. But from which side? :) $\endgroup$ – Pavel Janicek Feb 24 '16 at 15:03
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I largely concur with this answer. I think the Christmas question could be adapted into a solidly-on-topic question by instead asking: would a human colony on Mars preserve its Christmas tradition and if so in what ways, given the differences in year length and environment? (The parts about Santa getting there seem more iffy to me.) You'd want to scope this in time; as we've seen with immigration on Earth, the first few generations can behave differently from later ones (and from each other). So, adding some bounds here keeps it answerable and encourages richer answers. I think there's a good societal question at the core of this one, but its current form is borderline (and very broad).

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