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[To be clear, plenty of good questions are posed: "what are the implications on _____", or "what are the _____impliations?" I've got no problem with those. It's the un-scoped "what are the implications if everyone were a foot taller" question that I'm thinking about.]

Pure idea generation?

I think so.

This thought was inspired by this question about a space stationat L4, which asks for "the implications of" putting a space station in orbit at L4 or L5.

I think "what are the implications of" is unanswerably-broad, and so VtC'ed it.

As of this writing there are three answers. One focuses on speculative geopolitics. One treats each of orbital mechanics, space weather, collisions, and shielding. One is majority-devoted to supply logistics.

I could easily imagine answering the question of how long it'd take crews to cycle and the effects of that isolation. Or an answer based on the technologies required to pull it off and the spin-off benefits I expect to redound to everyday people. Or an analysis of how much space stations at L4/5 might actually help the identified purpose--identification of NEOs--and some cost-benefit analysis of that risk-reduction. (Related reading from a guy who's been up there.)

(At this point let me note that the quality of the existing answers isn't an issue--its their diversity I'd wished to highlight.)

That all of these answers could be "good" answers, yet so unrelated as to be incomparable, suggests this is a problem with the question. And it's a well-known problem: idea-generation. And the problem with idea generation isn't that it leads to lots of answers, it's that it leads to a breakdown of the voting system. We can't really compare the answers, so voting isn't working the way it should.


I suggest that "what are the implications of..." should stick out as a red flag for readers, in that it invites idea generation by construction. What are your thoughts?

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    $\begingroup$ have you considered adding it in the list of risks factors? $\endgroup$ – clem steredenn Mar 19 '16 at 11:34
  • $\begingroup$ I agree, this would be a good addition to the discussion here: meta.worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/questions/3206/… $\endgroup$ – Tim B Mar 19 '16 at 15:02
  • $\begingroup$ @bilbo_pingouin I feel like your factor at meta.worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/a/3382/12207 largely covers it; I'd assumed that you posted it as an interpretation/restatement of this, sans the rant-quality =) If you see a distinction between the two can you help me see it, and I'll gladly work on something for that collection. $\endgroup$ – nitsua60 Mar 19 '16 at 15:09
  • $\begingroup$ @TimB ditto ^^, if you please $\endgroup$ – nitsua60 Mar 19 '16 at 15:09
  • $\begingroup$ @nitsua60 Well feel free to extract any useful points from this discussion and add them into that one there either with comments or edits :) The point is to consolidate the information into one place from which we can then collectively make decisions $\endgroup$ – Tim B Mar 19 '16 at 15:10
  • $\begingroup$ I thought we did away with idea generation, and simply replaced it with too broad. Which means this question is kind of null at the moment. $\endgroup$ – Xandar The Zenon Mar 20 '16 at 17:23
  • $\begingroup$ @XandarTheZenon "Idea generation" was always a more specific "too broad", so it's still possible to talk about idea generation questions as a subset of questions that are too broad. It's like how it is on many other sites, where specific site-specific close reasons are specializations of the general network-wide close reasons, intended to provide more feedback to the user on what exactly is wrong with their question. $\endgroup$ – user Mar 30 '16 at 8:27

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