This question seeks a ready made world that is free (not copyrighted) so that anyone can set stories in it. A setting in which all the necessary questions have already been settled so an author (or artist or game maker) can focus on story.

So far none of the answers have given quite what is being sought. Is this something we could create as a community, asking questions for each problem that needs to be addressed until the world is fully formed and can be used by anyone who wishes to?

I'm interested in seeing discussion on:

  • is this an acceptable use of the site?
  • would the community be interested in it?
  • would we store an overall description in an off-site repository, or just let the questions and upvoted answers describe the world?
  • would some questions be better on meta, such as "what should we name our new world?"

I'm not proposing any exceptions - obviously all questions would have to be valid, in scope questions that fit the site.

I've tagged this since any stories based in this world should credit worldbuilding.SE

  • $\begingroup$ I definitely wouldn't mid helping out here and there with this project, maybe we could start by creating a chat room? $\endgroup$
    – overactor
    Oct 11, 2014 at 8:42
  • $\begingroup$ @overactor yes that sounds like an excellent idea. $\endgroup$ Oct 11, 2014 at 15:41
  • $\begingroup$ @overactor how's this $\endgroup$ Oct 11, 2014 at 15:58
  • $\begingroup$ We could always host such a project on the upcoming Worldbuilders mapping site, when it's complete $\endgroup$
    – ArtOfCode
    Dec 11, 2014 at 14:09

3 Answers 3


A summary of what has been done so far

Update 26th April 2015: The chat room has been unfrozen following a new request being received for access to the Google docs. Since momentum seemed to subside in December after an initial flurry of work, I'm announcing this here for anyone who wants to get involved again. Of course anyone new is very welcome too - the whole idea is to be collaborative so anyone can edit/add/discuss whatever comes up.

There is now a GitHub organization where you can see things taking shape. If you would like access to edit you are welcome to - just drop into our chat and ask for access. Once you have access you can also add anyone else who asks.

  • We have a chat room for discussing anything to do with collaborative projects.
  • We have a Google doc for specifying preferences on various aspects of the projects.
  • We have a Google doc for content for a trial project set on Earth in 2060.

Google docs is not intended to be the final solution for hosting the content - just a temporary place to get things moving. Discussion on potential places to host a wiki-style world description are welcome in the chat room or suggestions in the preferences that people can put their name to so we can see what has most support.

Please feel free to contribute to any of these. For edit access to the Google docs just drop in to the chat room and ask - that way you won't have to wait for the doc owner to be available as any of the editors have authority to make you an editor too.

We'd like to move from google docs to wiki software. We've had DokuWiki recommended - if anyone has experience and can help us set it up do drop into the chat room.

There has also been discussion of using GitHub. It would be great to see people add their names to the preferences doc to say whether they are for/against using GitHub (with or without reasons - all feedback is useful) and any alternative suggestions.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I think this is a great idea, I would personally love to contribute to (and maybe even use?) this project myself.....it's also a great way to publicize this site, IMO. $\endgroup$
    – Shokhet
    Oct 19, 2014 at 3:33
  • $\begingroup$ (you are allowed to accept your own answer to your own question ;) $\endgroup$
    – Shokhet
    Oct 19, 2014 at 22:29
  • $\begingroup$ We now have a GitHub organization set up $\endgroup$
    – Moop
    Nov 27, 2014 at 16:15
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ As original owner of the first GitHub-Company I rejoined the chat and I'm happy to share any assets I created for this project in either the new or the old repository. $\endgroup$
    – JFBM
    Apr 29, 2015 at 23:36
  • $\begingroup$ Kus tnow noticed this; what happened to this/where is the world that was developed? $\endgroup$
    – Jax
    Apr 15, 2016 at 13:02

Good questions,

  • Is this an acceptable use of the site?
  • Would the community be interested in it?
  • Would we store an overall description in an off-site repository, or just let the questions and upvoted answers describe the world?
  • Would some questions be better on meta, such as "what should we name our new world?"
  1. This concept was discussed during the definition phase of this proposal. World building collaboration sounds like a lot of fun but when previously discussed, and I still agree, we decided it is not appropriate for this site. (That could change obviously) That isn't to say that it wouldn't have a presence here in the form of questions, heck we could make a tag unique to the collaborative world to help ID questions.

  2. I think you could certainly find plenty of people interested in helping create a rich vibrant setting here yes.

  3. (and 4) There is simply too much content that is not SE appropriate to host it here. If someone is interested in creating an off-site forum/repository though this could be a place to discuss it (on chat for example) and find people to help.

A very cool idea, but one that just doesn't quite fit the format for SE.

  • $\begingroup$ So in summary, someone could set this up off site and ask many questions here but there would still be work that needs to be done separately from the Q&A format? $\endgroup$ Oct 10, 2014 at 20:07
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ A small analogue: Writers.SE has weekly writing challenges, which are coordinated in chat. The actual writing is posted off-site, and we use meta to collect links to the writing projects from each week. Naturally, a writing project may also spawn questions for main -- but they're not about the project per se, only the writing issues that come up from it. I think we could do something similar here, even using meta to track progress, but the actual work shouldn't be hosted here. $\endgroup$ Oct 10, 2014 at 20:08
  • $\begingroup$ @MonicaCellio this approach sounds ideal - especially if it allows us to build a number of different worlds gradually over time. $\endgroup$ Oct 10, 2014 at 20:34
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @MonicaCellio I am definitely in favor of this and there are certainly many ways to collaborate without having to use SE at all, while maintaining chat as a conduit. Have all my upvotes! $\endgroup$
    – mechalynx
    Oct 10, 2014 at 22:39
  • $\begingroup$ I've set up a chat room for further discussion and coordination. $\endgroup$ Oct 11, 2014 at 16:29

I don't think being the official single source of truth for a particular fictional world is within SE's model. But I wouldn't object to a community wiki post that indexes worlds to which members can contribute. Here are examples of questions that a community wiki might answer:

  • Which fictional worlds created by Worldbuilding SE members have a universe compendium under a license for free cultural works?
  • Which fictional worlds are maintained on external wikis that members of the public can easily join?

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