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As I ask and answer questions on this SE, I feel that we need some sort of easily reference standard for backgrounds for questions and answers.

For instance, I might ask a question about time travel:

If a society had limited (expensive and time consuming) access to time travel, how would it shape their culture?

Obviously, in order for people to make reasoned answers, they need to know about the technology and society that surrounds that question. Is this Ultra Tech? Star Trek? Is there magic available? Are people superstitious?

I feel it detracts from a question sometimes to have to define the skeleton of a world in your question or answer for it to make sense.

My suggestion: Define several Archetypical Worlds. Worlds with a given and pre-defined set of parameters that are easily linked to or otherwise referenced. This would let people ask a question and quickly give a familiar context.

If a society had limited (expensive and time consuming) access to time travel, how would it shape their culture? Assume this is in a High Fantasy world.

(note that, for lack of a better illustration, I linked to Wikipedia)

Given that, people who would answer the question can go to the community's definition of a High Fantasy world and all be working off the same premise instead of each person's distinct concept of "high fantasy"

It might even be easier to give them each a name, (Elerroth?) rather than taint people's thought processes with something as contentious as "high fantasy"

We have a lot of creative people in this community, think we could realistically nail down some of these?

Also, where can we keep them?

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Honestly I don't think this is helpful unfortunately.

High Fantasy is only part of the definition of the world, there are so many more variables in play and that is only one of them. I certainly think giving each world cryptic names would be a mistake. That will make Q&A both only readable by "insiders" rather than having an open and inclusive community.

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  • $\begingroup$ I suppose what I'm after are reusable lists of "Assumptions" that people can use to flesh out questions $\endgroup$ – Danny Reagan Oct 13 '14 at 12:27
  • $\begingroup$ @TimB I definitely agree. This site is for the benefit of the outside world, so everything should be in accessible language that doesn't have site-specific interpretation. $\endgroup$ – trichoplax Oct 14 '14 at 11:53
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I see where you're going with this, but I agree with Tim B on the "insider" limitation. This kind of scope is what tags are for, fortunately. I don't see much issue with creating tags to handle assumptions. Then they can be universally valid, accessible to the layman, and documented.

ex: Dystopian Cold-planet Twilight-planet Gaslamp-fantasy.

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  • $\begingroup$ Yes. This seems a reasonable compromise. $\endgroup$ – Danny Reagan Oct 13 '14 at 23:41
  • $\begingroup$ I opened a question to tackle some issues on this here $\endgroup$ – Black Oct 13 '14 at 23:45

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