As of writing this, we have 330 questions. 113 of these are tagged . Only 23 are tagged . Additionally, almost every question that isn't explicitly tagged either, could be seen as grounded in science, Of these 23 magic questions, 4 ask to explain or justify magic in terms of science, another 4 are closed and another 4 are essentially the same question.

So I'll reiterate the question: Where are all the (good) magic questions?

Is it that there are just less magic questions to be asked or are we somehow not attracting those questions? In case of the latter: How can we attract more/better magic questions?


3 Answers 3


Although I have argued strongly against magic answers to questions that are not about magic, I would like to see questions about magic. Provided they are framed in a way that allows for clear, definite answers, I welcome questions on fantasy, alternative physics, and self consistency of asserted magical properties of creatures/cities/geographical features/...

As TimB points out in a comment on the question, it wouldn't make sense to ask the biggest possible creature question in a magical setting, but if you already have a large creature that you assert can survive at that size due to magic, you could ask what consequences this might have for the surrounding environment, landscape or climate - that would be a scientific treatment of an impossible creature.

Alternatively you could ask purely about the self consistency of magical rules. If a magical river turns everything that touches it into gold, how should the effect end where the river meets the sea? Should there be a reef of dead golden fish marking the line along which river becomes sea? What additional magical effects will be needed to prevent the river clogging up with golden leaves at the end of each summer, since they cannot be carried by the current like natural leaves?

I include alternative physics here because I see it as "science based magic" - fitting somewhere in between. For example, you could ask about a universe where the gravitational force is 10 times stronger. In a solar system where the Earth is much smaller, so the people on that Earth experience the same gravity as us, how would that universe's higher gravitational force affect the appearance of the sun and moon in the sky? How would it affect the tides, seasons, days...? Would the life cycle of the sun be different with the increased gravity? I overlap this with magic because the purely scientific answer might not be what the asker is seeking - a world that looks so similar to ours might be unrealistic.

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    $\begingroup$ I really like it when fantasy books discuss "magic theory," a term I made up for the mechanics of magic -- in Eragon, the power of the magic comes from the magician's physical strength and is released through focus. In others, there is an external power source ("Force"?) that is released based on specific words. I do really want to have questions about magic theory on this site. $\endgroup$
    – Shokhet
    Commented Oct 19, 2014 at 1:46
  • $\begingroup$ @Shokhet Hmm do we need a "Magic Theory" tag, or something similar to describe the mechanics/basis of magic rather then questions on the magic itself? $\endgroup$
    – Culyx
    Commented Oct 22, 2014 at 20:50
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    $\begingroup$ @Culyx I would expect most magic questions to be concerned in some sense with the theory, otherwise they would be off topic as unanswerable. I don't see a need for a separate tag at present. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 24, 2014 at 20:03

I, too, would welcome magic questions. I think in addition to what Tim said in a comment and this answer, it's probably harder to ask good magic questions. For science questions we have a baseline of knowledge, facts that can be taken as given without a lot of explanation. With magic, you have to explain much more of how your magic works.

So people should ask these questions, and I am not too surprised that there aren't a lot yet.

  • $\begingroup$ I agree that magic questions are hard to ask - I took a while trying to think of examples for my answer and they still don't quite fit what I was trying to demonstrate... $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 19, 2014 at 2:25
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    $\begingroup$ I think this early in beta, we are still seeing many questions that are asked in order to have questions, rather than arising naturally in the course of worldbuilding. When making up a question, it's much easier to make up a science question than a magic one - I think the magic ones may come when our contrived questions dry up and we start seeing mostly questions based on genuine worldbuilding projects. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 19, 2014 at 2:28

I do think there is a strong implication here that questions not based very solidly in real-world physics will be closed as over-broad. Assuming that the question is not about the history of magic or occultism, and assuming that magic refers to something not entirely explicable in physics terms, I don't see how any "magic" question will be answerable in definitive terms. So long as this site rigorously excludes open-ended speculation, we're not going to have a lot of magic questions.

  • $\begingroup$ That's an interesting point. Considering that many such questions we would in fact welcome - what would you say gives the impression that they are not? $\endgroup$
    – Tim B
    Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 10:50
  • $\begingroup$ I agree, I think this applies beyond just magic. When we discuss anything other than hard (or at least physical) sciences around here the short response tends to be close votes. That applies to culture questions (I have written some and a few others), magic questions, speculation questions as well. $\endgroup$
    – James
    Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 15:09

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