Yesterday, a user asked How do you set up a long term colony on Mercury. The original title and text were
How could we survive on Mercury?
I am doing a project on planets and I was given Mercury. I need to say (in no more than 10 lines) how I would survive on planet Mercury.
This was edited until it reached its current form:
How do you set up a long term colony on Mercury
I want to set up a long-term self-sustaining colony on Mercury. What and how needs to be done for a colony to survive and thrive on the planet Mercury?
I was not involved in either the voting to close or voting to reopen, though I monitored the question since it was asked. I would certainly have voted to close the question (if my vote was non-binding), in its initial form, for several reasons:
- It's not a question about worldbuilding, at all.
- It's not very clear what the criteria for survival (i.e. the background for the question) are.
- The author didn't show any effort in trying to answer the problem posed.
After the third edit, though, the question was put in a form I might not have voted to close . . . if it weren't for the fact that the original question was not about worldbuilding. The author is not (presumably) building a world about a colony on Mercury; it's a hypothetical situation for a project.
Based on this, it seems clear that it shouldn't be on-topic. So here's the question at hand: If a question not at all about worldbuilding is edited into a form possibly suitable for the site - different from the author's original form - but still not motivated by worldbuilding, is it on-topic or off-topic? My personal opinion is that it should be closed as off-topic, but obviously I'm not going to unilaterally close the question again.
What do people think? On-topic? Off-topic? Both? Neither? None of the above? I'm asking both about this question in particular and the general question class it belongs to.