This question asks what possible events could bring about a global government collapse. We have a consensus that we don't do idea-generation for storytelling. Specific examples from that meta post:

Q: What conditions have to exist in a world to explain giant insects? — EXCELLENT

Q: What would the world be like if it were ruled by giant insects? — TOO BROAD

On the one hand, you could argue that the present question follows the "what conditions have to exist..." form and is thus on-topic. On the other hand, it feels very open-ended; the number of (credible) answers that explain giant-insect overlords should be much smaller than the number of answers brainstorming about government collapse.

Is the government-collapse question ok? Too broad? And, more generally, where is the line between the focused, answerable, "what conditions cause..." questions that we want and the "help me brainstorm my plot" questions that are better-suited for a writing group?

  • $\begingroup$ Here's another that I see as in the same vein: worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/q/3331/28 $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 30, 2014 at 1:34
  • $\begingroup$ I have a feeling that the more general question is better suited as a separate meta question, actually. For the specific case, I'm tempted to agree that it is very broad, but also (at a glance) think that the answers saved the question which makes me unwilling to close it by mod hammer. (And, of course, it already has an accepted answer.) $\endgroup$
    – user
    Commented Oct 30, 2014 at 7:26
  • $\begingroup$ @MichaelKjörling yeah, maybe I should ask the general question separately. Closing a question doesn't harm the existing answers; so long as they're upvoted the question won't be deleted so the answers will remain. Closure does two things: it prevents any more answers, and it signals that this is not a good model for a question to ask in the future. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 30, 2014 at 12:47

2 Answers 2


I think this question is quite clearly too broad but think that this type of question can work.

The "what would happen if" type of question can work well if the possible consequences of the premise are limited. For this, the question needs to be clearly stated and the constraints have to be defined unambiguously. The scope the answers should touch on also needs to be well defined. This includes the time frame, as well as aspects that should be discussed.

The amount of possible distinct answers to this type of question are limited (which shows that it's not too broad) and can be voted upon by evaluating the plausibility (and how well it is explained) of the idea and how well it works as a narrative device.

  • $\begingroup$ That's a good point -- what we really need is a way to limit the scope of the answers (and provide a basis for evaluating their suitability). "If you can imagine a book being written about this it's too broad", as it says in the definition of "too broad". $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 30, 2014 at 12:48

I agree and have voted to close, it's too close to the "I need an idea" or "How could this happen" type questions we're tying to avoid.


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