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There is a type of question on this site, that asks something like "given these parameters, what would be the effect on society?" A recent example of this type of question was one Monty Wild asked. In that question Monty asked about what effects the presence of fairies would have one medieval, human society. Do we want this kind of "effect" question?

Just to be clear, I actually kinda like the question. I upvoted it, and answered it. But as I was answering it, I realized how broad it was. Monty asked the question well, there are very clear parameters about how the fairies look and how the interact with humans. But even then he can't include everything. Should these kind of questions be allowed? Should the answerer just assume things not mention in the question using logic?

Related meta questions:

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I agree the the question are rather interesting but that they are also overly broad. I think that they should be permissible, but as outlined in my Questions about [tag:psychology] post, we need to restrict them to very narrow scope and make sure that answered are backed up. I'm not sure how far to go with Back It Up! on these, part of me is happy with the style of answers we have now, part of me wants to require linked studies in your answers (were appropriate).

What we do need to do is just downvote vigorously answers that guess.

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  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, good thoughts. Though Back It Up doesn't work as well for fantasy-based/magic questions. $\endgroup$ – DonyorM Nov 3 '14 at 15:06
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    $\begingroup$ "Back it up" doesn't just mean "cite sources"; for questions with fantastical elements, it will instead mean making a sound argument based on the parameters of the world (which we've already said people need to state in the question). An answer that shows how something is consistent with, is encouraged by, or violates the givens of the world is backed-up. $\endgroup$ – Monica Cellio Nov 6 '14 at 13:42
  • $\begingroup$ @MonicaCellio I'm aware of what back it up means and that it is difficult to do with fantasy (hence 'where appropriate'). The meta post itself isn't about fantasy (even if the question is), the linked post has a few different ways you can back it up. It was more a point about the fact that there is an entire field of study that covers this kind of thing, it would be nice to see some references to it; Instead of answers that rely on guessing / extrapolating from reality (which can be hard to tell the difference) when we could extrapolate from / based answer on actual scientific research. $\endgroup$ – Mourdos Nov 6 '14 at 13:57
  • $\begingroup$ Mourdos, sorry, my comment was actually directed to @DonyorM, whom I failed to ping explicitly. And I'm all for bringing in real sources when they exist! (I was pleasantly surprised when that happened on the "message for 50,000 years from now" question, for instance -- I didn't know that this was a problem already being worked on!) $\endgroup$ – Monica Cellio Nov 6 '14 at 14:06
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    $\begingroup$ @MonicaCellio Ah, cool. Now we just need more than 7 or so people to vote/comment on meta on a regular basis so that we can actually make community decisions :-) $\endgroup$ – Mourdos Nov 6 '14 at 14:09
  • $\begingroup$ @MonicaCellio good point. $\endgroup$ – DonyorM Nov 7 '14 at 3:03
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I agree that they can be good questions, though it helps if they are limited to specific points they are asking about. Questions that describe a situation and then ask what would happen or what else would the world be like are infinitely broad, and I would think should be broken into questions about specific aspects, or else the answers will be about different things and the question may as well be "do more creative work on my world idea for me".

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These types of questions are okay, but I feel one should build slowly.

The question you've linked to is an example why someone should start with a small change and then make follow up questions. Right now, it's a total mess and the answers are not interesting at all - humans end up extinct or in a wildlife preserve, and fairies are the new humans. Whatever interesting social dynamics you were looking for, they're not here.

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