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I've seen someone on meta saying, that we get way too much off-topic questions, compared to other sites, this could be because of:

A: Nobody reads the site's rules.
B: We're picky brats (too story-based).
C: Most people are interested in whether something did by someone or something that happened in their story is realistic, or not.


To be honest, I prefer clear-cut things, and I'm not appeased with the current definition of too story-based, so here's mine:

The question involve too many alternative possibilities, that are equivalently likely, and arose from unknown factors.

Let's try this out:

What would the world be like if I killed the baby Hitler:

  • The unknown factors. Stalin's mindset, other possible persons that could assume the role of the evil dictator (STALIN)... and so on

What general techniques should I use to defeat my opponent, who has a gun, with common household items (remember: any technique, that doesn't require superhuman feats is legit):

You can try ambush, stealth, or obscuring the opponent's vision with a chair in his face.
Unknown factors? I don't see any.
Too broad? The whole point is easily adaptable, general tactics.
Is it useful for future visitors? Just as much, as a towel gun,


What should be the solution to this problem?

A: Create a new site for these.
B: Create a reference list with links to the other, more appropriate sites (Physics, Biology, etc...)
C: Admit, that this site was not, and will never be perfect and change the definition of too story-based.

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    $\begingroup$ Also on the off-chance that anyone is not aware of this. Up-/Downvoting questions on Meta that are discussing the addition or removal of concepts, etc. signify approval or objection to the proposed thing. $\endgroup$ – dot_Sp0T May 17 '17 at 21:01
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    $\begingroup$ @dot_Sp0T true, but not exclusively. Votes can still be an indicator of quality, clarity, and usefulness​. $\endgroup$ – apaul May 17 '17 at 21:04
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    $\begingroup$ (B) is already solved: just click on the Stack Exchange logo at the top left of every page, and there you have it: a list of other sites in the network. You'd have to determine which site, if any, is likely to accept your question. $\endgroup$ – a CVn May 18 '17 at 11:00
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    $\begingroup$ Very relevant: How to deal with “I have a High Concept, please do my work for me” questions? $\endgroup$ – a CVn May 18 '17 at 11:01
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Your replacement for too story based is effectively a mix of too broad and primarily opinion based...

I'm also not sure what problem you're trying to solve. Worldbuilding isn't and shouldn't be a catch all for any question someone can dream up. No Stack Exchange site is. The sites don't work that way because the people who answer the questions tend to like a little focus and tend to leave when things get out of hand.

Opening up the site to "reality checks of other plot elements" can more or less make it a free for all.

"How do I hard boil an egg?" Could simply become "How should my character hard boil an egg?" and become on topic... Most of us don't want that.

Also your disarming question is too broad, wildly so.

"What general techniques should I use to defeat my opponent, who has a gun, with common household items (remember: any technique, that doesn't require superhuman feats is legit)"

Common household items, could be a never-ending list of things. Also these items could be used in combination, further exasperating the list. Remember if an entire book could be written on the subject your question is too broad.

If you were really asking about one of your questions in the sandbox at least you're defining "household items" a little bit more, but you're still asking for an entire martial art to be designed for you. Still too broad.

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It's late where I am, so I'll only concentrate on those two example questions you brought up:

What would the world be like if I killed the baby Hitler:

This site is trying to create a Q&A repository with specific and clear answers to broken-down problems and questions.

A question such as the one above does not fit this site for multiple reasons:

  • It is unclear what differentiates a good answer from a bad answer; It is difficult to judge answers because there's no criteria available to judge them on other that the answer must mention a post-baby-hitler world. Thus answers cannot be curated or tailored to solve the actual problem.
  • It is too open; Due to its openness basically any answer given could and should be valid, this doesn't fit the 1 Question, 1 Answer nature of this site. It could be discussed (and probably has been plenty already) that this is a flaw in the concept, sadly that's how it is and honestly I'm glad it's like that.
  • There's too much to cover; In order to cover even the little-est outcome, an answer needs to address way too many things for it to be kept concise. Good answers are concise, because people are lazy and don't like to read huge blocks of text if a small 1-liner could've done it as well.

What general techniques should I use to defeat my opponent, who has a gun, with common household items (remember: any technique, that doesn't require superhuman feats is legit):

This one doesn't even start off that bad.

It asks about a specific thing and even mentions limitations. Honestly the only reason this one would be shut down is for the fact that it is:

  • Asking for an open list; Anything asking for an open list is, by its nature, a bad fit for this site. This is due to the fact, that any two answers can cover the same or completely different points in that list and thus be equally valid. There have been plenty of good questions with that nature though. These questions do their best to enforce limitations on the answers by asking for proper justification and explanation of why the mentioned thing would be the best thing.

So: These questions all have other issues than being plot-elements. Really nothing is wrong about questions on plot-elements.

They're just another question.

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  • $\begingroup$ Can we solve open-ended lists with community wikis? $\endgroup$ – Mephistopheles May 18 '17 at 11:18
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    $\begingroup$ @RedactedRedacted Not really, a community wiki still follows all the same rules as a normal answer. The real solution is to constrain the list somehow. $\endgroup$ – Tim B May 18 '17 at 15:21
  • $\begingroup$ Quite right. "Really nothing is wrong about questions on plot-elements. They're just another question." Also, plot-elements, so-called, are elements of a fictional world. This makes them as much worldbuilding as being part of a plot. Usually they are worldbuilding elements that need elucidating plotwise and to be part of the fictional world. $\endgroup$ – a4android Jun 24 '18 at 7:06
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Well, towel gun had my VtC, because I see it as a joke, not worldbuilding. Having that out of the way...

No

One big no. Everything and anything can be a plot element, so accepting plot questions would effectively remove any scope and limits from this site and that's quite against the very point that brought many, if not most of us here. There are many Q&A sites without any defined scope on the Internet - if that's what you want, use one of them.

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