I sometimes ask (or see someone ask) an unconventional, non-utopian political question. And the result is high level of outrage or claims that it would be leading to absolute dystopia. Nevertheless, I have a feeling that there is a problem of extra penalty for being unconventional.

In order to be a bit more objective, I picked another person question: I mean if someone ask about skewing the voting system a bit towards high IQ people - the result was outrage. In the same time there is no outrage that many voting system are skewed a bit towards people living in smaller states / provinces (like US senate, or qualified majority in the EU). From answer I also learnt that even such partial disenfranchise leads to awful mistreatment and revolution, etc. Even with my basic knowledge of US political system I can mention something about District of Columbia. (so it's not simple)

Is there a good way to ask such unconventional political question? (without getting too many slogans in answer, but a more realistic assessment how such policy should work)

Example of what I mean:

I was quite successful here: War on candies (or on other threats to modern, affluent people)

It was also not bad here: How to govern marriage and family law for system recognizng polyamory or short term relationships?

Not bad at: Which legal procedures should be used to protect legitimacy of sortitition based deliberative democracy? Big outrage and not specially successful here: How to allow to imprison enemies of state, while still have opposition at large?

Not specially successful here: Waht would be genetic and social result of articificial selection of people who would survive?

But got closed at: https://worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/questions/80339/possible-benefits-of-high-level-surveillance-and-post-privacy (But later found quite similar question highly voted, with quite useful answer: Zero Privacy: Culture )

It seems that it is not only fully my problem: What would be the possible issues with an IQ based voting system (The system that he proposed slightly skewed system towards high IQ people and caused quite big outrage and with post concerning us literacy tests for blacks...)

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ I'm not sure what the problem is. The last question you linked has 18 upvotes 3 downvotes. It has many well received answers. To me that is a successful question. Why do you think that that question is unsuccessful? $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Commented Jun 10, 2017 at 14:13
  • $\begingroup$ @sphennings it was a problem in attracting answers that were more editorial/alternate ideas/brainstorming rather than answering the question. $\endgroup$
    – JDługosz
    Commented Jun 10, 2017 at 16:20
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    $\begingroup$ @JDługosz The question "What would the problems with this voting system?" is by definition going to attract opinionated answers than something more specific. It looks like the top answers all come up with a range of problems to such a voting system and provide explanations as to why. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Commented Jun 10, 2017 at 16:26
  • $\begingroup$ You feel real world examples are not "useful"? I think 16 unanimous answers has more to do with the number of people who read the question (3K in one day), than any supposed controversy about "concern for blacks". $\endgroup$
    – wetcircuit
    Commented Jun 10, 2017 at 18:00
  • $\begingroup$ @wetcircuit Not more useful or relevant than claim: "Sorry, you can't have single payer healthcare system in the US because in Soviet Union gov mental health system was used to suppress dissidents, so risk of repeating this is high". (hope that my irony would not enrich US political debate with new argument ;) ) $\endgroup$
    – Shadow1024
    Commented Jun 10, 2017 at 18:20
  • $\begingroup$ It is not a "claim". I linked to a relevant Supreme Court decision from last month about voter laws. Sorry, but this not a serious comparison. If you have a problem with that answer why not add a comment there? Or provide a different answer? $\endgroup$
    – wetcircuit
    Commented Jun 10, 2017 at 18:44

3 Answers 3



Let's look at a bad example. If you are a 10k user, you can see this question: What's the quickest way to destroy our gynocentric society through magic?, especially the first revision of this question.

Even if you are not, you can see the title. It is written from the first person, plural. This gives impression that the OP is talking about our real world society and calls it gynocentric. The question's body in the first revision gave a similar impression.

That's something to avoid.

Make sure that your writing style shows that controversial ideas belong to the society in your fictional / alternative world, not to you or your nation. Make sure not to accuse real societies or a real person of anything.

  • Your beliefs are irrelevant, beliefs in your world are.
  • Your political opinions are irrelevant, political ideas in your world are.
  • Don't make assumptions about real life groups - describe your fictional alternative groups. For example don't say "such and such country is racist" (even if you believe it is). Say "in my alternative history such and such country would be racist".

To sum it up write in a way that does not project your thoughts on real people. This site is about fiction. Even alternative histories are fiction. Be careful to maintain that feeling.

Also see this answer for a similar, although narrower, issue.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Secespitus thanks for edit. $\endgroup$
    – Mołot
    Commented Jun 14, 2017 at 10:27


Only partially joking there... I disagree with JDługosz's answer. Users shouldn't have to abstract or obfuscate. If you're writing satire, a dark dystopian tale, an alternate history, or even pure misguided hate you should be free to do so.


And this is a big "but." Be aware of what you're doing. Be aware of how people are likely going to respond. Be aware that you're stirring sensitivities, and possibly stepping on toes.

If it isn't your intention to offend, make your actual intentions clear. Include, in your question, why you're asking. Be sure to keep it short and sweet though, we don't need the entire story, just some context.

I think we may be a little too quick to assume bad intentions at times. Obviously there are going to be times where the intentions are bad, but even then it's probably better to point out the flaws in the line of thinking.

More or less I'm thinking that if Hitler showed up asking for help with Mein Kampf it would be better to educate him than shut him down. "Hey... Your premise is horrifying... You should probably drop that and..."


Also this one that I’ve worked on.

Also How to create a foreign legion? drew criticism from the specific in-story content, not the question.

From that, I think that questions should be abstracted from specific and real cultures and governments.

This is, in fact, venerable use of SF that helped it be recognised as proper literature. When obvious references to real political and culteral situations would not be possible in print, or would distract the reader from being detached and critical, setting up an alien world or somesuch as an alegory allows such references to be tolerated.

Bottom line: make it about aliens who are not “us” but are given all the relevant details, often in exaggerated form.


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