Though a new user to this site, I've run across a couple of questions where the OP is asking "how do I realistically/scientifically achieve X given Y" where Y can't be achieved if X is realistically/scientifically based. For an example, see this question, which is (simplistically) asking how a previously lush planet could realistically achieve a diurnal cycle lasting a week while preserving the complex life forms on the planet.

I certainly understand that worldbuilding is fundamentally fiction. That's most of the fun, isn't it? But rather than spending my time brutally stomping on OPs for asking for the impossible (the point of the site is to encourage creativity, right?), is there a best practice among the community for helping OPs understand there isn't a way to avoid the consequences of a reality-based event?

Or is the only viable answer for the example given, "Sorry, you can't have a week-long diurnal cycle for a previously lush planet without burning away the pre-existing life during the day and freeze-drying it at night?"


1 Answer 1


I think in a way it's a request to help think of creatively explaining a thing using and maybe even exaggerating what we know in the world. For the example question you had, an answer could be something like 'the bulk/main part of the plant is underground or protected by a thick coating, where it hibernates during the worst of both seasons ready to emerge when conditions are safe again (like an extreme exaggeration of what drought-resistant plants or deciduous trees do).

By all means, when it really isn't possible - say so, but the above answer I gave to the question was myself (who isn't an expert in flora) using what I know of the world, and bending it to the extreme, to answer a question.


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