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So I looked for this and my search did not reveal a duplicate, but I have a feeling that this has been asked before. If it's a duplicate, I would really like to know where. :)

Why do you folks come to Worldbuilding Stack Exchange? There are some people who ask tons of questions, and others who lurk, and still more who like to give answers. So my question is, simply, Why?

I'm in the category that answers a lot of questions, but rarely asks them.

I keep coming here because it stimulates my imagination. It exercises my creativity by giving me odd problems to solve. I actually use this in my day to day work, where I have to try to smooth out processes and close gaps in the Data. I will often look at a question here, and in the process of answering it, an idea for the solution to another work problem will pop in my head.

Anyway, I was wondering what brings other folks to the Worldbuilding SE, and what kind of value do you derive?

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    $\begingroup$ Would this not work? worldbuilding.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/2282/… $\endgroup$ – Zizouz212 Aug 2 '17 at 18:25
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks @Zizouz212 ! I like the thought you put into your answer to that question! $\endgroup$ – Paul TIKI Aug 2 '17 at 18:54
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    $\begingroup$ Because this is a good place where I can sneak in a snarky/informative comment a couple times a day when I should be working. $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Aug 2 '17 at 20:21
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    $\begingroup$ @Frostfyre I am surrounded by scoundrels, and am glad to be in their company $\endgroup$ – Paul TIKI Aug 2 '17 at 20:22
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    $\begingroup$ To be fair, when I am actively working on a world, I do ask/answer more. For the past year, though, my time has been largely consumed by work, graduate school, D&D, sleep, and Pokemon Go. $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Aug 2 '17 at 20:45
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    $\begingroup$ Found it while researching, started as a joke with my wife, found value and ideas here and try to add value now $\endgroup$ – Raditz_35 Aug 7 '17 at 15:23
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    $\begingroup$ when reading other peoples questions you see things from a different perspective. more than once i have seen a question which makes me rethink my own writing. also because the people here are in similar situations and therefore can give relavent answers (unlike a certain famous search engine) $\endgroup$ – Ajnatorix Zersolar Mar 2 '18 at 15:59

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WB has the diversity, systems-thinking and abstraction level I love

In general, I'm most comfortable at higher levels of abstraction and interacting with systems. Worldbuilding is completely about the behavior of systems. Coming here has helped me increase my ability to reason about them. I also really like that I've been exposed to practically every branch of science during my time here.

By nature of what WB is/does, the majority of questions tend to be at least a bit general. That suits me fine.

I answer far more questions than I ask. I talk in chat far more than I answer questions. I think far more than I talk in chat.

Besides, where else am I going to go that asks questions about abstract ethical systems that take two hours to even wrap your head around the question?

Also, everyone on WB is just as weird as I am. It's hard to find truly strange people who are also nice and also smart and also talk about destroying the world in the most inventive ways on a regular basis.

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    $\begingroup$ awesome! I wish I had more time to spend in chat. $\endgroup$ – Paul TIKI Aug 2 '17 at 18:51
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    $\begingroup$ Upvoted purely for the last bit. $\endgroup$ – apaul Aug 5 '17 at 6:45
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    $\begingroup$ @PaulTIKI we have plenty of lurkers in chat. If you see something interesting, just pipe up. $\endgroup$ – Green Aug 5 '17 at 16:30
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    $\begingroup$ Aw, I'm blushing. But yeah, I come here for the rest of you weirdos :D Where else do I get to figure out what the problems with ritual cannibalism lye? $\endgroup$ – James Feb 27 '18 at 20:52
  • $\begingroup$ @Green Love you man!! $\endgroup$ – Kavi Vaidya Mar 30 '18 at 17:31
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I like when movies, books, games and other media create a world of their own with rules about how that world is working. And I hate when they break with their internal consistency.

That's why I love this place: people realize that they want to have an internally consistent world and that people might think they are breaking with their internal consistency. And others help in spotting these "problems" and helping authors of any kind to come up with ideas that fit into their world.

I love reading about the different ideas people have and seeing the level of detail people put into their work. The reason I ended up with an account on WorldBuilding.SE, which is the first site on the SE-network where I had an account, was the Anatomically Correct Series.

In the beginning I asked a few questions and tried to answer some things, too. Later I realized that most of my answers and questions don't really meet the quality standards that I would love to see on the site and posting stuff became rarer. Together with the following points this leads to my last answer being written on 2nd of February and my last question being asked on 13th of April. So I haven't really posted anything in roughly half a year.

After some time I realized that I can contribute to the site by editing posts. I may not be a native speaker and my english is far from perfect, but I can still spot quite a few typos and typical grammatical problems. I like to feel that helping others by checking their grammar and making sure that their questions are well-received by the community is a good way of contributing, too. Even if it doesn't award reputation once you cross the 2k mark, which was important for me to edit faster without having people approve my edits first.

Another way to help others is to give some feedback in the Sandbox and I think this is a great feature and the existence of the Sandbox shows that the community of this site cares about helping people post good questions instead of just closing everything as some people think.

I also love to check out the chat. There are a lot of weird and funny conversations going on regularly. I tend to have a tab with the chat open most of the time and regularly checking if something interesting happened.

All in all, I am more of a reader, than a writer. And there's a lot of interesting stuff to read and learn on this site.

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    $\begingroup$ Awesome. I think you have edited a few of mine, always to good effect, and I thank you $\endgroup$ – Paul TIKI Aug 2 '17 at 19:35
  • $\begingroup$ @PaulTIKI Thanks for the feedback. I appreciate that. $\endgroup$ – Secespitus Aug 2 '17 at 19:37
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    $\begingroup$ Editing to improve posts within the framework of the original author's intent is absolutely something that helps the site as a whole. You certainly shouldn't feel bad for doing mostly that. If editing is what floats your boat, by all means do it! (And don't be afraid to incorporate things brought up in comments into the post itself, if appropriate and if you aren't doing so already. Particularly don't be afraid to incorporate an OP's answers to questions in comments into the post itself, and leave a comment yourself to encourage the OP to do so themselves in the future.) $\endgroup$ – a CVn Aug 3 '17 at 7:11
  • $\begingroup$ @MichaelKjörling Thanks. Most of the time I just leave a comment reminding them that they can and should edit their post to include the information they were asked about in the comments while focusing on fixing typos, grammar, punctuation and formatting. I will see if I can expand that to also add the information from the comments in the future. $\endgroup$ – Secespitus Aug 3 '17 at 7:36
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I build worlds.

You're in a spaceship at the end of an interstellar voyage, arriving in a system with a strange green planet near a young star. That planet, engineered from the grass up, is the product of the work of some of the galaxy's most accomplished engineers, scientists, and dreamers. It's an experiment designed to understand life itself - how it arises, how it evolves, and how the forces of nature and evolution conspire together to form living creatures, again and again and again. Your job is simple: Be this planet's guardian as it passes through the turmoils of childhood.

The above paragraph is brought to you by Worldbuilding Stack Exchange. It's a paraphrase of some of the writing I've done lately, based on several questions I asked on this site during my time here. That world - which exists in my head, in writing, as maps, etc. - came to fruition thanks to this site.

Also, I'll be honest. I have days where my head's spinning from work and I can't stare at another equation, or read another page of poetry. So I take a ten minute break and go here.

And suddenly, I can travel across the galaxy.

Oh, also, y'all elected me as one of your moderators. So even if I didn't love this site, that's an extra incentive to sit here for a while each day.

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It stimulates my creativity

The quick shots of checking here questions and answer helps refreshing my brain during my job while keeping it active.

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This is like a place tailor made for me

I just stumbled in here by accident recently and quickly found that it was full of people who like me can spend hours upon hours debating the inner workings of very non-factual phenomenon as if they were the most important thing ever. I love that. You are my people, my tribe.

And I learn things

One of the greatest things about sci-fi and fantasy is how it can be used to say something about the world at large. The same goes for these discussions. I find that no only am I forced to research and learn things about biology, astronomy and economy when trying to answer questions. I learn a lot from everyone else's answers.

The real question to me is rather: Why isn't everybody else here? This forum is like the best thing ever.

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I'm here because I love worlds

One day I realized that in most books, I'm less interested in the story, and more in the world shown. I like worlds to be consistent, deep, and different. I love to read books about them, view movies etc. And being here allows me two things:

  1. Read about worlds before most of the world is allowed to.
  2. Help making worlds a bit better built, to increase enjoyment of other readers.

Occasionally I need some worldbuilding help on my own, for games etc, but that's only a small part of my activity here, as I have asked only 5 questions and provided 185 answers.

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I love the questions and the stories and half stories. Getting lost in other people's worlds and finding creative solutions to problems and fake internet points.

I also love that people understand what I'm talking about and appreciate the terrible jokes and obscure references I sometimes put into the answers.

It's by far the best place in the internet.

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I love building worlds. I always have. I'm afraid I'm probably not much of a writer, what I enjoy is creating the history of a world more than writing stories in it. I tell myself I'll use them someday to write a book or make a game, but even if I don't I enjoy the journey.

I love reading the bizarre questions we get here, the stuff that reminds me of xkcd's What If. I always end up learning something. Quite often I get ideas that help with stuff I'm stuck in with my own worlds.

I'd lurked around here on and off for quite a few years, having come across it in the Hot Network Questions while browsing coding problems on StackOverflow and recently joined when I took up building my current world seriously again. And I find myself answering questions more and more, even things I didn't think I knew a lot about, because it's interesting and challenging.

And at the end of the day I feel a certain affinity with a bunch of people who obviously love building worlds (and asking and answering odd questions) as much as I do.

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Many reasons.

As other already mentioned, I do not like it if a story is logically inconsistent or uses junk science while real science would even have been better.

Interestingly my knowledge in science, engineering and computer technology grew in contrast more wide than deep. This is not recommendable if you want to make a career in science (hint), but me (Science&Nature, History, Geography) and my brother (Entertainment, Arts&Literature, Sports&Leisure) are at least together an unstoppable juggernaut in Trivial Pursuit...

Joking aside, it comes extremely handy if someone needs solutions for a story. It is also very nice if you know many strange, rare, anomalous phenomena which are virtually unknown to the general public or even specialists (ball lightning, prosopagnosia, brocken spectre, polymorphs, brinicles, nazca lines, shape memory alloy, morning glory clouds, wolfsegg iron).

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    $\begingroup$ The only things I don't know are prosopagnosia, brinicles, morning glory clouds, and wolfsegg iron. Now I know. :) $\endgroup$ – Vylix Sep 4 '17 at 20:51
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I spend a lot of time on WB nailing down physics or psychology. I collect information as a hobby, so it's nice to share that information.

However, what brings me back is not the opportunities to pin things down. It's that once-in-a-while moment where I get to instill wonder about the amazing world around us in somebody. I love the idea of someone looking out at the world and seeing the colors just a hair brighter and more vibrant because they simply hadn't looked at things that way before.

My answer to What's the smallest change to physics required to allow magic? is still the high point of my WorldBuilding.SE career. Even I swear my own colors are a bit brighter after re-reading it.

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    $\begingroup$ THAT, was a fricking awesome answer, man! The one you linked to and this one here $\endgroup$ – Paul TIKI Aug 10 '17 at 19:46
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from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stochastic_resonance

Stochastic resonance (SR) is a phenomenon where a signal that is normally too weak to be detected by a sensor, can be boosted by adding white noise to the signal, which contains a wide spectrum of frequencies. The frequencies in the white noise corresponding to the original signal's frequencies will resonate with each other, amplifying the original signal while not amplifying the rest of the white noise (thereby increasing the signal-to-noise ratio which makes the original signal more prominent). Further, the added white noise can be enough to be detectable by the sensor, which can then filter it out to effectively detect the original, previously undetectable signal.

This phenomenon of boosting undetectable signals by resonating with added white noise extends to many other systems, whether electromagnetic, physical or biological, and is an area of intense research.[1]

The noisy variety here has allowed me to be more productive at my paying gig, allowing my previously undetectable signals to reach detection strength. Or perhaps my manic phase is responsible both for the productivity as well as my worldbuilding enthusiasm.

And: I am motivated by the questions to read on anything that interests me and so educate myself further. It is glorious living at a time when within seconds I can read up on whatever strikes my fancy.

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I've never asked a question. For the most part I like to help people. Sometimes a question inspires an inventive answer, a way of getting around a problem or some unusual way of using the OPs rules in a way even they have not considered. That's fun.

Also in my fields of interest (I am a research scientist in algorithms, AI, statistics), I like to debunk what is the current layman philosophy about how the brain and intelligence work; the world is full of BS on the AI topic and the truth is far simpler and less mystical than it is made to appear. (Or, perhaps, Intelligence & Consciousness & Self-Awareness are all far less mystical than many want them to be.) So that is fun, too. Who knows, maybe someday, somebody will write a book or screenplay that isn't full of claptrap, because I nudged them onto the right track. Or not, it is fun either way.

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    $\begingroup$ Cool, For some reason you are making me think of a podcast I heard a while back. It was from "The Seanachai" by Patrick McClean and in one episode he talks about "The Robot Non-Pocalypse". He made some pretty interesting points about computers and if their becoming sentient would be a bad thing. You might find it interesting, or maybe so much drivel, but I found it cool. That author also wrote a podcast series and book called "How to Succeed in Evil", which is also fun $\endgroup$ – Paul TIKI Aug 11 '17 at 21:54
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I used to come here because Worldbuilding is one of the few places I can exercise my creativity, problem solving and moderate knowledge of the sciences in a fun and entertaining way. These days I don't answer many questions and I mainly come here to talk in the chatroom whilst still looking out for the odd interesting question.

Also I like closing stuff and this is the only place where I have the rep to do that.

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  • $\begingroup$ You like to Close Stuff?!?!? that's just wrong. +1 $\endgroup$ – Paul TIKI Aug 2 '17 at 19:53
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    $\begingroup$ @PaulTIKI there few things as sweet as the last close vote (I call it the killing blow) on a really poorly written question. Don't knock it till you try it. :) $\endgroup$ – Green Aug 2 '17 at 20:22
  • $\begingroup$ @Green you are the kind of guy who would love to give the last, decisive thumbs down in the old Colosseum. :) $\endgroup$ – Paul TIKI Aug 2 '17 at 20:25
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    $\begingroup$ @PaulTIKI only if they deserved it. I suppose now is not the time or place to go into my thoughts on capital punishment. $\endgroup$ – Green Aug 2 '17 at 20:33
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    $\begingroup$ @Green if nothing else, It has a 0% chance of recidivism ;) $\endgroup$ – Paul TIKI Aug 2 '17 at 21:17
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    $\begingroup$ @PaulTIKI, not in the worlds we see around here :) $\endgroup$ – Separatrix Aug 3 '17 at 9:44
  • $\begingroup$ @Separatrix Nice! $\endgroup$ – Paul TIKI Aug 3 '17 at 13:28
  • $\begingroup$ "Also I like closing stuff" Boo! Boo! ;o) $\endgroup$ – Thorsten S. Aug 13 '17 at 17:51
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It makes me think creatively about things I wouldn't otherwise ever imagine. It lets me play "what-if", which is a mental exercise I enjoy. It's great to take a concept and drill down into that, considering the potential ramifications and impacts of that concept.

It's interesting too to read both the questions and answers others supply.

It also lets me dip into the vast pool of otherwise useless trivia I've collected over the decades.

And, frankly, it lets me BS for a bit about things that aren't work related.

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I don't

But [interestingly looking] questions pop up in the hot network questions often.

Interesting questions (unfortunately, today, I don't see anything catching my eye in NHQ): something that might contain references to interesting reading to add to my to-read-list (more -y, rather than -y), questions that make me think about how certain physical processes develop or looking at those from the different perspective, something that might provide ideas for the DnD games I play, questions about bringing realism to the magic settings.

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  • $\begingroup$ Just a friendly prod: What about the questions do you feel is interesting? What makes you more likely to follow a NHQ list link to Worldbuilding, than following another NHQ list link to Worldbuilding, or even some other NHQ list link entirely? You certainly don't have to answer, but this answer feels like it leaves us with a cliffhanger. $\endgroup$ – a CVn Sep 2 '17 at 15:33
  • $\begingroup$ Expanded the answer a bit. Worldbuilding does not pop up in NHQ too often, but when it does, it is often quite interesting reading. $\endgroup$ – n0rd Sep 3 '17 at 2:28
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I like to post answers that make it look as though I know more than I actually do. Isn't that why everyone does it?

More seriously, though, I never thought of it as “hanging out”.
I guess it is fun to exercise the faculty of world design when I feel especially stumped in my own. I prefer to work out my problems myself, or covertly — looking for information and only asking for it vaguely, — and so I don't tend to reveal much about any of my more serious projects. I do enjoy something I call, quite succinctly, ‘imagination spew’: hurling stories and characters out in small chunks with little connection to any larger world or ambition.
Answering questions here offers me occasion to do that very thing.

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I have a lot of experience with Worldbuilding for RPGs and found this site... somehow... something to do with a question about infinite space constructs. I'd worked on a similar world so joined to help with it, I didn't have the rep to answer initially so started on other things and haven't left.

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Are you kidding?! A place where I can ask other nerds about my favorite subject, science fiction, and get answers that touch on real science? Why wouldn't I want to be here?!

Ever since I saw Star Wars as a little kid (yes, I'm one of those and if you don't like it, too bad!) I've been in awe of science fiction. Of course as I grew older I came to realize that Star Wars is actually a fantasy, just set in space.

So then I started to seek out harder sci-fi... Asimov, Clarke, Heinlen, and more. I came to realize that real science is just as fascinating if not more so than fantasy passing itself off as science fiction. I enjoy fantasy as much as the next guy, but the whole "magic hand wave" was too much of a short cut for me. There was no challenge there.

But I'm not a physicist, and I never will be. I'm an artist. Coming up with settings, characters and stories is my thing. What help I get here will make its way into my stories.

All mistakes will be my own, of course. Thank you.

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