I have encountered countless questions about how one would control the elements or related concepts. Here are some examples: here here here I found this one particularly sad . I think you get the point. Those questions also end up being deleted frequently.
All of these questions have something in common: They are incredibly vague and mostly end up getting closed.
I often comment below those questions, asking for details, but I do not remember ever helping anyone with this. It is not my job to make people ask great questions and if the OP just decides to not show up again and clean up his mess, well, that is his decision. However, the frequency of these threads makes the entire thing frustrating.
Since those questions are so super common, I would like to know how to deal with them.
Mr sphennings included a couple of points in his answer with which I agree:
The problem with talking about "Manipulating Elements" is that it encodes a lot of meaning that isn't obvious.
Most obvious is the lack of clarity about how many elements are being talked about. There's the "classical" 4 elements of fire, water, wind, and earth. Some systems have a five element system adding either metal, or void. Some radical people even believe in a system with 118+ elements.
What it means to manipulate can also have many different meanings. Is it the ability to move? To change form? Can you summon your element?
My intentions: Those questions show up often. Ideally, I want to link this thread via a comment in the future instead of writing the same again and again.
So here are a couple of questions/points for debate:
If there is a universally or WB wide understood definition of controlling elements, what is it?
- The answer is "There is none"
What procedure is recommended if I want to comment and ask for details? Has anyone ever experienced positive feedback with something below such a question?
- I have after linking this thread, please feel free to share other success stories.
How should you ask a question about elemental magic on WB?
Mr sphennings suggested a rather hard science approach and gave the following example: "In my world earth benders can magically exert a maximum of 1KN of force on rocks and stone. How many would be needed to construct Stonehenge?"
Mr Vylix has demonstrated that this can be done beautifully after some edits, see here
(updated, don't be confused by answers addressing points that I deleted because they were stupid)