I recently asked this question about which type of upper limb anatomy is better for flying humans. It has not been well received, and has been put on hold as off-topic. Looking back I can see that there are problems with this question. I jumped the gun in asking, and didn't really give a problem to solve. As such, I don't think it really related to Worldbuilding enough. I'll try not to make that mistake in the future.

I've been trying to think of a way to make it more on topic, But I can't decide where to start on fixing it. I think I just need to ask a different question. But since I've already gotten an answer on it, I don't know if I should delete or not.

Should I delete this question, or just try and rework it?


2 Answers 2


There is no need to delete it

Sure, you lost some rep as the question is now at +1/-5, which totals -5 reputation. But other than that this is not really a problem. If you really want to you can delete the question, but in general the community prefers to keep questions if there is an upvoted answer. Otherwise it would automatically get deleted after some time. Currently the only answer is at +0/-0, so your question might still fall into that category and the system might decide to delete your question in the near future.

The general process however would be to just keep it around. If there are upvoted answers it means that someone spent some time to help you and the community approved of his efforts. Taking that away is something that in general is not a good thing and the community doesn't like to see such a behaviour.

Edit the question

Your question has been put on hold pretty recently. An edit from your side will automatically send it to the special reopen review queue. This is the preferred process so that people can judge whether the question is now on-topic or not. Especially with a question that was put on hold recently this should be the first thing to do.

If you feel that it won't make any difference, for example because there is a very highly negative vote count and you suspect people won't look at the question again, as questions with a total of -4 disappear from the active tab on the main site, you can try other things.

Ask a new question

You can just ask a new question. If you feel people will jump and say "but that is the same thing you already posted yesterday!" because you copy-pasted a lot you should make sure to state how your new question differs from the old one.

Use the Sandbox

We have a Sandbox on Meta that is designed to help people who have problems with making a question on-topic. A lot of people use it, even if their reputation count would sometimes suggest that they would know how to ask questions. Asking questions on WorldBuilding can be extremely difficult at times, which is why the Sandbox was created. It happens to everyone sometimes that their questions get closed. Don't worry about it.

Specific advice

The answer is currently at +0/-0, so the community didn't think too highly of the answer. Your question is at +1/-5, so the community didn't really like your question and sent it away from the active tab. That makes recovery pretty hard.

I'd say you should decide how much you appreciate the effort the author of the answer put into it and decide whether you want to upvote it or not. If you want to upvote it please go ahead and do so - and consequently don't delete the question.

In the other case you can just leave the question and wait or directly delete, depending on what you feel would be best to start a new question. With a deleted question it's easier to start a new one, as it can't be marked a duplicate.

In any case you could give the Sandbox a try and see how much feedback you get. We encourage people to wait at least 24 hours in the Sandbox for feedback before posting the question on the main site. If you delete the question or wait for it to get deleted you might want to copy some of the comments if they could be useful so that people in the Sandbox with less than 10k reputation can take the comments into account when giving feedback.

What to do better

Well, to be honest: your latest edit was pretty good. I know that it looks like pedantry at first, but just saying "What's the best?" is really opinion-based, because we don't know what you focus on. The best for flying in the open? The best to hide on a stealth mission? The best regarding effort of flying?

Michael is right that "What's the best?" is not a good question, but I personally think that "Which one is better for flying?" is perfectly on-topic and that it looks like any other creature-design question I've seen on the site.

I don't know specifics about this topic, apart from the occasional question that always seems to mention "Everything above 70kg won't fly on our current Earth", but it looks like answers could easily say "It won't fly on our Earth, but ignoring that - first one has the following advantages/diadvantages over the second one". Maybe you could add something to make this clear?

Anyway, I voted to reopen and gave you and upvote. If you choose to rework your question and post a new one you will probably have me on your side.

Part of that might be that I love creature-design questions and haven't looked at yours until now.

Some questions you might find interesting

These questions were mainly found by searching: winged is:q

What is the maximum size of a flying creature?

Air density for winged human flight?

The Four-Winged Angel

What should dwellings look like for a winged humanoid?

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    $\begingroup$ A plain "what's the best?" generally doesn't fly (no pun intended) well anywhere on the Stack Exchange network. To within experimental error, nobody is going to propose an answer that they feel isn't the best one possible given the question and its constraints. It's much better to specifically state which factor you want to focus on. Not only does that help narrow down the set of possible answers, it also means that voters don't have to use their own idea of what "best" means when they vote. Ergo, "what's best?" is bad, "what's best for increasing lift for a given wing area?" is far better. $\endgroup$
    – user
    Nov 2, 2017 at 8:20
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    $\begingroup$ Thanks for the feedback, it's really encouraging. I'll likely edit in the next couple days or so once I think of some more parameters to add to the question :) $\endgroup$ Nov 2, 2017 at 8:24
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    $\begingroup$ @Lot-Of-Malarkey That's what the on-hold period is meant for. If you end up not doing that in time, and edit after the question transitions to "closed" status, you can always bring it up in Worldbuilding Chat and ask for review by the community. $\endgroup$
    – user
    Nov 2, 2017 at 9:24

Take a step back away from the question

Before you throw yourself over reworking the question, you may want to examine why you asked the question in the first place. "To figure out what is best" you say. Yes but why do you want to figure out what is best?

When you ask a question you do so for a reason: you want to achieve enlightenment on the topic in order solve an issue or to help you in your writing/worldbuilding.

So when you ask "What is best for flying?", what is the issue you are trying to solve? How does this help you in your worldbuilding?

I am not asking this rhetorically; I am telling you that you should ask yourself this question and seek an answer to it. When you have an answer to this question, then you can start on reworking the question. Once you are clear on your purpose for making a this post, then you can formulate it in such as way that people that may want to answer it can suss what it is you need in order to be satisfied with the answer.

A "what is best" question is bad in this regard because it is very rarely clear what the questioner wants out of this. This makes the question bad on two levels:

  1. "What is best" questions usually leave out the required second part: "...for X", meaning we do not know what we are measuring our proposals against. For example: "What is the best human body length?". For what? For reaching things on the top shelf or for infiltrating underground enemy tunnels? So a "What is best" is usually objectively unanswerable.

  2. We cannot use our empathy to sense when we have come up with an answer that we think you will be pleased with. People will automatically judge an answer against a sense of "What kind of answer would make me pleased here?". And if we cannot know what you want, then we are sort of fumbling in the dark. This makes our subjective assessment of our answers much harder.

So to summarize: before you try re-working the question... take a step try to figure out what you want. Why(!) are you asking it? Once you know that, you can re-work the question and hopefully get more fulfilling answers.


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