I mean this question:

Do things like a rope, bucket or firewood have to be protected from the weather?

This question is considered off-topic by some because, according to them, "this question does not appear to be about worldbuilding, within the scope defined in the help center", and as such this question is in threat of being closed.

I fail to understand why.

  1. To quote the description of the reality-check tag:

    The approach for questions with this tag should be to ensure logical consistency. In short, does the concept make sense, given the rules specified? Answers to the question should determine whether or not certain elements of the question are appropriate or realistic, or, contrarily, are likely to break a user's or reader's suspension of disbelief.

This is exactly what I'm asking about. So, given such a description of this tag, I figured this question should be well-received.

  1. To quote @Frostfyre from the comments below my question:

    Asking if one's world is reasonable is on-topic, as that is looking for the validity of a new system/construct. This is a question about Earth-like materiel surviving in an Earth-like environment with a historically Earth-like setting. OP is seeking to explore an existing world (Earth), not build one.

(a) This would mean that all reality-check questions are off-topic unless the asker incorporates some elements of fantasy or sci-fi. There seem to be numerous questions in this tag that do not support this statement, one example would be this one: A believable place for your secret lair ; (b) Even aside this, I'm having trouble in understanding such a statement, since worldbuilding does not necessary mean devising new laws of nature or incorporating supernatural elements; very mundane societal or practical considerations are also necessary, since otherwise the author may unwittingly start defying common sense, and these considerations are orthogonal to whether the world is Earth-like or not; (c) If this matters so much: My world is not completely akin to Medieval Europe; the technology is more or less medieval, but the society is not; in particular, there is no feudal lord over this village or any other villages in my world; and the geography also does not resemble real-world continents

  1. I fail to see any difference (regarding being or not being on-topic on this site) between this question and some of my other questions that were well received on this site:How can one empty a cesspit with medieval technology? , How advanced technology is needed to create a duct tape? and Is it possible to make a organ-size piano? In my understanding if my question about keeping ropes, buckets and firewood outside is off-topic then all those three questions are off-topic as well; and since apparently they're not considered off-topic, then my question about ropes, buckets and firewood should not be off-topic as well.

Is this question off-topic and why?

  • $\begingroup$ By the by, don't triple post comments like you did in the original post, please. $\endgroup$
    – kingledion
    Nov 16, 2017 at 19:57
  • $\begingroup$ @kingledion Fine: but the problem is that I can only ping one person per comment; and I wanted to ping three people. What should I've done, then? Ping no one? $\endgroup$
    – gaazkam
    Nov 16, 2017 at 19:59
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Just post on Meta, and ping someone. Everyone that matters will find the meta post eventually. Maybe not right this second, but eventually. And as someone told you in the other question, this isn't chat. This site is designed to operate on a time scale of days; if this post has a favorable outcome your post may be re-opened in a day or two. $\endgroup$
    – kingledion
    Nov 16, 2017 at 20:02
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ @gaazkam "I wanted to ping three people. What should I've done, then?" The typical approach is to post one comment that doesn't ping anyone, and then three comments, one pinging each user, with a message like "see above" to pad to the minimum length required. Those comments can then be flagged as "no longer needed" and eventually deleted as each pinged user has seen them. $\endgroup$
    – user
    Nov 16, 2017 at 20:06
  • $\begingroup$ Because this comment is a valid answer to your question (that belongs on Outdoors.SE - except they might wonder if you're trolling... because the answer is yes for anyone who's ever left a tool out in the rain or tried to start a fire). And anyway, the don't migrate crap rule leaves us trying to find w/e close reason that will work in lieu thereof. $\endgroup$
    – Mazura
    Dec 1, 2017 at 8:02

2 Answers 2


Not off topic

It doesn't matter if the world is Earth-like or not, most built worlds are 90% Earth-like anyways. You just can't change it that much about a world and keep it believable. Most fantasy worlds have Earth-like climate, Earth-like human biology, Earth-like gravity, Earth-like social systems, etc.

A question about firewood and village wells is just as applicable in Narnia, Westeros, Hyrule, or regular old Earth.

  • $\begingroup$ It may be applicable to Narnia, Westeros, or Hyrule, but as written it isn't about Narnia, Westeros, or Hyrule. It's about how non plastic buckets, rope, and firewood hold up to the weather. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Nov 16, 2017 at 21:28
  • $\begingroup$ In fact asking "Would non plastic buckets need to be protected from the weather in Hyrule?" would be on topic. Since it is asking about a fictional world. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Nov 16, 2017 at 21:29
  • $\begingroup$ @sphennings You're making me wanna add "in Westeros" to the title of my question. This won't change the question's meaning nor the answers not one bit, but if this is enough to make it on-topic, then fine :) $\endgroup$
    – gaazkam
    Nov 16, 2017 at 21:34
  • $\begingroup$ @gaazkam You can do that if you want. It would make "Yes they are <picture of a well with a roof>" and "No they aren't <picture of a well without a roof>" valid answers as long as the pictures were from GOT. Similarly people wouldn't be able to reference the real world in their answers. Since it seems like your're primarily interested in the real world perhaps that isn't the best option. History.se might be a better place for you to ask if people in a particular era protected their rope/buckets/firewood or not. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Nov 16, 2017 at 21:38
  • $\begingroup$ Not really, since GOT is so similar to real life world that most considerations from real world would also be applicable to Westeros. At least as long as we're not talking about the lands occupied by the Others. $\endgroup$
    – gaazkam
    Nov 16, 2017 at 21:42
  • $\begingroup$ @gaazkam Even ignoring the magic, dragons, multi-year long winters, three eyed ravens, tree people, and zombies, GOT is full of anachronisms. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Nov 16, 2017 at 21:45
  • $\begingroup$ @sphennings None of this has any impact on where to keep firewood. $\endgroup$
    – gaazkam
    Nov 17, 2017 at 22:02
  • $\begingroup$ I was refuting your claim that GOT was "similar to real life". The GOT solution to a problem may not be a solution that works in the real world. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Nov 17, 2017 at 22:05

To expand on my previous commentary, the subject you're asking about has a clear analog in Earth's environment and history.

Yes, you want to know if the concept you have devised makes sense. We're left to assume the rules you want to maintain consistency with, so we guess Medieval Earth as an analog without magic or non-Earth factors. So far so good, as far as the reality-check tag is concerned.

However, the snag comes in that the topic you want to know about is specifically mentioned as off-topic:

Historical events of or historical facts about the real world, except when provided as examples or comparisons in the construction of an imaginary world

Asking whether items commonly found throughout Earth's history would survive in a (presumed) Earth environment and be regarded in the same manner as a (presumed) Earth culture is a matter of historical fact and, thus, off-topic.

  • $\begingroup$ Is my question about empyting a cesspit with medieval technology off topic as well, then? worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/questions/87717/… Same for the technology necessary for creating duct-tapes worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/questions/97592/… ? $\endgroup$
    – gaazkam
    Nov 16, 2017 at 20:24
  • $\begingroup$ And, actually, same for @SilverCookies' question about a secret liar? worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/questions/86289/… $\endgroup$
    – gaazkam
    Nov 16, 2017 at 20:28
  • $\begingroup$ @gaazkam The second one is explicitly asking about a possibility that has never happened in our world. Thus it is on topic. $\endgroup$ Nov 16, 2017 at 21:26
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @gaazkam All three of the questions you linked are about developing/building something. They use modern and/or historical facts/points of interest "as examples or comparisons." They are on-topic. $\endgroup$
    – Frostfyre
    Nov 16, 2017 at 21:54
  • $\begingroup$ This is still not easy for me to understand. The question about cesspits can easily be rephrased in this way: "How were people in Medieval times emptying cesspits?" This kind of blatantly asks about a historical fact. And if it doesn't, then the question about buckets and ropes can be salvaged by rephrasing it like that: How to protect buckets and ropes created with Medieval technology from decaying if necessary? I dunno, perhaps I'm dumb, but I kind of really, really fail to see any difference between the questions about buckets and cesspits. $\endgroup$
    – gaazkam
    Nov 16, 2017 at 22:01
  • $\begingroup$ The question about lairs is less analogous, but since most likely there are people looking for lairs in contemporary times, and most definitely were during WW2, I think it might be the same. $\endgroup$
    – gaazkam
    Nov 16, 2017 at 22:02
  • $\begingroup$ @gaazkam We're all human and we all make mistakes. I feel the questions you linked are on-topic in their present form. In general, if I feel that I can type the question into a search engine and come up with a history-based solution in the first page of answers, then it's not a worldbuilding question. Personally, I would like to see people put more effort into researching questions that have clear Earth analogs before asking the community. This, of course, does not mean the question isn't also a valid topic for the community. $\endgroup$
    – Frostfyre
    Nov 16, 2017 at 22:19
  • $\begingroup$ In general, if I feel that I can type the question into a search engine and come up with a history-based solution in the first page of answers, then it's not a worldbuilding question. This is the exact description of the cesspit question. I am sorry for perhaps being a little bolshie here, but all I want is to spot the difference, and I fail to do this. The cesspit question seems to be blatantly asking about a historical fact. $\endgroup$
    – gaazkam
    Nov 16, 2017 at 22:28
  • $\begingroup$ @gaazkam Not a problem; getting this right is important for the site. The cesspit question is a, "What's the best way to achieve this goal given these constraints?" question. These are some of our favorite questions to see and answer. This recent question would be like, "Should I do X or Y in my backyard?" $\endgroup$
    – Frostfyre
    Nov 17, 2017 at 4:31
  • $\begingroup$ I just find this line of reason to be a little to lawyer-ly. It seems like you say the question would be valid as long as the asker provides some worldbuilding context. Context aside, the answers could be identical, whether they are specifically asked about the imaginary kingdom of Whateverland, or your backyard. $\endgroup$
    – kingledion
    Nov 17, 2017 at 12:57
  • $\begingroup$ @kingledion The site isn't unused to thinly veiled references to the real Earth, though these have been more about social, political, cultural, etc. concepts than day-to-day life. Since the site is about worldbuilding, every question should have a worldbuilding context, regardless of how answerers choose to respond. $\endgroup$
    – Frostfyre
    Nov 17, 2017 at 13:15
  • $\begingroup$ Lol, I seem to be reaping the proverbial whirlwind. The cesspit question has gained 2 closevotes ;P $\endgroup$
    – gaazkam
    Nov 18, 2017 at 0:48

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .