First off, I removed this part when I edited my question Tomorrow is Groundhog Day… For everyone.. I'll preserve it here, since I don't know the etiquette of removing such edits:

I’m going to vote that this should be reopened. The real issue is not that it’s too broad; the real issue is a logical inconsistency between a ground hog day where nobody remembers the previous day and a ground hog where people do remember the previous day. If people don’t remember, then the same events repeat continuously. If they do remember then it’s not really the same ground hog day the next day as people adapt to a changing environment. This is the basic question that needs to be addressed: do people remember or don’t they?

This question was closed a year after it was opened, and I didn't see the discussion until it was voted closed. It annoyed me a bit, but I was content to let it be closed, even though it seemed to me that those closing it didn't understand what I meant.

It's been closed now for over a year, but it continues to get a lot of activity and comment. Every time it does, I see that 'too broad' label, and it gnaws at me. Obviously the scenario sparks readers' imaginations, so I've finally edited it. I can edit it further if the question is still considered too broad.

I'm interested in seeing what answers people will come up with. At the moment, they can't answer, and so they simply upvote it.

What do you think? Can we reopen this?


  • $\begingroup$ I think it'd be out of my n00by depth to actually answer this, but "my gut tells me" YES. ;) $\endgroup$
    – N. Presley
    Nov 25, 2017 at 2:04
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ JBH says: This question has been nominated for reopening. Fascinating as it is, it is still too broad. All governments? All societies? All people? From the individual who robs a bank to the government who launches a nuke "just to see what it's like?" This is "The Purge," forever, and my gut reaction is that you can't make this question narrow enough to be reopened. Any reasonable answer would be a book (your book, actually) and writing your book for you is off-topic $\endgroup$
    – IchabodE
    Nov 25, 2017 at 4:03
  • $\begingroup$ @JBH This is not 'The Purge', because tomorrow the neighbor you killed is back from the dead and looking for revenge. I tend to think this would have an equalizing effect, but that's not the question. Pick one strawman government. And 'people' in general, not all individuals. I'm not interested in having people write my book, or even generate ideas for me. I want an idea of what people would consider plausible without giving too much of my story away. $\endgroup$
    – IchabodE
    Nov 25, 2017 at 4:07
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    $\begingroup$ The revision history for the question remains, and is available to anyone who can view the question. The one exception is if you make multiple edits within the five-minute grace period, as those are rolled into a single edit in the revision history. You don't really need to "preserve" any part of your question here, but to the extent that existing content illustrates your reasoning, it's often reasonable to include it. Do note though that arguing whether the question is too broad or not isn't really what the question is meant to do; in such cases, it's often beter to bring it up on Meta. $\endgroup$
    – user
    Nov 25, 2017 at 12:19

1 Answer 1


Why did site participants after so long put your question on hold?

  • The Stack Exchange structure is one-question/one-answer. It was never intended to be a forum discussion. Please be clear about this: this is not a forum for discussion or debate. In an ideal world, a well-structured question can be answered briefly, definitively, and with supporting references.

  • Old questions are reviewed as the rules of this (and all other Stack Exchange sites) are created or modified to make the site as valuable and highly participatory as possible. To that end, old questions that are no longer on-topic (if they ever were) are closed to keep new participants from using them to justify asking what today is (or always was) a poorly constructed question. This actually happens and due to limited resources and the natural imperfection of humanity, site participants sometimes require time to close/open questions.

  • Popularity is not an indicator of a good question or answer. It is only an indicator that a question/answer is of high interest. Popularity is not and cannot be taken into account when closing or opening questions because the purpose of closing/opening is to encourage asking high quality questions and providing high quality answers (both in form and in purpose).


Why was this question closed and why is it likely to remain closed?

I cannot answer on behalf of those who voted to close your question. But I can answer on my own behalf, because I would have voted to close it myself.

  1. The question is too broad.

  2. The question is primarily opinion-based.


Too Broad

This question asks for an encyclopedic answer. It's asking for the responses (moral, amoral, and immoral) of every human being, every community, every organization, and every nation on earth. Answers would be (and were) very long, which (as described above) is not the intent of this site.

Long questions with long answers are difficult for many people to digest. Please don't point to your question's popularity and suggest that I'm wrong. Your question could have easily had 100K visits had people not been forced to spend at least 30-60 minutes reading through everything. Avoiding this situation is the reason one of the justifications for closing a question is that it is "too broad."

Primarily Opinion-Based

Remember what I said earlier, a quality question is one that can be answered briefly, definitively, and with supporting references.

There is no historical incident, scientific theory, or sociological analysis anyone can draw from to give your question as-written an authoritative answer.

And that's the difference between a primarily opinion-based question (no supporting basis at all, we're just offering a pull-it-out-of-the-air opinion) and a good question that draws from the authoritative experience of our site participants to provide an answer.

"But wait!" you might say. "Isn't every question about the effects of magic on a society utterly without everything you just mentioned?"

Yes they are! And that's why we expect those questions to explain in detail the world's rules and limitations. When provided, those rules and limitations allow site participants to provide opinions that are based on the logical structure of the world (hence, "worldbuilding"). The question becomes practical.

Your question has fundamentally no limits. In fact, it went out of its way to avoid basically all limits. There is no structure. How would everybody react? Each according to the dictates of their own morality, ethics, and conscience. I might be able to answer your question on my own behalf, but I doubt anyone knows even their neighbor well enough to answer it on their behalf... much less on behalf of nations.


What do I recommend that you do?

Absolutely nothing. If you start changing your question to try and make it reopenable you seriously risk invalidating all those answers, making the situation infinitely worse. Remember, the purpose of closing a question a long time after it was answered is to stop today's OPs from using it to justify their own question. It's a site-usage quality control issue, not a judgement against the topic of or interest in your question.


In Conclusion

As I said in my post, the question is fascinating — but it's also well outside the limits deemed necessary by the "powers that be" to be practical for this site. As I also said in my comment, the only definitive answer would be the size of a book — your book, and the purpose of this site is not to write your book for you.

Finally, before you give in to temptation and start arguing with me about this, please note that I have stood in your shoes. I've complained to the "powers that be" that their rules stink and their treatment of me was unfair. But, over time, I've come to appreciate that they've done a great job of trying to use a service to meet the needs of a very imaginative and creative crowd. My hat's off to them for the quality of their effort. If you peek around in Meta, you'll find that I'm still working with the "powers that be" to better understand what they're doing and why, only now I'm not doing it because I think their treatment of me is unfair — I'm doing it because I want to help people make this the most useful site possible.

And I'm not alone in this. This post was recently created to help OPs better understand how to write a high quality question. I'm referring participants to it more and more.

The simple truth is, the site cannot be all things to all people. Regrettably, your question fell outside the coloring book lines, and we don't want future OPs pointing at your question and saying "he was allowed to do it, why can't I?"

My recommendation is that you (like I had to) salve your wounded pride, come to understand why the site acts the way it does, and work to help others meet those expectations.

And don't think for a moment that I'm not looking forward to your next fascinating question.

  • $\begingroup$ It really isn't pride that made me ask for a reopen. I went 18 months before giving in and editing. I'm aware of, and respect the guidelines. If the community's answer is still no, I will bother you no further. But, I feel that there is structure. You have 24 hours, after which everything you do, or write down, is reset. I've given examples of what individuals might do, then I asked that people refrain from giving me more such examples. You even ignore that in your condemnation. I only want what a government will do within these strictures to maintain control. A specific question. $\endgroup$
    – IchabodE
    Nov 25, 2017 at 9:05
  • $\begingroup$ @jbh If you read the question again you will see that they are specifically asking for the actions of a government. $\endgroup$ Nov 25, 2017 at 14:06

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