Santa's broke. How much does it cost for someone else to be Santa?

I fail to understand what's worldbuilding in it. There could be some worldbuilding, but I just can't understand. It seems like a question that we regularly close as "story-based" or "off-topic".

(I think this is relevant) The author is a mod, so if this kind of question is allowed, I think users (especially new) might point to this question as an example that this kind of question is allowed.

So, what makes this question not too story based and off topic?


1 Answer 1


I'm the one who posted the question. I spent a fair bit of time looking through other questions (yes, we have a tag for that!) to try to make it as on-topic/objective as possible. Maybe I succeeded, maybe I didn't. I don't know. I'll leave it for you all to decide.

At its heart, my question's asking for help for calculating a certain parameter in my world. My world, in this case, is the setting for a short story where a billionaire either finances Santa's operations or is revealed to have been Santa for many years (spoiler!) - I'm not sure yet which. The point is, I need a good estimate of the financial capital Santa needs to survive each year; hence, my question.

I could compare the question to certain other hypothetical questions that I suspect you might find more palatable:

  • What is the habitable zone around my star, and can my planet support life in it?
  • How many people can my hydroponic towers grow food for?
  • Can my floating city support one million citizens?

. . . and so on and so forth. Do these questions sound a bit more like worldbuilding? And yet they, like my Santa question, are all just asking for help determining a certain parameter.

I don't particular see how the question could be story-based. I'm not asking people to create various strategies for Santa to cut funds, or for what he should do to reduce labor costs, or whether he should give naughty people coal or pyrite. I'm not asking for help determining what actions Santa should take, which would be the hallmark of a story-based question.

Anyway, that's been my reasoning as to why my question's on-topic. I'll leave the community to decide.

As a side note, here are some other parameter-based Santa calculation questions we've had over the years, which I list here as examples of good questions:

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    $\begingroup$ You know I was wondering about this myself...this is actually a really solid argument...impressive. $\endgroup$
    – James
    Commented Dec 22, 2017 at 17:14

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