The question is Help me to convince my son that Santa Claus exists, scientifically. That question was put on hold as too broad.

That question seems straightforward.

  • The manner in which it was asked could be argued by purists that it is off-topic, but it could very easily be made on-topic by said purist just by altering the way it is asked.

  • The question reminded me a lot of Santa's broke. How much does it cost for someone else to be Santa?. In fact, that question also asked multiple questions in one. It more cleverly crafted the overall question to make it all sound like one question, but there are multiple in there. The question at stake here is likewise one primary question for which you need to consider multiple points.

  • The question already has one good answer, though I think we can do better.

  • There is an answer-in-comments which, if it were allowed to be posted as a full answer, would make for a great answer that would actually solve OP's issue in a way that would reduce or eliminate the lying.

  • The asker stated that they thought the question might be off topic, but again, it only is because of the manner in which it was worded. The question itself fits well with the style of many other well received questions on WorldBuilding, excepting the specific wording used.

  • It would be nice if someone who thought it was too broad would at least try to point the asker in the right direction to fixing it up. Please leave a comment with constructive criticism that would allow the question to be fixed up and re-opened.

So is that question really too broad? And, if it is, what do you want to see adjusted for the on-hold to be removed?

For the record, I strongly disagree with what that parent is doing, lying to their kids about Santa. I have told mine the truth from the beginning. But I know that lying to your children is the norm in this situation, at least in the U.S., and that I am in the minority.

  • $\begingroup$ For starters it's asking 5 enumerated questions. Questions on this site need to be specific. This question wasn't. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Dec 22, 2017 at 18:55
  • $\begingroup$ @sphennings Should all questions which ask for sub-points to be considered be put on hold as too broad? We would need to hold a boatload of questions, even recent ones, which received much positive attention and good answers. The root question is essentially "What is the scientific evidence that supports the existence and activities of Santa?" And the enumerated questions are points to consider. Would that question be better if the enumerated points were removed and only the root question remained? That would technically satisfy what you said, but the question would be lower quality. $\endgroup$
    – Aaron
    Dec 22, 2017 at 19:03
  • $\begingroup$ Well received questions just mean that people like the question not necessarily that the question is a good fit for this site. The questions is asking "How does santa do a, b, ... , z?" all these are relatively unrelated questions. When you have list questions like this you can have answers that do a good job of answering question A and a poor job of answering question B, should I upvote or downvote that question? A better solution would be to ask separate questions for each activity. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Dec 22, 2017 at 19:08
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ If you see questions you think are too broad please flag them so that they can be closed. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Dec 22, 2017 at 19:08
  • $\begingroup$ @sphennings The OP's point is clear: "It would be nice if someone who thought it was too broad would at least try to point the asker in the right direction to fixing it up. Please leave a comment with constructive criticism that would allow the question to be fixed up and re-opened." Anyone can close a question. Few follow the rules of review here and try to improve questions. Without improvement, WB SE won't become better. $\endgroup$
    – a4android
    Dec 23, 2017 at 11:24

2 Answers 2


Too many questions = too broad

And I quote from the version that I saw:

  • How can Santa have enough time to deliver toys to everyone?
  • How can Santa answer all the children? Does he know all the languages in the world?
  • How will Santa leave presents if there is no chimney?
  • How can Santa know where to deliver, if we are not at home, and instead at grandparents' house?
  • How can he eat all stuff that we offer him? (I don't know if it's the same everywhere, but we offer some food to Santa during the night, and in the morning, the food has disappeared.)

An appropriately scoped question might be:

How can I scientifically explain how Santa has enough time to deliver toys to everyone?

Of course that has its own problems, since its already been determined that with the best traveling salesman algorithm around, Santa has to be moving on the order of 10,000 km/s (1/20th the speed of light!) to hit 2 billion households on Earth in one night.

So really, the question can't be answered, since there is no scientific way that Santa could do that, so that's just another reason to close it.


I voted to close this question as too broad. My main reason for this was that each of the questions the parent is asking is a good question of its own.

If the OP decides to break his original question into 5 different questions I will vote for them to be closed as off-topic. While the questions would be not too broad and maybe even answerable with some magic or handwaving, the author clearly states that he is not building a world, but is looking for a way to explain Santa to his son. If the very same questions are asked in a different context, I might not consider them to be off-topic.

As for Santa's broke. How much does it cost for someone else to be Santa?, I think that it is a fitting question for this site. The OP here asks a specific question about yearly operational costs.

I have some doubts whether this question is on topic or not. However, given that the OP presents us with a fictional world where Santa actually exists and goes bankrupt, I am more willing to treat it as a suitable question for Worldbuilding.

  • $\begingroup$ Devising a scientific explanation for Santa is the equivalent of worldbuilding. After all, a scientifically explained Santa could just as easily be part of a world where Santa was real. Worldbuilding and an explanation that can be used to build a world aren't very difficult. Perhaps you are being a tint bit too much the purist in your approach. While hairsplitting logic has it's place, sometimes it's better misplaced. $\endgroup$
    – a4android
    Dec 23, 2017 at 11:19
  • $\begingroup$ @a4android, Santa questions can be a part of worldbuilding. There is no argument here. However, this is not the case with a father trying to explain Santa to his child. $\endgroup$
    – Olga
    Dec 23, 2017 at 17:09
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ We are not exactly in disagreement. It's how we see the equivalence of what is being done. Daddy is flibbing to his son be building a world with scientific Santa as his way to tell the lie. The frame is deceptive. Take it away & the question is pure worldbuilding. Season's greetings from the other side of the planet. $\endgroup$
    – a4android
    Dec 24, 2017 at 1:50

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