The question of interest is here: All Else Equal, would certain human types be better suited for living in an Ice Age?

I'm not trying to be a poor sport or anything. In the past, I have had several questions closed and I accepted those outcomes. Basically, I could agree that in retrospect those questions were too broad or too story based. However in this case, I'm confused about why it was closed. By learning from my answers that were closed in the past, I really put a lot of effort into proactively narrowing the scope by including the following:

  • setting, technology level, climate and other scenario clarifications
  • assumptions of the question
  • Handicaps
  • Victory condition
  • scope, (only interested in physical traits, not technology)
  • simplifications, I also included a simplification clause, if users think my technology assumptions are too complicated, I said just ignore technology altogether, as it's being held constant and I'm only interested in physical traits
  • disclaimer section 1, to narrow the scope and equalize the playing field by giving each group the same culture/technology (which is necessary to scientifically examine the impact of only physical traits)
  • disclaimer section 2, to narrow the scope from all ethnicities to 4 distinct human types (each group admittedly has different amounts of genetic variation)

Moreover, in my opinion "Human Types best suited for living in an ice age" is not too broad. I have a clear Question section that asks for something explicit:

"would these human types have the same chances of survival, all else held equal?"

I then added a tag-on question: "what traits would be useful, what traits would get in the way?" Lastly, I had a side question section, but I made clear that was optional.

Given the definition of too broad:

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question.

I could be guilty of asking multiple questions in this post, but I wouldn't say they are multiple distinct questions. In fact, to answer my question within the scope, you would almost have to say something about traits. That's why I view the tag-on question as harmless.

I will concede it is a lengthy post. I'm not sure if everyone took the time to read through all of it. I did try to use boldface to emphasize the important parts like the question and assumptions, so that people could skim through effectively. However, it's long for a reason I guess. All that information is there to help narrow the scope, precisely to safe-guard from being categorized as too-broad. So most of the post is not a story-build up, it is a post mainly of clarifications.

Although the question itself is not broad, I will also concede that the field of study and knowledge base needed to answer it is broad. For example, you would have to know a bit about: archaeology, anthropology, evolution, geology and maybe even sociology to give a good science-based answer. But as far as I know, that's not against the rules. In some sense, that's why we are all here, to tap into the community's knowledge resources for questions we can't answer ourselves.

I was at least able to tap the knowledge resources here briefly; I got a few interesting answers. Then I noticed there were some close votes. There were only 3 close votes, it said 22 more needed to close. So I thought, that's normal. Usually when my question is seriously being consider for closure, the OP is made aware and has some lead-time to make adjustments. A bit later, my question was actually closed and there was no warning/citing of what about it is too broad. So that kind of added to the confusion.

So long story short, I think there is a way to pose the question:

"would these human types have the same chances of survival, all else held equal?"

Yeah, I really believe there is a way to pose it so that it meets the requirements for questions here. I thought by including simplifications, assumptions, disclaimers, victory conditions and other clarifications that my OP was very close if not on the mark. Not to toot my own horn, but I feel I posed the question well, with enough articulation so as not to be broad. Unfortunately, that's not how the community saw things. I would make some edits to try to clear things up, but I'm literally out of ideas. Perhaps my brain is on a different wave-length and others don't follow my logic, but to me at least, it is very clear as is. I don't think I can spell it out any more without sounding strange.

What more could I have done?

  • 9
    $\begingroup$ Regardless of the outcome of this, thank you for trying to improve. For that alone, I'm upvoting this question. $\endgroup$
    – Frostfyre
    Mar 10, 2018 at 6:18

1 Answer 1


Personally, I find it disappointing that we still have the problem of not leaving commentary when voting to close. I will attempt to be clear about what I find problematic about the question. Note that I did not vote to close, but neither did I vote to leave open when presented the question in the review queue.

I believe you identified the core problem in this question: there's too much ground to cover. The too broad close reason indicates that we need "enough detail to identify an adequate answer." In this case, an adequate answer would need to provide the reasoning for why one group of peoples is better than another.

To do this, an answer would need to explore the adaptations that made each race superior in its environment, then examine how each would fare in a foreign environment and, finally, rank the "thrivability" of the disparate races. But now we need to define -- and explain -- a "thrivability" metric, and that has its own issues.

In short, an answer that satisfies both the question and the needs of the community to explain, rather than tell, means answers would be too long/complex than is intended for the Stack Exchange format. One could easily write an entire book to answer this question. This is one of the red flags for a question being too broad.

  • $\begingroup$ ok now it make more sense. Thanks for taking the time to walk me through things. I still tend to think how they fared in their original environments is out of scope. Maybe if I had a clearer stipulation that says we evaluate each type's traits "as is", in a vacuum. Maybe that would help? It would have the adverse effect of taking away from the scientific robustness. Still, could be easily considered science-based. At least I have a direction now, that's good. $\endgroup$ Mar 10, 2018 at 6:42
  • $\begingroup$ Sometimes it is the quality of an answer to reduce a problem that to most might seem like requiring a verbose exploration of possibility, to a relatively simple and insightful probable solution, closing good questions removes even the possibility of worldbuilding attracting good answers to interesting questions, and instead aims for the lowest ordinal. $\endgroup$
    – Giu Piete
    Dec 2, 2018 at 15:49

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