I have to admit, I've been here a month now and I still have absolutely no clue what most of y'all's goals are in patrolling posts.

My first question was closed for being too open-ended and multifaceted (too broad). Okay, lesson learned. Just stick to the facts and the (narrow) info you want.

My second question gave only the bare minimum amount of setting information to garner what I hoped might be a useful answer or answers, stuck to the facts and only asked a single question. Rather than answer the question or downvote for it being a bad question, a few high-medal individuals took the tack of trying to poke holes in my intentionally bare-bones description of the premise, while at the same time voting to close on Opinion-based.

While I have finally started to receive useful ideas in my second post, I'm left wondering just how many bars for entry there are and whether they're mutually-exclusive. In this vein, I have a few questions:

  1. Do tags play a part in your focus or how harshly you judge a question or change the rules with which posters should abide?
  2. Does wanting a reality-based answer require that the answerer like and agree with the premise before coming up with a logical/realistic consequence based on said premise?
  3. How much detail is too much and how much is not enough? Is there any buffer room?
  4. Is voting to close just the way you show you love someone in this forum?
  • 9
    $\begingroup$ Especially in relation to your point on how much detail is too little or too much, you might be interested in How to write the perfect question, which has some advice specific to Worldbuilding SE (and it goes much more in depth than How do I ask a good question? in the help center, which you should also eye through if you haven't already). Not all of it is going to apply to every single question, but most of it is sufficiently broad advice to be applicable to most questions. $\endgroup$
    – user
    Mar 13, 2018 at 22:46

1 Answer 1

  1. Normally not. There is an exception however: requires that you cite sources and have equations and stuff like that. It's a sort of meta-tag, something StackExchange in general doesn't like and it plays a special role here. If you look on Meta you will find lots of discussions about this tag and the therefore somewhat hidden requirements with this one tag. Other than that tags lead how people perceive questions: if you use magic you will likely not receive a lot of equations in answers and if you put science-based answers that say "Use magic!" will likely be deleted. But in general tags do not define what a question or answer is about - they give a way for users to filter out topics they like/not like. What the OP says in the question body is what is important.
  2. The answerer doesn't have to like your premise, but he has to accept the premise. There are so-called frame-challenge answers that try to give the answer the OP needs instead of the one that he wants, but they need to be well-executed to work. But when it comes to reality-based you explicitly want people to point out problems that arise from not saying "It's magic", so you should expect answers that say "This won't work - here's why:".
  3. That... is completely random. After quite some time on the site it depends a lot on the question and your style of writing. Look at my questions: they are long, because I always simply write that way. There are people and questions who only need three sentences for a perfectly valid and useful question and there are people and questions that need at least a page to work. The only guideline I can give you is: "A question is not perfect when you can't add anything - it's perfect when you can't remove anything!"
  4. You will find even more posts about voting to close on Meta than about hard-science. It's a very difficult topic, especially on WorldBuilding. My take on it: we should temporarily put a question on hold (and that is my preferred way of phrasing it) as soon as possible and help the OP to formulate a question that will receive useful answers that fit the guidelines. We also regularly have a problem with highly opinion-based questions making it to the Hot Network Questions and attracting lots of people from other sites who suddenly think that "What if...?" questions are on-topic - they are not. And we don't want this problem to become more severe, so putting questions on hold fast is a good thing. A question that is on hold and gets edited automatically is put into a special reopen review queue where people judge whether the edits were sufficient. Put on hold fast - reopen fast. That would be ideal in my opinion. Only after a week without edits a question is really closed - but the button says "close" at the start and this leads people to believe a question on hold is basically "dead", which is why I prefer "on hold".

Another tip: We have a Sandbox! You can test your drafts there and you can get feedback before posting on the site. Especially when you are not sure it's a nice way to get a bit of feedback first or to work on your draft and ask for help with that. You can also ask in the chat.

If you already posted the question on the main site and don't understand the comments or people are not leaving enough comments feel free to come to the chat and ask for quick feedback or post on Meta about it. That should give some insights and people who are active in the chat and on Meta will likely be able to guide you or help you by voting - sometimes it takes a few rounds of "putting on hold" and "reopening" before the final decision is done and like I've said: it's a normal topic on Meta and we've had plenty of discussion about it and will always have it. Guidelines sometimes slightly change, people change, patterns change, ... There are no easy and hard rules on VTCing and therefore we should embrace this topic as a community as best as we can.

There are some bars and it takes some time to get used to the site, but the goals are not mutually exclusive. Just different for each question...

It also happens to basically everyone who has asked a few questions on the site. It's pretty normal, even if that sounds weird.


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