I think we have a problem that everyone's talking about. I don't know when the breaking point was: I'm new. But I've seen it over and over. A new user posts their first thread, an off-topic/POB/unclear/badly formatted post . . . and it gets put on hold. People say "it's not worldbuilding, you need to edit it because right now it's _____. It's too easily answerable because____." And then a lot of people don't leave a comment. I've seen a slew of meta discussions about this (pleasee read if you have the time). Here's a few examples:

How to control the magical elements ... of vagueness

This one was rather polarizing. I'm not sure how I feel about this thread, since it was based on one of my questions.

Enough is enough. NOBODY can obey rules that are only in someone's head

A Little negativity going on here? Downvotes and vote to close

Are we bashing users over the head with rules?

Can we better welcome this first-time poster?

But I think the most important part to remember is our "Be Honest" policy. Here's an excerpt:

"Above all, be honest. If you see misinformation, vote it down. Add comments indicating what, specifically, is wrong. Provide better answers of your own. Last but not least, edit and improve the existing questions and answers! By doing these things, you are helping keep Stack Exchange a great place to share knowledge of our craft.

We need to be more welcoming. Downvotes are okay. Immediate VTC's are not. If you're going to VTC, leave a comprehensive comment, detailing NOT only what is wrong but specifically how to fix it. Or just leave a comment and then wait 24-48 hours until you VTC. Stop confusing and turning away new users. Don't just tell them what's wrong, tell them how to fix it.

How can we fix this? How do we make WorldBuilding StackExchange more welcoming, more open, and perhaps just a little slower? Should we not allow answers until the question has been reviewed and edited for 1-2 days? Put time limits on VTC's? More cleanly define what is "on topic/answerable?"

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    $\begingroup$ Immediate VTCs are both OK and essential as if we wait 48 hours the question picks up answers that are low quality due to the question being poorly written This then makes editing the question more awkward and the whole thing becomes more difficult. $\endgroup$ May 5, 2018 at 12:58
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    $\begingroup$ I indicate what to do to salvage a question when I think it is salvageable. Strictly off-topic questions aren't always salvageable. Questiond such as why some people in Japan hate some people in Taiwan or contraception in medieval times for example are not salvageable (they belong on polictics.se and hystory.se, respectively), so they don't merit muc in terms of comments. $\endgroup$ May 5, 2018 at 14:21
  • $\begingroup$ Your most recently closed question would be on topic on physics.se, but while it might not be closed, I doubt it would be received positively. $\endgroup$ May 5, 2018 at 14:22
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    $\begingroup$ If we allow answers while the question is still edited than the effort of the answerers will be wasted as their answers may be invalidated. Then their answers get downvoted or deleted because they were valid for the first question, but not for the final one. This is something we don't want, which is why "put on hold fast - reopen fast" is motto some of us (I for example) prefer. I am against the idea of making us deliberately slower. If anything we should be faster and clearer in our communication. Lack of clear (and sometimes friendly) communication is the "biggest" problem I see. $\endgroup$
    – Secespitus
    May 5, 2018 at 16:43
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    $\begingroup$ There's an argument for rewording the explanations for some of the voted to close reason, particularly the "too story based" one which is frankly not a meaningful expression to most people in my experience. $\endgroup$ May 6, 2018 at 18:07
  • $\begingroup$ See also Make “accepting an answer within 24 hours” a privilege. While it's a different question, a lot of the same kind of reasoning can probably be applied to both. $\endgroup$
    – user
    May 6, 2018 at 19:50
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    $\begingroup$ Fast VTCs have been debated for years on the site. I strongly favor fast VTCs -- indeed, I've advocated for every question to be "On Hold" when first posted because so many of our questions are confused messes when they first come out of a worldbuilder's head. If those messes start accumulating answers and then get cleaned up, it causes more confusion because answers don't match questions. We need to VTC fast and then assure people that being on hold isn't a disaster... it's how the system works when working right. $\endgroup$
    – SRM
    May 7, 2018 at 5:11

1 Answer 1


Up and downvoting is anonymous. It is recommended to comment on the post when downvoting and when voting to close (VTC) but it has never been mandatory. Furthermore, the community is strongly against making it mandatory.

Downvoting can be beneficial if it is justified, even if commenting is not required. This is how the site works, good content is upvoted and bad content is downvoted. That’s how the users know which answers are the best.

VTC: If a question has a problem, it is in the best interest of the community to close it early. We have to fix the problem before people start answering it.

Some examples:

  • If a question is too broad, it might result in answers that cover aspects that you are not interested in. You find that answers are too long and the people are missing the point. The answers end up being useless and everybody is just wasting their time.
  • If the question is off-topic, it will get closed anyway. Yet some people might try to answer it despite this. If we don’t close it, they might have answered for nothing.
  • If the question is unclear, we aren’t even sure what the question is. How are we supposed to know the answer?

I think you get the idea.

Solutions? I don’t have anything specific for the moment.

  • We encourage users to comment when they VTC, but we can only encourage and show by example.
  • I noticed that we have a problem with what is on topic on the site. There is room for improvement on that matter.
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    $\begingroup$ "I noticed that we have a problem with what is on topic on the site." This is always going to be a problem for WB. Always. Our border is fractal and gray -- that's not the same as subjective, but it can't be cleanly delineated with a simply stated rule. Those of us with VTC powers are aligned more often than not because there is an objective basis for the decisions. The fractal-gray is inherent in the nature of the topic of Worldbuilding, in my opinion. $\endgroup$
    – SRM
    May 7, 2018 at 5:16

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