Relating to this question but also based on observations with other questions about non-heterosexuality.

Our site appears to have a problem with allowing questions about sexuality to remain open. And now that I think about it, I probably can broaden the issue to any question about any sexuality. Am I suggesting that we should open our doors to explicit questions? No, I'm not. People of all ages and opinions visit here and decorum isn't a bad thing (I consider it more mature than speaking explicitly about anything).

But we frequently close the questions, often before enough answers have rolled in to provide the OP with the expression of views needed to make a good decision.

The linked question is a great example. Even with Cort Ammon pointing out that the question was very much a good example of the A proposal to finalize the “are real world questions on-topic” debate discussion, the question was actually closed twice.

I'm willing to grant that any discussion involving homosexuality (or any other aspect of the LGBT community) is a political hot potato. It takes stamina to proffer an answer because, guaranteed, there will be people who disagree (or outright hate) the answer — and it doesn't matter which "side" you take.

But that very fact is why such questions should be permissible. Sci-Fi and Fantasy are often the vanguard for discussing socially sensitive issues (possibly because cloaking the discussion in so much fiction "lessens the blow"). We should be supporting it, not rejecting it.

Now, I understand that the question is asking about real world facts and appreciate TCAT117 posting that he felt the matter was easily resolved with simple research. But I'd like to point out...

  • That the moderators are proposing that real-world questions be on-topic.
  • And that, in this specific instance, the real-world statistics are open to enormous interpretation.

As it stands, the question is missing the balancing answers to those that basically reflect my own. That's a tremendous disservice to the OP.

I would like to recommend that the question be reopened, and if it's possible, to have its ability to be closed locked out. As I posted on the real-world question discussion, I'm in favor of real-world questions being on-topic. Honestly, if you don't want to answer a question — skip it. There should only be two reasons (overall) to close/hold any question.

  1. The question requires clarification before too many answers come in to improve the quality of the answers.
  2. The question adds nothing to the value of the site or, worse, is a distraction from the value of the site.

In this case, I have my suspicions that the question was closed because people didn't want a question about homosexuality on the site. (I hope I'm wrong.)

  • 14
    $\begingroup$ Aside from your title, and the implication in your last paragraph, I don't see anything to suggest that the site has a bias against non-heterosexual questions. Don't get me wrong, if there is such a bias, by all means you should bring it to people's attention, but it's awfully flimsy to conclude that the bias exists just based on one question, and in particular this question. $\endgroup$
    – David Z
    Jun 6, 2018 at 5:31
  • 13
    $\begingroup$ -1 — the only example you cited is either real world question without any world building context or, as Monica says below, unclear. And yes, we do have bias against these two, and we should have. With only one sample, and one that does not prove your point in any way, declaring bias has no basis. $\endgroup$
    – Mołot
    Jun 6, 2018 at 8:02
  • $\begingroup$ I feel it's a terrible question, lacking in research relating to more or less accepting societies and heavily anchored in our current Western gender/sexuality politics, but perhaps it should be re-opened to allow a decent answer explaining this and quite how heavily even the statistics being asked for are based on modern Western culture and attitudes. $\endgroup$
    – Separatrix
    Jun 6, 2018 at 13:31
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Separatrix Deserves a comment at most to explain what needs to be done to narrow the scope of the question, not a full answer. $\endgroup$
    – AndyD273
    Jun 6, 2018 at 17:28
  • $\begingroup$ I observed in several other questions that some WBers do have problems in dealing with questions about alternative sexualities, both biological & gender-based. However, it doesn't take many to close or downvote questions they can't handle. $\endgroup$
    – a4android
    Jun 7, 2018 at 6:28
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @AndyD273, looking over it a couple more times, I don't think it can be salvaged, though AlexP gives most of the closest to a correct answer that's possible below here. $\endgroup$
    – Separatrix
    Jun 7, 2018 at 11:29
  • $\begingroup$ @a4android I don't think there is such a bias, but in this case the problem I see is that the OP needs to do basic research to find statistics that many governments, agencies and charities have available. WB is not here to do such basic research for people. I also find it extremely annoying when someone complains about an alleged bias against a group as a reaction to people not being willing to do what they want. If the OP spent as long looking for the stats they want as they did typing the complaint, they'd have done the job. $\endgroup$ Jun 12, 2018 at 15:38
  • $\begingroup$ @StephenG, wait a minute... All Civil Rights law and litigation involves someone complaining about an alleged bias against a group as a reaction to people not being willing to do what they want. And for the record, I am the op of this question but I am NOT the OP of the linked question. Please do your basic research, kiddo. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Jun 12, 2018 at 15:48
  • $\begingroup$ @StephenG I said some WBers show bias. Guess what? In a group as diverse there will always be a few biased people. It's human nature. My comment was based on observations. There are a lot of questions about sexuality that are received well here. It's not universal. I also expect there will be people who come here who don't know how or where to start their research. They deserve being helped too. Why bother at getting "extremely annoyed"? It doesn't do anyone any good. Least of all, yourself. $\endgroup$
    – a4android
    Jun 13, 2018 at 12:30
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Note that, if a question should be closed, closing it before it gets answered is often a good thing. Closing a question (usually) isn't saying that it's a bad question, but often that we're not best equipped to answer it (for some reason or another) $\endgroup$ Jun 15, 2018 at 20:10
  • $\begingroup$ Stack Exchange IS SPECIFICALLY NOT for discussion. Unless WB is going to hound answers like Skeptics does, we're going to get a bunch of garbage along with simple empirical facts. Like the actual answer, buried in a bunch of garbage: "Perceptually, accounting only for what people claim based on their own perceptions of themselves, non-heterosexuality is about 4% of the population." - that's all there is to say; the rest is soapboxing or just plain irrelevant. $\endgroup$
    – Mazura
    Jun 21, 2018 at 6:06

4 Answers 4


I didn't participate on the question (until just now when I commented). I would have closed it as unclear, not off-topic, pending an edit that provides cultural and perhaps temporal context. I would expect the ratio of people who will identify -- that is, would say if asked -- as LGBTQ to be very different in medieval England, modern-day California, modern-day Iran, and the Mars colony in 200 years. My (hypothetical) close vote has nothing to do with the content; it's about the lack of specificity.

The meta post on real-world questions includes this:

With all that said we still have to have expectations and standards, it can't just be a free for all.

Considerations when asking a question relating to the real world:

  • Provide context. Giving other users context around why you are asking the question allows them to better understand why you are asking and what kind of answer you want.
  • Attempt to do your own research. If a quick google search will answer your question it may not be worth posting a question on the site. Generally, querents are expected to demonstrate what has been tried and why it was not sufficient or did not work. This too helps people answering understand what you are trying to accomplish as well as your level of knowledge on the topic.
  • Define your requirements and by what you will judge answers.

Questions that fail to adequately meet these requirements may be placed on hold even if they are not, "off-topic."

I believe the question you cite could be edited to address these issues and be reopened.

  • 5
    $\begingroup$ Agreed, to me its nothing to do with the subject matter and more to do with the fact that I can quickly google what percentage of the population identifies to a certain preference. $\endgroup$
    – James
    Jun 6, 2018 at 16:19
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I also would not have closed it as off-topic; instead I'd have put POB since it's completely up to the author of the story to change those ratios as required based on unprovided information. $\endgroup$
    – Aify
    Jun 7, 2018 at 22:13

While the proposed topic is indeed important, it is unfortunate that the question given as an example is a bad example.

  • "I had an idea involving a society where LGBTQ individuals are more accepted than in our own world."

    There is no such thing as an LGBTQ individual. By definition if somebody is L they cannot be G; T people are grouped with L, G and B people only because they are different from the conformant masses; and I have no idea what a Q is. (I know what words Q stands for; AFAIK there is no universally accepted description.)

  • "I heard somewhere that somewhere around 90% of people qualify as heterosexual, how accurate is this"

    This is extremely strongly dependent on culture and time period; for example:

    • For many centuries in the classical world all men were socially presumed to be at least a little G or B, with a dash of what we would today call P thrown in; a purely H man would have been perceived as not fully normal.

    • The degree of acceptance of G or B men may be very different from the degree of acceptance of B or God forbid L women, as was the case in the same classical world.

    It's quite simple: if the society rigidly enforces H, then the number of L, G, and B people is vanishingly small, and of course nobody is T; if the society is liberal and hedonistic then nobody identifies as anything, because there is no need; the entire question makes senses only for a half-liberated society like ours, where being more or less than H is perceived as out of the ordinary and vaguely titillating.

  • "How would the LGBTQ individuals be divided up"

    In any way the author pleases. Since the five letters do not designate an organic grouping there is no natural way to assign proportions. In particular, T can cover a very wide gamut of realities, from part-time role-playing to elaborate artificial modifications; some people can be both T and L, G or B. The boundary between H, B, and L or G is ill-defined; a society may believe that two men kissing makes them G where another society would need a lot more than that in order to begin to move them out of H.

As asked, the question is simply bad and uninteresting. I did not comment or answer because I felt that the effort required to salvage it would exceed any benefits. However, seeing the question quoted as an example given to sustain a suggestion that the community is somehow uninterested in fictional sexualities ticked me.

Had the question been formulated in such a way as to propose a specific social make-up, and ask whether the proposed society and culture is plausible, it would have been much more interesting, and it would have been neither criticised nor closed.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I disagree with your first point (there is an implicit OR in the term), but I strongly agree with the two following ones. I wish I could give a 0,667 vote up. $\endgroup$ Jun 6, 2018 at 12:50
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Renan: The problem with the implicit or is that it creates meaningless groups. It's like speaking of PMB (pedestrians or motorcyclists or bicyclists) travellers: they don't have much in common other than that they are not motorists. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Jun 6, 2018 at 13:42
  • $\begingroup$ @Renan The other problem with that implicit or is that, at least in my experience, most of the individuals who might be categorised under one of those letters can usually be categorised on equally strong grounds under more than one. $\endgroup$
    – Ash
    Jun 6, 2018 at 18:27

There are quite a few sex and gender questions if you actually bothered to search for them.
There are also a lot of closed questions along those lines, but those are by and large not about world building.
Just like the question you are asking about.

Weirdly if you look for questions on just about any subject you'll find a lot of closed questions. This isn't because of bias, but because by and large a lot of people aren't great at asking questions, and we have a lot of users that think that "bad" questions should be closed in order to keep quality up.

The difference between your example and other topics is that yours is "political" and a hot button topic so that anyone that thinks it should be closed must be biased or phobic. It couldn't possibly be because it's a flawed question that needs a lot of work.

Maybe if they had put it in the sandbox first it could have been fixed up to avoid this issue.

As is the question falls under opinion-based and too-broad. It can probably be fixed, but it does need work.

  • $\begingroup$ I did, "quite a few" searching for "homosexual" is:question results in 8 including the linked question with it and another (oddly, one of my earliest questions) being closed. Did you broaden the search to get more than 8? $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Jun 7, 2018 at 1:00

I did my part of random searches to see percentages of closed questions. If anything, results shows bias against heterosexual and plants. And closure ratio on homosexual is lower than total closure ratio on site, overall. So if it's a bias, then it is a bias in favor of "homosexual" keyword. Either that, or we simply do not have enough data.

  1. Homosexual: 9 asked, 2 closed, 22% closure ratio
  2. Rocket: 216 asked, 39 closed, 18% closure ratio
  3. Heterosexual: 2 asked, 1 closed, 50% closure ratio
  4. Cake: 19 asked, 5 closed, 26% closure ratio
  5. Gravity + bones: 19 asked, 5 closed, 26% closure ratio
  6. Planetary ring: 35 asked, 3 closed, 9% closure ratio
  7. Pollen: 17 asked, 5 closed, 29% closure ratio

All questions on the site: 16,719 asked, 4,041 closed, 24% closure ratio.

  • $\begingroup$ Do I understand your comment correctly? I'm not a believer in widespread homosexuality (I'm not even convinced homosexuality is real, I'm just willing to let bygones be bygones), but I am defending the right to keep questions about homosexuality open. How does that make me elitist? $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Jun 12, 2018 at 15:51
  • $\begingroup$ Ooops... your comment just disappeared. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Jun 12, 2018 at 15:52
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ @JBH fighting with discrimination or "bias against" when there is no such things is elitist. Keeping questions about homosexuality open because they are about homosexuality is wrong and something that should be despised. Closure rates shows that they are closed similarly to every other topic, so you are not fighting for equality. Equality is what we have. You are fighting for them to be elite. And that is wrong. $\endgroup$
    – Mołot
    Jun 12, 2018 at 15:55
  • $\begingroup$ @JBH My previous comment disappeared because I felt I needed to rephrase. You commented before I did so. Anyway, all I meant is above. $\endgroup$
    – Mołot
    Jun 12, 2018 at 16:11
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ The stats clearly show that we are heterophobic. No seriously, the number of entry is too low to have statistical significance. $\endgroup$
    – Vincent
    Jun 12, 2018 at 22:56
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @Vincent that's my point: both homosexual and heterosexual questions are so rare that closure rates are not statistically significant. If anything, both are ± one question from (statistically significant) overall site closure rate. So we don't have any proof of anything, but a very strong clue that things are simply normal. $\endgroup$
    – Mołot
    Jun 13, 2018 at 9:03
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ +1. With only a 2% higher than average closure rate on cake, that should tell you something about what goes on here at WB and how exceedingly offtopic you have to be to actually get slammed. $\endgroup$
    – Mazura
    Jun 21, 2018 at 5:53

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