Could a person scuba diving take off his air tank and use it to propel himself?

Why isn't this one closed as a story set in a world? In what way is it worldbuilding?

Please see related Should we finally allow reality checks of other plot elements? - answer was generally no (-7 score).

Questions by LameZeldaPun was generally closed for being plot elements checks, whilst this question stays open. Currently it looks like popularity of question (or user) dictates on/off topic in such cases, and that's not fair.

As for A proposal to finalize the "are real world questions on-topic" debate - being real world question should not automatically make it stays open. One close reason being not applicable should not prevent closing with another reason. These two are independent issues, even if they often appear together.

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    $\begingroup$ Very legitimate question, however I wonder: If I asked "In my world, scuba divers do X. Would it work?", would it be on-topic? I'm personally not the biggest fan of everything being on-topic, but I think given that this is the case now, one cannot really be pedantic and say: If you change 2 words that don't influence potential answers at all, this question becomes on-topic. If this is the case, something is going wrong $\endgroup$ – Raditz_35 Jun 21 '18 at 11:09
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    $\begingroup$ @Raditz_35 it would still be a reality check of a plot element, and as you can see it was really, really poorly received. On the other hand, question about pneumatic propulsion as something that is known in your world, not improvised, would be on-topic indeed. Imagine me asking "in my world, this is a common SQL problem" - would that be on topic? If not, why scuba one would be? And if yes, then this site is effectively "ask anything"... $\endgroup$ – Mołot Jun 21 '18 at 11:14
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    $\begingroup$ I asked a similar question in the discussion about everything being on topic (I think I deleted it because I wrote it on a smart phone which resulted in some language issues), the answer was: Yes. Edit: A lot of it survived, see worldbuilding.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/6161/… $\endgroup$ – Raditz_35 Jun 21 '18 at 11:16
  • $\begingroup$ Because it's not story-based. It is about achieving an effect in a fictional world. It is a world element because it is about the mechanics of possible propulsion by SCUBA tank. This isn't about determining what the character should do, which would make it story-based. It's not, so it's not. $\endgroup$ – a4android Jun 21 '18 at 12:52
  • $\begingroup$ This is my question is mines, so I can answer. It is popular enough that people don’t go in depth enough to see why it should be closed. $\endgroup$ – MindX Jun 21 '18 at 15:52
  • $\begingroup$ By the same reason perfectly valid questions get closed almost instantly. $\endgroup$ – Seraph Myrmidon Jun 24 '18 at 18:13

The question isn't asking "What should/would/could my character do?", it's stating "My character does this - would this work in reality?". That's the reason it's not closed as story-based, it's asking for a reality-check. As the OP themselves states explicitly in the question:

would it be physically possible to do that with the air tank?

Saying "yes" or "no" to a question asking about whether something is realistic in a given worldbuilding context or not is a normal thing on WorldBuilding.

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  • $\begingroup$ Asking if things that affect a world (or smaller setting) is realistic is on topic. But here we have a story. Diver, shark. Also, see: worldbuilding.meta.stackexchange.com/q/4931/809 $\endgroup$ – Mołot Jun 21 '18 at 10:51
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    $\begingroup$ @Mołot We have a story to give us the setting that is supposed to be analyzed from a physics standpoint. Story-based means that the person is asking "What should my character do?", which is explicitly not what is asked here. See also Risk Factor Definition: Too Story Based: "Rephrase the question to remove all references to individual actions and any "should" or "would" parts of the question." and the examples are pretty clear that the way the question you refer to is phrased is on-topic. $\endgroup$ – Secespitus Jun 21 '18 at 10:55
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    $\begingroup$ Phrased like that, it is just a reality check on a plot element, and proposition to make them on-topic has a -7 score. Also, it shows absolutely no signs of being useful to actually build a setting. $\endgroup$ – Mołot Jun 21 '18 at 11:05

Please see related Should we finally allow reality checks of other plot elements? - answer was generally no (-7 score).

I believe that you are misrepresenting the vote on that question. The title says, "Should we finally allow reality checks of other plot elements?" However, the body says the reverse:

A: Create a new site for these.
B: Create a reference list with links to the other, more appropriate sites (Physics, Biology, etc...)

The presumption of that and the stricken out option being that the questions are currently off-topic.

Further, if you look at the answers, they argue that the problem is not too story-based.

I.e. I don't see the vote as being on too story-based but on the particular phrasing suggested:

The question involve too many alternative possibilities, that are equivalently likely, and arose from unknown factors.

That particular alternative definition was struck down.

The problem to my mind is that you are misunderstanding what "too story-based" means. Its meaning is that people are asking "What should I do?" You seem to be applying it to any question that mentions the story.

From the FAQ:

Asking about plot elements such as the actions of characters, rather than about the world in which your story takes place, is off-topic on Worldbuilding. Capabilities of characters within a world and creation of groups of characters (like nations) are on-topic, but questions must focus on what is possible or likely to develop, not what someone would or should do.

Emphasis removed and added.

This is clearly a capability of a character within a world and thus explicitly on-topic and not too story-based.

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