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Hold/Close is an opportunity, not a judgment

The Stack Exchange family of websites operates on one model that is sometimes a challenge for creativity: one specific question leads to one best answer. Consequently, Stack Exchange users vote to close questions to stop answers from being posted while important updates are made to questions.1 Unfortunately, votes to close (often called VTH or VTC) often come with downvotes, which represent the community's confidence in the preparedness of the question (such as performing expected research before posting). It is very important that you do not take this personally. Please! Do not take this personally. Everyone, even experienced site users, receive downvotes and have questions closed.

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We help with building worlds, not stories

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(Good Example) In an alternate Earth circa 1350 A.D., a small army in England of 50 archers and 300 infantry encounter 400 orcs armed with leather armor and short swords in the East Lyn valley of Devonshire. How could the terrain best be used to defeat them? The best answer will favor survival of the archers over that of the infantry.

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You may need to guide us toward an answer

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1 *Hold and closed are the same thing. The question's status is changed from "enabled" to "disabled." The phrase "hold" is used during the first five days to prompt the questioner (called the original poster or "OP" in our lingo) to update the question. If no update is made, the word is changed from "hold" to "closed." Questions may be reopened at any time. No hold/close ("disabled") condition is permanent.

ThorstenS added this to the original, but I'd like everyone's thoughts. I'm not sure that "per default, reality-based" is correct.

ADDITION from me, ThorstenS himself:

You seem to have missed completely this question where it was overwhelmingly decided that the default position is science/logic-based. As we have a three-tier system (reality-check, science-based and hard science) and reality-check is the lowest common denominator, questions and answer should be at least reality-based.

The idea of removing/reducing the three tier system came up, but was decided negatively.

Does [hard-science] imply [science-based] imply [reality-check]?
Do we need the reality-check tag?


6. If not otherwise said, questions and answers are per default reality-based science-/logic-based. If you need futuristic/magical elements in your story, describe the abilities and limits as accurately as possible.

(Bad Example) I need a liquid that dissolves everything! What is the best way to use this liquid in a weapon?

First, in what container was the "liquid" created? It is self-evident that a all-dissolving liquid is an oxymoron. Also the second part is much too broad and invites opinion-based answers.

(Good Example) My protagonist is an alchemist and I need an acid which dissolves the most common and used metals in the world. How can I create the substance and what material is best to store it safely? (I am thinking about using it in crossbow arrowheads).

This can be answered by Aqua Regia which is even available (and also used) in Middle Age alchemistry. Normal glassware would be sufficient for the second answer.

Worldbuilding is a nice place to find out what is available and if some thing has fictitious properties, find out if there are logical loopholes which can be abused and make a story/world implausible.

  • I wasn't the downvoter... – JBH Jul 15 at 18:33
  • Downvote to what? There is no downvote to this question. – a4android Jul 19 at 4:28
  • 2
    "I'm not sure that "per default, reality-based" is correct." reality-check has never implied "no magic allowed"; rather, it is about "does this make sense in context?". I think you're misreading that old Meta discussion, which was about answers to questions that don't say either way whether answers relying on magic are acceptable. Defaults can always be overriden, and if OP states an explicit preference, then it's not a problem (except insofar as unconstrained "magic allowed" questions are liable to be either too broad or primarily opinion-based, but that's a different issue). – α CVn Jul 19 at 11:48
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    Also, while that discussion is almost four years old and from early in the beta period, I don't think I've seen any more recent discussion on the matter that has come to a different conclusion. If you're aware of something I have managed to miss or simply don't remember, please do link to it. If you feel the need to raise the issue again then that's fine, but please, do so separately, not as a side point in another Meta post, especially one you are explicitly intending to use as introduction to newcomers. – α CVn Jul 19 at 11:52
  • @a4android, there was when I posted my comment.... – JBH Jul 19 at 16:08
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    @JBH This makes it even more puzzling. Perhaps the downvoter changed their mind & in reversing their downvote sent it to oblivion. I didn't know that could even happen. Perhaps that's the way the system is designed. – a4android Jul 20 at 2:14

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