We get users here who really just want help writing their story, but don't understand how our site works. There are countless examples. While such questions don't belong on our site, I'd still like to make sure the users get help. Should we redirect users who post questions that are too story based or too broad to The Factory Floor in the hope that they can work out their problem there?

  • If the question looks like it's salvagable (for example, being too broad), there's always the question sandbox here on meta. While talk in chat requires 20 rep, posting on meta requires only 5 rep. – Michael Kjörling Jul 11 at 12:53

It's nice to point them to the Factory Floor for more open-ended discussions. Just make sure to mention the requirement of having at least 20 reputation on the StackExchange network. It would be incredibly fruststrating for a new user to get their question closed with a terse comment that says "Go there" only to find they are not allowed to do anything "there".

Ideally you would simply write a normal Welcome to WorldBuilding!-comment and add a little sentence like

If you would like a more open-ended discussion you could visit our [chat] once you have 20 reputation.

A little tip: by using the magic link [chat] you only link to the generic chat page and not directly the Factory Floor, so as you did in the question here linking to the Factory Floor directly can prevent them from accidentally checking out one of the lesser used chat rooms. But it's also a little bit more work, so if you just come across a post that is in need of a little help but don't have the time to write a longer comment explaining everything: by all means, please direct new users to the [chat] with a little remark like "once you have 20 reputation".

The chat is not a solution for all problems, but it can certainly help if they are searching for open-ended discussions.

In addition linking the Sandbox can be good to help them work on a draft once they have 5 reputation.

  • Using chat rooms for more open discussion is a good idea. Sandbox helps with drafts of questions. The Factory Floor is helpful, but somewhat too free form to be really helpful. I found myself thinking we need a "discussion area" to help shape ideas prior to asking questions and before going to Sandbox. This could be a big ask for SE. But the idea was rattling around in my head. Tell what the problems with doing that are, & shoot it down in flames. – a4android Jul 14 at 6:31
  • @a4android I don't know what you mean with "shoot it down in flames", as that doesn't seem to align with the rest of your comment. But the rest of your comment seems to be in the direction of the Ask A Question wizard. It still needs enough people to want to help and enough people to want to use it. Right now we don't fulfill these conditions judging from the amount of traffic in the Factory Floor. It's easy to get feedback, but it's rarely used outside of regular chat users. – Secespitus Jul 14 at 7:11
  • It means find what's wrong with the idea. The Ask A Question wizard looked too programming oriented to be useful here. Personally, I find the Factory Floor less helpful. My time-zone is skewed too far from its majority users. This makes conversation hard. I may be overlooking its possibilities. – a4android Jul 14 at 9:44
  • @a4android The only reference to the words you used I could find is shoot sth/sb down (in flames) and this tells me it means "to refuse to accept someone's suggestion or idea and not consider it at all", which doesn't align with your usage. The wizard is a prototype on StackOverflow with the idea to make it customizable on other sites if it succeeds. Of course that's programming oriented. If you don't use the Factory Floor because it's hard to use for you, how do you know that it's too free form? – Secespitus Jul 14 at 10:34
  • Dictionary don't always get it right & can miss certain demotic usages. The invitation to "shoot an or my idea down in flames" is usually an invitation is critique the idea. RE the Factory Floor difficulty / free form because I had a look at it and tried it a few times. I had an impression wider discussions of WB concepts weren't common. Sort of commonsense really. However, if it's a good place to try out ideas I might give it a go. – a4android Jul 15 at 2:27
  • @a4android If I can't trust dictionaries when communicating with you any attempt to do so is futile and doomed to fail. They are the only resource I have and I've looked at multiple dictionaries, but couldn't find your usage once. Using that as the basis to make condescending comments in the other comment chain about needing to explain simple words to me is just rude. I can't read your mind. And if you have a feature-request for a new discussion area I am open to read it if you open it as a separate meta discussion. Currently I don't see how your comments suggest I need to improve this answer. – Secespitus Jul 15 at 8:40
  • Actually i was surprised to find the idiom of "shooting down in flames" was different from usages I had experienced. Complete rejection seems to be a British & American English usage, at least, that's what's claimed. I found other idiomatic usages about completely ending something & that's comes closest to what I know. As a native speaker of Australian English our idiom differs both slightly yet significantly from the UK & USA. Sometimes it's hard to appreciate the gap. – a4android Jul 15 at 9:39

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