I strongly agree with L.Dutch: if we just allow every question we turn into a "Please google that for me" and a "Which Wikipedia site contains these keywords?" search engine. That's not what the site is supposed to be and not what the value should be.
I will focus on some of the things said in this question, the important parts have been bolded by me:
Frankly, we should either be all-in or all-out. Every loophole provided to deny people asking real-world questions will be used to negate the Moderator's choice to make real-world questions on-topic.
Moderators are just normal users. Experienced users that deal with the worst crap on the site and deserve respect for their hard work, but in the end, when it comes to site scope, they are just normal, experienced users. They can't dictate what the site is about and they didn't do it in this case. Making it look like some dictators said that everything is on-topic now is doing them a disservice and cherry-picking the parts from the mentioned post that suit your agenda. Just like the proposal our exception handlers proposed because the discussion was spiraling out of control was about allowing real-world questions it was about having constraints with the explicit mentioning of:
With all that said we still have to have expectations and standards, it can't just be a free for all.
The above statement is in a h1 heading in the original.
If we're going to allow the "context" loophole" (which I'm seeing more frequently in comments over the last two days) we might as well make real-world questions off-topic.
You see people exploiting a "loophole", I see people cherry-picking. This is not a "loophole", it's the intention behind the site. It can be seen everywhere. Looking at the help center I can see that the first sentence of the What topics can I ask about here? site mentions:
Worldbuilding Stack Exchange is a site for developers, designers, writers and artists to get help creating imaginary worlds.
Providing the context about what imaginary world you are building isn't about some hidden loophole. It's what you signed up for when you created your account here. The intention is to have questions and get answers about your worldbuilding. Going by technicalities that it doesn't explicitly spell out that you are supposed to provide context is the same as saying that the help center is useless because it doesn't explicitly spell out that you should write in a human understandable language.
Frankly, my problem isn't that they are or aren't on-topic, my problem is consistency. This (and all other rules) should be simple and straightforward. There are too many compromises that only make life miserable for new OPs.
In an ideal world everything would be black and white and every rule would be perfectly understandable by everyone no matter who reads it. Fact is, we are not living in a black-or-white world and there will be edge cases. That's what the normal voting processes are for. And yes, like in the real world sometimes things just aren't easy. I believe strongly in each individuals ability to discern that a site about creating imaginary worlds is interested in solving problems for imaginary worlds.
I'd like to reiterate that. I'm infinitely more concerned about the culture of this site and its willingness to be welcoming and helpful to new users as they learn how to write good questions than I am trying to protect what seems to me to be an effort to preserve the "purity" of the site.
Being helpful and welcoming doesn't mean we should allow everything. It means that we as a community should show the new user what is on-topic and what is off-topic. We should show them how to write good questions, as you say. But if we allow everything, why should they change? There have been quite a few trolls during my time here that exploited the willingness of others to help and never tried to improve. This is happening. And by saying that every question is acceptable we are teaching them that every question is acceptable, no matter what it's about or what quality it has. How are people supposed to improve if we don't tell them what to improve and what the goal is?
Having rules doesn't mean we are unwelcoming.
Sure, we could work on our communication. There are times when you read a question and you think that people could be clearer about what they are doing. Leaving a comment pointing to the important resources that explain what a "VTC" is or what that means or how to get a question reopened once it's been put on hold or why we are doing this. But being welcoming doesn't mean we should simply abandon all rules and guidelines.
Honestly, who cares how many questions there are? Or whether or not some or many are low quality? Like I said, disk space is cheap and if you're offended by a question, move on to the next one (and I'd like proof that the outside world would perceive us as a dumping ground of low quality information if we let people in and simply answer their questions).
I want a site with high quality questions and high quality answers.
Because when I need help I want people to actually help me. I want answers that are useful to me. I want to move forward with my project.
If this site allows any and all questions, like those asking for google or wikipedia links, then we need to allow those links. The questions are on-topic, so the corresponding answers would have to be, too, right? But what use is it for me if I have a complicated problem about orbital-mechanics and someone writes an answer with a link to the Wikipedia article about the three-body-problem?
I am also an avid reader of the site. There is so much interesting stuff here that people are thinking about. Reading is making the site fun for me. That's why I want to keep it as clean as possible, for example by editing posts. But I don't want to click through a hundred badly written google requests only to find one thing that I like to read. And I have to click through the questions to find stuff.
If we didn't close the diamond tool question then the user would know that they can ask like that here. They will continue to ask such questions and they won't be the only one because other people from the outside with this question will come here, see that they can write a google request and then continue to do just that. Because apparently that's enough.
Do we actually think people will stop visiting this site because we're willing to answer more questions?
If this is just a site that allows everything I can just use google, wikipedia or go to any other kind of forum. I am not here for that and so are many others.
It's not about tightening the belt and only allowing excellent questions. But I don't see why we should open up the site for any question you can come up with. If you want programming help you should go to the experts for programming, not to the worldbuilders. If you have a problem with tools for your home project you should go to the experts for tooling, not the worldbuilders.
We are a community of people that know quite a lot about quite a lot of topics with a focus on using this knowledge to create fictional worlds. We are not experts in everything and we should not allow everything. We should allow the things we are experts in. That's the goal of the StackExchange network and I strongly believe in it. Expert communities that help beginners and experts in the topic alike. Not communities that help everyone with everything that comes to their mind.
People are here because they need help with worldbuilding or want to provide help for worldbuilders or because they like to read what other worldbuilders are building. People are not here to see a different interface to google and Wikipedia.
We should be nice in asking for quality content, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't ask at all.
or are willing to help people learn to ask better questions?
How are we supposed to help people learn to ask better questions if there is nothing to be "better" in? Every question is allowed, so there is no way you could improve. Why bother writing different if the last times worked? And yes, this has happened and it is happening. If you want prove look through the 2017-2018 Sandbox. We are pretty accommodating, increasing this more just leaves us open to be abused by trolls and by people not wanting to waste their time and therefore opting to waste ours.
if you're offended by a question, move on to the next one
This statement is often the core of the position offered in the question. I will not ignore bad stuff. Then I can just go somewhere else where there are no rules and no community moderation.
Why do I need to ignore bad stuff and allow people to assume it's okay? If I don't like a question I can downvote. Sure. But why am I suddenly not allowed to interact with it anymore? Am I so worthless that I am not even allowed to express my opinion anymore?
You are removing the community moderation part from the StackExchange network by saying that people are not allowed to interact with stuff they don't like anymore. If that is the position we should just remove closing and reopening, together with flagging and downvoting. I should just move on, right? If a spammer offends me, I should move on. If there is a bad question, I should move on. If there is a troll, I should move on.
I won't do that.
The core of the StackExchange network is community moderation. Telling people to not do that is to ignore the core of the network. You signed up for community moderation when you created your account. If a new user soon after signing up finds out that they don't like community moderation then I am personally fine with that.
We should be welcoming. We should be nice.
We should work on our communication by being exemplary and writing useful, helpful and nice welcoming comments that guide new users to important resources where rules and guidelines are explained with the corresponding rationalizations.
But we shouldn't abandon all rules just because some people think that having rules equals being mean. That's a fallacy and is distracting from the core of questions like this one. You want to talk about site scope? Then talk about site scope instead of drifting off into site culture and proclaiming that everyone who has an opinion about the site scope is not welcoming and should just move on, leaving you alone in your bubble with others that feel the same - these are the only ones allowed to stay, right?
We need worldbuilding context to answer the worldbuilding problem. The XY-problem is a big thing for us on WorldBuilding. By mentioning what problem you are trying to solve people can answer the question you posted and can provide a frame challenge in case on is needed.
What if the diamond tool question was about very fast growing trees and how to keep them in check? Sure, we could have left the question alone and having someone post a wikipedia link the OP might have found their answer that they could have found themselves by using google instead of WorldBuilding.SE, but someone might come up with a better solution that the OP didn't think of. Burning the forest down for example. Or destroying the Earth around the trees to not allow them to grow any further.
I don't know. I have no idea what the setting was and what the problem was that the OP was trying to solve. I need that information to help guide the OP and help them solve their problem, but if they are not willing to provide the worldbuilding context then I can't help them with their problem.
That's not what the site is supposed to be. We are supposed to help people with their problem and we can't do that without context, which is why context is required. That is what I perceive as "Be nice." - try to help and solve the underlying problem, not be a quick helper for googling stuff. By just googling this we don't help them in the long run and we make this site just an interface for search engines that people use that are too lazy, according to their words, to use google.
We need the context, as is evident from this highly upvoted proposal, this upvoted response, this upvoted response, this highly upvoted response, my answer to the last discussion about this that was also highly upvoted and the fact that this response was a bit downvoted and got three comments in the direction of needing context, one of them being my comment.
Yes, context is necessary to make a question on-topic on Worldbuilding because we need the information to help the OP. This has nothing to do with site culture and is not a sign of being unwelcoming to new users.