I think you might have stumbled onto an issue that first reared its head about two and a half years ago, waaaaay back in early 2016. It started with Is Worldbuilding a What If Site? - a discussion that came about because a lot of us felt that the site was no longer being used for actual worldbuilding. Instead, people were tossing out half-formed hypothetical questions, and asking questions just for fun - and on Stack Exchange, We Hate Fun.
In retrospect - and I think Daaaahwhoosh got this right - that a lot of the problem came from the community/network dichotomy. The rest of the network didn't understand our scope, and it sometimes felt like we were being used as a trash heap. On the other side, we probably weren't doing a good job of being communicative about what the heck we were about. It was all exacerbated by the fact that a lot of us in the community were either engaging in this or not doing enough to stop it.
After quite a few more discussions (1, 2, 3 and others), we basically came to the consensus that the problem wasn't What-If questions, per se. The issue was something that was originally called Idea Generation, where question askers essentially didn't flesh out their ideas or show their work, and wanted us to build the world from little more than a foundation. That's not cool, and we don't take questions like that. Never have, never will.
I was . . . a bit reluctant to fully agree with this, I think, because the motivation for asking a question has always mattered to me. I've always wanted this to be a site exclusively for worldbuilding - in other words, a place that would actively reject questions that weren't motivated by building a world, but were more along the lines of what you're talking about, ideas that sprung from being curious. My mind was changed, though (and changed for good after I asked Is this question about the colonization of Mercury on-topic?), because in the end, even questions arising from curiosity can prove helpful to the worldbuilders of the future.
This whole episode has made our scope even more confusing at times, but it's also given us some clarity. Here are some of the takeaways we got from early 2016:
- It's okay to be curious, and to ask questions because of it.
- You don't need to be explicitly building a world to ask a question.
- A question should come from an idea that's at least partially formed, and has some life to it. You need to put in effort to consider the scenario yourself before asking.
- If you're here to learn, and know the scope, ask away.
This has all been a made a little clearer with modifications to the help center, thanks to the results from A proposal to finalize the "are real world questions on-topic" debate. You for one definitely know the site's scope, and I think what you're doing now is okay.