How to keep track of everything with an infinite-dimensional telepathic ability? essentially asks "How might someone improve their memory and thus the capabilities of their magic ability?"

Looking for an explanation for something set in a magical world, I aimed for a similar style response to this question I am fond of: Why would a group of awesome magicians want to keep their kryptonite near them? where answers vary from "Because he is reliable" (mundane but fun) to "Because he is a powerful cloaking device" (magic).

My question was closed as too broad because it encouraged both these kinds of answers. The way I see it all "find an explanation" questions mean "find an explanation that fits within the logic of THIS world. If that world is magic then answers MIGHT be magical, but they don't have to be. Why should they? It seems incredibly limiting and generally not fun. If you are looking for a solution to a specific problem, what use is saying "only solutions that would work on earth" or "only solutions including MAGIC"?

Isn't there any other way to narrow the scope of question #124851 to get it re-opened?


1 Answer 1


As someone who voted to close, I will admit that it could be argued as on-topic, but there is a problem that I pointed out in comments and will attempt to further explain here (as well as provide a few other words).

Answers may vary from entirely mundane ... to extra-ordinary

This is an "anything goes" qualifier. It makes each and every answer potentially equally valid. Especially since

[a]nswers will be judged based off how specific the solution is ... and how clear the reasoning is for it improving the number of dimensions you can handle[. H]umour and creativity is encouraged[.]

You're essentially asking people to devise whatever answer they want, being as imaginative or funny as they can in the process, and you'll judge answers based on how well you understand the answer.

Here, first of all, inviting humor as an answer makes answers opinion-based. Do we upvote because an answer is funny and only vaguely answers the question? Do we downvote if it's not funny, but answers the question in a matter-of-fact way? The community needs some criteria by which to judge one answer as being better or more complete than another that doesn't involve the whims or personal opinions of the person voting.

Judging based on clarity can be problematic. This is what up- and downvotes are for, but if someone writes an answer that makes perfect sense to you and the answerer, but the community can't make heads or tails of it, it'll be both downvoted to oblivion and accepted. This is discouraging and confusing for the average user. (Note I said problematic, not impossible. Judging based on clarity happens all the time; it simply doesn't get called out.)

What is this miraculous solution and how did this character know about it?

As to your actual question, however, there's another problem. How a character knows some piece of information is entirely up to you, the author. This is a story element. Maybe the character went to a private school where s/he learned it. Maybe it was an accidental discovery. Why does anyone even need to know where the information came from? Mandating that answerers address how the information was obtained beyond what that information is creates a red flag for story-based question.

essentially asks "How might someone improve their memory ...?"

Check the real world: improving memory has an entire field of ongoing research. That alone is a flag towards the question being too broad. Then we tack on the fact we're trying to improve a magic part of the brain and the fact "[a]nswers may vary from entirely mundane ... to extra-ordinary" and you can see there are simply too many answers that are far too long to be appropriate for the Stack Exchange format.

  • $\begingroup$ I'll address the story component immediately and make some tweaks, I guess I did encourage some problematic things. I was just trying to "lighten the mood" but its not at all necessary. $\endgroup$
    – Jesse
    Sep 13, 2018 at 15:21
  • $\begingroup$ Not sure about the last paragraph here though, since when has real life research existing on a topic ever been a problem for stack exchange? $\endgroup$
    – Jesse
    Sep 13, 2018 at 15:21
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Jesse I believe that Frostfyre's point in the last paragraph is that there is a large field of research trying to solve your problem. Since it would basically take an entire book just to summarize that research, the question may be too broad. $\endgroup$
    – Gryphon
    Sep 13, 2018 at 15:26
  • $\begingroup$ @Gryphon There is a difference between summarising all the research ever done on a subject (which might take a book) and just a single sentence + link to introduce a researched idea. $\endgroup$
    – Jesse
    Sep 13, 2018 at 15:41

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