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I am wording it this way to avoid encompassing magic but the idea is to be able to close 'uneducated' questions (for lack of better words). Questions that contradict themselves or more precisely questions whose internal logic is self contradicting and become impossible to answer.

The rule:

Questions should be closed if the question contradicts the internally expressed logic of the question and is impossible to answer.

Examples:

Question: How can I scientifically have an Earth-like planet in a black hole?

Violation: You cant, any planet near let alone in a black hole would shattered and crushed beyond habitability. This outright contradicts science and sub-sequentially physics and is therefore unanswerable.

A Possible Correction: Can I have an Earth-like planet in a black hole?

Explanation: While it is off topic it is answerable and therefore not logically flawed.

Question: How do I scientifically explain soul magic?

Violation: Magic is magic there is no science that supports either magic or the ethereal soul the question is unanswerable. Not to mention from a certain perspective science and magic are logical opposites because if science could explain magic it would cease being magic and would become a science.

A Possible Correction: What scientifically plausible way could I justify magic and its connection to the human consciousness in my universe?

Explanation: This phrasing indicates that they aren't necessarily looking for science rather they are trying to take advantage of its fringes and unknowns to explain their scientifically impossible scenario.

Question: In my magical world how do I explain humans not needing air to breath?

No Violation: By defining a "magical world" the question has logically specified that the world in question does not follow natural law and therefore there is no contradiction in humans not needing air.

Question: In a magical world where love powers magic how as a king do I prevent people from magically making gold.

This last one isn't necessarily a contradiction but is more of a logical fallacy as they have literally made an impossible scenario to answer.

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    $\begingroup$ The problem is - how do you know? For example .technologyreview.com/s/423608/… $\endgroup$ – Tim B Nov 11 '18 at 23:26
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    $\begingroup$ All your examples seem flawed to be honest. Some are answerable, others are too broad or too opinion based (most are bad questions I agree) but I wouldn't say they contradict themselves. $\endgroup$ – Tim B Nov 11 '18 at 23:28
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    $\begingroup$ The possible existence of planets inside black holes was the subject of a scientific paper. That puts the topic in the province of science. The "Earthlike" bit is an extremely hard ask. Essentially your examples are based on the concept of what are the limits of science. Generally I agree many questions assume science can answer questions which scientifically minded persons know can't be answered. Often, but not always, they're right. Science does tend to march onwards & with surprising results. I'd be hard-pressed to devise a logically self-contradicting question too. $\endgroup$ – a4android Nov 18 '18 at 4:29
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I do not recommend closing these questions

Many of the questions we see on the site do demonstrate a lack of knowledge in the topic being asked about. If the question is asked in good faith and otherwise meets the requirements of, how to ask, I think it should stay open and on the site.

...and that's ok!

Some of the most valuable question/answer exchanges I have seen on the site fall into the, "that's not how things work" category. Checking for logical consistency is one of the primary things we do here.

As an example I wrote this answer: What all stops working when I pause time?

This is useful for the person who posted the question but it is also useful for future visitors to the site.

I also asked this question: Are there logical gaps in the periodic table in which you could insert a new mystery element for use as a fuel?

Clearly I lacked understanding of how chemistry works at the atomic level (sue me, it's been a long time since chemistry class). The selected answer is awesome though and can be useful for future visitors.


Now on many SE sites I would maybe agree with this idea as a close reason. The thing is, we're on World Building, where basically all topics are on topic. None of us is going to be an expert on all things and creating a logical inconsistency when building a world is frankly MORE likely than not.

In fact, we specifically have a tag for questions when people want to understand if their setup makes sense


It can be really tempting to try and disqualify full segments of questions, it makes life easier and means we don't have to specifically review each question.

Oh that's and xxxxx type question CLOSE. This is easier than reviewing the merits of each entry...so I get it, but I don't think in this case it would be a good idea for the site.

Helping people create logically consistent worlds is a large part of what the site is about.

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While I can understand the reasoning for wanting to close these questions, you can usually solve this problem by asking the Asker to expand, clarify, and reword their question. Let me borrow your examples, bar the last one which you admit is off-topic for this post.

Original Question: How can I scientifically have an Earth-like planet in a black hole?

Violation: You cant, any planet near let alone in a black hole would shattered and crushed beyond habitability. This outright contradicts science and sub-sequentially physics and is therefore unanswerable.

That "violation" response is the answer. It doesn't need reworded because rewording it changes the spirit of the question ever so slightly. (Not to mention, as you said, makes the question off-topic.)

Original Question: How do I scientifically explain soul magic?

Violation: Magic is magic there is no science that supports either magic or the ethereal soul the question is unanswerable. Not to mention from a certain perspective science and magic are logical opposites because if science could explain magic it would cease being magic and would become a science.

Instead of trying to rewrite their question, ask what criteria they are using to determine "soul magic" and for information related to the question to be added so that you're not only working with a self-contradiction. If the post is just a repeat of the question with no further information gathered, ask for elaboration so that it is now answerable. Otherwise, close it for being "Too-Broad".

Original Question: In my magical world how do I explain humans not needing air to breath?

"No Violation": By defining a "magical world" the question has logically specified that the world in question does not follow natural law and therefore there is no contradiction in humans not needing air.

Except magic doesn't inherently entail defiance of known biology. It's usually not used so blase. The spirit of the question could be that they want to express it is like our world, but it is slightly different without being too different. Again, this is a case of it being best to ask for clarification and elaboration as opposed to just trying to shut it down.

The problem is, you'd rather ignore these questions as unanswerable as opposed to help the Askers find their answers. Taking the time to ask for more information takes 10 seconds and next to no effort. Don't be quick to judge the questions as lacking value. You may just find you misunderstood their intent because they didn't word it well or didn't know how to explain when they asked the first time.

(And then there is me who over-explains, which is a different problem in its own right.)

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