I realized I could as geologist answer some of your questions about planets, but i am wondering if you would find better answers at ES exchange when they are not fantasy worlds as bloody oceans and so as in this one:

In an Earth-like planet with no history of carbon-based life forms, would there be limestone?

They are not only going to receive better answers, but also scientists could evaluate answers helping the poster is my guess.

We are asking ourselves the reversal question:

Is planetary Science on-topic


This site is Worldbuilding, not Fantasy Worldbuilding. While, yes, many of our questions are completely unscientific, we also have many questions about real science applied to new worlds. Some of these are among my favorite questions on the site.

Some of these questions are also on-topic on other sites. Stack Exchange has sites with overlapping scopes (it's not just us). For example, there's an entire site about Emacs, but you can ask Emacs questions on Stack Overflow. There's an entire site about biology, but you can ask biology questions here (with an eye toward creature design). There's an entire site about astronomy, but many astronomy questions fit here.

I'd love to see more "crossover" among sites; I hope you and others from Earth Sciences will consider answering questions in your fields that are asked here. (You're probably going to want to follow some tags and ignore others.) It's fine to point out the existence of other sites in comments; with 175 sites on the network, "oh, there's a site for that?" is not an uncommon reaction. But let's not try to drive questions that are on-topic on one site to another one instead. The person chose to ask on a particular site; let's honor that (unless the question is out of scope).

Besides, even when scopes overlap, sites sometimes have different rules about what makes a good question (or answer). Your site might expect askers to have more background knowledge and/or have done more scientific research before asking, for example. (I'm not saying that's so; I don't know your site.)

Let's work together to help each other.

  • $\begingroup$ I would prefer to get the points at ES, but I will continue answering here Monica. If I would be a poster I would post planetary science-based questions for worlds that could be real in Solar Sytems at ES or astronomy exchange to get a better answer and a evaluation of the answers, but also there are scientifists at WB and there are more users than at ES. Let's work together. I may suggest the posters to post it on ES being polite nevertheless $\endgroup$ – user61971 Mar 24 at 10:16
  • $\begingroup$ @Universal_learner it sounds like ES, WB, and Astronomy could work together on some cross-site guidelines, to help askers get a better sense of where to find the kinds of answers they're looking for. Also, sometimes a question really has a couple different angles -- how does this thing work in this specific (known) case, and how can I adapt it for this other fictitious case, and this could mean asking questions on more than one site. $\endgroup$ – Monica Cellio Mar 24 at 18:32

The short answer is "yes"

A great many questions asked here, even when purely within a worldbuilding context, would probably receive more authoritative answers more quickly if asked on other, more appropriate Stacks.

The long answer is "if you want"

There is a substantial, natural overlap between worlbuilding and the sciences. At a rough guess, 80%+ of the questions asked here could be asked elsewhere with better results.

  • If the question can be reworded to meet that other Stack's rules.

  • If the question's context isn't perceived as too silly for the other Stacks.1

  • Etc.

That's the problem we've generally had over time: Sure, the Earth Sciences stack can answer questions about geology, oceanography and meteorology. But the moment you mention it's for a fictional planet (or the moment they figure out it's not a question about Earth as it is today), you have a high probability of closure. The other Stacks are fundamentally biased (and rightly so) on here, today not there, tomorrow.

Thus, the "real-world questions" decision was made

Almost a year ago (time flies when you're having fun), the mods introduced a proposal to finalize the "are real-world questions on-topic debate." The simple answer is yes, they're on-topic.

Therefore, the basic rule is this:

If you can word your question to meet the expectations of a Stack more dedicated to that field of expertise, you might2 get a better answer more quickly using that Stack. Nevertheless, you're always welcome here, never forgetting that we have expectations, too.

1I once posted on Electronics.SE a question about whether or not you could self-charge the sound effects used for a potato gun by running zinc and copper rails down the barrel. It took forever to be answered, by one person in comments, because it was perceived as a silly (read: not serious) question.

2We've experienced the condition where a perfectly sensible question was asked on the more appropriate Stack and didn't receive an answer within a time the OP felt was reasonable, so the question was brought here — which is an example of the simple truth that nothing's perfect.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the explanation. If I see a question that I think it is gonna receive a great reception on ES, can I suggest the poster to ask it on ES? Could the poster in this case duplicate his question (and myself answering) or it would be not permitted? $\endgroup$ – user61971 Mar 23 at 15:26
  • $\begingroup$ @Universal_learner, It is appropriate to say something like, "this question might be better answered at Earth Science." But it is inappropriate to demand that the question be asked there or to downvote or VTC because it wasn't. It is considered bad grace to simultaneously post on multiple Stacks. It is appropriate to link to a duplicate question on another Stack. $\endgroup$ – JBH Mar 23 at 15:40
  • $\begingroup$ I did it in that way: worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/questions/142153/… If the poster decides to link his question at ES, could I answer at both sites myself or I should decide to do it only at once not to duplicate content? $\endgroup$ – user61971 Mar 23 at 15:48
  • $\begingroup$ Cool. You can answer anywhere you want, no problems. $\endgroup$ – JBH Mar 23 at 15:49

From one of the close voters on the last hypothetical/worldbuilding type question I saw on the Earth Science exchange: "the real world we know is more than complex enough without asking hypothetical questions on this exchange" or words to that effect. That attitude may have changed but I wouldn't bet on it. Worldbuilding is a good place for hypotheticals of all sorts mainly because of the attitude, assisted by the wide knowledge base, of the community.


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