Why was Predators part 2: How can a boarding action from super aliens be repelled? closed as too story based?

The descriptions of what is "too story based" tend to boil down to what is stated here in this post:

Asking about plot elements such as the actions of characters, rather than about the world in which your story takes place, is off-topic on Worldbuilding. Capabilities of characters within a world and creation of groups of characters (like nations) are on-topic, but questions must focus on what is possible or likely to develop, not what someone would or should do.

The above question is not about a scene, character, or plot point (actually, no one is boarded by aliens in my story at all). The results of this question would only enter the story tangentially by means of setting or understood practice.

Nor is the question about the actions or motives of an individual or even a group. I never ask what anyone would or should do. Rather, it is focused on what sort of defenses would be available and would be likely to be developed and implemented in a world where there were pirates with certain abilities. I originally asked it as part of a development process for certain settings in my world, and to help flesh out my design of an entire species.

If my descriptions of my ship setting or my aliens were not detailed enough, then that might be justification for a "too broad" or "primarily opinion based" closure, but I do not understand how it is too story based.


1 Answer 1


I didn't participate in closing that question, and in fact don't think I even saw it until you brought it up here, but...

Basically, "too story-based" means that once story-specific elements are removed from the question, there is little or no question left.

Looking at the most recent revision of the question back when it was put on hold, I'm seeing a few problematic points.

First, the question seems to be about, or at least focus extremely heavily on, an individual character. That by itself makes it a likely candidate for closing, but as "not about worldbuilding" (as it is about an individual character), not necessarily as "too story-based".

Second, the "Anything you can come up with to defend yourself against them, you might have brought with you just in case." basically invokes magic. Which can work, but magic questions come with their own issues that need to be considered.

Third, and this is a bit of a pet peeve of mine, the question itself doesn't really detail what "you" are up against. In fairness, the linked-to question does look better in that regard, but we generally like each post to be self-contained. This in itself isn't a huge problem, but could tip some people toward voting to put on hold as too broad or unclear.

Effectively, it appears that you're pitting an unknown number of an unknown species (maybe they're human, but we only know that part of the name of one of them is Human) against an unknown number of highly capable attackers, and you allow for the protagonists to have brought whatever anyone can think of to defend themselves, and you allow for the antagonists to be able to compensate for just about anything the protagonists can think of as long as the person answering can think of a way to compensate for the attack, basically without limitation.

I probably wouldn't have picked "story based" as the close reason, but to me, if that's not a broad question, I'm not quite sure what would be, and focusing so heavily on a single character makes it rather not about the world or setting itself.

Sometimes, it's more instructive to focus on the fact that question was closed, rather than the exact close reason selected. What topics can I ask about here? in the help center has information on what's considered on topic; mapping that against the question is usually a good starting point.

  • $\begingroup$ Okay, that's fair. When I first wrote the question, I was pretty new to this forum (still am, really) and I thought that framing the question the way I did would make it more interesting by adding a "human interest element." Later, when I learned a bit more about how this forum works, I realized that was actually negatively affecting the question by obscuring it. When the question was put on hold, I rewrote it to remove this and make it more clear what I was actually asking. But despite the change, the question was closed as too story based anyway. $\endgroup$
    – MarielS
    Apr 3, 2019 at 19:07
  • $\begingroup$ I actually tagged JBH in a comment asking about my revisions to the question (since he had commented on it) but he didn't respond (for all I know he never saw the comment, I'm not sure how the system works yet). The only point you made I can argue with is when you say I'm invoking magic... I'd think it would pretty obvious context-wise that I meant anything you can come up with using technology or real-world elements, but given that it isn't a terribly specific statement, I'll let you have that one too. $\endgroup$
    – MarielS
    Apr 3, 2019 at 19:12
  • $\begingroup$ As for linking to another post for some of the important information, I'll keep what you said in mind for the future. Also, I just ran across this post: worldbuilding.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/2610/… This question basically asks about what I've been doing in a few of my posts, asking questions that revolve around a specific species. It seems the line on this isn't as clear as some topics. $\endgroup$
    – MarielS
    Apr 3, 2019 at 19:16
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    $\begingroup$ @MarielS The question was at revision 3 when it was closed, so that's the revision I was looking at when writing this answer; see the revision history. Asking about species is fine; it's asking about individuals that is not. Also, sometimes questions that should be closed end up left open because nobody notices; I don't know if that's the case here, but if you feel it should be closed, then flag for review as off topic. $\endgroup$
    – user
    Apr 4, 2019 at 6:46
  • $\begingroup$ Oh, I see. New as I am, I thought that "on hold" and "closed" were too separate states. I thought on hold was being "paused" while it is decided if the question should be "closed". Since the question status went from "on hold" to "closed" after I made the most recent significant revision, I assumed this meant that people still viewed the question as too story based, even after I changed it. But if "on hold" and "closed" are basically the same thing with different labels, as the revisions page seems to imply (it says it was closed when it first went on hold), then this explains my confusion. $\endgroup$
    – MarielS
    Apr 4, 2019 at 6:54
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    $\begingroup$ @MarielS Correct; "on hold" and "closed" are basically the same thing. The major difference between the two is that while a question is "on hold", an edit will push the question into the reopen review queue; after it has transitioned to "closed", someone with sufficient reputation to do so needs to vote to reopen the question before it enters the review queue. If a question has been "on hold" for a number of days and not been reopened, it transitions to "closed" automatically. $\endgroup$
    – user
    Apr 4, 2019 at 7:06

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