Regarding Is there a list of worldbuilding resources?

I initially posted in the Sandbox a question about developing a basic outline for worldbuilding. Comments with a couple of people (lengthy comments) caused it to evolve into the question we now have on main.

  • We occasionally have people asking about how to go about worldbuilding (Example). The more general the "what should I do next?" question, the more frequently we close the question.

  • I've noticed similar questions on other Stacks whose purpose is to provide a (growing) list of links people can turn to for the purpose of answering their general questions, leaving the Stack free to answer specific questions.

  • The question could exist in Meta or Main, though Meta tends to hide things (since searching on Main doesn't list Meta questions).

  • We could add these lists to the tags, but I frankly consider the tag wikis to be barely useful and they don't appear in searches, either.

IMO, the question (which I'm trying to get converted to a community wiki, just like the answer, so that no one can accuse me of hounding rep) has a valuable purpose on Main.

So, it might be better asked, "Why shouldn't this question be on Main?"

For the record and from my perspective, WB.SE should be THE place people go for worldbuilding know-how. Which is why I think the question belongs on Main.

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    $\begingroup$ I concur with the fundamentals of this project, and have developed several resources over the years that I think might make good additions. I only disagree with your bold statement, and for the obvious reason that SE itself stymies our ability to address all but the most focused, least opinion based, most SE-friendly questions askable. I'd say WB.SE is the place to go for quick solutions to pressing, focussed and reasonably well thought out problems. It's not the place to go trawling for ideas, or ask the usual sorts of broad questions we field on other forums. $\endgroup$
    – elemtilas
    Commented Apr 9, 2019 at 21:40
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    $\begingroup$ I'm all for including some canonical questions. It's also a good place to refer posters to when they ask a question that is "too broad". $\endgroup$
    – Cyn
    Commented Apr 11, 2019 at 15:44

3 Answers 3


I'm going to take the contrary view - and argue that if this question exists it should be on main.

The reason is more one of practicality than philosophy though.

For the question to be useful people need to find it, that means a search on main for worldbuilding resources needs to find it. A meta post is unlikely to come up on that search.

The issue with the question is the potential for extreme broadness and where to draw the line on what should and should not be included rather than location. It is a question about resources for building worlds. Meta should be for discussion about this site, not directly about building worlds.

So it definitely should be on main. But it is potentially too broad and should be closed - unless we were to grant it some sort of special exemption as a community resource in which case that then opens a whole new can of worms.

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    $\begingroup$ This is a very good point, if the resource list is meant to help users, it should be extremely easy to access it (which is what i mainly focused in my answer). Users should not need to jump through hoops in order to get access to this. Regarding the issue of if it should be closed or not, the rules as written would state the question should be closed. However, the problem with closing the question is that it deters users from looking at it (much in the same way an ‘Answered’ question deters new answers.) $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 10, 2019 at 9:46
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    $\begingroup$ Curiously, closure (because it was almost immediately closed) was a boon. It does not block anyone from contributing to the community wiki, but does stop all competing answers, which was one of the base requirements anyway. Apparently, the only way to stop a question like this is to delete it. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Apr 21, 2019 at 14:07

For starters, as I mentioned on main I like the idea, but have some concerns as well.

What I like:

  • Centralization/Standardization hits a spot in my brain that makes me happy
  • It could turn into a great resource if properly done/managed


  • This would require an exemption to the standard rules. The question would clearly be too broad. Does this open the flood gates to other exemptions?
  • How do we define what should and should not be included, scope will be difficult
    • If we don't do a good job it turns in to a big pile of...well anyway at that point it ceases to be useful.
  • Do we want to point people away from WB.SE?
    • Maybe just include resources that are not Q/A related, or don't otherwise overlap with WB.SE
  • It will have to be curated. Links die, sites go away.

The long and short is I am not sure...if I had a vote I am not sure if I would use it for or against this idea.

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    $\begingroup$ I think the exemption issue is the least of the concerns. It's easy enough to clarify that it's a singular exemption that cannot be used as precedent. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Apr 10, 2019 at 18:59
  • $\begingroup$ @James The flood gates only open if we let them. Its easy enough to just say that this is exception, not the norm. In terms of what should and should not be included, having defined topics would help keep links focused in a specific area. If your link does not fit, it doesn’t go in (or goes into an ‘other’ section). Pointing people away from WB.SE is likely a non-issue. If we point them to a guide and their question is answered by it, thats not an issue, it means their question was too general for WB.SE and would likely have been closed -continued- $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 10, 2019 at 19:24
  • $\begingroup$ If we point them away to a guide and they still have questions, they are likely to come back with a better idea of what they want to ask, improving the quality of their question and making it more specific. Regarding links breaking, its as simple as telling a user to edit the post and write “broken” next to it. Broken links can then be cleared off if a link can not be reestablished. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 10, 2019 at 19:31
  • $\begingroup$ Also, going back to the question of if we want to point people away or not, we’d have to make a decision. Is WB.SE a site meant to help answer people’s questions about worldbuilding or isn’t it? If it isn’t, then why does this site exist? $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 10, 2019 at 19:39
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    $\begingroup$ @LiamMorris Regarding your second comment - it's typically better to edit or suggest an edit with the fixed link when possible. And on the last comment - there will always be times when the answer to a question (on any site) is "go do some more research or further develop this idea - this is not really answerable as is". So maybe that could be phrased (or is in my head): "Will a post of this type help people to learn/grow in worldbuilding when they need the very basic skills - and is WB meant to help people at that basic level or only at a higher level?" (and can we even do so with SE's model) $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 14, 2019 at 19:09

Edit: Since posting this answer, and thinking more about the practical issues, i have changed my stance on this issue. JBH and Tim B’s argument for this being on Main has convinced me that this question should be there. I will leave this answer here to “Play the devil’s advocate” as it were:

On Meta Not Main

As much as i have worked with you on this project and fully support it, i’d have to argue against it being on Main. WB.SE is meant for asking one specific question and getting one specific answer, this does not fit the mould. I feel it may also encourage new users to post questions like it, which would then be closed for being unclear or too broad.


  • I’d be all for having it on Meta and having a community ad for “Inspiration” much like how we have one for the “Sandbox”.

  • Additionally, i also feel that there should be a link to the Inspiration list in the sidebar when you go to post a question (both on Meta and Main).

  • New users, and users who get their question closed, should also be given a link to the Inspiration list, much like how we refer them to the Tour and the Help Centre. Alternatively, an option is to add a link to the Inspiration list on both the Tour and the Help Centre.

I feel that by doing that, users (old and new) can learn what questions they need to ask for their own world and it would up the quality of questions in general. If they need a more specific answer, that is what the questions on Main are for. This may also prevent more generalised questions being asked on Main, the links we provide them should help them to answer those general questions, and the “where do i go next?” questions, themselves.

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    $\begingroup$ Agree with your edit, and always love to see people change their mind in the face of reasoned argument: upvoted. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 15, 2019 at 21:44

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