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Last thursday I asked a question here on WB SE:

How to come up with thoughtful positive & negative effect combos for magic items?

and it was put on hold/closed because it was considered "too broad". A mod stated in the comments that there are many answers to my question and they are all opinion-based.

After thinking a bit and reading about questions that are "too broad" I had two thoughts:

  1. Maybe questions asking for a method to generate ideas are always "too broad" (because there are always a lot of answers).
  2. Maybe my question should have had a list of requirements the method/answer shall fulfill (to narrow down the spectrum of valid methods and allow one answer to be clearly the best).

So please tell me if one of my thoughts is correct or if there is something else I'm missing here. If my first thought is correct I would like to see if there is a concrete rule I'm violating.

I hope you can help me - I'm still learning how to use SE correctly.

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Maybe my question should have had a list of requirements the method/answer shall fulfill (to narrow down the spectrum of valid methods and allow one answer to be clearly the best).

This one.

Think of a question like "How can I go from Maastricht to Berlin?"

There are many possible answers:

  • Walking
  • Cycling
  • Driving/Taking a bus
  • Taking a train
  • Flying
  • Attached to a rocket on a ballistic trajectory
  • Digging an underground tunnel
  • Being shot by a suitable trebuchet
  • [...]

What is the "right" answer? Well, if you don't give the constraints, they might be all valid. If you start putting some requirements, some become invalid while others can be evaluated against each other. I.e. if you put the condition "the object undergoing the trip cannot be subject to more than 1 g acceleration", you are ruling out rockets and trebuchets for sure.

Wrapping up: provide the requirements, constraints and metric to evaluate the answers. That normally narrows down the spectrum of answers and provide an evaluation metric removing arbitrary choices.

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  • $\begingroup$ So I assume that if I would have included some requirements the question would not have been put on hold/closed. What if my requirements were really loose? Like: the method can take minutes to days and produce epic or not so epic results and so on? $\endgroup$ – Marv Jul 16 at 7:51
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    $\begingroup$ @Marv, epic is highly subjective. And the sharper the requirements, the better. $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch Jul 16 at 8:13
  • $\begingroup$ Ok so one last question: Is there a reason the mod didn't tell me to include requirements in my question? Or is that what he tried to say to me with "there are too many answers" and I didn't get the hint? $\endgroup$ – Marv Jul 16 at 8:19
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    $\begingroup$ @Marv, the moderator in the comments (no mod was involved in the close vote) basically told you what I wrote above, just using different wording. $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch Jul 16 at 8:43
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    $\begingroup$ Just out of curiosity: could you get from one to the other attached to a rocket that wasn't on a ballistic trajectory? $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Jul 16 at 12:22
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    $\begingroup$ @Frostfyre, yes, if you keep the rocket engine on until impact, ahem, destination $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch Jul 16 at 12:27
  • $\begingroup$ @Frostfyre sounds like a good start of a question for this site... $\endgroup$ – VLAZ Jul 24 at 7:18

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