# Good vs Bad “Feasibility” Questions?

Recently, I've noticed a lot of new questions with "Feasibility" written in the title.

Generally, the community consensus is that "feasibility" questions about sci-fi ideas are on-topic because they produce relevant information that can help people build fictional worlds. Some recent feasibility questions that seem to fit the accepted style include:

However, I've noticed a string of feasibility questions structured differently:

The latter questions follow this format: "here is an existing creature from a work of fiction, and here are its attributes; how can it be explained?" I'm reminded of the Anatomically Correct Series, which exists to help users

create fictional creatures in a realistic evolutionary way.

The problem is, these questions seem less geared toward creating fictional creatures and more toward explaining existing ones.

Are the aforementioned questions on-topic? Are "explain-existing-creature" questions fundamentally different from the Anatomically Correct Series because they are narrow and off-topic, or are they equally helpful because they provide scientific explanations that others may find useful?

EDIT: Here's some clarification of my perspective based on VLAZ's post: I think part of what irks me most is the apparent ease of inserting an existing creature into a post for the sake of generating questions. A lot of questions on this site don't seem to be used to make actual fictional worlds, but when it's possible to functionally copy-and-paste existing works of fiction to generate posts, it seems especially unproductive.

The latter questions follow this format: "here is an existing creature from a work of fiction, and here are its attributes; how can it be explained?"

I disagree with this assessment. The questions actually veer quite far away from the existing entity. Each question starts with a general description of the being in question, however it then construct an fictional species heavily inspired but most definitely not the same as the original.

So, it's definitely not "here are the traits of an existing entity, I want to re-make it" - there already is a remake in process as part of the question. And the re-make makes rather drastic changes to the creature...which is inevitable, since each of these beings is not a species, it's an individual. I'm myself reminded of a comedy sketch which has an exchange I'd like to paraphrase here:

Nyarlathotep, Yog Sothtoth, Nurgle, and Tzeentetch aren't a genre of mythical beast - there is only one of each and their names respectively are Nyarlathotep, Yog Sothtoth, Nurgle, and Tzeentetch

So, I cannot see construction of a new species that share some traits with each of the individuals as anything but a new fictional creature creation and the question is if that works or can can it be improved.

Whether that does or doesn't overlap with Anatomically Correct Series, I'm not sure. To me it does seem distinct even if quite similar. ACS does feature some singular such as King Kong, Slenderman, Sleipnir, Scylla, and Charybdis, for example. But each time the premise is actually what you mistakenly (according to me) attribute to the new feasibility questions: "here is an existing creature from a work of fiction; how can it be explained?" There are also ACS questions that do some of the re-imagining as part of the question, like Pinocchio which seems quite close in composition.

In conclusion, I don't see a problem with the questions you described. They seem to be about creating species inspired from a fictional being. The only "problem" (in heavy quotes) I could see is whether they should be included in the Anatomically Correct Series. I can't actually make that call, but at most, I can see them being edited to include a link to ACS and then the ACS listing having a link to the questions.

• I hear you. I think part of what irks me most is the apparent ease of inserting an existing creature into a post for the sake of generating questions. A lot of questions on this site don't seem to be used to make actual fictional worlds, but when it's possible to functionally copy-and-paste existing works of fiction to generate posts, it seems especially unproductive. – Zxyrra Jan 30 '20 at 12:12
• @Zxyrra OK, I understand your concern, then. I have no idea if it will help but maybe I can provide a slightly different perspective: I have a single question posted on the site. It's for something I was thinking of writing but never got around to it. So, in some respects - there was no fictional world as a product. Yet, there was one in my head. I ran through the story with different variations and iterations all in my imagination. I did actually use this as a world building detail. There is just no hard or electronic copy of it anywhere but I still found value. – VLAZ Jan 30 '20 at 12:43
• I also have a big list of other questions I'd like to ask that I have no plans to produce anything with. I just haven't gotten around to posting them. I have another list of actually ready story elements, ideas, worldbuilding aspects and similar. Occasionally I pluck something from them for some personal project. Honestly, it's the worldbuilding process itself which fascinates me more than putting down the finished world on some sort of medium. Whether it would be in a story, on a piece of paper, or whatever. – VLAZ Jan 30 '20 at 12:43
• I agree that questions don't necessarily need to be used in the construction of the OP's world. However, with some questions I get the sense that no worldbuilding was ever intended, and the information is too specific to be helpful in actual worldbuilding. Imo some "explain this" questions are helpful on the site because they provide details that a lot of people can use. The difference to me is that "insert-existing-creature-here" questions are not only not meant to make worlds - they can't help others. – Zxyrra Jan 30 '20 at 14:00
• ”think part of what irks me most is the apparent ease of inserting an existing creature into a post for the sake of generating questions” Pretty sure the author of the questions has said ne is writing a whole story based on Lovecraft creatures. I do not think this is just question ideation. – SRM Feb 2 '20 at 2:03

As the person that creates the , “the feasibility of” questions, I find that this post is really informative. In a way, I make these questions to just see what is and what isn’t feasible by taking the individual god like being, taking away it’s god like attributes, and trying to make it into a feasible species.

In a way, it kinda reminds me that in the vastness of the universe, these species could be possible. Also, I will say, that The reason why I don’t make the questions for a personalized universe is because I find it pretty hard to make a personalized universe with specific rules, without breaking them myself.

Other than that, I find this post extremely informative, and I’ll try to look at this post as a means of improving my questions.

• I appreciate that you're willing to consider this perspective - and I get it, I've asked similar questions to yours in the past. Thanks for being willing to discuss :) – Zxyrra Jan 30 '20 at 18:26
• Though I haven't read any of the queries being discussed and while such queries are undoubtedly interesting, I would just caution you against asking about some other work's creatures. We're here to help you devise your own fictional world, rather than help you understand someone else's. That kind of question should be directed to the SF&F forum. I advise a more careful approach to question wording to avoid potential closure! – elemtilas Feb 6 '20 at 23:21

These are on-topic questions because:

Learning is sometimes about learning how to think about something rather than getting a specific answer. Picking apart existing creatures is extremely helpful in learning how to build a creature, because there's already an established point of reference. These questions aren't so much about generating questions. For me, they are more about learning how to think in order to create something. We can take something silly like Pokemon, and by exploring the mechanics of those creatures, we can learn what we will and won't accept, and how we might THINK, the steps we must take, the process of what we should be considering when building a creature of our own.

World creation builds on other worlds. Thing is, in a lot a fiction, established worlds ARE a jumping-off point. Take fantasy. The jumping-off point would be Tolkien. And when authors create their fantasy world, what do they do? They say "well, my elves are different/better." Maybe they get an idea from a post on Godzilla's evolution, maybe they treat magic like radiation. Whatever the case, when you create something, it's best if your readers know what you're talking about, and the best way to do that is to use something that already exists as your jumping-off point.