I've asked a fair share of questions here, but only a few pertain to ideas I actually pursued seriously in a game or short story. Many of my questions are little more than a fictional curiosity to explore a world idea and I just want to see what other people have to say about it.

This prompts people to put a lot of effort into giving a serious answer, but I wonder if it's a bit dishonest to take advantage of this for a mere curiosity. I suppose some budding writer might ask themselves a similar question in the future, so it's not useless or anything, but it still feels... cheap... or something like that.

Should I actually go in with the intent of writing about it before I ask a question?


3 Answers 3


For The Love of Worldbuilding:

I think that this is a good place to explore ideas. Some of those are complex, specific and targeted questions (say, the orbital mechanics of three stars with a planet locked between them) while others are fanciful (carnivore teddy bear behavior). We don't always know where a curiosity will lead us or others. I, for one, assume that ideas are free, and people aren't answering questions out of a desperate desire to get their thoughts published. If they were, they'd demand to be cited in any derivative works. It's fun, and you never know when your idea will spark a story idea for someone else.

Okay, sometimes it's showing off, if you have a particularly brilliant solution to a problem. Mostly, if you have a really good question, we're excited to see it. A shortage of great questions is frustrating. Personally, I'm a lot better at answers than questions, because I do my own creative research. So don't deny people the chance to chew on a particularly sweet question. I'm passionate about biology and enjoy sharing it.

If it bothers you, you can always say you aren't sure if this is a serious question or not. Then people can decide how much effort to put in. But mostly we do it for the joy of worldbuilding.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ It doesn't bother me. It's just something I've wondered for the last year or so. $\endgroup$
    – Beefster
    Commented Oct 9, 2020 at 16:31

Heck No!

Most of the questions I've asked were not in the context of a story I was writing or ever intended to write. Many weren't even in the context of a specific world I was trying to build. Most of the questions I've submitted were submitted because I was curious about a set of rules or systems I thought were interesting and that might benefit others working on similar problems.

In a sense, what you just asked was,

"should I build a wall if I have no intention of building a house?"

As odd as it may seem, the answer is...

"Yes. It teaches you how to build a wall."

Having said that, I would like to point out that we've had a few users over the years who asked questions because they had flights of fancy and Worldbuilding.SE was pretty much the only place they had a hope of getting an answer. Asking questions like that tends to lead to silly, poorly formed, not-useful-for-others questions. That, I would ask you to avoid. This site should meet Stack Exchange's basic expectation that questions should serve not just the submitter, but others who come after as well.

So, for the love of Glarnak, ask all the questions you want.


  • $\begingroup$ ...and maybe you don't want to build a house, and not a Wall (Nobody plans to build a wall - Walther Ulbricht) but in the end you'll build the Antifashist-rampart - aka "Berlin Wall" $\endgroup$
    – Trish
    Commented Oct 12, 2020 at 13:27
  • $\begingroup$ @Trish :-) I don't speak German, but the translation to the title of that video is "Historical fakes: 'Nobody intends to build a wall'" In reality, contractors (even medieval engineers) plan very carefully to build walls. But you're point's well taken... where we go with the worldbuilding knowledge we gain here is, quite frankly, anywhere. That's the whole point of the site. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Oct 12, 2020 at 14:59
  • $\begingroup$ "Nobody plans to build a wall" (Keiner hat die Absicht eine Mauer zu errichten) was the end of the answer by Walther Ulbricht, who lead the GDR, when asked about some construction workers. 2 months later, the Antifashist-rampart (aka Berlin Wall) was built. $\endgroup$
    – Trish
    Commented Oct 12, 2020 at 15:03
  • $\begingroup$ @Trish I remember the history. There's a difference between "nobody plans to build a wall" and "nobody intends to build a wall." His reference was the later, a distraction from the wall he intended to build. I'm curious, were you posting in support of or contrary to my answer? $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Oct 12, 2020 at 15:13
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Building a wall for testing is good if you ever come into the bad situation to need to build an antifashist rampart... despite never having planned to build a "wall" :3 $\endgroup$
    – Trish
    Commented Oct 12, 2020 at 15:15

Of course not

believe it or not many questions asked here never become a full blown story, and that's perfectly ok not only because first off, its fun to learn stuff, and fun to answer questions too, but not only that, if someone else has the same idea, they don't need to ask their own question, yours would already be there.

it's totally ok to ask a question, even if it never goes anywhere, and maybe if you think it won't go anywhere, an answer might spark your interest and it will become a story.


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