I have a question about my Worldbuilding Stack Exchange post: How can laser color printers weigh far less?

How can I make this on topic, please?

If I had an answer to this I would make money out of it, not disclose it to the public for free. That apart, what has this to do with worldbuilding? – L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica♦ 15 mins ago

can't you say this for most questions at https://worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/questions/tagged/reality-check%2bscience-based?tab=Votes?

Is there a way to "poison" oil fields permanently without releasing CO2 from them?
Is It Possible to Make a Computer Virus That Acts as an Anti-virus?
How can I build a Nuclear Reactor in my backyard?
Poison which constantly needs to be treated by antidote to not get killed

I'm building a kind of printer that doesn't exist in the current world. Because no color laser printer weighs less than 40 lb now.

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    $\begingroup$ To help you understand L.Dutch's comment: you've asked us to explain a modification to existing technology. That modification has the potential of being quite valuable, so it's very reasonable to assume that no sensible or useful answer would be given since it would be more profitable to approach the printer companies or to secure a patent. And a fanciful answer (lighter metals, more efficient/smaller motors, lighter toner) are so obvious that it begs why the question was asked. Pure tech-improvement Qs are often closed here because they're independent of worldbuilding. Sorry. $\endgroup$ Dec 25 '20 at 4:45


You can ask this question on a technology forum. You are asking a question about a real world technology and a real world product of technology.

In this forum, we seek to help people build fictional worlds. This means we expect your question to focus on the fundamental nature of the world itself, how it works, how society & culture work.

Real world questions cán (only just barely) be considered on topic in this forum if you have some real solid fictional world context in which the query can be understood. You don't have that here. Every piece of technology we now use didn't exist X years ago. Asking a question about a modification of an existing piece of technology that doesn't yet exist is not "worldbuilding". It's a straight up technology query which is off topic here.

As for your question, can't you say this for most questions at Worldbuilding? You're right! We can probably close some of those questions because they are not about worldbuilding.

Let's look at a couple:

The poisoning the oilfield question. This question is asking about a fundamental aspect of a fictional world within a fictional setting. Notice that the question is one of basic science: the chemistry of hydrocarbon refining & combustion.

The antivirus question. This one can probably be nominated for closure, as it's about the manipulation of technology, not the fundamental nature of the world it happens in.

The backyard nuclear reactor question. Yep, another one placed in the VTC queue. Like your question, it's a straight up tech query.

The poison/antidote question. This is potentially closeable, but I think can be read sufficiently as "how the world works" to leave it be.

I hope this exercise illuminates a little bit what we're looking for and why your question doesn't fit.

  • $\begingroup$ On the flip side, we allow real-world questions, but only when a clear worldbuilding context or objective is involved. Worldbuilding is about creating and consistently using rules for a fictional world. If the question doesn't relate to such a rule, it's inappropriate here. $\endgroup$ Dec 25 '20 at 4:39
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    $\begingroup$ @JBH - in fairness to myself, I dìd say Real world questions cán (only just barely) be considered on topic...! :P A lump of coal for you not noticing! ;))) $\endgroup$
    – elemtilas
    Dec 25 '20 at 17:36

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