Why was this question originally closed for being "Not suitable for this site"?

Question pasted below:

What is the reason behind the iron law of necromancy, “In order to raise the dead you must be dead yourself”?

The living just can't raise the dead from their slumber, only other dead ones can. Like, in order to become a necromancer you need to perform a ritual that will kill you, but at the same time will preserve some of your connections with the world of the living, so you will be able to raise yourself from the dead. Such necromantical "pulling yourself by your boot straps" needs to be executed flawlessly, otherwise even a small mistake can result in a wanna-be-necromancer becoming just plain dead, instead of a lich. For this reason many people would like to be able to raise the dead without performing the ritual on themselves. But alas, this is impossible because ...

What makes this "Not suitable for this site"?

  • $\begingroup$ Purely story based opinion based one - a pinch of fantasy is enough to produce 10 and more (as long asmthere is passion for that) story based explanations. Concept is fantasy so it does not require any science, so ther infinite list of possible answers which can be generated with ease. Fantasy.se may be a better place for it. $\endgroup$
    – MolbOrg
    Commented Aug 31, 2021 at 19:32

1 Answer 1


The original version of your post had a number of problems

Note: When I wrote this answer, I didn't realize that the meta OP wasn't the same OP as the linked question on Main. I believe the answer is still valid, but as you read it, I was assuming that I was writing to the OP on Main. My apologies to @TheOnlyGusti for making that mistake.

VTC:Too Story-Based

When asking questions keep in mind that the goal of the site is to help you build your world, not to tell your story. (First bullet in the Help Center)

Please be patient with this first explanation, thanks.

We cannot (and never will) assume that you're asking a question to establish a worldbuilding rule. Were we to do so, we'd be plagued with questions helping authors and writers overcome writer's block — and that's not our mandate. As written, your original post was simply fishing for ideas to rationalize a rule of your world. That's almost always "story based" because it could (and often would) involve the politics, religion, philosophy, economy, guilds, trades, etc. of your world — and how they are crafted usually has a lot to do with a story. Worse, such rationalization is frequently a core component of a story's plot. Thus, your question could have been legitimately closed as "too story-based."

OK, as you mentioned in the comments to your post, you're not writing a story. But you didn't explain that and we're not going to assume it because 95% of the questions we get here are for the purpose of writing a story.


From that same Help Center page we read that questions...

  • Must be specific and answerable: What problem are you trying to solve?
  • Must include context: What are you trying to accomplish? Context gives people writing answers an idea of what your end state will look like and why you want to get there.
  • Must include restrictions/requirements: What will make one answer better than another? If any answer is equally effective your question is not properly constrained. How can this be executed? What tech, timeline, magic or other criteria apply to the situation.

Ours is the most creative and imaginative site on Stack Exchange, but that does not allow us to simply abrogate Stack Exchange's general rules. Questions are expected to be specific and answerable. Fishing-for-ideas questions generally are not. That's why we made a distinction between off-topic infinite lists of things and on-topic finite list of things. We do that by adhering to the 2nd and 3rd bullets: you need to provide context, restrictions, and requirements. You didn't, meaning the question could have been legitimately answered by pretty much anything. One person could have answered, "the gods of your world would force them to perform the ritual" and another could have answered, "your magic system requires the attributes of gypsum, potash, and flourine, mixed appropriately, or the breach between the worlds wouldn't happen." As written, both answers would be equally correct. Which brings us to this statement from the second bullet in the Help Center...

To prevent your question from being flagged and possibly removed, avoid asking subjective questions where …

  • every answer is equally valid,
  • there is no actual problem to be solved,
  • you are asking an open-ended, hypothetical question.

These are actually non-trivial reasons to close a question that are incredibly common on our imaginative and creative stack. It results from people asking questions before they're ready. It's important to ask yourself...

  1. Why do I need this answer?
  2. What kind of answer don't I need?
  3. How will I judge the best answer?

If you don't pass this kind of information on to us, your question will fail one or more of those three bullets listed above. Your initial post certainly (IMO) violated bullets #1 and #3, and I can construe a violation of #2 because all you asked for was a way to rationalize a rule. There wasn't an actual problem to solve (that came in a later edit when you explained that people wanted to raise the dead without casting the required ritual, a valuable restriction).

When there's too many reasons to close a question, we tend to default to "not about worldbuilding according to the rules in the Help Center"

It's only my opinion because I wasn't one of the original close voters, but the post was so simple and lacked so much detail, conditions, restrictions, goals, and an explanation of how a best answer would be judged, that it justified closing the question for violating the rules.

In the end, you're responsible for understanding and following the rules

And when we VTC a question as not-about-worldbuilding, it gets listed as "unsuitable for this site." It doesn't often mean, "you're not worldbuilding!" It usually means you're following too few rules to be more specific.

If you're like most new users (including me! I once stood in your shoes!), your first reaction to having your proverbial hand slapped is, "I just want my question answered, what's the problem?" Like so many of us, you probably didn't pay much attention to the Tour and haven't read through the first two bullets of the Help Center (much less all the others...). Consequently, you're using a tool without understanding it's purpose and limitations.

Please take the time to read through the Help Center. But above all, thank you for bringing your question to Meta. We're happy to help you though the Stack's initial culture shock and we really are thrilled that you've given us the privilege of helping you build your world! Frankly, your question became a lot more interesting after all the supporting information was added.

But to make the Stack Exchange Overlords happy, to help keep questions and answers useful to as many people as possible, and to keep a semblance of order here, we do ask that you learn the rules and work with them.

  • $\begingroup$ Just as a note, the user who asked this meta question isn't the same as the person who originally asked the main question and then started these two discussions. $\endgroup$
    – HDE 226868 Mod
    Commented Jul 27, 2021 at 22:40
  • $\begingroup$ @HDE226868 Yeah, I didn't actually realize that until about 30 minutes ago when the actual OP started chaining meta posts. I'll put in a note at the top of the answer about that. Thanks. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Jul 27, 2021 at 22:55
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ To be honest, I'm thinking about merging them - I see there are some close votes suggesting one of the others should be a duplicate of this one because you wrote a thorough answer. So just a heads-up on that (I'm sure you'll see if we do end up merging them!). $\endgroup$
    – HDE 226868 Mod
    Commented Jul 27, 2021 at 22:57

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .