I am still interested in that the little q I have

A big primitive computer in orbit, very big, powerfull but old technologies from 80's, what is a potential fiat money value for its use?

but unfortunately, I'm at a loss as comments do not provide sufficient feedback on why it is offtopic, as it seems not much better or worse than a good/bad half of questions. I guess I can bring examples, but not the point.

I would like if someone manages to clear my own blindspot about my own q and enlighten me with knowledge and details.

I sure can see certain uncertainty, but the evaluation asked is more like an order of magnitude.

would like to see JBH take, as he often likes to ask for details, and here it is an example of a question with the highest level of details directly in answer or indirectly in the world around.

So would like to see critique, as indeed asking q's turns out to be not that easy, so as maybe some support, happy to see it as well.

examples section

  • wasn't digging for it, but just as it happens to be on main, decided to add some, maybe more later

How can a hive mind secretly monetize its special ability to make lots of money?

This is how a story-based q looks like, basically 95% of q's starting with "why"

Why would a world empire spend the time/resources to raise an endogamic military class?

temp content, screenshot for L. Dutch

for the comment, do we have some tech problems or?: "The question is closed as "off-topic", not as "need more details", why do you think that adding or having added more details would solve the off-topic?"

enter image description here

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The question is closed as "off-topic", not as "need more details", why do you think that adding or having added more details would solve the off-topic? $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch Mod
    Aug 1, 2021 at 19:29
  • $\begingroup$ @L.Dutch Actually, it was closed as too story-based. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Aug 1, 2021 at 19:38
  • $\begingroup$ @L.Dutch good point actually, didn't pay attention to that as the end reason displayed is just one option with the most votes, but an interesting point, and by coincidence, I do ask why it is offtopic. $\endgroup$
    – MolbOrg
    Aug 1, 2021 at 21:18
  • $\begingroup$ @L.Dutch another reason is the context of the shield which I see, hm is there some problem with it, I'll add a screenshot of it, temporarily to the q. $\endgroup$
    – MolbOrg
    Aug 1, 2021 at 21:36

2 Answers 2


My VTC was cast before the current edit, but I believe my issues remain

Before I begin, it's important to realize that few of us see more than about 20% of the questions that pass through this Stack. That means that there's precious little consistency in the closing-and-reopening process because we all have different views concerning why things should be closed. Consequently, it's unreasonable to point to any other question(s) suggesting that yours should remain open since theirs did. What's most likely to happen is that I'll go vote to close those questions because they violate my interpretation of the rules. You're asking about your question. Nobody else's question establishes precedent for or against your need.

Let's start with the basic problem. You've created a vaguely-defined tool based on nearly 50 year old tech and placed it in the modern world and asked us to explain, of all things, how profitable it can be.

How should we know? If I buy a hammer and put it in a tool box and never use it, then its profitability is zero. If I use it to build my house, technically it's profitability is till zero. If I sell the house and the hammer was the only tool I used, then the difference between the house's sell price and its construction price could be called the profitability of the hammer (but it likely wouldn't because I wouldn't get the best benefit from taxes if I did that...). If I use it to bash in the head of Adolf Hitler before the Nazis stormed Poland, its profitability would be beyond price.

Did you see the problem? Profitability is based on the circumstances surrounding the use of the tool. It has nothing at all to do with the tool itself.

  • Worldbuilding (on-topic) is the development and consistent use of the rules governing a fictional world of your own creation.

  • Storybuilding (off-topic) is the development of plot, circumstances, and character choices and actions.

And it doesn't matter what the tool is. Back during the cold war my father had a saying, "a weapon unused is a useless weapon." What's the profitability of an ICBM? I dunno, what's the value of peace? How do you put a price on it? Even a house is only as valuable as what the buyer is willing to pay for it. What are the conditions and limitations of the buyer? Are they wealthy, middle-class, or poor? Do they have a large savings account? a retirement account? a wealthy uncle? Or just enough for a down payment? What is the condition of the economy involving the buyer and the seller at that time? How much does the seller have invested in the house? Is the house in a desirable area? Is it in good repair?

More problems... there are so many variables that define "profitability" and all of them are a function of the circumstances of your story — not a rule of your world.

Specifically in terms of your question, one way of looking at profitability is a computer's profitability can be judged in relation to the value of the data it manipulates. If a simulation will lead to a million-dollar deal, then the computer that completed that simulation has a profitability of a million dollars. If it's being used to process SETI signal analyses, its profitability is zip until an alien culture is actually found (and then it could be said that it was still zero).

Another way of looking at profitability is the computer's profitability can be judged by the rental value it has. In other words, the owner spent \$X to make the computer ready for people to rent. He then chooses (see "storybuilding" above) \$Y such that \$Y-\$X = profitability.


Establishing the profitability of any tool is not a basic economics question. It's a circumstantial question that demands that we begin writing your story for you (the essence of "too story-based"). it requires us to invent circumstances to justify the perception of value. And that's off-topic.

  • $\begingroup$ interesting. the q does not ask about profitability, however, and we understand profitability in the same way as u wrote "\$Y-\$X = profitability". "simulation will lead to a million-dollar deal" - is it possible to sell it for that, is it capable to run modern simulations, what's typical money in that sector. As story based - the q is similar to showing a photo of a house and asking is it worth something, is it a cheap house or an expensive one - what kind of story happens/associated with the house is irrelevant for the answer, it may influence it in small/big way but q does not ask for that. $\endgroup$
    – MolbOrg
    Aug 1, 2021 at 21:31
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ From your question: what kinds of gains/profits we may expect to have? $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Aug 1, 2021 at 21:32
  • $\begingroup$ yes you know my poor English, I followed Willks advice and did put questions in bold and with question marks Generally had a problem with how to express what I'm interested in. I'm not interested in people calculating expenses then subtract stuff, cuz I can do that better than most. I was interested in - is there a use case for it? in a business way, or it is just a big junk floating in space. I understand the point you expressing in the answer, and sure it can be a possible take. what would you suggest to improve here, is it even possible? How do I get an expert take on the use of the thing? $\endgroup$
    – MolbOrg
    Aug 1, 2021 at 21:56
  • $\begingroup$ While I'm not likely to get to it before Tuesday afternoon, I'd be willing to edit the question. You can roll back the edits if you don't like them. Note that the only practical use case I can think of would be as a computation farm, very much like what SETI does. What doesn't make sense is the length of time you're keeping it in play. Most super computers or computer farms are replaced every 15-20 years. It's hard to imagine that it wouldn't be replaced (or simply obsoleted) by the late 1990s. If the tech existed to create it, it'll exist to obsolete it. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Aug 2, 2021 at 6:42
  • $\begingroup$ Looking forward for the edit, do not care about shape of the q as long as specs are preserved both as node, so as size of the thing. Which uses for free, I have no problems to make 5 things it can be used for, off the top of my head, and sure there is more, but can it do things which those days are payd for - that I have no expirience or appropriate knowledge, if we strike out crypto(speculative activity) and passwords hashes rainbow attacks(which is illigal, I guess, in most places, at least definetly not something to be advertised), web hosting(10sec ping delay and other problems) $\endgroup$
    – MolbOrg
    Aug 2, 2021 at 8:33
  • $\begingroup$ A minor quibble, but I'd suggest the TL;DR should be at the start, not the end. $\endgroup$ Aug 5, 2021 at 21:51
  • $\begingroup$ I just posted an edit. I hope you'll forgive me, I have a hard time writing boring questions that don't have a fun backstory. As a result, the Q might be a bit long. However, you've already selected a best answer and the Stack has a Meta-rule that changes to questions shouldn't invalidate answers. I asked the Mods to push the comments into chat before realizing that, so I've also left a comment to this regard. You might need to roll back the edit, then use my edit as a base to ask a new Q. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Aug 6, 2021 at 4:19
  • $\begingroup$ just noticed the comment here - yeah, I added mess to that situation, let's see - if it fly it fly, if not then not and I'll give up on it. $\endgroup$
    – MolbOrg
    Aug 6, 2021 at 7:09

I do not see your question as 'Too Story Based'. However, I do think that the information you provide is insufficient to answer your question and calculate possible profits. Still, this is not the main problem, IMO.

The biggest problem with this question is your writing style. It is a bit immature (as in immature writing, not an immature person).

Your writing is very hard to understand chiefly due to poor structure and its high resemblance to stream-of-consciousness writing. It seems that you write down your thought process rather than compose a question. While this is a great literary technique when used right, it is not the best choice for presenting your questions.

I would suggest editing your query to improve its structure, remove unnecessary thought process, and include missing details pertaining to the main issue (i.e. profitability of this super-computer).

If you need me to elaborate on something, please, ask in the comments.

  • $\begingroup$ Appreciate your input) (and you didn't forgot your promise - respect). Yes, stream is one of my problems, I indeed record down my thought process.// I'm done with the q, and understood its problem(besides stream thing), in that regard one comment from Alexander was worth all the answers provided, it set me on track to see the light with the help of general picture of the answers. I call it a success, essencially I got what I wanted, but there is no answer to my question because it does not exist - a magical cash cow use for the setup. $\endgroup$
    – MolbOrg
    Aug 22, 2021 at 19:57
  • $\begingroup$ in that sense crowd reaction wasn't that wrong, at my first attempt, it just that reason provided was wrong and no useful(for me) hints were given. Again, appreciate the input, it interesting how it all looks like from a perspective of another human being, lol. $\endgroup$
    – MolbOrg
    Aug 22, 2021 at 19:57
  • $\begingroup$ On my side I can clarify some moments more freely, some of those you raised in your comments back then, if you still interested in details in regard of overall situation. A short which probably covers it all - after 4 month and around 6 attempts to reopen, looking for a different place to ask, and asking there - I had enough of it and didn't care how I get what I need, I have seen much worse, lol $\endgroup$
    – MolbOrg
    Aug 22, 2021 at 20:08
  • $\begingroup$ @MolbOrg I commend you for your resilience and perseverance. I also think that if you improve your writing style you will benefit immensely. I am not trying to be condescending, but I believe that writing should match the audience. Most people here are busy and do not have enough time and patience. WB.SE does not pay its members to read questions. If you make their lives a bit easier by posting queries in a reader-friendlier form they will like them better. $\endgroup$
    – Otkin
    Aug 23, 2021 at 5:30
  • $\begingroup$ Overall, I think that 'Too Story-Based' reason for closure is abused almost as much as 'Opinion-based'. Moreover, most people use their own interpretations of 'too story-based' or just silently vote without any explanation. I wish WB.SE had better defined and codified rules. It is always so much easier to have a conversation about a rule application when you have a proper rulebook in your hands. $\endgroup$
    – Otkin
    Aug 23, 2021 at 5:52
  • $\begingroup$ Long q's - do not consider them as total loss, do not believe that anyone can answer any q, so it like a filter for those who are interested, if they are it may have a better chances that they are interested because they had some ideas, and details are important for them. On the other hand I can't be that flexible with english due limitations on how freely I can express myself using it, here example of the same q a short version cs.stackexchange.com/q/136967/16452 But yes, I probably could get more if I could be more flexible., that's quite universal strategy. $\endgroup$
    – MolbOrg
    Aug 23, 2021 at 8:50
  • $\begingroup$ asking q's was not something I have done on wb in the past so it was just part of getting expirience of being on recieving end - definetly recommend for those who like me didn't do that. A rule book - I definetly support this idea, I was thinking some meta posts RFC style could helpfull (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Request_for_Comments ) (it was how most of internet protocols were defined back in the days) $\endgroup$
    – MolbOrg
    Aug 23, 2021 at 8:51
  • $\begingroup$ @MolbOrg Your writing needs better structure, i.e. what comes first, what comes last, and what is in-between. This is independent of language. If you can structure your writing well in one language, you should be able to do it in other languages, too. Your English proficiency is sufficiently high for this. Grammar and occasional word usage mistakes have a much lower impact on comprehension. I read a lot of MTL (machine translations) and as long as the structure is ok, broken English is of no issue. Try to find questions that you like and are well-received and imitate their structure. $\endgroup$
    – Otkin
    Aug 23, 2021 at 20:30
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, I understand, I omitted other reasons like lack of such training or neccessity IRL in the past and in contrarily a necessity to do direct opposite which formed my habits and all that on top of my own quirks. If I'll get some idea on asking somethingin the future, I'll consider/try to include that aspect in that experiment, or maybe one of my big q's can be restructured, I'll entertain myself with that on a proper occasion. Answers are a bit different situation, omitted. Appreciate the advice and will think about it, more and better organizing may be good for me in general, lol. $\endgroup$
    – MolbOrg
    Aug 24, 2021 at 6:22
  • $\begingroup$ @MolbOrg I believe in you. I hope that your next big question will be a less frustrating experience. || BTW, I thought I posted the comment about the RFC. But I guess I got distracted. I think it is a good idea. Perhaps you could make a meta post suggesting it. $\endgroup$
    – Otkin
    Aug 24, 2021 at 8:28

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