At one point I made the following question:

Creating a scientifically semi-valid super-soldier, part 1: Skeleton

At first it was an amalgemation of many questions and got VTC'd (the first answer is still a testament to that). I decided to listen to the feedback and turned it into a small series of questions instead, completely overhauling the question. Despite that the question is still closed without any reopen votes so far.

Another question I saw was this one:

Formulating likelyhood for civilization to face weapons-based self-destruction

This question asks for an equation similar to the fermi paradox. While the individual variables are opinion based you cannot argue that the variable does not need to be there. Ignoring any other faults in the question it should not be locked for the variables it asks for.

Example: the variable of how many goldilocks planets there are is opinion based in the fermi paradox. But the variable itself cannot be taken out of the equation since you need to know how many goldilocks planets there are to complete the formula.

I've also seen some questions get VTC's with barely a comment or no comment at all explaining why it is VTC'd.

My proposal: make VTC more of a responsibility.

If you VTC you take a responsibility for the quality of questions on this site. That responsibility should not end after a VTC. The site is also supposed to be friendly, so making sure that people are encouraged to come back and ask more questions is key. Supporting the person in improving their answer is more important than the VTC.

1: if you VTC you get a screen where you need to fill in the exact reasons for the VTC and steps to improve the question, or an explanation why the question cannot be improved. I would say that this has to be done in your own words rather than a copy-pasted comment of someone else to show your understanding of the question.

2: if you VTC'd you will be notified of edits made to the question and get to review them. If you do not review the question within a month your VTC will be automatically removed.

3: people get to see the reasons for VTC and judge them. Bad VTC's need to be filtered especially if the person does not understand the question*. Naturally an explanation why it is a bad VTC would be included.

  • one of my big frustrations: after explaining what I mean some people still hold on to their interpretation and dragging a question down.
  • $\begingroup$ Can we have access to the skele-ton of sub-questions you wrote that were closed? Pleaaassse? $\endgroup$ Sep 19, 2021 at 9:12
  • $\begingroup$ @Tortliena could you elaborate what you mean? Do you want the rest of the super-soldier questions? $\endgroup$
    – Demigan
    Sep 19, 2021 at 10:42
  • $\begingroup$ It's just I don't understand the "I turned the question into a small series of questions instead" x_x $\endgroup$ Sep 19, 2021 at 11:00
  • $\begingroup$ @Tortliena this question has a link to the others: worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/questions/118331/…. Only the first one is locked. The problem is that it is still locked despite being a valid question now. Similarly other questions (not from this series) of mine have been locked and I've seen it happen to many others as well. $\endgroup$
    – Demigan
    Sep 19, 2021 at 11:18
  • $\begingroup$ Unfortunately, you're asking for enhancements that cannot be made on a per-Stack basis. In other words, this is a question that must be asked on Meta Stack Exchange because any such change(s) must be network-wide. (In other words, if we all agreed with you, there would be no way to implement a solution.) $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Oct 4, 2021 at 7:37

2 Answers 2


YES ... but

I don't disagree that any kind of quasi-moderatorial action comes with responsibilities. The problem with this kind of perspective is that we can not force people to take any responsibility beyond what SE demands. WB.SE can only suggest, cajole and clarify forum norms & expectations. Unless you want to turn the Mod Squod into a mini Stasi, keeping secret files on who has clicked what boxes, I really think your proposal will never have any teeth, and thus never be more than a self-regulated ideal. Those of us who are really into helping others craft good questions and answers will take your suggestions to heart and follow through. Those of us who don't have the time or inclination for anything extra simply won't.

Not to toot my own horn, but I'd like to think that when I VTC or edit someone else's question, I do take the responsibility seriously. In addition to the boilerplate closure rationale, I almost always offer suggestions as to why the question is being closed and ways to improve it. I'm not afraid to engage in long and protracted discussions either in comments or in a separate chat room. If the OP asks for clarification, I follow up. If the OP edits the question sufficiently, I either VTR or retract my VTC. If the OP brings the concern to Meta, I go back and review everything, including my own actions and interactions with the OP. If the OP convinces me that I was wrong or that they've done sufficient work to improve a question, then I happily change my view. Otherwise, I try to explain again why I did what I did and why I think the community reacted as it did.

As for your numbered points:
I think these are already covered, for the most part, by SE procedures which are not in the WB.SE forum's control.

  1. This already happens. It seems to have been implemented recently, but when I click VTC, a screen pops up asking for the reason for the vote. This comes from SE and I am sure is a site wide implementation. Anything further falls to the person voting.

  2. I think we get notified of edits by virtue of the fact that an edited question will end up in the VTR queue.

  3. People already question and judge what they believe to be bad closure reasons. Trust me, if I think the question isn't story based, I'm going to say something!

I really only disagree with the idea of punishing a VTCer with ballot negation. That's not a good practice. The whole idea of SE voting system is that the very VTC itself is considered to be sufficient explanation for the person's rationale. In other words, if I click VTC and then click "story based", I've done my bit for king and country. It would awesome and sporting if I carried through with all the friendly help and advice, but I don't have to. I ought never be penalised for doing no more than the law prescribes.

The only kind of penalty in that regard that I should be made to suffer is the gentle excoriation of the community.


partially agree with some parts of the post and present answer, but need to add some difference, not all of it but some.

reopening of questions is a harder process than closing them. seen successful cases of opening, but often is due to the fact of clashing of two different views on a question. when both views have sufficient support, it can even happen few times with the same question. the likelihood is higher as long a q is on the main page, after then the chance to be reopen is low and revq is not efficient.

  • recommend using follow-link for some time and look at the development of the situation for some of those q's, to get a more broad picture of the current situation.

more or less they're all the same names for vtc'ers (one of which is mine, sometimes) which is just an indication of user activity, it was the case for a years, a group of 10-20(?) people affects this part of the processes.

pressing 'follow' under a question allows to efficiently monitor changes through notifications, which works well if there is such interest. And this feature can be used to take some further responsibility. I use it periodically with questions that I see are sinking and I think they should not it helps me to note when they are closed - so I can cast reopen vote.

So it not only those who close could do a little bit more, but those who lean to protect this or another q can do more.

As well as those who answer q's - it is quite funny to see a question closed, but has 7 answers and 5 of those are from 3k+ rep users.

  • meaning high rep users found it good enough to spend the time on it, but it does not have even a single reopen vote even if it is fresh enough, so if it had some votes would not have time to expire

I'll be blunt, but honest, okay not that blunt - 1-3 won't do good as-is, and probably is not something which can be improved to do great good. Agree on some point with elements here, but not with everything.

At the same time, JBH started a good trend with VTC/VTO comments, and sure it a good thing to support it. it helps us to see what kind of objections we have to different q's, sync clocks on case by case basis, and think about what can be done.

Follow a question is also a tool, it hard to say how many and how people use it, it is less visible, but maybe it should be advertised as well.

Skipping questions also should be advertised - I absolutely won't touch questions marked with as it is not my cup of tee, and they are in ignore list on the main I do not see them, and that is all opinion based for me. And it sad situation, for me, to see technology space questions, if they are a bit no-standard, to be bashed by people who really have no business to judge those. So yeah, be humble and understand your own limit is a good thing to be advertised as well.

on the other hand, we should think about expanding or improving approaches and scope based on the main objective - 'is a question and answer site for writers, artists and others using science, geography, and culture to construct imaginary worlds and settings.'

in that sense that fermi paradox-like question is a good example. quite often op can't provide additional details, and variables even if omitted in a q are required for an answer and should be assumed by one who answers. often such q's are closed as opinion-based or need for details. it may be valid reasons and correct cause of closure - but another hand, some problems are quite typical and can be answered and if the user had the additional information or knowledge for a better question - he would not have the question. one asks the q exactly because he does not know something.

A goal is to help people do better fiction work using science. So what if the answer is half an opinion? if it is made by a knowledgeable person, whose assumptions and opinions may be worth more than a bunch of NASA pdf's - in such a case opinion maybe even better way to answer a q.

but here it needs to pay more attention to answers as well, downvote them, comment on them. (in that sense downvote is underpowered, ask for it as a feature).

all in all

what you propose does not solve the problems, but it is good that you thinking about improvements instead to move to a different place.

what to do:

  • be more active on reopening q's
  • use follow to monitor closed and to reopen q's
  • advertise useful practices in the comment section
  • understand which practices are useful
  • understand that there is a need for some restrain as for q's so as for A's for wb did not become a trash bin for random noise out of q's so as A's.
  • advertise this doctrine

at some point in time, it needs to become the next step, write down better practices.

all in all group of people who influence close reopen situation is not so big, finding some practically useful consensus is not impossible. which may include adding few new special tags - similar to , poor poor which needs to be fixed, back hole of opinions - which reflect not subjects but which affect out voting and taking decisions.

As an example, we have plenty of technology bootstrapping questions that were slashed over the years, they are fundamentally broad and no possibility to define which high fidelity and have multiple correct answers (aka opinion-based by current standards) - but a problem people try to solve is understandable, it hard to have such expertise, it makes sense to add such details, and those details have educational value for consumers - it a good to have good answers on those.

Maybe even broader tag:opinion-based - those who do not like to participate in those can ignore and hide such q's, and we may not close them for reasons that they are opinion-based, just slap the tag - those who like to show their creativity can engage, why not, as sending them to fantasy.se is useless most of the time.

So yeah, there are things which can be done atm, and it is plenty of.

Freedom to technology questions! Magic no passa run! ah yeah, I do ignore magic q's, then IDC

  • $\begingroup$ Sometimes the high rep users just can't help but answer a poor question! (Myself included, from time to time.) $\endgroup$
    – elemtilas
    Sep 20, 2021 at 0:54
  • $\begingroup$ @elemtilas sure, it happens. it may be appropriate, especially if it is a nay-answer. but you can recognize when it is the case or when it is legit sufficient support. I do not write things down, I just casually notice stuff, remember seen it few times. I guess some smart sd query may get a list of those. $\endgroup$
    – MolbOrg
    Sep 20, 2021 at 1:00
  • $\begingroup$ Yep. Otherwise, I agree with a number of your recommendations. Except about the magic questions! $\endgroup$
    – elemtilas
    Sep 20, 2021 at 1:01
  • $\begingroup$ Like Elemtilas you assume that just because there are options for people to take more responsibility (the follow option in this case) that more is not necessary. However I think that a more guided sequence of events is necessary to ensure a question is properly handled. Some people will never elaborate on why they VTC beyond "I think its opinion-based", and the problem is that their interpretation can be wrong. Without knowing that interpretation you cannot correct or improve the question to remove the erroneous interpretation. Responsibility afterwards can then disappear as well. $\endgroup$
    – Demigan
    Sep 20, 2021 at 4:20
  • $\begingroup$ As for magic and science fiction: with the exception of hard sci-fi they are the same. Stargate's Stargate is a literal magic portal and the weapons and gear of the aliens is all magic as well, from floating "aircraft" to staffs that fire literal fireballs presented as some kind of plasma weapon. All magic and non-hard sci-fi are is an additional layer of physics. "If I do X then we can exceed FTL without time dilation problems". "My laser sword may actually be a plasma sword but not really because it would be so hot it puts me on fire but suspension of disbelief helps me". $\endgroup$
    – Demigan
    Sep 20, 2021 at 4:24
  • $\begingroup$ @Demigan idk too much to say in response, but let's focus on two easy-to-understand things. 1. wb like 100+ se sites are just sidekicks for se.net - no one will adjust the system for wb specifically, but you can dream about it. 2. I like, very much, this part from the tour "It's built and run by you as part of the Stack Exchange network" - so do, run and build, tools for that are there. $\endgroup$
    – MolbOrg
    Sep 20, 2021 at 17:40

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