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The question in question is: Why would terrestrial, rodent-sized sapient mammals evolve to be hairless?

Please correct me if I am mistaken, but worldbuilding SE has accepted questions of this sort for as long as I have browsed it (a good number of years before I made this account). Going over to the tag search and sorting by votes, you can find a highly comparable question appears to be well received - there aren't even any comments about it being under-specified. What is the difference between these questions that warrants closing? Is it simply that the culture has shifted in this time? I would be very happy to change my question, so long as the changes do not compromise its utility for the general public (which is the policy here, anyway, AFAIU).

Less comparable, but relevant example questions:

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  • $\begingroup$ Curious: have you put any thought into actually improving your query? While I suspect you may be busy with real life, it'd still be interesting to see what you come with! $\endgroup$
    – elemtilas
    Sep 26 at 21:59
  • $\begingroup$ @elemtilas It's not particularly urgent for me since I've already got an answer for my own work - I was more curious about what other people may suggest. Since it looks like the only way to re-open is to narrow the space of answers (or become popular), I'm not particularly incentivized to do so. If you're asking because you yourself are interested in these answers or seeing if your suggestion works, I'd be happy to make the changes sometime this week; I just thought nobody was particularly interested in such a niche question. $\endgroup$ Oct 4 at 13:01
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    $\begingroup$ FWIW: SE isn't all about you getting the answer you specifically need! While I'm certainly glad you got a good answer, the real main purpose of SE is to collect excellent answers to excellent questions. This is done so that future worldbuilders who happen to wonder about evolution of hairless rodents can find the answer here, and would be perpetually grateful to yourself for having asked and edited the question years or even decades in the past! And yes, I'm curious to see other answers as well, which is why I suggested the edit. Lastly: niche is what we're all about here! :) $\endgroup$
    – elemtilas
    Oct 4 at 18:26
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A Possible Solution

JBH brought up the "infinite list of things" vs "finite list of things" and I think that is probably your best bet for "improving" your question. I think the questions you link to provide a key to the success of the list type question.

What I'd suggest is a simple inversion of your assumption. As it's written, you seem to have a hairy animal and want to make it hairless, assuming that there must be some kind of end benefit. This is bound to create a whole lot divergent opinions, and, ultimately a pretty infinite list of speculations of the "well, it might could just be this or mought whould just be that".

Now, I don't have a problem with opinions & speculations, but there is not a little bit of push-back against these things.

I think your question would be reopened if in stead of focusing on the end benefit, you focused on the process itself.

Example:
How does this sound? If I had asked your question as written, and were facing closure, this is how I'd might rewrite it.

In my world, there are hairless, rodent-sized sapient mammals. How did they evolve to be hairless?

Assuming Earth-like conditions and biology in the realm of what has been observed in nature (including the evolution of nearly hairless humans), how is it that these tiny people became (nearly) hairless as well? While there are many examples of furless land animals (insects, reptiles & amphibians) on that scale, the vast majority of them are ectotherms and do not face the same challenges in maintaining their core temperature as mammals do. This is because mammals are (primarily) endotherms and under the square-cube law, smaller animals must radiate heat "more effectively" than a comparable one of larger scale.

This question asks for a finite list of most plausible directions the path of evolution might take. Some speculation is necessary, but ASB type answers won't cut it. I will accept as best answer, the one that gives a substantial and evidence-based course of advantage to hairlessness at this scale in light of the question's initial condition.

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  • $\begingroup$ Interesting, I'll probably go with this if the question remains closed. My only concern here is that the list might be too finite - I can't really imagine there being more solutions beyond: an ancestor had it, the conditions changed to approximate that of macrofauna that have it, and it was spontaneous. Perhaps the wealth is in the middle answers? It would still be useful nonetheless. $\endgroup$ Sep 24 at 14:21
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    $\begingroup$ @smallobsession -- Well, feel free to tweak if you feel it is too restrictive. Or you could ask another, related question that builds on this one. Ah, the wonders of materialistic evolution! $\endgroup$
    – elemtilas
    Sep 24 at 14:32
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I think that the evolutionary need/pressure for intelligence or bioluminescence is just better understood than the evolutionary need/pressure for hairlessness. Questions about evolutionary pressures have been met with more scrutiny lately as people began using them to ask for evolutionarily paths for every creatures they could think of, with no worldbuilding effort.

But given that that the current state of evolution knowledge for every part of anatomy is not obvious to every querent, I would have personally much more appreciated answers that give a caveat ("this is based on poorly understood science, but one theory is:..."), or even answers that say "We don't know, because...", over a closing of your question.

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