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A lot of questions I have about worldbuilding, it seems to me, could be asked at History.SE or Physics.SE. Already we have some examples:

I have nothing against these particular example questions; in fact, I've upvoted both. And I can think of many more examples myself; I have yet to actually ask a question because I'm not sure where to draw this line. I think Worldbuilding.SE is the place for at least some of them.

But I also think some of these sorts of questions should be asked on Physics.SE or History.SE. But I'm not sure which ones. I'm not sure about the two I've linked. I was hoping we could get some ideas on how to draw lines.

In particular, active members at History.SE or Physics.SE, it would be great for you to weigh in on the kinds of questions that are not welcome on those sites that we might want to provide a home for.

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  • $\begingroup$ About first question -- it is purely about wording. You could ask it in the form like: "How quickly and accurately would news travel in medieval-like fantasy world?" and such question doesn't fit to History.SE at all. Plus, we need a lot of qood quality questions in this stage of Worldbuilding.SE, so I would not start with migration of existing questions to other, already mature sites. Let's leave this for some near future, OK? $\endgroup$ – trejder Sep 18 '14 at 20:31
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As an active member of Physics.SE, if it isn't about physics as we know it, it's not the place to ask it. Lots of world-building type questions need to be "snuck in," thus why people are interested in this site.

The question Are geographically typed planets realistic? would likely be considered off-topic.

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  • $\begingroup$ I agree that it would be off-topic in Physics.SE. But maybe it would be on-topic on Astronomy.SE (I'm not on that site, so I don't know). $\endgroup$ – celtschk Sep 18 '14 at 5:27
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It's not uncommon for a question to fit reasonably on more than one site. A site forms when a group of questions fits together and they don't all belong on another site. We have overlap with History, Physics, Linguistics, Space, maybe even the religion and arts sites -- heck, even Gardening, depending.

If a question fits our scope, we should accept it here even if it could reasonably have been asked elsewhere.

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  • $\begingroup$ I agree with this. Even if the same question fits with the exact same wording on two different sites, the answers are likely to be from different perspectives, so asking here is likely to get answers more relevant to worldbuilding. $\endgroup$ – trichoplax Sep 17 '14 at 20:45
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Generally speaking, pure-nonfiction questions should go on the other forums. They have dedicated communities that are far better at fielding such questions. However, there are a few places where I see a strong need for questions to come here:

  • Questions that require non-real physics. The other forums require reality, to the best of our knowledge, and anything that diverges ever so slightly.
  • Questions that are hard to answer with real-life data. I think the Are geographically typed plants realistic? question is actually a perfect example of this. The author readily admits that the Earth is not the world he is looking for, and he is questioning whether it is reasonable to invent a world with particular traits. Also included in this are forward-propagation questions that ask the community to help them figure out where a world would go after an event that has never occurred.
  • Related family questions, where there are several questions all related to the same topic. In this case, having them all in once place may be wise, even if one or two of them could be better answered elsewhere.

I think the How quickly and accurately did news travel in rural medieval Europe? question could be a good example of one to move to History. While it is clear they intend to use this information in the world of fiction, the question is stated as a very clear "true History" question. If the History buffs feel they do not have enough information to offer interesting enough information, that might be a very good time to migrate it to WB for a little creativity.

In general, I think what sets us apart from the other SE's is that WB can deal with a much higher degree of uncertainty. If you asked a question about the Alcubierre drive on a Physics board, I would expect the answer has to be terribly full of math, because what that device does is very precise and very technical. If you need to ask a question about it with less than a PhD in physics, we may be able to help

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