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Let's say that I was reading some article, and it inspired me to ask a question. However, this question isn't for any particular thing I'm making, it's just a question. In all other aspects, the question is a perfectly valid WB question.

Is it OK to ask this question?

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Yes

What matters more is good content that demonstrably relates to building a fictional world; what matters less is whether you are actively using that particular idea in constructing your own world or not. Such a question is valid because it is helpful for a future content miner who visits WB.SE.

Pragmatically: we don't need to know that you are not actively worldbuilding or are not interested in using the idea in your world.

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    $\begingroup$ With the caveat that the question needs to be about building a fictional world. Most questions can be about worldbuilding, but that needs to be demonstrated in the question itself. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Jan 10, 2022 at 21:44
  • $\begingroup$ @sphennings -- fixed $\endgroup$
    – elemtilas
    Jan 11, 2022 at 0:45
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    $\begingroup$ Just an addition : It's easier to be on-topic if you are indeed making a world than casually asking ^^. All the above still stands though. $\endgroup$ Jan 11, 2022 at 10:48
  • $\begingroup$ +1 agree, except in some cases, when politics is involved. Sometimes people are inventing a question, to fish for ideas for political strategy. I think this kind of topic is misuse of WB creativity and should not be quickly voted to close+reopen, like it happened with below one. these questions should be removed by a moderator on arrival. In the topic I want to mension there was antisemitism and nazism in the first version, they made it "politically correct" to pass for reopen.. see worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/questions/222980/… $\endgroup$
    – Goodies
    Feb 13, 2022 at 10:08
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I wholly support @elemtilas' answer, but let me expand a moment.

Please remember the following:

  • We do not answer questions about 3rd-party or commercial worlds. (I just saw X while watching Star Trek, how could that work?)

  • We do not permit discussions. (I read X in Y's book, Z... what do you think about that?) This is especially important when questions take the form of, "Can X work?" That's a very badly formed question, but it happens all the time. It has a high closure rate, but even when it isn't closed, it's so vague (e.g., "what, in real life? Obviously not. Why would you think a fictional X based in a fictional world could be real?") that the answers can be all over the map, which violates Stack Exchange's intent for their service. Also, "real life" is not a fictional world, and so it's not supposed to be the target for the purpose of scoping answers. Yeah, happens all the time anyway....

  • All of the rules and expectations found in the Help Center still apply. In other words, while we don't care if you really are building a world or not, the question must nevertheless be of the form of asking for help creating or consistently using a rule in a fictional world.

Why do we expect all this? Because the unfortunate truth is that when you're not actively working to build a world, it's really easy to ask a curiosity-question in a way that's going to get it closed — and we really love answering questions, so we try to get people to think in those terms.

Note that we've had a number of users over the years who pretty much only asked curiosity-questions, which were constantly closed because they were not well-asked, and they got mad about it, as if it was our fault that we didn't let them do whatever they want on the site....

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  • $\begingroup$ Voting to close seems to become primary activity for some peer-mods. I don't think there's really an incentive to produce answers anymore, when peer mods want to discuss close votes on nearly every topic.. and Meta comes up with a new close reason discussions every week ! Today we got 7 closures out of 12, one on the brink of closure. I attempted to salvage 2, my edits and reopen votes were ignored. I'm not saying this because my topic was closed, it was not. But I think closing is overdone atm. Too many. $\endgroup$
    – Goodies
    Feb 13, 2022 at 9:59
  • $\begingroup$ @Goodies It's irrelevant if one, some, many, most, or all users prefer to cast votes rather than answer questions. Frankly, question-asking-quality has dropped a lot over the last three years. The purpose of closing questions is to give experienced users time to help new users craft better questions (you not agreeing with that is irrelevant, that's how Stack Exchange is designed). In other words, it's supposed to happen fast and frequently. If it isn't, it means no new users are joining the site because we're all supposed to be learning how to create well-asked questions, right? $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Feb 13, 2022 at 23:08
  • $\begingroup$ this is a Q&A, openers don't mean harm and answerers just want to help. Can we dim the inquisition please.. e.g. today i put a few suggestions in a terminology topic (normally closed), I put these suggestions in comments, under the question. My comments were NOT offensive.. and the topic was not yet closed either, at the time I put them. The opener thanked me for the comments. Hour later I found the topic closed and my comments removed. worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/questions/224180/… $\endgroup$
    – Goodies
    Feb 13, 2022 at 23:25
  • $\begingroup$ Quality ? I see certain low quality questions become quite popular: "what do medieval female archers look like", "Medieval" ? Look like ? funny topic yielding lovely images ? Is that the new criterium for quality? As you explained in the other topic, close voting is far from consistent, and for that reason it does not work. Most closures are arbitrary. There are only 5 people needed who agree on a closure, out of 100s of active members who have the permission to ctv. Asking for problems.. discussions.. and people leaving WB who have put a lot of energy and enthousiasm into it. $\endgroup$
    – Goodies
    Feb 13, 2022 at 23:53
  • $\begingroup$ @Goodies (a) I wasn't involved with closing that question and only mods can delete comments. (b) Questoins about what words to use for any reason have always been closed (and always will be closed) because it's 100% an aesthetic (storybuilding). (c) I have no idea what you're talking about concerning female archers. (d) If you want to change how SE works, you need to voice your concerns on Meta Stack Exchange, not here. Or you can write your own social service software where you can set the rules. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Feb 14, 2022 at 1:34
  • $\begingroup$ @Goodies (e) Regardless of consistency, this place has rules - I'm frankly tired of listening to people complain about the existence of rules. If that's why they're leaving, then all I can say is there will always be new users and always have been. That no one is helping the new users learn the rules is one of the bigger problems. Of course, that requires the mid-experience users to know and apply the rules, too. Then again, life is full of rules that people apply inconsistently. I'm not in favor of anarchy due only to inconsistency. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Feb 14, 2022 at 1:37
  • $\begingroup$ This is not about the rules and anarchy, JBH.. it is about the daily practice of keeping the rules that exist and issues that arise with the "lynch mob closure democracy" that is practiced here. I'm not the only one discontent about these things. If the intent is, to chase away bad quality openers and get new folks in, you'll be in for a treat, quality-wise, because newbies do not know the rules. I am not not advocating anarchy and I feel it is dishonest to put that accusation. I try to comply.. $\endgroup$
    – Goodies
    Feb 14, 2022 at 7:26

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