A July 2022 renovation of the reality-check tag and others has changed the context of this question. It is now obsolete. Please see the following question and the link under "Conclusion." If we can't burn the "reality check" tag, can we rename it?
We get a lot of questions asking "is X plausible?" or "is X realistic?" Considering the Help Center states that our goal is to help people build imaginary worlds, such questions seem unreasonable ("it's your world, it's plausible/realistic by definition"). But the real problem is that questions of this type usually don't have an actual problem to solve and intrinsically violate the following Help Center rule:
You should only ask practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face. Chatty, open-ended questions diminish the usefulness of our site and push other questions off the front page.
Therefore, I am seeking advice for users concerning questions of the type, "is X plausible/realistic?"
A Bit of History
Before the first "is X realistic?" question was asked, an astute worldbuilder asked whether or not such questions would even be on-topic. The question was not directly answered, but Monica's indirect answer is revealing:
Questions in this area should be about the problem you're trying to solve.
In other words (if Monica will forgive me for reading between her lines), they're off-topic.
A comment to her answer is also revealing:
If the question is "Is this realistic?" then you've already solved it.
And that's the basic problem with questions of this type.
- They could be a reality-check1 question if all the proper details are provided.
- They may be masking a real worldbuilding problem.
- They may be masking the OP's insecurity about an otherwise really cool idea. In other words, there isn't a worldbuilding problem to solve, the OP's simply looking for an affirmation that they've created something worthwhile.
1 The reality-check tag is probably the most abused tag on this Stack. People use it without reading the wiki. They use it without even reading the one-sentence summary in the Help Center ("Provide the relevant details of your world and a situation and we will make sure it remains internally consistent."). My general opinion is that the correct solution for improving questions of the type "is X plausible/realistic?" is not to convert them to a reality-check question, but to help the OP identify the actual problem they're trying to solve.2
2 In case you were wondering, the difference between a good reality-check question and a bad one is seen in this example: bad: "Is this bridge realistic?" good: "I designed a bridge with the following characteristics (list...), I expect the following kind of traffic to use the bridge (list...), is my bridge realistic?" The bad example presents a usually fictional idea and asks that it be judged against Real Life — where the fictional idea doesn't exist and therefore the check intrinsically fails. The good example lists the relevant rules of the user's world and a relevant situation that would use those rules and asks if the use of the rules is consistent.