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Ok so here’s the sitch. I wanna ask a question on the normal World Building Stack Exchange website but the question I’ve prepared is absolutely massive in size. Like, at least 900 words total. It needs to be that big though because the entire point of the question is to verify if a theory I’ve made in relation to an alternative evolutionary path for humanity is feasible, and that requires context. Still though, I don’t wanna clutter the screen with a huge wall of text so I’m kinda left in a rather difficult position.

Is there a way to compress my huge 900 word theory into a small space that won’t stretch the screen out? Like a box that expands when you press that I can shove all that text into?


Note: The question has now been massively edited & reduced in size. The version which was originally posted is accessible here, and the current version here.

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  • $\begingroup$ To better understand the history of events, here is the question Neuro posted, which kinda matches the "long question" criteria : Making the Action Girl and Gender is No Object Tropes more Realistic $\endgroup$ Nov 26, 2022 at 23:43
  • $\begingroup$ Mark Twain once said, "I didn't have time to write you a short letter, so I wrote you a long one." If you are worried about length, it is your writing task to find a more concise articulation of your idea. $\endgroup$
    – Tom
    Dec 10, 2022 at 1:25

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We have the sandbox for situations like this. It's a space to iterate through a question and get feedback from the community before posting it to the main site. Since you're unsure how to ask your question using the sandbox will let you work on formatting and revising the question so that it's readable, and easy to understand.

I suspect that you don't need 900 words to ask the core of your question. A good rule when writing is that a question is ready not when you can't add anything else, but when you cannot take anything else away. A good technique I've found is to start by identifying a 1 sentence summary of your question, then figure out what additional information you need to add to make the question suitable for this site.

There are other strategies for question writing. When you start by knowing your core ask, you make it easy to repeatedly ask Is this information necessary for this question to be specific and answerable?. This helps you make consistent informed decisions at every step of the writing and editing process.

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  • $\begingroup$ So… there really isn’t a way to compress my writing into an expandable box? Like, I get what you’re saying, but I promise. I’ve shortened down my theory as much as I possibly could. Everything that’s currently in there is necessary for the question to make sense $\endgroup$
    – Neuro
    Nov 25, 2022 at 21:00
  • $\begingroup$ @Neuro This is why Sphennings offered the sandbox. What you feel is necessary is not necessarily what others feel necessary in order to answer 🐻. $\endgroup$ Nov 25, 2022 at 22:28
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Don't Ask a Really Big Question

I have read your really big question. It is a story about how a society of women ended up as strong as the men. If the only question you want answered is indeed "Is this 900 word story believable?" then your question is simply unsuitable for this website.

If you are prepared to trim down the question to be suitable, then you can start by (a) removing the less important parts of the story and (b) focusing on the most difficult parts of the question. Here are what two of your paragraphs look like when trimmed down:

Girls/Women beating muscular men and monsters in fights and women fighting alongside men in wars. These are two very is a common trope in fiction that we’ve seen time and time again in fantasy and sci-fi, but while sci-fi has the excuse of using technological weaponry and biomechanical augmentations to reduce the huge gap in physical strength between the two sexes, fantasy almost always relies on boring old magic to make the idea of women fighting in wars and not immediately dying/hindering the efficiency of her comrades plausible. My world has this trope but I would like it to be scientifically plausible.

Or just:

Women beating muscular men and monsters in fights is a common trope in fiction. My world has this trope but I would like it to be scientifically plausible.

Second example paragraph:

One day out of nowhere, a large steel capsule crashed into Earth near the home of this male-dominated tribe. The males forcefully opened it but would end up regretting it. For inside of this capsule was a artificial virus designed by a race of creatures that existed far, far away from Earth on another planet (it’s basically alien technology). Earth was attacked by a virus that seemed to only affect male organisms (what do you think sounds more realistic. A male-only virus or a male human-only virus?) and within a single year, almost all of the males/men in the tribe died. The virus found its way into almost every corner of the planet and killed off 90% of all male humans/male-life on Earth. Before it was able to finish off the remaining 10% of men/male-organisms however, the Gods of my world stepped in and used their nature powers to kill it for good. The impact of the virus was still immense though, as 90% of the males/men on Earth were now deceased, and now the surviving women in the tribe , who had taken the few surviving men in the tribe as prisoners and were now being led by the only woman in the tribe with knowledge of how to hunt, fight and create traps, were forced to live like their male oppressors in order to survive. They learned to hunt, fight and create traps

Or just:

Earth was attacked by a virus that killed off 90% of all male humans/male-life on Earth. The surviving women in the tribe were forced to live like their male oppressors in order to survive. They learned to hunt, fight and create traps

As you see most of the text can be removed. Try for yourself.

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  • $\begingroup$ If that's the OP's actual query, could you please provide the link? Thank you! $\endgroup$
    – elemtilas
    Nov 26, 2022 at 21:46
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    $\begingroup$ @elemtilas Sure. See edits. $\endgroup$
    – Daron
    Nov 26, 2022 at 21:49
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Completely Rethinking My Answer!

I Read Your Question! --- Alright, so I read through your query and I actually think, for all the work you put into it, you might actually be asking the wrong question entirely. I agree 100% with Daron, that if all you really want to do is ask if some trope is feasible given a set of underlying world rules, then indeed about 95% of your text is useless and more of a hinderance than a help.

However, I believe (and I could be wrong) that this isn't really what you want to know. You've clearly got the world "built" and I think what you're really doing here is asking us to evaluate your idea.

JBH brought this concept up just recently in this question about asking us to review ideas. I think your 'theory' is sufficiently devised that we could offer reviews of it as a whole, rather than just giving you a thumbs up / down on whether the trope works or not.

Challenge: If you want us to answer "is this feasible," then I'd suggest deleting your question and start over. But, if you'd like us to "review your idea," then I'd suggest you edit your question to introduce your theory within the context of the world as you find it and ask us for what we think. I'd love to delve into that kind of query!

Aaaand.... I see you just wanted the feasibility check after all. Oh well! Maybe another time!


Apart from the Sandbox...

There are some basic strategies you can consider when presenting us with a wall-o-text theory that you think is so dreadfully important for your query to make sense. As Tortilena says, what you think requires a 900 word thesis, I might say, you could have asked it in 10 words! It happens.

Elevator Pitch --- You should always prepare a tl/dr, and since you're the querent, put it at the top! Even the longest scientific and medical papers in existence have a little bit of text that fits in a small box on PubMed.

Use Good Formatting --- Well written questions, especially those that require a lot of context like yours, will suffer if you do not format, or do not format well.

  1. Your marquee question should be concise and to the point and it should match what you're telling us in the body
  2. Give us your elevator pitch
  3. State your condensed thesis --- this is what differentiates my humans from real humans
  4. Give us your background --- this is your 900 words of context; please use good grammar, break things up into sections with appropriate headers
  5. Tell us what you're thinking and why (your assessment of the situation) --- since you're asking what amounts to a reality check, we'd like to be on the same page
  6. Tell us what you're looking for in a good answer --- what specifics should we address, the criteria by which you'd judge an answer "useful", give us your worldbuilding context by telling us a little bit about how your world works and how it differs from the real world, etc.

Roll With the Punches --- Don't be surprised if someone comments "why did you make me read a whole bloody book when your question amounts to 'do I have permission to do this in my world!'"

Word Your Question Carefully --- Lots of questions succeed or fail simply because the querent doesn't pay attention to details. If you ask "why", I'm going to give you a philosophical or metaphysical meditation; if you ask "how", I'm going to give you a step by step progression; if you ask "can I do this", we're all going to say 'of course you can! It's your world!'; if you ask "does this make sense given the rules of my world" we're going to tell you yes or no and here's why.

Food for Thought --- Keep in mind that you're really not asking a "big question"! You're actually asking a relatively straight forward question that requires some background context to address. It's your job to give us the vital context in a legible & sensible fashion.

The Sandbox is a good place to start, but, to be honest, if you really think all that context is required, then go ahead and craft a well written query in Main!

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