neilfein's answer to another question here got me thinking. He brought up several points about what he has called "Research Questions". (Neil, correct me if I'm wrong or misinterpreting anything about what you said.)
In short a research question is one where the asker is trying to get information so they can build their world better, as opposed to questions about the worldbuilding process itself.
Some examples of research questions from the current list:
- What are the hottest and coldest temperatures that can still support human life?
- Under what social and technological conditions would space piracy be practical?
- Is it physically plausible for twin planets to form in orbit around each other (e.g., if the Moon were the size of the Earth)? Do we know of any yet?
Some examples of non-research questions from the current list:
- What are the strengths and weaknesses of common map projections for doing world design?
- What needs to be taken into account to ensure a created magic system is balanced, believable and yet simple enough to not be a burden?
- What would be a practical way for a creator to keep track of generations in a fictional world population?
In the page on the writer's stack exchange that Neil's answer refers to, there's a very salient point that says:
Our primary goal is to be an expert community of writers, not an expert community of anything and everything a writer could write about.
Were we to follow the example of the writing stack exchange, we should ban research questions like this.
But I don't think this is going to be so simple. I think there are pros and cons to each side, and honestly, I think picking the wrong choice could ruin the site (and especially if we pick wrong, and are never willing to reconsider).
So I want to bring this specific point up for discussion. How do we feel about allowing research questions?