Proposal: What if?
I apologize for getting this out so late. I've been banging my head on the desk trying to come up with a more comprehensive, affirmative statement to help proposal authors understand when their proposals COULD work here. There are so many poorly-supported, ill-conceived ideas floating around, it's sometimes troublesome to watch them posted at all.
"What if…" is a bit different. I don't actually disagree with the idea, in principle. I was impressed with how the story developed from a presumed-duplicate of World Building into something a bit more tenable. Unfortunately, it took several pages of bewildered questions to get to this point where (maybe) a handful of people understand the premise at all.
And that's the main problem with this site.
"What if…" is a deceptively simple subject that looks like it has no bounds. Obviously, that is not the case, but folks not privy to these discussions will be lured into a deeply confusing premise understood only by those familiar with the long back story that created it. The price of admission will be reading a long string of meta debates fleshing out what will actually work here. That debate may never end. It creates a poor end-user experience when every other question has to be closed as too broad or off topic.
I won't bore you with how Stack Exchange sites are typically scoped — I want to avoid a circular argument that says this site can't work because Stack Exchange wasn't designed for it — but when a site is available to the general public, the purpose and subject space it covers has to be clear. But for all the stories, explanations, and debates pushing this subject around, we still have a network listing that *looks* like "anything starting with 'what if…' goes here."
World Building came into existence thorough a premise of speculative fact checking so writers and artists could assure their fictional worlds were at least plausible. Even then, they've been struggling with how to deal with questions based on a misunderstanding of their scope. But they have a scope, and not allowing these boundless questions is sort of… by design.
I can appreciate that folks have "other" questions that don't typically fit other Stack Exchange sites. It's not that "what if…" questions are inherently unfit to ask, but such mind-stretching exercises are better discussed in an interactive forum where ideas can be debated and teased out for their own sake. It's not like the world's statisticians will actually come flooding in to calculate What if the entire stack exchange network went down? To even bother asking is all in a bit of fun and learning, but the debate and camaraderie needed to make this exercise useful is squashed by a Stack Exchange-style Q&A format.