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I would like for this question to be reopened: How does Snoopy stay balanced on top of his doghouse? Shouldn't he fall down?

Although the meta seems to have concluded that Peanuts are off-topic (a conclusion with which I agree) I remain unsure why my specific question is off-topic, seeing that Snoopy's doghouse is clearly scifi. Any cursory glance at later Peanuts comics confirms this. I am also unsure why Peanuts should be treated differently than Calvin and Hobbes in this regard (which is also not mainly scifi, yet questions with very light scifi bias - Hobbes - are allowed to remain open.)

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    Questions about SFF-nal elements of the work should be on topic, though in the previous meta my post stating as much has been downvoted into oblivion. Apparently the community wants to treat Peanuts as a special case in regards to everything else. – TheLethalCarrot Jul 2 '18 at 19:22
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    Having not really ever read Peanuts, what's "clearly scifi" about a doghouse? – Anthony Grist Jul 2 '18 at 19:22
  • @AnthonyGrist peanuts.wikia.com/wiki/Snoopy%27s_doghouse – TheAsh Jul 2 '18 at 19:24
  • @TheLethalCarrot You're right. I'm merely frustrated that people who haven't read Peanuts believe that the 'Kite-Eating tree' or 'Snoopy's Doghouse don't have scifi elements to them. Although it isn't obvious to occasional readers, I have read nearly all the strips ever published and can confirm there are definitely are intentional scifi elements there. – TheAsh Jul 2 '18 at 19:28
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    @TheAsh - They're not obviously fantasy since they may well be taking place in the mind of the protagonists. The "kite-eating tree" is a pretty solid metaphor for a tree that just happens to be awkwardly place and tends to get kites caught in it. – Valorum Jul 2 '18 at 19:44
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    I'll take your word that there are "intentional scifi elements" to the doghouse, but the wiki page doesn't really definitively prove that; all it says is that it's "bigger on the inside", but then goes on to provide a possible mundane explanation for that fact (the doghouse simply sits over the entrance to a basement or underground area). – Anthony Grist Jul 2 '18 at 19:44
  • @Valorum i.stack.imgur.com/PUJst.jpg Comics like these occur too often to be merely imaginative. Besides, it's not merely Charlie Brown, Shroeder loses his piano to the tree too at least once. – TheAsh Jul 2 '18 at 19:51
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    For me, this raises a couple of questions: 1. How distantly related to a sci-fi element of the work can a question be before it becomes off-topic? The doghouse may have sci-fi elements, but that doesn't seem like it should make every single question even tangentially related to it on-topic. 2. Is the policy even worth keeping? This isn't the first - slightly heated - discussion that has occurred relating to sci-fi elements in non-sci-fi works. I'm not really sure what we'd lose from just not allowing them. – Anthony Grist Jul 2 '18 at 19:52
  • @AnthonyGrist - The general rule of thumb for "is it always on-topic" is if the sci-fi/fantasy elements are consistently shown in each episode. – Valorum Jul 2 '18 at 20:06
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    @Valorum I don't see where that's ever been said and I don't see why that would even be the case. As long as you are asking about the SFF-nal aspect of the work you are fine. – TheLethalCarrot Jul 2 '18 at 20:11
  • @TheLethalCarrot - Indeed. It's always on-topic to ask about SFFnal elements in any work, with the exception of spy-fi. – Valorum Jul 2 '18 at 20:13
  • After rereading the discussions here it seems to be that the main disagreement is whether the act of sleeping on top of a doghouse without falling in Peanuts is scifi. Those of us more familiar with the work understand it to be yes, but most of those who have a mere cursory understanding intuitively feel its not scifi and thus off-topic. – TheAsh Jul 2 '18 at 21:56
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    @TheAsh I was a big fan of the Peanuts comics from the '60s, '70s, and '80s. Yet nonetheless, I feel that the "fantastical" material is not on topic here. – Buzz Jul 3 '18 at 0:58
  • @Buzz Fair enough. I understand where you're coming from. I was more bothered by those who were unfamiliar with the comics expressing their opinion. But if you are familiar with them and still feel otherwise, I still disagree, but you're entitled to your opinion. (I'm still not sure what differentiates Peanuts from Calvin and Hobbes or why are policy of 'even slightly scifi elements are on topic if the question addresses those aspects' seems to have its sole exception here.) – TheAsh Jul 3 '18 at 12:10
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In the past, we've exempted talking animals from topicality. I propose we extend that to all cartoon physics, unless otherwise on-topic.

For example, all of the following questions would be off-topic:

Yes, these incidents are contrary to real-world physics, but that doesn't make them fantastical. They are included for humor value, and do not have some deeper meaning that we can usefully analyze.

On the other hand, questions involving (say) Marvin the Martian or in a clearly SFFnal setting would be on-topic. For judging the topicality of individual elements, it's difficult to formulate a concrete test, but here are some considerations:

  • Is the element a one-off joke, or an ongoing part of the story?
  • Are the characters surprised by the element?
  • Is the element relevant to the plot?
  • Does the story go to any effort to explain the element, or to suggest that it has an explanation?
  • As a last resort, if the element fails all of the other tests, does it at least resemble or conform to any traditional SFF genre convention (e.g. aliens with ray guns and UFOs, wizards with wands and pointy hats, etc.)? This may seem an arbitrary loophole, but conventions are shorthand. They allow authors to "skip over" the above steps, while still assuring the audience that there's a there there.

This is not an exhaustive list of criteria, nor does passing one of these tests imply that a question is automatically on-topic. Close-voters are expected to use common sense and if necessary to take individual questions to meta for more specific discussion.


Now, of course, the material question here is whether Snoopy's doghouse qualifies as "cartoon physics." Based on past meta voting patterns and my own understanding of Peanuts, I lean towards "yes." Although it does recur regularly throughout the comic, it is never seriously suggested that this element needs any explanation (other than the occasional aside glance, which don't really count because those are fourth-wall gags rather than part of the plot), nor indeed are we ever given one. We can contrast that with Calvin and Hobbes, which regularly takes the story to "traditionally" SFFnal settings and so is on-topic.

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  • BTW I love the Acme question. – TheAsh Jul 6 '18 at 19:44

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