I asked this question very recently. It seems that people are confused as to whether I'm asking about science fiction or real life--but even before anyone answered the question, I had two close votes. Only one person gave a vague explanation as to why the question was being closed. Now my question was just closed for "being about real-world science" when I explicitly asked about the fictional technology in a sci-fi franchise.

How can I improve this question to avoid it being shut down almost immediately?

  • Related meta - this is where the policy on "real-world science" questions was established, and it details what types of science questions are on-topic as well as what types aren't. That might help you to edit your question in order to clarify why it's on-topic.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Sep 25, 2022 at 17:42
  • KutuluMike wrote in the linked meta, "We can assume that works of science fiction and fantasy obey all the same natural laws that we are familiar with, until presented with evidence to the contrary in the work itself." I asked the question in good faith, hoping for an in-universe answer to an in-universe question. Sep 25, 2022 at 17:54
  • 3
    You might need to edit your question to clarify that. People seem to have assumed that you're asking about real-world science.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Sep 25, 2022 at 18:07
  • 3
    "I don't even have a chance to receive an answer to my question" - This is by design. We'd ideally like off-topic questions to not receive any answers
    – Valorum
    Sep 25, 2022 at 21:56
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    @Randal'Thor - I can see what OP is driving at. In fairness, real-world-science may have been the wrong close reason, although it should still have been closed for a range of other reasons
    – Valorum
    Sep 25, 2022 at 21:57
  • @Valorum I understand the question could have been off-topic, but couldn't you have provided an explanation as to why it was, so it wouldn't happen again? Sep 26, 2022 at 2:57
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    @SovereignInquiry The explanation is given in the banner at the top of the question when it is closed.
    – Null Mod
    Sep 26, 2022 at 12:18

2 Answers 2


You have to make it clear in your question's actual text that you're looking for an in-universe answer.

You say here, and in one of your comments, that you want an in-universe explanation. But that's not the place for relevant information for answering the question--the actual text of the question is. The text of your question doesn't make that clear.

One of the reasons why real-world science questions are closed is that a scientific explanation of an impossible thing just doesn't exist. If they were possible, or even plausible, then one of the real science SE's (such as Physics SE) would be a better place to ask the question.

Most people get around this by asking "Is there any canon explanation of how X works?" or "Where does A describe how X works?"


Additional answer, since you don't seem to have changed your question, and the problems (that I see) are still present.

For me the red flag is that you state the canonical answer as the first line of your question and then proceed to argue with it. If the question has an in-universe answer, and you're not willing to accept that for some reason, it can only be because you're trying to apply some real-world science to the question.

To be specific, you say:

But if shields are based on gravitons, shouldn't light be distorted when it passes through a ship's shields?

Well, no. In-universe the shields are based on gravitons, and in-universe the shields obviously do not distort light passing through them. Even if you don't like that, the portrayal of shields in Star Trek is consistent.

The only basis on which you can argue with the canonical in-universe explanation for how shields work is because of real-world science, no matter how you disclaim it. And that's off-topic, so the question should be closed.

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