The FAQ says:

"You should only ask practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face."

Really? Are we only meant to ask questions about problems we face?

Sounds like a copy / paste from another Stack Exchange site.

Update: in light of the comments below, I should add that I don't have a problem with the existence of the site (quite the opposite), just with the wording of the FAQ. Can we change that wording?

  • 1
    Good point, also since this is Science Fiction and Fantasy there are going to be questions that don't have a perfect answer with a reference artical behind it - if all the questions that get asked can just be found with a 3 minute google search what is the point of this site? Jan 31, 2012 at 19:21
  • And also: meta.scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/389/…
    – Tony Meyer
    Jan 31, 2012 at 20:46
  • 3
    IIUC everything under the line is the same on every StackExchange site (meta.scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/549/…). So it is a 'copy and paste' in a way, yes.
    – Tony Meyer
    Jan 31, 2012 at 21:10
  • @Gilles: not a duplicate, I want to change the FAQ, hence the update to my question. Jan 31, 2012 at 22:11
  • @Wikis Oh, I see. Even with your edit, that's not clear at all. Well, ok then, but this part is common to all SE sites, so don't hold your breath.
    – user56
    Jan 31, 2012 at 22:22
  • Now on Meta.SO: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/164436/… Jan 21, 2013 at 17:19

4 Answers 4


It depend of your definition of problem :


A problem is an obstacle, impediment, difficulty or challenge, or any situation that invites resolution; the resolution of which is recognized as a solution or contribution toward a known purpose or goal. A problem implies a desired outcome coupled with an apparent deficiency, doubt or inconsistency that prevents the outcome from taking place.


prob·lem noun
1. any question or matter involving doubt, uncertainty, or difficulty.
2. a question proposed for solution or discussion.
3. Mathematics. a statement requiring a solution, usually by means of a mathematical operation or geometric construction.

So, if you definition is more in the line of Wikipedia, no we don't really solve any problem. But if you take it in the line of dictionary.reference, we solve some. Those problems are less practical than, say Stackoverflow, cooking or home improvement. They are also less useful since they are about imaginary universes. But they are still problems.

Peoples are puzzled by all the information that is available about Sci-Fi and Fantasy. Accessing, filtering and extracting the meaningful information is the real problem, that's why we are here.


Borrowed from here.

Using the FAQ on-topic categories:

  • Plot, character, or setting explanations: my problem is that I don't understand why something happened.
  • Historical context: my problem is that I don't understand how this work fits into real-world history.
  • Behind-the-scenes and fandom information: my problem is I don't know how to get the best out of a conference, my problem is I don't know how to contact an author.
  • Story identification: my problem is that I cannot find this work that I remember loving.
  • Franchise/series reading or viewing order: my problem is that I don't know what order it would be best to consume these in.

Yes. However, the generic problem we are trying to solve here - which was very clearly hashed out on this meta question: " Is "I am curious about X" sufficient justification for asking questions on SFF.SE? ", is:

"I'm curious" about XYZ topic/detail and need explanation.

THAT is considered a fully sufficient problem as far as this sites purpose is concerned.


As a newer user of the site I have already concluded that the answer is yes or no.

There seem to be several types of answers:

  • Where the questioner asks a question that they don't know the answer to but there is a verifiable answer.

  • There is a question with a, likely, 'in-universe' answer based on
    reasoned inference.

  • there is a question where there is no realistic 'in-universe' answer to but the most elaborate conjecture is still favored over the,
    frowned upon, answer of 'there is no real answer other than the
    creator of the subject matter needed a plot device.

  • There is a question which request an 'out-universe' explanation to
    answer an 'in-universe' question; where, despite the fact that an
    'out-universe' answer might be impossible, even the most ridiculous
    'in-universe' answer is still favored over the answer of, "it's not

I believe the main point of the site is not to answer questions but to maintain the fantasy by any means necessary (which is more fun!)

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