This question links to this question which, in the comments links to this meta discussion about what is and isn't on topic here on SciFi.se.com.

My question, as the title states, is whether real world speculation questions are still considered as on topic.

Pro: if asked within a universe of a work, they are still on topic as all "behind the scenes" questions are still on topic as well.

Con: as Mark Trapp has stated in the previous meta topic, these questions have no answer because they don't belong to the real world, so they strictly CAN'T be answered.

What say you guys?

  • these questions have been answered in the real world, the problem is that the only reference I can find is a wikipedia ref. People have done this experiment before, I just don't have access to all the gory details.
    – Shep
    Commented Apr 30, 2012 at 9:06
  • So, it's science fact? Commented Apr 30, 2012 at 9:19
  • Yes, but I'd say it's a base for in-universe speculation and extrapolation. You can't extrapolate from nothing, and reality is a basis of nearly every sci-fi universe.
    – Shep
    Commented Apr 30, 2012 at 10:06
  • 1
    But reality is not necessarily a basis for fantasy, and creating separate rule sets for science fiction and fantasy could be very awkward I think.
    – Xantec
    Commented Apr 30, 2012 at 11:49
  • 3
    Both of those questions seem like they'd be a better fit for Biology, as they are looking for science fact answers to real life.
    – Xantec
    Commented Apr 30, 2012 at 11:54

1 Answer 1


That's not what I said.

What I said was that they have no answer that falls within our scope, because the expertise they require is not derived from Science Fiction or Fantasy. So when we get questions like that, they are soft questions by default and they become invitations to discussions.

If you ask,

Can X happen in the real world?

There is no work of science fiction or fantasy that can tell you the answer, which makes such questions markedly different than the tons of in-universe speculation questions we get here.

Now, there likely is a scientific work that explains the answer, but that's not our domain nor is our audience intended to be experts in hard science (i.e., we're not "Science, Science Fiction, and Fantasy").

So our whole reason to be, the reason why people come to us instead of any other site, is negated and our established expertise on the subject is no different than any other message board or forum out there.

Stack Exchange has a number of hard science and math sites where such questions would be on-topic and have the appropriate audience:

Those sites should get those questions, not us.

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