I'm referring to

It asks:

Has anyone compiled a list of all of these predictions-come-true?

Now, does this fall under our no-lists rule?

  • 2
    I think the previous cases were closed, but IMHO this should NOT be a "list" question - it has a finite amount of answers, which are VERY easy to rank for goodness/correctness. Commented Sep 15, 2013 at 3:14
  • For <10k rep users, I've already deleted two answers that only addressed the 2 examples in the question body. They were not answers since they didn't provide a resource that tracked instances of Doctor Who predicting the future.
    – user1027
    Commented Sep 16, 2013 at 15:02
  • Would you agree, then, that the question "Is there a comprehensive list of books that are of the Time Travel genre?" did not have to be closed?
    – user14111
    Commented Sep 18, 2013 at 8:55
  • @user14111: Time-Travel list questions are subject to particular scrutiny. Doubly so when involving robots.
    – bitmask
    Commented Sep 18, 2013 at 10:50
  • 1
    It all depends on your starting point. The axiom of regularity in ZF set-theory holds that a list of lists would not list itself on its own list. Therefore a list of list questions, which could be an affirmative or negative answer to the question "do list question X exist" would not fall under the no-lists rule.
    – Abulafia
    Commented Sep 26, 2013 at 20:35

1 Answer 1


TL;DR: Asking for a resource that contains a list of items isn't, by itself, sufficient reason to close a question under our "list question" policy, but that doesn't automatically exempt it. Rather, it should be evaluated based upon the overall scope and clarity of the requested list (regardless of whether it exists externally to our site).

First, to clarify, I don't believe that we have a strict "no list" rule... rather, we have a rule against open-ended or overly large lists. Limited lists of reasonable scope and focus, on the other hand, seem to be acceptable.

That being said, I think a question asking for a resource that might contain a list is not really that useful, unless the resource in question would be really popular/widely used.

An example of a "good" version of this type of question would be Where can I quickly check if a given X-Files episode is a MOTW or arc episode?. Note that the answer isn't just "click on this link"; it contains the actual relevant episode list.

The Doctor Who question linked above, though, is not what I'd consider one that will be particularly popular or widely used. Changing it to "are there any existing lists" doesn't really fix the fundamental problem; instead, it just makes it possible that the correct answer to the question is "no", which is of no practical use to anyone.

For that reason, I would (and did) downvote the question.

As to whether it should be closed based upon it being a "list" question (albeit one somewhat in disguise), I'm somewhat on the fence. Technically, DVK is right that a list of sites that provide this specific content is reasonably scoped, and limited. However, changing the question from "does anyone have any to add?" to "Is there a resource online or in print that has addressed these events?" seems to me to be trying to get by on a technicality.

Fundamentally, either variation doesn't strike me as a good question.

I agree with it being closed, although I think in its current form, the main reason for it being closed is not necessarily that its a (disguised) list, but rather that it really isn't clear what is being asked. Is the OP looking for predictions made in the show that happened in the real world, outside of the show? Or predictions made in the show that were later shown to come true in the show?

Neither of the two examples in the question are particularly helpful. The UK had apparently been discussing adopting the metric system for over 100 years prior to the first episode of Doctor Who. Within 2 years of the "prediction" airing, a formal policy of metrification was started, but it is entirely possible that there were discussions of the topic at the time the first episode was scripted. Additionally, the UK does not seem to have fully "moved to the metric system" yet, so the "prediction" arguably hasn't come true:

As of 2012, metrication in the United Kingdom remains partial – most of government, industry and commerce use metric units, but imperial units are officially used to specify journey distances, vehicle speeds and the sizes of returnable milk containers, beer and cider glasses and are often used informally to describe body measurements and vehicle fuel economy.

Regarding the "meteor landing in Russia years before it happened"... is it perhaps referring to The Tunguska Event, which occurred almost 60 years prior to the first episode of Doctor Who being aired?

  • 1
    I understand and respect a number of points you made in your post, but the idea that a question looking for a resource that is not easily identified by a simple search should only be allowed if it has wide and popular appeal is utterly ridiculous. The arbiter of that scope would be have to choose these questions based on pure opinion, even if such a choice was valid. Does a niche audience preempt any other content on this site from being shared? This is a forum for geeks where the niche is the norm! Commented Sep 18, 2013 at 16:53
  • @JamesTomasino Please read my answer again. At no point did I say such questions "should only be allowed if it has wide and popular appeal". As I mentioned in the comment on your question, you are conflating downvotes and closure. Your question doesn't have wide and popular appeal, therefore I downvoted. Your question is of vague scope, it is unclear what you are asking for, and the fact that your examples don't appear to support your premise indicates that the question may be flawed, so for those reasons, I support it being on hold. There are two separate sets of issues here.
    – Beofett
    Commented Sep 18, 2013 at 17:12
  • Your first two paragraphs are answering a question about whether the question should be closed as it relates to the no-lists policy. You then immediately commented, "That being said, I think a question asking for a resource that might contain a list is not really that useful, unless the resource in question would be really popular/widely used." This reads as a comment on the above part. If you are trying to comment on both the closing and the downvoting as distinct entities, your method isn't supporting this. They read as one and the same. Commented Sep 18, 2013 at 20:47
  • @JamesTomasino Immediately following that statement, I give an example of a "good" question, then point out where your question falls short, and then said "For that reason, I would (and did) downvote the question." I then address the topic of closing separately. The fact that I said it is not useful, and that, as I pointed out earlier, downvoting indicates a question is not useful/helpful/well researched, I believe it is pretty clear what I am saying. If you have a specific suggestion for how to clarify it, I'm willing to listen, but I'm just not seeing your points.
    – Beofett
    Commented Sep 18, 2013 at 20:57
  • I have made several edits based on feedback I've gotten from other users in attempt to make the question less vague and more answerable. There were also comments from users saying the exact opposite as you: "Downvotes are possibly due to asking for a list or for people to essentially create one. List-questions are off-topic here. – phantom42" My point in my responses to your comments has been that you are not being clear though you may think you are, which in effect is the same comment you had on my original question. Commented Sep 18, 2013 at 21:09
  • Again, if you want to make specific suggestions... instead of general complaints based on out-of-context or partial reading. I'll say it again, as simply as I can put it: your question was uninteresting, so I downvoted it. It is vague and based on a premise that you seem to be mistaken about (that your examples are real-world "predictions", even though neither actually happened), and therefore should be closed.
    – Beofett
    Commented Sep 18, 2013 at 23:56
  • Phantom42's comment is speculation as to why people voted a certain way. There are no rules about how people should vote; such rules would be unenforceable. Instead, there are guidelines. There are, however, rules about when questions should be closed (or at least we try to define such rules). They are two separate concepts, and it can be confusing, but my answer assumes that readers have a basic familiarity with those concepts. If you don't have that background understanding, I can see how it would be confusing, but those topics are beyond the scope of this particular question.
    – Beofett
    Commented Sep 18, 2013 at 23:57
  • 1
    "Phantom42's comment is speculation as to why people voted a certain way." Correct. I, myself, tend to only downvote if the question is poorly researched or unclear. Some people downvote for other reasons. I was just trying to offer advice as to why you might have been receiving downvotes since there had been no feedback thus far aside from the close votes.
    – phantom42
    Commented Sep 23, 2013 at 13:43

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