5

We get a few of these from time to time; some recent (and one not-so-recent) examples:

Why don't Jedi (or Sith) use the Force to snap their foes' necks?
in the Lord of the Rings why didn't the company sail around mordor and come in the back end?
Why didn't the fighters use force pull/push in the generator complex?

My own inclination is to nuke this kind of question from orbit - in the general case (and I say "general case" because exceptions can, of course, exist), I've a difficult time seeing how they're in any way constructive or useful. It's nitpicking and niggling over plot points, and I can see how questions like this can lead to discussions rather than specific answers.

However, before I start nuking, it seems sensible to throw it to the floor to get a consensus on what others think of questions like this.

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One of the highest voted, and most-viewed, questions on our site falls into this category, so I'd say there's at least a fair amount of support for them, as a general group.

If by "nuke" you mean downvote, by all means. Downvote if you think the question isn't useful/interesting.

Closing, on the other hand, I would oppose... IF there is a reasonable expectation that an answer can be provided based on information in source materials, and it is posed as an actual question, rather than a rant about the plot-hole(s) the OP believes they've found (which is why I wouldn't vote to re-open the question from your second example).

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  • I definitely agree on your "if" condition, but the other points you raise are reasonable & good to me too. – user8719 Dec 6 '13 at 21:46
5

If a user is providing a "subjective" question, I have no problem with it if it's an answer based on interpretation of canon facts and is supported by information from the original canon source or author info, etc. For example, I think it's fine to see, "Based on A, B, and C from The Fellowship of the Ring and X, Y, Z, stated by Christopher Tolkien in Interview X, I think Reason Y is why the fellowship didn't sail around the world to Mordor" or whatever. My $0.02 :) I would never advocate prohibiting these types of questions.

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I'm going to prop up my pet "Look at the evidence" theory of moderation, as usual.

The question like that MAY lead to useless speculation, especially if poorly worded. If it happens, fix it up or nuke it.

Or it may lead to insightful answer based on reasonable canon-based speculation (as per Slytherincess' answer).

So closing it merely for ASKING about something that is a possible fan theory is wrong. Closing for generating useless noise as far as answers with no redeeming useful answer isn't.

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  • 3
    I'm always hesitant to support any close/don't close guideline that depends upon the answers, rather than the question. What if you get 10 answers that are useless speculation, and one really good one? How long do you wait to see if that really good one shows up? How many bad answers does it take before you decide to close the question? – Beofett Dec 9 '13 at 14:48
  • @Beofett - Increasing # of bad ones makes the question worth closing. If it already has a good answer, that answer will remain. How long - say couple of days. If a great answer will be possible later, people can (and have) ask for question to be reopened to post it. How many bad answers - 4 or 5 non-deleted ones. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Dec 9 '13 at 15:40
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The problem I have with closing these kind of questions is that it really is very subjective whether such questions are good or bad. I tend to feel that if someone can back their pet theory with canon evidence, than that's just fine.

This kind of ties in with the discussion of what constitutes a "problem" within the context of SF+F. As pointed out in that discussion, idle curiosity is probably enough to make something an on topic problem for here. By that yardstick, people ought to be able to ask here about pet peeves in media that they are interested in.

If all the answers to a question are unsupported speculation, then that's probably a sign that a question is too subjective for the site and should be closed. However, we have to balance that against the idea that SF+F is not wikipedia, and a certain amount of extrapolation or argument from source material is to be expected and encouraged here.

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  • Thanks for the answer. This one's interesting to me because it's similar to my own feelings on the matter (hence "exceptions" in my question). – user8719 Dec 6 '13 at 21:45

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