Most of the questions on site are about a specific SF work or universe. That's fine, but it's disappointing to have pretty much only questions of this kind.
In particular, most popular works and universes have a webforum out there, and even if the interface ahem not great, there are passionate communities who aren't going to move any time soon.
One of the strengths of this site is that it puts together people with different backgrounds. We all like SF, but we've read (seen, heard, …) different works. How can we benefit from this?
Unfortunately, the bulk of questions that have been asked without reference to a specific universe are list questions, that ask for works matching certain criteria (theme, plot point, …). These questions are poorly suited to this site. Even when this wasn't the intent, they tend to receive answers that cite one matching work, and the end result is a list of unrelated examples. These answers are not useful: the voting tends to indicate how old an answer is, and to some extend how popular the cited work is, but not how good the answer is (for example, how relevant the cited work is).
What kinds of questions can we ask that
- are not about a specific work or universe, and
- do not fall into the “list question” trapping,
and perhaps, how can we ask them?