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Often questions are closed as off topic for the following reason:

Questions seeking scientific solutions or explanations are off-topic unless they relate directly to a cited work of fiction. There are a number of other Stack Exchange sites dedicated to answering questions on non-fictional sciences.

To me this seems clear. A question such as "how does time travel work in Stargate SG-1" would be on topic, but "how would time travel work" is off topic.

However I often see questions that are about specific Sci-Fi works, but are still closed. Take this question about Stargate SG-1. It seems to me that this fits the criteria of unless they relate directly to a cited work of fiction yet I regularly see questions like this being closed.

So should it be changed so that all scientific explanations questions are off-topic? Or is there a reason that a lot of these questions are still getting closed?

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    This question is particular is asking about whether or not the effects would happen in the real world, which turns it from a question about Sci-Fi to a question about real-world physics. – Zibbobz Sep 3 '14 at 19:53
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    Proposed rewording pending results of this meta question: "...unless they relate directly to the fictional sciences in a cited work of fiction." – Izkata Sep 3 '14 at 23:14
  • Note the end of the close reason anyway: "dedicated to answering questions on non-fictional sciences." – Izkata Sep 3 '14 at 23:16
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    As expected, the answer to the Stargate question have focused on the real-world implications of time on plastic or tape. Off-topic questions get off-topic answers. – Valorum Sep 8 '14 at 11:52
  • Is this discussion just about the mentioned question, or about the general principle? Because scifi.stackexchange.com/q/55399/19561 and scifi.stackexchange.com/q/55398/19561 are similar questions that were closed. – SQB Sep 9 '14 at 7:17
  • @SQB I was asking about the principle, but using that question as an example. – Moogle Sep 9 '14 at 7:31
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That specific question should be closed.

It was NOT asking about "Is this true in-universe?" (as Keen's answer implies).

It asked: "This is shown to be true in-universe. Can that really happen out of universe?"

This is even confirmed by the exact wording of the question's subject:

... really last for thousands of years?

as well as the body:

My question is, how effective would vacuum-sealing (or Hermetic sealing) that canopic jar in preserving the camcorder for thousands of years?

That makes it 100% matching "scientific explanations" close reason

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    I wholly agree. The OP doesn't want to discuss why it works in-universe, he wants to have a discussion about whether real-world storage media can last 1000+ years. – Valorum Sep 3 '14 at 17:01
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    Real-world physics questions belong on physics.stackexchange.com and if you strip the references to the show from this question, that's what you get. – Zibbobz Sep 3 '14 at 19:50
  • I'm inclined to agree. However, if this becomes the accepted answer, then we have some cleanup that needs to be done, such as this question. – Beofett Sep 4 '14 at 12:16
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    @Beofett Despite it being a very good question, the linked question is actually off-topic for the very same reason this one is. If it had asked if there were any magical reason the fire could be so hot, that would have been acceptable. But despite being a very good question, it is about cooking fires, and not science fiction...which may indiicate that the rules themselves need an uphauling. – Zibbobz Sep 4 '14 at 17:17
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    @Zibbobz That's actually what I was trying to say. I agree these types of questions shouldn't be on topic. I linked that example merely to show we'll have to clean up some older content as part of implementing this, if this is the direction we decide to go. – Beofett Sep 4 '14 at 17:27
  • It would also make this question scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/66882/… off-topic, and it might be worth creating a separate Meta question to list questions that might be labeled as off-topic to get a better arbitrition on this, since both of these questions are fantastic, but still very much based on real-world physics and technology, rather than science-fiction. – Zibbobz Sep 4 '14 at 17:36
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These shouldn't be closed. That close reason is for 'how can I make a warp drive in reality' sorts of questions. The sci-fi physics questions like 'how do warp drives work in universe' are on topic.

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  • I don't want to speak for all the mods, but flag 'em if you see 'em. – user1027 Sep 3 '14 at 15:41
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    that specific question wasn't about in-universe physics. It was about real world situation (because in-universe physics answer is already IN the question, as its basis). – DVK-on-Ahch-To Sep 3 '14 at 16:47
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    Please don't cast binding votes (including VTRO) when there's no community consensus. Your personal opinion isn't necessarily correct, and you posted this answer 1 hour ago without letting the opposing viewpoint being heard and decided on by the community. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Sep 3 '14 at 16:55
  • Exactly so. I'm very surprised to see this reopened when it fits the close reason for "scientific explanation" so closely. – Valorum Sep 3 '14 at 17:03
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    He's not asking for an in-universe explanation, he's asking for an out-of-universe (e.g. real world) explanation about whether it would work if you or I actually tried it. – Valorum Sep 3 '14 at 17:04
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    Do either of you know that these canopic jars aren't just ceramic jars in the Stargate universe? gateworld.net/wiki/Stasis_jar – user1027 Sep 3 '14 at 17:11
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    Even so, the question is about whether the effects shown in the show would happen in real life, word-for-word. Not whether or not the show itself is accurate, whether a camcorder would be preserved in such a way by an actual vaccume. Strip away the context of the show, and all you're left with is a physics question. – Zibbobz Sep 3 '14 at 19:52
  • @Keen - Beats me. My point was that the question as asked was not about "in stargate universe" in the first place. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Sep 4 '14 at 11:12
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    I think the point is that the "1000+ years in the canopic jars" situation did work in-universe; so the only question left is whether or not it will work out-of-universe. This was my reasoning for closing the Q. – Möoz Sep 10 '14 at 22:09

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