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In science fiction, which planet with lifeforms has the largest gravitational force?

It's perfectly answerable, with a very clear criteria. It can't have infinite (or too many) answers that are all equally correct.

Numerous questions of the same exact form not only exist without being closed on the site, but are quite successful in generating awesome content within full scope of SE mechanics.

  • I didn't vote to close it, but it sends very list-y to me, especially if you include neutron stars and other stellar phenomena... – Valorum Oct 7 '14 at 16:13
  • @Richard - I don't think there's a large list of neutron stars that are inhabited in SFF. And lists aren't inherently bad - only lists where you can't determine the "correct" answer from "incorrect"; or that are unending. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Oct 7 '14 at 16:17
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    I'm with DVK on this one. I think the question is perfectly valid in that the criteria are sufficiently narrow to be answerable. I'm not sure I would say it's a great question, but that's not a closing criteria. – Donald.McLean Oct 7 '14 at 16:29
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    I wavered between joining the VTCs or not, but ended up not. That said, there isn't necessarily one correct answer here. Thanks to this being science fiction, they didn't specify whether or not gas giants count, and if they do, does it have to be down at at the surface of the gas giant (if it has one)? Or the weird case of the neutron star answer, which isn't actually a planet and yet supports a population. (And those are only the ones that already came up) – Izkata Oct 8 '14 at 0:13
  • @izkata so you had legitimate criticisms that had nothing to do with too broad (i happen to agree with both points oof yours :). May be worth asking them, comments are primarily supposed to be about clarifying the q :) – DVK-on-Ahch-To Oct 8 '14 at 0:16
  • Prove that last paragraph. – Anthony Grist Oct 8 '14 at 12:25
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    @Donald.McLean How can the criteria be "sufficiently narrow" when one of them is "the whole of science fiction" (i.e. a set so large that it's impossible to actually know the correct answer)? – Anthony Grist Oct 8 '14 at 12:29
  • @anth Easy. Heaviest gravityamong existing answers. The problem of "correct" answers is NOT that someone can later find the better one on SE but that you can't pick one among existing answers. This Q doesn't have that problem – DVK-on-Ahch-To Oct 8 '14 at 12:35
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    @DVK An answer should be able to be evaluated on its own merits. If you have to look at all of the other answers to decide whether a given answer is good, the question is bad. – Anthony Grist Oct 8 '14 at 12:45
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    @Anthony I said cirrect, not good. Ever seen code golf se? – DVK-on-Ahch-To Oct 8 '14 at 12:50
  • @DVK No, I think it's right where it belongs: Providing some insight to your question, but not enough for an answer – Izkata Oct 8 '14 at 23:17
  • @Izkata - I meant that your points are an ideal fit to be a comment on OP's question on main site :) – DVK-on-Ahch-To Oct 8 '14 at 23:46
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The current close reason is "too broad".

The description of "too broad" is:

There are either too many possible answers, or good answers would be too long for this format. Please add details to narrow the answer set or to isolate an issue that can be answered in a few paragraphs.

For this question, there is, by definition, exactly one answer that is correct at any given time.

Good answers would, imo, describe a likely candidate for the correct (see above) answer, and possibly two or three other close contenders, along with an explanation as to why they believe those suggestions fit/do not fit the criteria.

Put simply, "too broad" doesn't apply here.

It's not a duplicate (afaik).

It's not primarily opinion based: answers could easily be supplemented by facts, numbers, and direct comparisons, so while opinion may be part of some answers, it isn't primarily opinion based.

It's pretty clearly not off topic (science fiction alien races).

It is not unclear.

I disagree with the closure, and have voted to reopen.

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    While I agree that it shouldn't be closed, it's not true to say that there's one correct answer. Since, for example, the surface gravity of Hexanerax 2 in my answer to the question is not stated in the text, we have no way of knowing whether or not it has a higher surface gravity than Mesklin at the poles. Either could be the correct answer. – Mike Scott Oct 8 '14 at 6:06
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I didn't vote to close originally, but I would have done (and have done on its second round of close votes).

The trouble with questions that take the form of "in SFF which is the X with the largest/smallest/etc Y" is that there can be no final definitive answer. Nobody has read all possible SFF books ever, and there is always a chance that someone will come along with an updated answer based on an obscure (or semi-obscure) work that the other answerers haven't read (or may not even be aware of).

Similarly, an accepted answer may be invalidated by a future work.

This makes the question and its answers become of potentially limited lifespan and constrains their value as a resource for future visitors.

Of the close reasons, none is a perfect fit but I think "too broad" is probably the best of a bad lot. Yes, there is only one answer, but in order to correctly identify that one answer you must read all SFF works ever published and continually keep your answer up-to-date with all SFF works that ever will be published. It's the job of answering that is too broad here.

Real questions have answers and by definition this kind of question is unanswerable.

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    "Something in the future might invalidate an answer implies that the question is bad" is a very weak argument. Any existing story universe could be changed by new works published long after the question was asked. (as long as the original author is still alive anyway) – Donald.McLean Oct 8 '14 at 13:18
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    I agree with @Donald.McLean disagreement with your second point, but I agree with your first point. Here, 'too broad' means to me that the domain is too big and effectively infinite. – SQB Oct 8 '14 at 18:36
  • Another point about this kind of question, which that cited in the OP is now demonstrating, is that they tend to degenrate into "me too" answers. That doesn't seem like a reason for closure, however. – user8719 Oct 8 '14 at 18:50
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    Part of the "too broad" close reason is "There are either too many possible answers" which is where I feel the "me too" type answers kind of fall into. – phantom42 Oct 8 '14 at 20:11
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    I could write a brief 2 paragraph story about people living on an impossible planet with surface gravity of 500000000G. That would then become the "correct" answer. – Valorum Oct 9 '14 at 11:38
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    @Richard That same argument could be used about the questions covered in this meta discussion about "does x exist"-style questions, as someone could theoretically write a story where "x" does, in fact, exist. Yet the prior consensus pretty clearly shows that such questions are, at least in principle, acceptable to the community. – Beofett Oct 9 '14 at 13:00
  • @Richard - while that would possibly be within the letter of the question as asked, I am pretty sure the spirit was "published SF", not random texts. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Oct 10 '14 at 1:09
  • @Donald.McLean - Han shot first. And Hermione hooked up with Harry. And Midichlorians. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Oct 10 '14 at 1:10
  • @dvk - Published by whom? Self-publishing is a very common thing nowadays; cdn.anonfiles.com/1412920244749.txt – Valorum Oct 10 '14 at 5:51

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