Recently I was reading a flame war between two users, and I came across

...asking for a comparison between transport technologies from two different universes, which is off-topic and will be closed - Michael Edenfield

Why is comparing attributes from one universe to another considered off topic? I understand the point of this website is to discuss science fiction and fantasy, to clarify or explore explanations for questions about existing works. Under this thinking the question was valid, but clearly others think not.

Can someone clarify?

  • 5
    See Shark vs. Gorilla, which underpins this issue.
    – user1027
    Mar 12, 2015 at 0:11

1 Answer 1


That depends on what you mean to "cross-over comparisons."

As this site is a Q&A site, and not an open-ended discussion site, questions here should be the kind of question that has a "right" answer. Ideally, that right answer should come from a canon source, or at least something vaguely authoritative. We want to make sure that, if someone comes up with an answer, it's possible for the person asking the question to "know" if it's right or not.

For example, if you asked "Could Force Lightning hurt Superman?", that would be an impossible question to ask, because there is no point of reference. We could speculate over whether Force Lightning qualified as magic in the DC-Universe-sense, but that's all it would be: speculation. And we don't want speculative answers. Alternatively, if you asked something like "Could the Death Star beat up a Borg Cube?", the answers you get would mostly be opinions: "I think the Death Star would win because _____". And we also don't like subjective or opinion answers.

On the other hand, a question like "Could Hulk beat up Superman" very well could have a real answer, because those two canons have interacted before. In that case, the person asking the question would be expected to specify that -- indicate that they're looking for a situation where Hulk really did fight Superman and what happened.

So, it's not so much that we don't like cross-over questions, it's that we don't like purely hypothetical or purely subjective questions. The cross-canon comparison questions are just an example of the kind of question that usually falls into one of those two categories.

  • 6
    We should be careful not to dismiss cross-canon comparison questions out of hand, though, because franchises have crossed paths in ways we often don't expect (eg Borg vs Cybermen is answerable). It's hard enough to authoritatively say "there is no way to support an answer to this" that being able to do so is in itself usually a great answer. That said, we're hard on these questions because the community has a hard time avoiding unsupported speculation. We optimise questions to encourage good answers.
    – BESW
    Mar 12, 2015 at 1:20
  • 1
    I agree, and it's important to judge each question on its merits. I think a lot of it comes down to the way the question is written and the intent of the author; it most cases, we can tell when the OP is asking a serious question vs. just trying to start a reddit-style discussion.
    – KutuluMike
    Mar 12, 2015 at 11:42
  • @BESW: OK, obvious question: Borg vs. Cybermen? Mar 15, 2015 at 1:27
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