This question I have posted to the main site. Considering there are a few close votes for this not being on-topic, my question is is it considered to be on-topic for the main site?

Now, to me, the main reason why it is on-topic for the site, is that it is asking about works of science fiction or fantasy. I'm not asking a question about the workings of the site, but whether any canon material has been made on the basis of information from this site. I can't see how this is any different to a question asking about any out-of-universe aspect of a science fiction or fantasy work. Furthermore, I have placed a time limit to it, so there would be a finite list (if any works at all).

  • For the record, my objection to your question is not based on its "listiness". Rather, it just doesn't seem appropriate for scifi.se to me.
    – Andres F.
    Commented Aug 22, 2015 at 17:32

2 Answers 2


I think that question is definitely on-topic. We have tons of "what was the first XXX?" questions, many of them well received (despite my personal dislike of them). This is just one of those: "What was the first work of fiction to incorporate speculation from SF&F into canon?".

Of course, IMO it's not a very good question, because:

  • This site's only been around a few years; the odds that an author/writer/etc read this site at all, let alone changed their mind about their work because of our answer, approaches nil.
  • We generally don't like speculating on future events. The bulk of our answers are about things that are already canon, or based on things we know are canon. There aren't a whole lot of places where an author can even find future speculative information to "borrow" from.
  • Even if that did happen, how would we know? Unless the author came out and said "Yeah, I had this whole thing planned out in my mind, until I read that guy on stack exchange and it made so much more sense. I scrapped my ideas and just wrote his." No author's going to do that.

But bad questions are still on-topic :)

  • 3
    +1 for "not a very good question". I'd still see it closed, but downvotes are also appropriate.
    – Andres F.
    Commented Aug 22, 2015 at 17:31
  • Thanks for the feedback; I appreciate it. To respond to your points though: 1) even though the odds are low, if this hasn't ever happened, then that is an appropriate answer to the question. 2) The question wouldn't stand if it weren't based on speculative answers (if it was canon, then we wouldn't have any impact!) 3) I have restricted it to instances where there is evidence of communication between the author and SE indicating that this happened. I would say that if an author did find an interesting theory, they may contact us to glean further details. Commented Aug 22, 2015 at 23:28
  • 1
    For the record, we've had several author visits over the last couple of years. I suspect that if five have taken the trouble to respond openly, probably twice that many have created a throwaway account to post anonymously and ten times that many have visited without posting at all
    – Valorum
    Commented Aug 28, 2015 at 20:09

Regarding the close votes

At the current time, there are four close votes, all saying this is 'off-topic'. The reasons behind the close votes are as follows:

  • The question belongs on Meta

Well, it doesn't! As per the Meta guidelines:

Meta Science Fiction & Fantasy Stack Exchange is the part of the site where users discuss the workings and policies of Science Fiction & Fantasy Stack Exchange rather than discussing science fiction or fantasy itself.

As this question is talking about Science Fiction and Fantasy, not about the workings or policies of the site itself, then it is not suitable for Meta.

  • "This is off-topic because it's not about a work of SF or F, it's about this website... which is off-topic for this website. I don't think the main problem is that it's a list question (though it's that, too)."

I reject this claim: the question is talking about Science Fiction and/or Fantasy works, just a specific question in relation to this site. It's no different to asking something like 'What was the inspiration for X?' As those questions are on-topic, then this question should be too.

  • Requests for lists of works or recommendations are off-topic as they do not fit our questions and answers format. Feel free to ask about people's favorites in chat.

Granted, this is a 'list' question. Nevertheless, the guidelines by which we object to 'list' questions are:

Reading or watching recommendations


Lists of works with a particular plot element

Now, the former is not relevant to this - the question is clearly not asking for recommendations. However, it could be construed as looking for a particular plot element, but I think this is drawing a rather long bow, as the question isn't looking for a single plot element, but rather plot elements containing information based on answers here.

So, that's the end of my rant. The way I see it (and yes, I am somewhat biased), this question is completely on topic for this site. None of the close votes, in my opinion, are valid reasons to close this question. It is inquiring about works of science fiction or fantasy. Agreed, it is a broad question, but I have narrowed it down to:

  • Being a speculative answer only
  • There being evidence that the speculation involved in canon works was, in some way, linked with this site i.e. the next episode of a show they suddenly use a similar idea to what was presented in an answer is not acceptable: we need to see evidence that it is sourced from this site
  • There is a finite list: it must have been the first instance

I would also argue that is is on-topic on the grounds that it is asking about background information to science fiction or fantasy works, which, as per the guidelines, makes this question on-topic

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