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A simple enough question, hopefully with a simple answer. When was the discussion held (and presumably the decision taken) that questions on SFF:SE should relate to a single canon universe?

  • @armadillo - But when did we decide that meant "only one universe"? Rand seems quite keen on opening the site up to any old sh*t and I'd really like to beat him over the head with the original community concensus :-) – Valorum Jun 8 '16 at 0:11
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    "Too Broad" as a close reason was first proposed on main meta back in September 2010, but the current closing structure was laid out in March 2013 and implemented in June 2013. – Rand al'Thor Jun 8 '16 at 0:15
  • The earliest instance that I could find of closing a multi-universe question occurred in January 2012: If a vampire would stand inside a house when it was built would he be albe to leave? I imagine that there wasn’t a policy about closing that sort of question in 2011. – Molag Bal Jun 8 '16 at 6:32
  • To find more questions that were closed for this reason, try this query and sort by ClosedDate. I assume that any questions closed as “too broad” today would have been closed as “not constructive” or “not a real question” back then. – Molag Bal Jun 8 '16 at 6:34
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    Ah, I've found some chat discussion between mods Gilles and Keen in 2012 on the subject, prompted by "Can werewolves die of old age? and DVK's comment "Which universe/canon?" . – Valorum Jun 8 '16 at 17:41
  • @Valorum And the accepted answer on that question is wrong. – Molag Bal Jun 8 '16 at 17:42
  • @armadillo I agree that that does seem to be the origin of it... I'm not sure it was widespread or consistent enough to be called a long-standing site policy, though. I'd like to see more examples of questions being specifically closed because they weren't about a specific canon. The one linked in the chat discussion is a good example, but are there more? – Beofett Jun 8 '16 at 18:08
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    The vast majority (all?) of the questions in that list were closed for "Not Constructive", which is not the same as "Too Broad", and neither of which are the same as "questions on SFF:SE should relate to a single canon universe". Not Constructive covered a wide variety of problems, and most of the ones in that list fall into categories completely unrelated to this discussion (e.g. "are there any", "gorilla vs. shark", etc.). – Beofett Jun 8 '16 at 18:15
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    @armadillo Good point re: deleted questions. However, I'm of the opinion that the burden of proof for the premise that there is a long standing policy that questions must relate to a single canon universe has not yet been met, and, since I disagree with such a rule if it exists, the burden of proof does not lie with me. I'd certainly argue for a more specific and nuanced definition if such a rule came up for discussion. – Beofett Jun 8 '16 at 18:33
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    @Valorum - "I want to beat someone over the head" is typically a sign your motivation could use a wee bit of improvement. Also, my own "which universe" comment is a reflection of existing policy, not necessarily my agreement with said policy despite my willingness to obey it. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jun 8 '16 at 19:10
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    @armadillo - there seemed to be, but I don't know if it was ever formal/official. I kinda learned of it by osmosis. Never fullty agreed with it however. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jun 8 '16 at 19:17
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    @Valorum - didn't you JUST swear on all that's holy (presumably, buffy's stake) not to tongue in cheek anymore? :) Admittedly, my comment was mostly tongue in cheek too - I'm sure Rand doesn't need defending from nice people like you and me, having survived far worse. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jun 8 '16 at 19:21
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    I'm pretty sure we've been doing this as long as I've been on this site (~5 years?), but it was something I picked up from comment discussion on questions. – KutuluMike Jun 9 '16 at 17:33
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    @KutuluMike The majority of the questions in this discussion, which seemingly prompted this question, had been open for years, until a handful of users started closing them (most of them were closed within the past couple of months). Seems contrary to the idea that we have a 5+ year policy of consistently closing them. – Beofett Jun 10 '16 at 15:40
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    @Valorum Only if people agree with your assumption that your opinion is by definition site policy. – Beofett Jun 10 '16 at 15:49
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When was the discussion held (and presumably the decision taken) that questions on SFF:SE should relate to a single canon universe?

I don't believe that discussion was held prior to this one.

Note that this is completely unrelated to the "too broad" close reason, which is not at all stating that all questions must relate to a single canon universe:

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.

The decision that questions on this site should relate to a single canon universe seems to have been made by a handful of users who closed questions without discussing it on meta, or without waiting for the ongoing meta discussion to be resolved.

The closest I can find is this discussion about "opinion based", which touches on the subject somewhat.

Note that the arguments that this policy has been enforced for a long time seem to be erroneous. For example, the majority of the items in this discussion were closed within the past 2 years. In fact, 4 out of 7 were closed within the past few months, despite the questions being open for years without objection. 1 other was closed about 2 years ago, again, after the question had been around for 2 years without issue.

  • Hmm. Except that we've been closing them for this reason for nearly the entire life of the site. – Valorum Jun 8 '16 at 17:05
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    @Valorum Actually, according to this discussion, it seems that this voting pattern started perhaps 2 years ago. The site did exist before you got here. – Beofett Jun 8 '16 at 17:07
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    @Valorum Not at all. Of the examples listed in the other meta post, how many were closed only in the last year, or for that matter the last few days? – Rand al'Thor Jun 8 '16 at 17:07
  • @Beofett - Indeed. It looks like we used to close them as "Not Constructive" instead. And that reaches back to 2012 and before. – Valorum Jun 8 '16 at 17:10
  • @Randal'Thor - Several. And several were closed before this discussion started. – Valorum Jun 8 '16 at 17:10
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    @Valorum You're tarring with a broad brush. Not to mention the first comment in the example you listed clearly explains that the problem wasn't that there was a single, canon universe, but rather that the question was too vaguely worded. – Beofett Jun 8 '16 at 17:13
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    @Valorum I just checked. Of the seven questions listed there, four were closed in the last few months (three just in the last 2 days), and two of the three long-closed questions had close reasons that no longer exist on the site. – Rand al'Thor Jun 8 '16 at 17:13
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    Note also the phrasing of the Not Constructive close message: "We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise". A question being applicable to multiple canon universes is not mutually exclusive from being answered with facts, references, or expertise. – Beofett Jun 8 '16 at 17:18
  • @Beofett The previous meta post you linked is an interesting read, but I can't see how it bears on the specific issue of questions that don't relate to a single canon universe? None of the examples you list there are non-franchise-specific. – Rand al'Thor Jun 8 '16 at 17:20
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    @Randal'Thor That's why I used the weasly-wording of "touches on the subject somewhat". AFAIK, non-franchise-specific has never been discussed on meta prior to my first link. The discussion of the line on "opinion based" is only relevant in that it discusses under what circumstances a subjective question might be a good fit for the site, and not being tied to a specific canon universe seems likely to make a question fall into the subjective category. If there's a distinction between "multi-canon" and "subjective", it would be helpful if someone could try to explain it. – Beofett Jun 8 '16 at 17:25
  • This sort of question has been getting closed since at least early 2012. I don't know how common it was. You could browse the data.SE query that I linked to in a comment on the question. – Molag Bal Jun 8 '16 at 17:40
  • Hehe. I've just spotted who's on the list of closers of this gem from Jan 2012 - "If a vampire would stand inside a house when it was built would he be albe to leave?" – Valorum Jun 8 '16 at 17:44
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    @Valorum ...and yet you somehow managed to miss spotting the comment in this thread where I pointed out that the reason for that question being closed had nothing to do with multiple possible canons... Yay, confirmation bias! – Beofett Jun 8 '16 at 17:45
  • @armadillo I'm still looking through that list looking for a single instance of a question being closed for multiple canons being applicable. Not Constructive covered a wide variety of problems, and most of the ones in that list fall into categories completely unrelated to this discussion. – Beofett Jun 8 '16 at 17:46
  • @Beofett - And this one? scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/11291/… – Valorum Jun 8 '16 at 17:46

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