# What Limiting Standards should be applied to a Speculative Idea?

What kind of criteria would make a speculative question of sorts a well-founded question? A possible rough draft would be:

1. Clearly display some honest work on the question
2. Question overlapping carefully enough with mainstream science
3. Question having loose ends (thereby the "speculative" feature)
4. Not "review-my-equations" kind of question
5. (Stylistic) Narcissistic attitudes are off the table

Some rationale for these points:

R1) It mustn't be in the way of: "Here's a vague idea, can you help me fill in the details?

R2) Relation to previous working theories should be easily traced back

R3) It mustn't be a finished idea. If it's finished, it belongs in the peer-review system

R4) Nobody's here to track down your sign mistakes.

R5) Nobody's here to admire how clever you are

• I have removed a part of my question relating it to another PSE meta question that really messes up the whole scope of my initial question. My apologies to those who have been misled by such link. Mar 20, 2021 at 22:09
• Taking into account comments by @BioPhysicist on the scope of my question, I've opted for better choice of "loose ends", rather than "open ended." I think i was definitely misunderstood. There's a nuance there that could be significant. Mar 21, 2021 at 0:16
• Can you expand on open ended vs. lose ends? Mar 21, 2021 at 4:41
• "Loose", not "lose". Quote: "Loose end: a part of something such as a story that has not been completely finished or explained." (Oxford.) As opposed to, Quote: "Open-ended: without any limits, aims or dates fixed in advance." (Oxford) Mar 21, 2021 at 7:56
• Sorry, it was a typo. I know what these things mean generally, but I was asking in terms of what you actually mean with regard to your questions you are asking about here. I'm not sure I understand the point of being difficult / combative here. Based on previous discussions I don't think it's worth the time pursuing this anymore, but I hope you find the answers you are looking for (it seems like you already have the answer you want in mind). Mar 21, 2021 at 11:03

This is based on V1 of the post.

The largest issue might be

Question being open-ended

This is a Q&A site, with the goal being the each question has a well-defined answer that can be accepted. An open-ended question means that there could be multiple "good" or "not incorrect" answers without there ever being a unique, correct answer. Furthermore, there could end up being serious debate on whether one post fully answers the given question, and thus the post becomes more of just a discussion.

PSE is not the site to hash out speculative ideas, even if they based on ideas that are well-founded in current science and have the potential to spark interesting and beneficial discussions.

• Quote: "What are some examples of how the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle affects my daily life?" This example is absolutely laughable; it is easily dismissed on the grounds of my proposed points 1) and 2). Such a question would most definitely not comply with "displaying an honest work on the question", nor would it comply with "question overlapping carefully enough with mainstream science." It is only the intersection of all the points which would make for the context about which I'm just asking. Why you should put daft words in my mouth to make me sound ridiculous is beyond me. Mar 20, 2021 at 14:38
• You do make a good point when you say: Quote: “Furthermore, there could end up being serious debate on whether one post fully answers the given question, and thus the post becomes more of just a discussion.” and I thank you for that. It gives me food for thought. Quote: “the goal being the each question has a well-defined answer that can be accepted.” It seems that that goal is not met, as there are frequently multiple answers depending on the scope. Not all of them faring badly on rep. points, as I notice. Mar 20, 2021 at 14:41
• @joigus I was not saying that example is the same as what you are asking. I am saying the reasons for why questions like that do not work are similar. I didn't put any words in your mouth. Mar 20, 2021 at 14:41
• You didn't say "similar"; you, on the contrary, said Quote: "This is the exact same reason why list questions such as [...]." (my emphasis) Can you agree with yourself, please? Agreeing with me is not required. Now, I don't know much about logic, but "exact same reason" doesn't strike me as very close in meaning to "similar." Mar 20, 2021 at 15:40
• @joigus Same reason. Not "same question". Mar 20, 2021 at 16:01
• Not even remotely comparable questions $\Rightarrow$ Not even remotely comparable reasons for dismissal. Mar 20, 2021 at 19:44
• @joigus In both cases the reason is because you can't have a single correct answer. So yes, there is a comparison in the reasons even if the questions are not similar. Mar 20, 2021 at 20:09
• There is a comparison between an elephant and a tardigrade too. Their embryos look very similar at a sufficiently early developmental stage. Anything can be compared to anything else. Mar 20, 2021 at 21:42
• @joigus I have removed that part since it is distracting you from the main point of my post. Sorry for the confusion or the appearance of putting words in your mouth. Mar 20, 2021 at 21:49
• Mar 20, 2021 at 21:53

The limiting standard is in part already there: if it's non-mainstream it should be closed. This is not a discussion forum so speculative questions have limited value unless they are grounded in solid physics and can be answered using physics principle.

Thus, it is speculative and out of place to ask if one could increase the density of angels on a headpin by placing angels in compactified dimensions: this kind of question should be closed immediately.

We must keep in mind that one objective of site is to have value to the community at large and beyond simply the answer of a specific user on a specific question which might have limited interest.

• Quote: "The limiting standard is in part already there: if it's non-mainstream it should be closed." (My emphasis.) That's why I was careful enough to state: Quote: "Question overlapping carefully enough with mainstream science." It would be enormously helpful, not to mention civil, to read my question before you venture to answer to another (imaginary) question. Mar 20, 2021 at 19:45
• I read your question quite well as a matter of fact, and drew my line. Mar 20, 2021 at 21:15
• Quote: "speculative questions have limited value unless they are grounded in solid physics and can be answered using physics principle." (sic; my emphasis) This is the part that I find most valuable, because it rephrases my question somehow without answering it. The question was: What are those limits? How speculative can you get without pushing the envelope too much? How much is too much? I hope that's clear now. Mar 20, 2021 at 21:44
• I’m afraid it’s off limit if five users with VTC privilege think it out of bounds but without a specific example it’s difficult to argue that this or that cannot be answered using physics. Certainly as pointed out by @biophysicist overly open-ended questions, or questions posted for the purpose of generating a debate, or the (absurd) example I gave I would personally vote to close immediately Mar 20, 2021 at 22:17
• Not all speculative questions are necessarily non-mainstream: witness this question physics.stackexchange.com/q/34217/36194 or the work of Alton Harp (haltonarp.com/articles) which is non-traditional but certainly well grounded in physics. Mar 20, 2021 at 22:23
• Quote: "Not all speculative questions are necessarily non-mainstream" Agreed. That's why I never said that. What I said is (again), Quote: "2) Question overlapping carefully enough with mainstream science." Mar 21, 2021 at 0:02