I was about to post a question here, but felt unsure if it was topical here, or if I should post on World-Building instead.

In a nutshell, my question has a premise that something magical (and probably impossible) had happened and to ask what the implications of that happening would be.

The reason I'm hesitant to post on World-Building is that I'm not asking for the sake of telling a story. I'm interested in the hard physics of my magical hypothetical.

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    $\begingroup$ So your question is basically, Pretend the laws of physics are broken, what does physics say happens later? $\endgroup$
    – Kyle Kanos
    Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 12:43
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    $\begingroup$ Many of the recent questions along the lines of "Imagine the sun disappeared instantly..." have been closed because the sun wouldn't just disappear instantly... You might be better off on World Building, and they do have several tags for rigorous science based questions/answers. Just don't say it isn't for a story (but don't lie and say it is one either). Or maybe just to be careful, you're going to tell it to your child, sibling, pet iguana to put it to sleep -- then it's a story. $\endgroup$
    – tpg2114
    Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 15:02
  • $\begingroup$ Oh -- but more to the point, we can't help you decide if it's on-topic until we see the actual wording of the question. It's not black and white, and it may be possible to tweak the words to make it fit, but we would need the precise wording before attempting to answer directly. $\endgroup$
    – tpg2114
    Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 15:03
  • $\begingroup$ My question is along the lines of "Imagine the sun disappeared instantly...". If the consensus was against those questions, it'll probably be against mine too. Oh well, thanks anyway. $\endgroup$
    – billpg
    Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 17:05
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    $\begingroup$ Note from a Worldbuilding mod: Our policy in this area is ambiguous, and we haven't been able to make it fully clear. I think you're right to be cautious about asking there; the question would have a good chance of being closed. We also have strong objections to questions that neglect physics and then ask for an explanation in physics, as @KyleKanos said. $\endgroup$
    – HDE 226868
    Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 17:42
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    $\begingroup$ Perhaps you could extract the mathematical features of the physics and turn this into a math question about the system resulting from your unphysical change. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 23, 2016 at 4:26
  • $\begingroup$ Perhaps you could turn it into a proof by contradiction type question. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 25, 2016 at 12:24

2 Answers 2


No, questions involving magical situations are not generally on topic here. Our help center lists "questions about fictional physics" as one of the off-topic categories. The reason is basically what Kyle Kanos said in a comment,

...Pretend the laws of physics are broken, what does physics say happens later?

Those questions just don't work.

That being said, depending on what exactly you want to ask and how you ask it, sometimes there is a way to make this okay. In particular, if your magical situation is something that could plausibly occur under the physical theory you're asking about, or at least something that makes a valid initial condition for the theory, you can probably frame that question in a way that makes it on topic. This should be considered "advanced Physics SE usage" though, and I would suggest seeking advice in chat before posting.

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    $\begingroup$ Nice! Referenced again! $\endgroup$
    – Kyle Kanos
    Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 23:45
  • $\begingroup$ +1 for "advanced Physics SE usage." $\endgroup$
    – JamalS
    Commented Dec 23, 2016 at 10:26

Try a Philosophy of Science group. Actual magic means something unexplained has happened. That means a hidden explanation, potentially new physics. Provided the observations are sufficiently credible or reproducible it would be worthy of investigation. Science is founded on the idea that observed past behaviours can be used to predict the future. And if predicting the future is the aim, there's no better approach.


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