The question would have to be very specific and answerable, but would hypothetical (and realistic) questions be permitted?

What I mean by this is, would situations that do not necessarily happen to the person asking the question, but could happen (and may have happened) be permitted?

  • 2
    As long as you're able to provide any specific details if requested, I don't see any problem.
    – user102
    Commented Sep 6, 2013 at 9:05
  • @CharlesMorisset thank you, I would base any hypotheticals on events that I have heard of occurring in passing (i.e. not privy to the exact details) and would be possible to occur again.
    – user7130
    Commented Sep 7, 2013 at 10:32

2 Answers 2


I don't see any reason why they should not be permitted, and judged by the same measure as all questions. If they are a good fit for the site (which probably requires that they be realistic), they add value and should be allowed!

Moreover, I don't think you can prevent them efficiently. There's no way you can tell, when I ask a question, whether it's really happened to me. Sometimes, I ask what I think are good questions from my past experiences (in that particular case, I added a PS, but I don't always). Sometimes, I make up questions… (based on real-life circumstances that have happened, or could have happened to others)

For example, if you look at my questions, you may realize that I am:

I can tell you (in confidence): not all of these are true!

  • 3
    You're not John Smith? But thank you for your point there, that a hypothetical should not be obviously a hypothetical.
    – user7130
    Commented Sep 7, 2013 at 10:46

No, they are really not a good fit to the site at all.

The reason is, that however good your imagination is, there may be crucial details that would relate to a real-life situation, that you just haven't anticipated.

That makes the answers much less useful to anyone with a real-world problem that looks broadly like what you made up.

The Help Cente explicitly states that you must Try to extract the fundamental question from the specific problem at hand.

If you don't have that specific problem, don't ask about it. Fake questions are as bad as fake answers, and the site is better off without them.

The tour, that all new users of the site are directed to, is very explicit about this, and it's a principle that applies across all Stack Exchange sites:

Focus on questions about an actual problem you have faced. Include details about what you have tried and exactly what you are trying to do.

(emphasis as in the original)

  • 1
    I'm not sure what you refer to as “fake answers”, but using the Q&A format, within its limit, to share knowledge (e.g. by self-answering) is, and has long been, allowed and even encouraged on Stack Exchange.
    – F'x
    Commented Sep 8, 2013 at 15:14
  • 1
    Regarding the main point of your answer, @UV-D specifically stated “realistic” and “very specific and answerable” questions, i.e. they concern a real-world problem, even though it may not have occurred to you (or occurred yet, or occurred in this particular alternative universe :)
    – F'x
    Commented Sep 8, 2013 at 15:16

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