I was thinking of asking a funny Christmassy IPS question, a bit like the questions over on WorldBuilding or Space:

Santa's broke, how much does it cost for someone else to be Santa?

How does Santa travel to other galaxies

But, since both of these questions were posted by moderators, and I want to avoid a voting war:

Do we allow such fun questions this time of year and can regular users post them?

Since some people seem to be asking for examples, I was thinking of:

What's the proper etiquette for welcoming Santa to your home?

  • 13
    How do I gift lumps of coal without offending people?
    – Magisch
    Dec 22, 2017 at 14:28
  • @Magisch I was thinking of something focused on etiquette :-P
    – Tinkeringbell Mod
    Dec 22, 2017 at 14:32
  • 1
    Please to have examples of IPS questions? Difficult to judge it is if examples there are not.
    – Catija
    Dec 22, 2017 at 14:55
  • I added one, if people think they have a better idea, feel free to edit the question and add your own!
    – Tinkeringbell Mod
    Dec 22, 2017 at 15:21
  • 3
    What is the appropriate way to point out an overhead mistletoe to my crush? Dec 22, 2017 at 15:42
  • 3
    How much fun is allowed here? -> 0. None. Period. We're here to Q/A. Nothing more, nothing less....... :D
    – OldPadawan
    Dec 22, 2017 at 17:44
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    As the author of the Santa question on Worldbuilding, I'd like to say that it wasn't really asked for fun; it was a serious question. I was inspired by the season to work on the basics of a short story; I seriously do need the relevant calculations done. So I wouldn't really be inclined to cite that as an example of a "fun" question.
    – HDE 226868
    Dec 23, 2017 at 0:00
  • 4
    Fact: IPS.SE is a very serious site, some people might even call it 'grim' -- and that is appropriate because IPS is a serious subject. So it might be better to post 'fun' questions here on meta with the winter-bash tag, as suggested by @apaul. Dec 23, 2017 at 0:05
  • I love the idea! I hope you do ask. Dec 23, 2017 at 2:37
  • Required reading: stackoverflow.blog/2010/01/04/stack-overflow-where-we-hate-fun
    – corsiKa
    Jan 5, 2018 at 3:35

2 Answers 2


I hate to be a grinch here, but it's probably best to keep these "fun" questions off of the main site.

Worldbuilding's scope naturally lends itself to imaginative fun questions, having questions be "practical problems that you actually face" isn't an issue there in the same way it is here.

I worry that opening the site to fictional, or made up, questions may encourage a flood of such questions. We may even find that it becomes a problem after the holidays have passed. People like "fun" questions, they're likely to draw a lot of attention, and they may end up setting a precedent that could cause a lot of problems for the site.

So, if we're going to have fun... Let's keep it on Meta and Chat. If you have a "fun" question about Santa, let it live here on Meta with a Winter Bash tag and some sort of small print about how it's just a "fun" question.

  • So what about space? You mention worldbuilding but space seems pretty serious and they're doing it too... I share your fears that's why I asked before barging ahead... but I want to have some fun :D. If space can do it, why not IPS?
    – Tinkeringbell Mod
    Dec 22, 2017 at 20:49
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    @Tinkeringbell I don't participate on Space, so I don't really know. It may be that they don't anticipate it becoming a problem because they're a more technical site, less of a chance of people trying to do it year round and easier to spot questions that don't fit.
    – apaul
    Dec 22, 2017 at 20:56
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    Just to reiterate what I said above, my Santa question was not asked solely (or even mostly) for fun. It's a serious worldbuilding problem. A lot of the questions on the site are, to be honest, quite serious; it's the very topic itself that makes them seem less so. Creativity is an interesting thing. On an unrelated note, I don't think that allowing these questions on meta is a good idea. It's not what meta's for.
    – HDE 226868
    Dec 23, 2017 at 0:03
  • @HDE226868 I wasn't really talking about your question specifically, just pointing to the difference between the levels of practicality. On Worlduilding asking about mythical characters/creatures in fictional/hypothetical situations is usually alright, here it's a little less so.
    – apaul
    Dec 23, 2017 at 0:49
  • @HDE226868 Although if Tinkeringbell were to tinker with how the question is posed, we could possibly work in some Santa questions... Perhaps "What's the etiquette for greeting a mall Santa in X culture?" could be on-topic. Or even asking an appropriately narrow question about cross cultural holiday traditions... Just thinking that we should try to avoid hypothetical situation questions on the main site.
    – apaul
    Dec 23, 2017 at 0:53
  • 1
    @HDE226868 - What is the proper way to tell someone that "serious" and "worldbuilding" sound strange together? Let's have some fun, even if your question was serious. Dec 23, 2017 at 2:39
  • @anongoodnurse I'm not taking a side one way or the other yet. I see the arguments for both.
    – HDE 226868
    Dec 23, 2017 at 2:51
  • @apaul Yeah, I think those would definitely be on-topic (or very close to it).
    – HDE 226868
    Dec 23, 2017 at 2:52

In answer to your question, "How much fun is allowed here," I'd suggest around 7.

Too much more than 7 could be seen as frivolous, but below 5, especially in this festive season, just seems a tad grinchy.

In less quantitative measures:

Of course, a question like your "How to welcome Santa" feels like it probably does fit on the main site, as to answer it based on assumptions of a friendly, giving stranger does fit well with our site scope.

And of course the majority of visitors never see meta, so for the next few days, why not lighten the mood. I say let's accept the less serious ones and see how we go.

After all, a laugh and a smile tend to help smooth the way.

  • 1
    Hmm... Could it be that 7 is the magic number because that's the number of santa related questions on Space SE?
    – apaul
    Dec 22, 2017 at 21:11
  • Maybe it's a David Beckham reference. Or Hill, Mansell or Raikkonen helmet numbers...
    – Rory Alsop
    Dec 22, 2017 at 21:19
  • I agree!7moretogo Dec 23, 2017 at 2:36
  • 1
    I've always wondered who scoops the reindeers' poop.
    – user1760
    Dec 27, 2017 at 22:15
  • I really thought the answer would be 42 Dec 29, 2017 at 13:04

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