Highlights from 2016 – 4th Quarter

Top Question

Who created the Secret Stairs as a way into Mordor and for what purpose? asked by Default_User with a score of 113. Runner up was Why would Snape set his office password to ‘Dumbledore’? asked by The Dark Lord with a score of 97.


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Top Viewed

Who was the mentioned jedi in the Rogue One movie? with 38438 views asked by Sebustyan. Runner up was Why were there no Bothans in Rogue One? with 25410 views asked by Vince Scalia.


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Top Answer

Adamant answered the highest voted answer to the question If Dumbledore is the most powerful wizard (allegedly), why would he work at a glorified boarding school? Is there a role with more responsibility? with a score of 184. The runner up was Victim Of Circumstance, who answered How is Shelob’s name known? with a score of 167.


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Top Controversial

Santa’s Omniscience in “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer”, with 9 down votes to its 12 up votes. Asked by Clint Eastwood with no accepted answer.


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Bounties

There were 48 bounties awarded for a total of 4650 rep.

User Favorites

There were no submitted user favorites. Must have been a bad quarter.

Highlights from 2016 – 3rd Quarter

Top Stats

Top Question

Why doesn’t Discworld run out of water? asked by Nathaniel with a score of 104. Runner up was Why doesn’t Hogwarts have more teachers? with 90.
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Top Viewed

What do the Death Stars do, other than destroying planets? with 16066 views asked by Koldito and answered by Rogue Jedi. Runner up was Why did Batman do so much better in his second fight with Bane? with 14765 views.

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Top Answer

Valorum had the highest voted answer for Why does Watney’s notebook in The Martian have four holes?asked by crmdgn with 196 votes. Runner up was Why doesn’t Discworld run out of water? with 188 votes (also by Valorum).

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Top Controversial

What is JK Rowling “bad” at?, with 13 down-votes to its 14 up-votes, asked by Skooba and answered by Valorum.

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Bounties

There were 13 bounties awarded (strangely all of them for 500 rep each) for a total of 6500 rep.

User Favorites

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Highlights from 2016 – 2nd Quarter

Top Stats:

Top Question and Most Viewed

Why are ships in Star Wars so ridiculously easy to steal? asked by Rogue Jedi with a score of 129 and viewed 25182 times, answered by Probst.


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Top Answer

Top answer was a tie at 150 between Probst’s answer to the Top Question, and Curtis Frederick’s answer to Potatoes were alive and sprouted on Mars: How were they preserved on the journey there? asked by Fiksdal.


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Bounties

There were 124 bounties awarded last quarter for a total of 29,150 rep.

User Favorites:


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I’ll break convention and nominate a meta question:

I like this question because it makes our tagging look awesome. Our messy tagging that’s been known to cause arguments also creates a tag map with clusters of tags and surprising connections all over the place. Sites that enforce cleaner tagging sometimes have tag maps that look more sterile. Scroll through the tag map and revel in our messy tagging!

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Highlights from 2016 – 1st Quarter

Top Stats:

Top Question

If Luke Skywalker didn’t want to be found, why did he leave a map? was asked by vs06, earning 132 votes, with the highest voted answer being from KutuluMike.


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Top Answer

Kasperd asked Was any character alive during all of the Star Wars episodes from I to VII? was answered (but not accepted) by Jorge Córdoba, to the tune of 200 votes. This answer beat out the accepted answer by David Banner by 93 votes.


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Most Viewed

Was any character alive during all of the Star Wars episodes from I to VII? was the most viewed, asked by kasperd and with a count of 23129. Close runner ups were Why was Darth Vader so careless? asked by Gaussler (22057) and If Luke Skywalker didn’t want to be found, why did he leave a map? asked by vs06 (21456).


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User Favorites:

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Highlights from 2015 – 4th Quarter

In this episode of the quarterly highlights, I go Crazy Eddie with user flair.

Top Stats:

Top Question

On Dagobah, do what, did Yoda? was asked by enderland and answered by MichaelT. To the tune of 101 votes.


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Top Answer

Eowyn12 asked Harry Potter: Why 7? which was answered by rand al’thor, for 138 votes.


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Most Viewed

With an astounding 192,299 views, Who was the old man at the beginning of The Force Awakens? was asked by Ivo Beckers and answered by DVK.


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Runner Ups

The runner up for both top question and top answer belongs to Does Katniss depict proper handling of a bow? asked by Himarm and answered by rand al’thor.

The second most viewed question, with what would normally be a very respectable 50,299 views, but looks pathetic compared to the top question, was Is there evidence to suggest that Supreme Leader Snoke is Darth Plagueis? asked by hawkeye and answered by DVK.


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User Favorites:

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Story where the number 3 is the monster: Finally Answered!

Of the 4128 story-identification questions on the site, 757 remain unanswered. The most famous of those was:

Story where the number 3 is the monster?, Also known as “that story no one can answer” or “the one that might have been a dream” was asked just 3 months after the Science Fiction & Fantasy site went live. In that time it has amassed over 140 upvotes. It only took 1645 days to finally get the answer.

Over the years it has enjoyed moderate recognition as many have tried to find its dark secrets.

Keen Jan 31 ’12: Hahaha, the unanswered question about the number 3 being a monster has 33 upvotes.

Jack B Nimble May 10 ’12
I spent so many hours looking for that number 3 story. With nothing to show for it.
I believe the question itself is the real monster.
I went to the 3rd street library at 3 o’clock and looked at the third page of every third book and read three lines hoping to find the elusive [beast] before my last three brain cells gave way.

John O Feb 20 ’13: I’m about to stop answering story-idents. I get tired of identifying and getting low scores and no acceptance.
Jack B Nimble: @JohnO Just answer the only one that matters.
Jack B Nimble: If we ever get that answer the site will be complete.

alexwlchan Jul 17 ’15: Woo, canon answer to nearly three-year old HP question. \o/
phantom42: @alexwlchan awesome! next up: that damned monster that’s the number 3.

ryan Aug 26 ‘ 15: speaking of which, it took me 5 years to get to there on stackoverflow, anyone wanna spoon feed me some mega rep here so I can do it faster?
Richard: @ryan – Easy peasy. Answer this one and you’re pretty much guaranteed instant celebrity
ryan: @Richard that was mean 🙁 the answer to this scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/2937/… doesn’t exist

Here are a few tales of woe about the 4 year effort to answer this question.

user14111 (known for his scifi magazine collection and knowledge):

The description had me completely fooled. I thought it was kiddie-lit; it never occurred to me that it was a story published in a regular science fiction magazine. That saved me from ransacking my collection for it, which would not have done any good. I reposted the question in the Children’s section of the BookSleuth Forum at Abebooks.com, but got no response.

Richard (known for answering everything):

I tried when I first joined the site, but to no avail.

In order to atone for my dismal failure I’ve contented myself with helping Kyle Hale by editing in some quotes from the story itself (and a nice picture) and offering a chunky bounty.

Praxis:

I had been working on the question on and off for the past eight months.

I went to great lengths to answer this, even checking leads that had been largely dismissed. Apart from the obvious search attempts, here are some specific things I tried.

Consulting with R.L. Stine

The OP mentioned,

I don’t think it was R.L. Stine, but I cannot remember the author.

I wanted to be absolutely sure, given the R.L.-Stine-esque nature of the description, and so in July of this year I contacted him directly:

RemnantOfPraxis: @RL_Stine Quick question, if you have a moment. There is a now-famous question on a few forums regarding a horror story...

RemnantOfPraxis: @RL_Stine According to the asker, the narrator is a boy who was scared only twice a day for exactly one minute, when the clock read 3:33.

RemnantOfPraxis: @RL_Stine At those times, the 3's would be powerful enough to leave the clock and run around terrifying the boy!

RemnantOfPraxis: @RL_Stine The asker suggested it might have been one of your stories. Ring any bells? Thanks for your time and have a nice day. :-)

RL_Stine: @RemnantOfPraxis Not my story. Let me know if you find out whose.

(Original)

I was impressed that Stine responded within an hour. At least that definitively ruled out a large chunk of horror literature. (Of course, I have updated Stine regarding the solution to the mystery.)

Visit to a horror specialist

In August of this year, I had a two-hour meeting with a librarian in the city I currently live in, who curates the library system’s horror collection. He has an encyclopedic knowledge of 20th Century horror short stories, but couldn’t think of a “3:33” short story that matched this one in both content and time period. The ones he brought up that were closest in content and time where ones that I had already ruled out.

Interestingly, he did ask me if it could have been a number other than 3, as there are plenty of horror stories involving clocks and various times. However, I mistakenly vetoed this, asserting that the OP must have gotten that main detail right!

To repent for my mistake, I, along with @MikeEdenfield, reached out to @Zompz (the OP, who hadn’t been active on the site in about a year) to let her know that the mystery had been solved by our new expert sleuth, @KyleHale.

Success

Kyle Hale’s answer offers the full story of how he triumphed where so many before him failed.

I did an embarrassing amount of research to confirm this.

Highlights from 2015 – 3rd Quarter

Top Stats:

Top Question

Praxis asked Which 2015 technologies were correctly predicted by Back to the Future II?, receiving 203 votes, which was answered with many pictures by Wad Cheber. An answer that would have also been the top answer on the site, if it hadn’t been for…

Top Answer

JeanPaul (AKA Azrael) asked Who are these DC superheroes?. Two answers came in within a minute, and one more two minutes later. Someone jokingly said “you didn’t answer the question unless you name everyone in the portraits too.” Jack B Nimble stepped up and identified everyone, receiving 190 votes. Runner up was the answer to the top question (182).

Most Viewed

CodeMed asked Which Marvel movies have NOT included Stan Lee cameos?, answered by Richard. This is a question which at the time of this writing has over 21,000 views (5000 more than the runner up) and only 7 votes. Runner up was the top question (203 votes).

User Favorites:

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Highlights from 2015 – 2nd Quarter

Top Stats

The question with the top number of votes goes to Wad Cheber who asked How many axes did Gimli bring on the quest of the Fellowship?. This question was answered by Joel.

The second most voted question (and incidentally the top voted answer) was What was the first Sci-Fi work to feature a spaceship? asked by rand al’thor. The question was answered by Wad Cheber.

The most viewed question (by a staggering 25198 views over the next runner up) was In the Netflix Daredevil series, is the “Black Sky” concept from any comic? asked by CreationEdge. This was answered by Omegacron.

Side-note: These questions show a very low correlation between views and upvotes.

Top User Picks

Richard

I quite liked this question from new user kviiri. Short, succinct and surprisingly answerable

In terms of answers, I was especially proud of the one below. I spent a lot of time playing with the custom map and finally decided to make a video to demonstrate what I was talking about. The fact that it didn’t get many upvotes or an acceptance didn’t even bother me (that much). A good answer is its own reward 🙂

@SS’s demands seemed quite unreasonable at first glance, but with a bit of work, this question was actually pretty fun to answer:

Praxis

I really enjoyed @Richard’s answer to my question

It is succinct and answers every part of the question, and the chosen illustration is perfect. It also introduced me to a book that I was not aware of…I have lost hours to it now, for better or worse.

@JasonBaker’s answer to

is brilliant.

Last but not least, I very much enjoyed @JasonBaker’s thorough answer to

even though it wasn’t the answer I wanted to hear!

N_Soong

My favorite questions were:

and

My favorite answers were:

Mooz

My favourite answer

Nika G. posted an excellent answer to Why would Arya join the Faceless Men?

  • She wants revenge. She’s hungry for the blood.
    • Well researched
    • Excellent analysis of how exactly she progressed from The Saltpans (previously known as Whitewalls) to The House of Black and White
    • It tied-in her connection to Jaqen / The Faceless Men
    • Tied-in her want for revenge
    • All backed-up by relevant canon

My favourite question

The Honorable Ned Stark asked about the Origin of the name Azor Ahai

  • It’s always good to ask the seemingly unanswerable questions
  • Made me question the importance of names made up by George R. R. Martin
  • Sent me delving into the depths of my favourite canon
  • I had a lot of fun trying to find a suitable answer
  • Made me learn so much, including that George R. R. Martin is extremely deliberate with his name choices!
  • I maaay have earned some extra rep from the bounty offered by @Arm0geddon

Jack B Nimble

My favorite question to answer was

Could the Earth-2149 Squirrel Girl destroy Colonel America’s shield?

a rare versus question that can be answered via science (sort of).

Mutants in the Marvel Universe

Recently, a SF&F user asked this question, about Inhumans vs. Mutants in the Marvel Universe.  With the arrival of the Inhumans in Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (and an upcoming movie), and Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver’s appearance in two separate movie universes, its a topic that has generated a bit of interest.

This post is an expanded, more in-depth version of my answer to that question. There’s a lot more to Marvel’s mutant population than just mutants and Inhumans, and things can get confusing. Unfortunately, as with most things Marvel-related, it not a simple question to answer. What constitutes a mutant? How many kinds are there? What’s the difference between them? Are they different species? Here, I’ll try to answer all of these questions and more.

One note on the cinematic universes: there are a lot of movie universes based on Marvel material, but I’m only going to discuss two of them here: Earth-199999, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Earth-10005, the X-Men Cinematic Universe. These are the only two large-scale cinematic universes that are still active; as far as I am aware, none of the other (now-defunct) movie universes included any type of mutated human. This includes the two Spider-Man universes, the two Fantastic Four universes, etc, all of which I’ll be ignoring from here on out.

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Highlights from 2015 – 1st Quarter

Top Stats

The question with the highest votes was Is there a Vulcan funeral blessing? asked by Iszi.

The two questions with the most views (by a narrow margin of 200 some odd views between them) were Why is ‘Belgium’ the rudest word in Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy? and Why do people risk death by joining Starfleet if not for money or preservation of their homes? asked by Dries and Emissarry respectably.

The top voted answer was user42365‘s answer to Is there a Vulcan funeral blessing?. Second place was phantom42‘s answer to Why did Peter Quill wait 26 years to open his mother’s gift?

Top User Picks

SSumner is like, totally, obsessed with Star Wars.

They liked the questions:

They liked the answers:

Richard liked the following questions:

And my answers to them weren’t half bad, either, if I can toot my own trumpet.

Darth Melkor liked the top voted question, Richard’s answer to the Neo question, additionally:

On the Neo question he said:

Richard got an awesome answer to this one precisely one minute before I did, and did a much better job of it than I did too, so it’s worth a shout-out

Author Picks

If I had to choose my favorite questions (which I don’t, but I will) they would be:

All asked by Tango and answered by Jack B Nimble.

After researching the Adventures of Superman series questions for several hours everyday for five days I finally stumbled upon a book called Flights of Fantasy: The Unauthorized but True Story of Radio & TV’s Adventures of Superman, which I decided to buy on the hope of finding the answers to the two questions. Fortunately, I did.