Highlights from 2017 – 1st Quarter

Stats

Top Question:

With a score of 133 the highest voted question was the controversial Which ship can go faster, the Millennium Falcon or the USS Enterprise? asked by g.rocket and answered by Valorum.

The second runner up was What did Frodo mean by “He told me the true story”? asked by Noosre with a score of 111.


profile for g-rocket at Science Fiction & Fantasy Stack Exchange, Q&A for science fiction and fantasy enthusiasts


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Top Answer:

The top answer with a score of 202 was from Daniel Roseman to the question Identify a movie in which aliens believed a sci-fi TV show to be true documentary asked by I Love You.


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Top Viewed:

The most viewed question, with 22517 views, was What did Darth Vader mean by “There’ll be no one to stop us this time.” Who had “stopped” Vader—or the Empire—previously? asked by JakeGould and answered by Nathan.


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Most Controversial:

The most controversial questions were Which ship can go faster, the Millennium Falcon or the USS Enterprise?, Did Luke really not know about Mos Eisley spaceport in the original “Star Wars” (1977) film? and What was the value of the Shire and everything in it?

Bounties Awarded:

9100 rep was awarded from 46 different people, which is an average of 197 rep per person.

User Picks


profile for jack-b-nimble at Science Fiction & Fantasy Stack Exchange, Q&A for science fiction and fantasy enthusiasts

Tragically my answer to the question How many times does the Elder Wand amplify your magical power? was deleted. But here it is.

According to the Dungeon Master’s Handbook, the Elder Wand confers the following attributes:

  • Your spells casts are an automatic natural 20 roll
  • +2 to magical ability
  • +5 to being violently murdered

In Dungeons and Dragons a natural 20 is an automatic hit conferring x2 damage.



profile for mooz at Science Fiction & Fantasy Stack Exchange, Q&A for science fiction and fantasy enthusiasts

Favourite Answer

I really liked CreationEdge’s answer to the very unpopular question:
Why does Captain America’s costume change in all the movies?

  • The answer was clearly well-researched and answered both in-universe and out-of-universe
  • Creation even received a nice and well-deserved Reversal badge for his efforts too.

Honourable mention

Favourite Question

In Logan, what disease is this character dying of?

  • It made me dig into unknown territory to provide an answer
  • It made me understand and appreciate the depth of character within that particular story
  • Made me appreciate the story-telling technique of James Mangold


Fun fact: Logan is currently my favourite comic book-based movie and definitely in my top 5 favourite movies of all time.

Honourable mention

Who are the oldest characters in A Song of Ice and Fire?

  • It was fun to see the different types of beings in the ASOIAF universe
  • Game me a chance to give a smart-ass answer
    • Which funnily enough became pretty well received


profile for creationedge at Science Fiction & Fantasy Stack Exchange, Q&A for science fiction and fantasy enthusiasts

An answer I enjoyed was about whether or not Spider-man ever got drunk

Which features this gem:

MOMMEEE–Did Spider-man just burp?

enter image description here



profile for gallifreyan at Science Fiction & Fantasy Stack Exchange, Q&A for science fiction and fantasy enthusiasts

I think we should mention the Big Edit Event held on March 11 and 12.

After Stack Exchange announced mass HTTPS, it turned out that a metric tonne of images would die if we did not take action.

Mithrandir then proposed a solution:

Is it time to organize a major editing event?

Which was agreed upon and later implemented:

The Big Edit Event (is finished)

And seeing how we’d be mucking up our front page anyway, we decided to throw in a bunch of other mass edits that should be done:

As an outcome, we now have

  • Working pictures. This does not only include HTTP/HTTPS stuff – we also caught some dead images and fixed them (hat tip to Valorum and CreationEdge)
  • Any question pertaining to any property of DC or Marvel now has respective tags – courtesy of @CreationEdge, who wrecked the main page single-handedly made ~2000 edits in two days, breaking a site-wide record.
  • The Expanse now has separate tags for TV and novels, also individual works tags
  • [tag:tolkien] [has been burninated]10. Any tag about his Legendarium now has the [tag:tolkiens-legendarium] tag, and the questions about the author now have the [tag:j-r-r-tolkien] tag.

Seems about all… Please forgive me if I have forgotten anything!

Overall, I think this event was a good and a necessary thing (hugs Copy Editor badge), and a great initiative by the community!



profile for rand-althor at Science Fiction & Fantasy Stack Exchange, Q&A for science fiction and fantasy enthusiasts

The user(s) Victim of Circumstance deserve(s) a mention for their many great answers on questions about Tolkien’s legendarium, including but not limited to:

Unfortunately, VoC has been using a different throwaway account for each of their posts, so they haven’t been able to become a high-rep user with site privileges even after all these great answers.

While we’re on the subject of great Tolkien answers, the user isanae has been churning out many enormously long and impressive answers in this area, such as:

In the world of Harry Potter, the user The Dark Lord deserves a special mention for both many thoughtful questions and many excellent answers. Questions include:

Answers include:

and of course this incredibly above-and-beyond overperforming masterpiece:

No offence to anyone not mentioned in this post! I know there have been many great questions and answers from many different users in this quarter; I remember these three standing out to me particularly, but there are doubtless others whose posts I’ve forgotten about or simply not seen.

Also, I never bookmarked the best posts even from these users; the above list was pieced together by just going through their question/answer lists and looking for highly voted stuff. If there’s a masterpiece I’ve missed from one of them, do let me know in comments.



profile for valorum at Science Fiction & Fantasy Stack Exchange, Q&A for science fiction and fantasy enthusiasts

Inspired by a throwaway comment of mine, g. rocket took the plunge and asked

Which ship can go faster, the Millennium Falcon or the USS Enterprise?

After suffering the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune downvotes and close votes, his question ‘did the triple‘ (gold badges for Great Question, Famous Question and Great Answer) in less than 2 days.


Without wanting to blow my own trumpet, I thought my own answers to

Did Luke play any significant role in “Return of the Jedi?”
+
In which episodes did the Enterprise boldly go where no one had gone before?

were rather good.


Finn O’leary deserves special mention. His answer languishes in (relative) obscurity despite offering a response straight out of the textbooks.

In Star Trek, why do Federation / Starfleet ships always seem to delay returning fire until it’s almost too late?



profile for sonofsam at Science Fiction & Fantasy Stack Exchange, Q&A for science fiction and fantasy enthusiasts

Favorite Question

How Does Captain Phasma Type with Thimbles on Her Fingers

The premise of the question gave me a laugh. I’ll never look at Phasma the same way again.

Favorite Answer

Michael Karnerfors’ response and all the comments to the question of whether the Millennium Falcon or USS Enterprise was faster.

It doesn’t matter if you agree that the question itself is unanswerable or not, you have to concede that it’s always fun watching nerds arguing about Star Wars and Star Trek. My only regret is that I found out about it too late. 😉



profile for rogue-jedi at Science Fiction & Fantasy Stack Exchange, Q&A for science fiction and fantasy enthusiasts

For my favorite answers of the quarter, I choose Valorum’s answer for Did Luke play any significant role in “Return of the Jedi?” and my own for Was it implied by the dialogue in A New Hope that the Death Star had never been used before?



profile for isanae at Science Fiction & Fantasy Stack Exchange, Q&A for science fiction and fantasy enthusiasts

I’m not sure if it’s bad form to suggest your own answer, but I’ve had a lot of fun writing one about the tallest structure built in Middle-earth, asked by iMerchant who has been contributing some pretty interesting questions about Tolkien, Star Trek and Star Wars.

The following is how I usually write any kind of answer that requires a lot of research.

Searching

People may think I know all of this stuff by heart, but I don’t. I had some ideas on tall structures, but nothing really concrete. It was a combination of prior knowledge, PDF searching and googling (“middle earth tallest structure”) that allowed me to come up with ideas.

There’s a lot of information out there that can be used as a starting point, including the various Tolkien wikis and old-fashioned forums, but I have to personally verify everything I find. Some of the stuff I find turns out to be false, speculative or unverifiable. I either don’t include it or add a warning that I couldn’t confirm that particular piece of information.

I have all of Tolkien’s main works, plus everything his son published in paper form, but I also have a lot of PDFs of various other documents. They’re all in a folder and I use pdfgrep to search for certain terms in them. It’s not always easy, especially since it doesn’t handle non-ASCII characters very well, so anything with accents is kind of a pain to search for.

I once tried converting the PDFs to text files, but it didn’t really help: all the formatting was lost (including table of contents, which are really useful) and non-ASCII characters were either lost, converted (é to e) or broken (é to ), which made it even harder to search for. Although pdfgrep is slow and clunky, it’s best I’ve found yet.

In some cases, I can either search for only part of a word if it’s unambiguous (Oioloss for Oiolossë) or use regular expressions (F\w+nor for Fëanor).

Diving in

In his question, iMerchant mentioned “man/Númenórean/elf/dwarf/Maia/etc-built structures”, which gave me the idea of splitting my answer by race. My initial idea was some of the taller mountains built by the Valar, such as Taniquetil, but he said geographical features did not apply.

My initial guess on the tallest structure overall was Barad-dûr, but I still started with the pillars first (even though they could be considered “mountains”) because they are for me the largest project ever undertaken on Middle-earth.

Elves gave me some trouble, as they never really built anything fancy, as far as I could tell. I searched through all the PDFs I have for terms like “tower”, “tallest” and “highest”, but couldn’t really find anything interesting. I also found various lists of buildings for more ideas, but all the suggestions in this part are speculative. Same thing for orcs. Dwarves were easy, especially since b_jonas had given the answer first.

I initially made a mistake for Men. I honestly didn’t think of Minas Tirith and went for a tie between Orthanc and Armenelos first. It was only by going through the Atlas of Middle-earth for ideas that I saw Minas Tirith. That’s why there’s a weird “second place” subsection, where I kept my initial guess.

Then, while re-reading my answer on Dwarves, I thought of Melkor and Angband and integrated that in the “Valar” section.

I also had some issues with people editing my answer as I was writing it, creating some edit conflicts which, apparently, Stack Exchange is not very good at dealing with.

Touch ups and images

Once I was done with the meat of the answer, I did what I usually do with all my answers: add a proper introduction, some touches here and there (such as conversions into meters) and some links to various articles.

I also know people like having pictures, especially those from the Atlas, so I added some for Moria and Minas Tirith. Since I’ve bought the Atlas, I don’t feel too bad about having a PDF and uploading low quality versions of the images.

This requires some work: taking a screenshot of the PDF, opening it in Paint.NET and cropping it correctly. Some images (like Thangorodrim) were split in two pages, so I had merge the images, but they weren’t exactly aligned. I had to rotate them until they (mostly) looked good. If you look closely, you can see some repeating features that shouldn’t be there and a pretty visible seam.

Screenshot of the Atlas in a PDF reader
What I had to work with, the PDF of the Atlas in SumatraPDF

Additional information

I spend a lot of time re-reading my answers to find typos (ugh!), badly worded sentences or things I can add here and there. I usually find a lot of small things on the next day because I can look at the text with fresh eyes.

So I went back to Angband and Thangorodrim, because that part had been bugging me. I added more information on the height, including a drawing from Pictures, to make it clear that the estimate from Fonstad was based on some very flimsy evidence. The picture I initially included was a colored version, but I swapped it last minute with the original black and white. Although it doesn’t look as good, it makes it clearer that there’s not a lot of details.

Citations

Finally, once I was done with writing and formatting the whole thing, I went back to all my quotes and added citations for them. All the quotes I include in my answers come from various PDFs I have of Tolkien’s works. They’re easier to search and copy/paste, but they usually have weird page numbers (if any) that don’t really correspond to anything. So I get my books out and search for the quotes in them. It’s the part I hate the most when I write an answer, which is why I usually wait until the very end to do it.

Comments

While I was still working on the answer, people were starting to comment on it (I love it when that happens). I integrated information on the Temple’s dome (from Paŭlo Ebermann) and clarifications on Moria (from Withywindle). iMerchant had a follow-up on the Paths of the Dead, but I didn’t include it in the answer because it wasn’t relevant.

Finally, Olivier Grégoire asked about the Hobbits. I had thought of it and did some quick searches at first, but I assumed (correctly, I think) that they wouldn’t have built anything tall since they are uncomfortable with heights.

Phew

From my first comment on the question (“I have a feeling I’m going to spend way too much time on this question”) until my last edit on the same day, I spent about 5 hours. That’s typical of this kind of answer. It’s a lot of work, but I love it. Keep those questions coming!

Question of the Week

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