This question arose from this discussion on Meta Academia SE. This discussion on Meta Travel SE is also related. I also clearly remember questions on the Workplace to which the following applies; this one is an example and probably the best example for the situation in general. The general scenario is the following:
A user asks about an extraordinary situation on a question-and-answer site, which has strong indications of being made up: Either some details are implausible or the asker apparently lacks knowledge that they should have if they are who they claim to be. The asker does not mark the situation as hypothetical or similar. Often, the asker is a completely new user and vanishes after asking the question.
My question is: What motivations, if any, could somebody have to ask such questions? For the purpose of this question, I wish to assume the following:
- The asker does not want to game the system, i.e., gain reputation quickly for some purpose. I already consider this.
- The asker does not have genuine interest in a hypothetical situation (e.g., for writing a story about the respective scenario).
- The situation is really completely made-up. I am aware that it’s often difficult to tell with great confidence that a situation is made-up, but that’s another problem.