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The answer to https://movies.stackexchange.com/questions/18334/who-is-this-actor-in-picture turned out to be a model - so should it be closed as off-topic - or left open in case he decides to be become an actor later in his career?

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As a general guideline, answers don't make questions off-topic (and neither on-topic), questions do.

This question in particular isn't so much off-topic because the person turned out to not be an actor, but because it failed to provide any kind details or any kind of hint that he even is an actor in the question at all. It is just a "found pic in web, who is?"-question. If he had turned out to be an actor, that wouldn't make the question much better.

So, no. If a question is off-topic an answer doesn't make it on-topic. Likewise if a question is on-topic, an answer can't make it off-topic either.

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Although I'm happy to listen to other opinions, I have to disagree with @Napoleon Wilson on this. These are my dissenting views:

I felt the question should have been closed - but because it was not about a tv or movie star. It was an innocent mistake on the part of the OP. Much like the many identify this that or the other questions on this site, the OP only knew a small amount of information and they wanted to know more.

They thought it was an actor and asked for an answer. The answer was confirmed to be a model, not an actor and thus is no longer within the scope of this site.

But I strongly disagree that it's off-topic. Look at this question from a few days earlier. Or this picture from a long while back.

Now quoting from @Napoeleon Wilson's answer here:

This question in particular isn't so much off-topic because the person turned out to not be an actor, but because it failed to provide any kind details or any kind of hint that he even is an actor in the question at all. It is just a "found pic in web, who is?"-question. If he had turned out to be an actor, that wouldn't make the question much better.

Not whilst the second link could be argued to show someone in a likely acting scene, there's no way the first link can be shown to hint that it's an actor involved. It's just a random picture from the web effectively (it's actually a fan-made picture). Why were these acceptable (and in the first case upvoted)?

On a final note, I'm really confused by the reason provided under the question for it being shut down:

"Movie identification questions must contain sufficient detail to be answerable. For help writing a good identification question, see: Identify-This-X Questions. Identification questions without an accepted answer will be deleted after 14 days." – Ankit Sharma, Napoleon Wilson, iandotkelly

It makes no sense to me to have a question marked as not having sufficient detail to be answerable when it is answered! I could understand shutting it down for being off topic now it's clearly not an actor, but the question is clearly answerable (as my own answer demonstrated)!

  • I see that I'm rather one of the more severe opponents to poor ID-questions, especially actor-ID and image-only ones (why I didn't downvote the first link I don't know, though, must have passed under my radar) and I appreciate your views. – Napoleon Wilson Mar 27 '14 at 20:43
  • Hey, we can't agree on everything. Whatever the community wants will go, but I thought I oughta share my views at least! :) – Andrew Martin Mar 27 '14 at 20:44
  • But disregarding the fact if you or the community find this question valid or not, the possibility that an answer magically makes a question on- or off-topic (and thus the general problem of this meta-question) would be a severe problem for the integrity of the whole framework. So once you deem this question valid, your answer cannot change it to be off-topic (as said, the fact that this happened is rather a symptom of the poor quality of the question itself, but that aside). It can only be the question itself that decides about its validity. – Napoleon Wilson Mar 27 '14 at 20:44
  • See I disagree. Usually I'd agree, but if someone posts an "identify this person" question, I think that's an especially unique situation. We could say the OP should provide more details, but given how bare most of the "identify this movie" posts are, I think some leeway has to be given. Maybe I'm naivé, but I believe most people will ask for help identifying people they genuinely believe are actors (as opposed to just random Internet questions). – Andrew Martin Mar 27 '14 at 20:46
  • And ultimately, if the person in the question is NOT an actor/actress, to me it's then off topic. If that question the OP here posted WAS an actor or actress, I wouldn't have had the slightest issue with it and would have left it open. – Andrew Martin Mar 27 '14 at 20:47
  • Yeah, like said, it isn't a hard rule what is a poor ID question and you are free to see it as on-topic, I guess. But in this case it stays on-topic even after answering. Otherwise exactly the problem of this meta-question arises. Didn't Ryan Kennedy maybe star in some commercial one day (or in the future)? How to find out, only take questions as on-topic asking for people that turn out to have an IMDb profile? – Napoleon Wilson Mar 27 '14 at 20:48
  • I understand that, but if the community wants it to be off-topic then I think any question which asks about the future of a show must be off topic (and there are a loads of those questions on this site). I guess what I'm saying is that the rules on Movies & TV aren't always that clear (e.g. when to flag/how to flag/what should stay open). It's not all that consistent and so I'm just trying to find a happy niché where I know what's what! – Andrew Martin Mar 27 '14 at 20:53
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    "I guess what I'm saying is that the rules on Movies & TV aren't always that clear (e.g. when to flag/how to flag/what should stay open). It's not all that consistent" - Hmm, impossible to disagree with that. "so I'm just trying to find a happy niché where I know what's what!" - Me too, yet I for myself try to facilitate that by keeping rules standardized and clear (or strict and pedantic in other people's terms), but I see your point. – Napoleon Wilson Mar 27 '14 at 20:57
  • But by the way, "In future, I don't think I would vote to close a question like this. I feel that was the wrong decision." - So what? To close or not to close? – Napoleon Wilson Mar 27 '14 at 21:00
  • @NapoleonWilson: Lol don't even start! Was having a moral dilemma about what to do. I thought it was wrong to close (having possibly scared the new user away), but on reflection I would close, but only because it turned out to not be an actor. I'll delete that comment now – Andrew Martin Mar 27 '14 at 21:01
  • "having possibly scared the new user away" - I see, that is never a good outcome. But honestly, we should be welcoming, but we are also grown-up people and not in kindergarden. Who is scared away by a close-vote is not fit for the site (or isn't acquainted with it, which isn't inherently bad, only the lack for motivation to get acquainted with it after the close-vote). So sorry, scaring users away is not good, but that isn't driving our decisions about on-topicness. "but on reflection I would close" - And I'm glad about that, even if not for "my" reason then at least for "yours". ;-) – Napoleon Wilson Mar 27 '14 at 21:07

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