Yes, I'm talking about the answers to identification questions.
While we have a few measures to handle low quality identification questions to some degree, one of the problems of those kinds of questions, even the good ones, is that they encourage bad low quality one-line answers of the kind:
You're looking for the movie ...!
While theoretically being genuine attempts at answering the question, they don't give any kind of explanation for why this is the searched movie and in which way it fits to the description from the question. The easy-out solution of just making it a link to Wikipedia/IMDb isn't that great either, since a link-only answer is still a crap answer.
Now of course this problem isn't genuine to identification questions, but I feel it applies there even more and those answers are actively encouraged by those questions and their trivial name-this-thing nature. Together with the questions themsleves those answers further contribute to the deterioration of this site into an untinteresting place full of non-avchieving one-line answerers who just smash an "oh, that could be this movie" answer at each identification question they stumble across.
But while we have certain guidelines and measures for handling bad ID questions (at least to some degree) respectively, there are some intricacies and unclarities about how to handle those answers:
- While they are undisputably low quality, they still usually are genuine attempts at answering the actual question. And while downvotes are in order, I am not sure we should delete answers that, while bad, are actual answers. The community also seems largely undecided about this and we often have controversial reviews where half the users voted to delete those questions and the other half voted to keep them (which is further complicated by the unintuitive design of the Low Quality review queue and its misleading "Looks Ok" button).
While downvotes on the other hand might be sufficient for signaling a bad answer, especially when accompanied by a request for clarification in a comment, it isn't a good sign if most ID questions end up with one or more negatively voted answers, among which might even be the correct one. This does throw a bad (or an even worse, so to say) light on those questions and, as said, might encourage users (especially unengaged ones who don't care about the votes on their posts anyway) to just smash such one-line guesses onto each and every ID question.
On the other hand it isn't a good experience for new users who might otherwise want to stick around further and try to give good answers to see their answers downvoted into oblivion, especially when they gave the correct answer. While a proper comment is always encouraged and helps to guide those users into the right direction, preventing this bad answer situation in the first place might be preferable.
Another option might be to combine both approaches and downvote+comment such answers and only delete them if the request for clarification is not heeded after a significant amount of time (say a few days or a week). There is even an official post notice that can be added by moderators (or even other high-rep users?) of the form:
We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer; explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don't include explanations may be removed.
But this on the one hand has the problem of requiring quite some manual maintenance overhead to care for checking back at those answers after some time. And on the other hand we might end up deleting answers that even got accepted by the asker as correct (because let's face it, the usual ID asker doesn't give a damn if the answers are properly reasoned, they just wanna hear a movie title), which would be an unintuitive and unpleasant experience for the involved users.
So I would like to know what the community thinks about this problem and possible ways to tackle it. Is it a problem at all or should we just keep going as we do? Should we be less strict in flagging those bad answers and stick to downvoting (+comment) them? Should we be more strict in judging what actually is a proper answer and be more proactive in downright deleting low quality ID answers? Is there anything else that might be done to discourage such answers in the first place in addition to the normal SE measures for encouraging good answers (like an automated message/hint for answerers automatically attached to ID questions)? Should we employ more manual quality assurance, like post notices and delayed maintance of non-improved answers after some time?