I think this site need some moderation intervention, there are plenty of questions tagged identify-this-move, most of all are just downvoted, and people fear to put an answer because of downvoters.

Are there so much trolls in there?

Given that I think that such tag is not a bad idea at all and after documenting myself, I think users need to be "instructed" in some way (for example giving some more details in the tag's brief).

Current brief:

identify-this-movie: Process of giving details about a movie so that the community can identify it.

Possible new brief:

identify-this-movie: Process of giving details about a movie so that the community can identify it. Only too vague descriptions and answers that not match the description (even it is not the wanted movied) should be downvoted.

I'm just bringing that issue to your attention because I think I got downvoted with no reason, and got only a comment as answer (and I see the same pattern repeating over and over on the whole website). The reason, after few investigation, seems to be a methodic downvote by few users that dislike questions with such tag.

Seems that a solution must be taken:

  • If the tag is valid, then valid Q/A should not be downvoted
  • If the tag is no longer valid, then put that in tag description so people can avoid to be downvoted (at least people like me that read tag descriptions before using them)

I don't care that much of being downvoted by trolls (only downvotes with suggested edits are good to me), but I think blind downvoters are just making the community worse and driving away new users (sometimes I think the same problem is present in other SE sites, unluckily there's no way to force downvoters to comment too.).

Allowing such questions would allow search engines to point people to the movie the search for so it is not bad even if in the immediate only 1 user is helped

  • 3
    Answers on ID questions are very rarely downvoted... I'm not sure where you're seeing that happen. The only time I ever see answers downvoted is when they're very obviously wrong.
    – Catija
    Sep 4, 2015 at 17:03
  • Well, I just randomly opened ID questions, but I'm sure questions are mostly downvoted, so I may be wrong on answers, but I'm pretty sure on questions being downvoted Sep 4, 2015 at 17:06
  • 1
    They don't comment because they're afraid to answer... they comment because your question isn't very detailed and they're not sure it's correct... there are likely many films that fit the description. If their comment is correct, tell them that and ask them to post it as an answer so that you can accept it.
    – Catija
    Sep 4, 2015 at 17:08
  • 1
    We won't instruct any users on how to vote, though. Even valid questions can be bad, a downvote is not a close-vote. Adapting the tag wiki excerpt to encourage better questions is not a bad idea. But we won't tell users they're not allowed to vote.
    – Napoleon Wilson Mod
    Sep 4, 2015 at 17:10
  • How can a question that gives enough detail to identify a movie "be bad"? it's bad because the movie suck? So possibly nothing can be done for blind downvoters even if the drive users away? Sep 4, 2015 at 17:11
  • 7
    Questions should never be downvoted simply because someone doesn't like the movie... only because the quality of the question is lacking...
    – Catija
    Sep 4, 2015 at 17:14
  • There are plenty downvoted questions with that tag, most of them are of good quality ^^. Sep 4, 2015 at 17:25
  • I can't edit, thus am commenting: Please use the syntax: [tag:identify-this-movie] for tags. Backticks are only meant for code. [tag:foo] -> foo.
    – M.A.R.
    Sep 7, 2015 at 19:46
  • One thing that you're possibly missing is that there are numerous people on the site who categorically disagree that identification questions are valid at all, including people that work for Stack Exchange.
    – user5603
    Sep 16, 2015 at 10:36
  • The point of my question here is exactly that, if people posting questions would just be serially downvoted, then why keeping the tag? Also here seems I'm downvoted just because of opinions of people, I created some discussion with some value, but I'm even downvoted on "Meta", to me that's trolling ^^ I posted in past my bad questions and got downvoted without complaining but now I think is different, that drives me (a pretty active user) away from the community because I'm downvoted based on the fact "someone doesn't like" something that is anyway adding value and causing thinking Sep 16, 2015 at 16:50
  • @GameDeveloper Downvoting on meta has got nothing to do with trolling; basically it's people disagreeing with your question. Don't worry so much about imaginary Internet points.
    – BCdotWEB
    Mar 24, 2017 at 16:42

3 Answers 3


Well, you address a very interesting and important point in general here, even if the particular question with which you do so is a bit wrongly premised. But let's try to look at the whole thing with all its intricacies. First of all,

The broader cultural backdrop of the site's community

The matter of identification questions is a very controversial topic on the site. There are some users who like them and many users who dislike them for the steady stream of low-quality content they bring that is of very low long-term information value. While they bring many new users to the site, those users often won't stay active at all and some users feel that on the long term those questions will drive more avid users away by slowly turning the site into an uninteresting quiz show.

This is not to say that all those questions are to be downvoted just for the sake of downvoting but to give you a taste of the fact that while accepted as on-topic questions, those questions are still frowned upon by some users and there are various measures in place to actually control their quality and filter out the very bad one-paragraphers that just throw a scene at us and see what comes back. There is a close-reason for providing not enough detail/effort, there is a manual maintenance task for deleting old inactive ID questions and there is an automatic tag-based popup to encourage more details before asking the question.

The approach of downvoting bad questions

However, a large and important way for quality control on any SE site are votes. Good questions are to be upvoted, bad questions are to be downvoted.

If the tag is valid, then valid Q/A should not be downvoted

No, you are mixing things up here. Downvotes are not about validity, that is what close-votes are for. There can be perfectly on-topic and valid questions which are still just bad questions.

Just supposing the downvoters to be "trolls" is a very negative and defensive approach to what is a natural quality assurance process of SE. Granted, it is indeed preferable to provide some reason for the downvote and guidance for improvement, and often this is done for ID questions that need some more detail. However, not everyone refraining from doing so is a "troll" either. There is a reason downvotes do not require a comment as Mike explains in his answer.

Neither is your proposed tag wiki excerpt a reasonable idea. It is a good idea to encourage more details for the question in the tag wiki excerpt, but actually discouraging users from voting, no matter in which direction, is absolutely counter-productive to the whole SE philosophy. People should definitely vote, up and down, to show their assessment of a posts quality. And moderators don't have anything directly to do with it either. The moderators won't run around and tell everyone to "vote properly" because that is a given everyone should be aware of, whatever one's own exact definition of "properly" is. Neither will they enquire the downvote reasons on each and every downvoted post.

The problem of a repelling and unfriendly atmosphere

I would not go that far, but you are addressing a problem that we are aware of. Due to the very low quality of a large part of identification questions and the resulting downvotes on them, some users who might not be too aware of the workings of SE might get repelled from the site right from the start, which I agree is not a pleasant situation for anyone.

However, this is to be tackled at a much deeper point. We got to work more on encouraging better identification questions in the first place (and improving the tag wiki in some way could be a good start, which I just did thanks to your question), not on lowering people's quality standards. There have been some approaches into that direction and I was about to post a bigger meta discussion in this regard, which I admittedly didn't get around to doing yet, though. But seeing your question and other recent ones in that regard, it might be about time for that.

  • thanks that was really enlightening to me. Please when you post that question link that to me, I'm really interested (isn't there a "follow user" button here?) Sep 4, 2015 at 17:54
  • 3
    @DarioOO I will add a link to it in my answer for sure. I hope I'll get around to doing it this weekend. It's a rather big endeavour, but I see that it starts to become quite urgent.
    – Napoleon Wilson Mod
    Sep 4, 2015 at 17:55
  • @TomCody ...yay? :)
    – Walt
    Sep 4, 2015 at 18:27

Your question was not downvoted by a troll (or I doubt it).

There's very specific guidance on the "Ask a Question" page about what info should be included in an answer. It's possible that you missed it, as the placement of the banner is very poor. It's discussed here.

Your question doesn't include some very useful information. As you can see in this image:

ID helper text

We ask users to include the language, country of origin, and approximate year of release in every ID question. None of this information is included in your question.

Now, why someone would downvote without asking for more information, that's not something we can control.

If a question is not very specific, someone will be unlikely to answer it correctly. In this case they may "guess" what the film is by commenting. If their comment is correct, tell them that and ask them to post it as an answer so that you can accept it.

We do our best to give you tips to how to write good ID questions but we can only do so much.

  • 1
    Sorry, but isn't a bit "much" asking for details you can know only by reading a review of a film or by looking a credits? Year of release is unknown if you see the movie on TV and also Country of origin, maybe that could be changed. But if you know such details, you already know wich movie is that ^^.. So I think the tag should be edited wich is the main problem, because there are countering requirements Sep 4, 2015 at 17:16
  • You can say the year you saw the film. If you watched it in 2010, that tells us it was made before 2010. If it's an Indian film, it's going to be pretty obviously Indian... You don't have to say that it's definitely American, but if you know it was in English, you can say it was probably American due to the accents...
    – Catija
    Sep 4, 2015 at 17:18
  • @DarioOO You don't have to give each little detail if you don't remember it. But we need to see you actually tried to give it.
    – Napoleon Wilson Mod
    Sep 4, 2015 at 17:19
  • Well, I passed an afternoon searching for it on google before I had the idea to searach for a SE site ^^, maybe just writing that will help not downvoting the question (wich is still a very current problem) Sep 4, 2015 at 17:21
  • Also the tag edit I suggest is perfectly valid, but still downvoted. More proof than that ^^ Sep 4, 2015 at 17:24
  • @DarioOO What tag edit?
    – Napoleon Wilson Mod
    Sep 4, 2015 at 17:26
  • @TomCody I think he's talking about the content of the question here.
    – Catija
    Sep 4, 2015 at 17:27
  • The tag brief for identify-this-movie: Process of giving details about a movie so that the community can identify it ... Yes Thanks @Catija Sep 4, 2015 at 17:27
  • @GameDeveloper "the tag edit I suggest is perfectly valid" Considering that you're suggesting to instruct instructions WRT voting: no, it isn't. Hence the downvotes.
    – BCdotWEB
    Mar 24, 2017 at 16:46

I think this site need some moderation intervention

Moderators aren't going to get involved in downvotes unless there is obvious voting irregularity or abuse.

Beyond that, people are allowed to downvote questions for whatever reasons they want. If lots of users dislike story-id questions they are liable to get downvoted. That's one of the ways that the community decides what kinds of questions they do and don't want.

Downvoting is explicitly and intentionally anonymous and unjustified. You're supposed to downvote questions that are poorly written or otherwise low quality, but you're allowed to downvote any question you think is a bad question.

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