Today I've stumbled upon the following question and, as it already happened to me a few other times, I'm not quite sure what is the best way to handle such posts.


The question is surely not a high-quality one and plus it could be easily answered with a quick search in Google by reading the plot of the movie in Wikipedia (just one of many examples).

Given that the question is an "honest" one by someone (my guess is the OP might be a kid or a teenager) who didn't understand the plot and that it could hardly be improved by editing (OP's or another user's), what shall we do about it?

  • Should we just answer the question in the best possible way we are capable of?
  • Should we answer the question and point out that this kind of question can be easily answered with a quick search in Google?
  • Should we "flag" the question because is of low quality and add a comment (maybe with a simple link to Wikipedia's plot) in which is explained why we deem the question doesn't meet the site's standards (if it doesn't)?

I'm asking this also because I've asked a pretty dumb plot-explanation question a few days ago. I'm calling it dumb because, although I've tried to give a context to the question, when I read the answer given by the user madmada I realized that it was plainly spoken in a piece of dialogue of the movie which somehow I completely missed.

I've read many discussions here in Meta about the expected quality/policy of questions/answers, but none of them helped me to understand how to handle such questions:

  • 2
    Hmm, I haven't seen the film, but I see absolutely no problem with that question (at least none that couldn't be improved by a few edits). Being answered on Wikipedia or by, well, just watching the film, does not in itself seem a valid reason for closure or deletion. Downvote for low quality or lack of research if you really want. You seem to have answered your question by your own example. You missed something in the film, and more often than not that's what plot-explanation is for. How easy that could be missed might be a different question, though.
    – Napoleon Wilson Mod
    Jan 26, 2016 at 11:55
  • 1
    The other meta discussions you listed are for ID questions specifically, which are of no use for anyone, usually result in sub-par question quality, and are not the primary purpose of this site.
    – Napoleon Wilson Mod
    Jan 26, 2016 at 12:00
  • @NapoleonWilson: thanks for the clarification ;). Personally I don't think that ID questions are worse than any other or downright useless per se. My opinion on the matter is very close to the one expressed by Walt here. A question (or an answer) for me is just as bad as the OP's laziness (in asking firstly, then in researching).
    – Pesetas74
    Jan 27, 2016 at 16:07
  • A good ID question (or a good answer to it) could be a nice vehicle to share the knowledge about a movie that another user or occasional reader maybe didn't know existed. At the same time, I agree with you on the fact that these kind of questions are more prone than others to fall within the "bad/not very good question" category. But again, imho, so are "plot-explanation" ones.
    – Pesetas74
    Jan 27, 2016 at 16:07
  • "imho, so are "plot-explanation" ones." - And imho they aren't. ;-)
    – Napoleon Wilson Mod
    Jan 27, 2016 at 16:09

1 Answer 1


Echoing Napoleon Wilson's comment, the answer is that if you feel that a question is poorly constructed or lacks research effort, that's precisely what the downvote button is for.

If, on the other hand you want the community to close questions because you feel that they're simply too easy to answer, then that's not what the vote-to-close options are for. There's no "General Reference" close reason on Movies:SE

My advice is to either

  • Answer it in good faith and enjoy the upvotes and acceptance that will surely be yours

  • Ignore it and let someone else answer it.

  • thanks for the advices ;) "If, on the other hand you want the community to close questions because you feel that they're simply too easy to answer". No, that's not what I was aiming to with my question, sorry if I have been unclear. My personal yardstick in judging any kind of question is just to consider if one has put some (enough) effort in writing down his post. A one sentence question like: "Why X killed Y in the movie Z? Lol!" is something I would expect to find on "Yahoo answers", not on SE ... or at least I would hope so ;)
    – Pesetas74
    Jan 27, 2016 at 16:09
  • 3
    @Pesetas74 That's why simple edits are able to turn that thing into "In Z, there's that scene where X killed Y. From the the rest of the story it isn't really clear to me why he did that. What was his motivation for doing so and how does this fit into the rest of the story?" - And viola! (And on a side note, you can't really do this with "who's that guy on this pic?")
    – Napoleon Wilson Mod
    Jan 27, 2016 at 16:11

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