I have noticed that many questions tagged with do not have very many votes, and regularly have negative votes.

Is there a specific reason why these questions are downvoted so frequently? There are some questions which do not simply have enough information, but there are also several which have enough detail to be answered, but they are still downvoted anyway.

One example I found was: Movie about monsters living underground who come up to the human world to steal food. I was able to answer the question with about 90% confidence that I have the correct answer. When I answered it, it had a -2 score.


1 Answer 1


There's a few reasons why these and tend to get frequently downvoted:

Poor formatting/grammar

I edited the question you linked to. Before I edited it, it looked like this:

theres this movie i remember from my childhood about a city of monsters living underground and the monsters went up to the human city/world through a hole at night to steal food from the peoples houses and there was a teenage monster who mets a teenage human and they become friends. theres a scene I remember when the monsters took baths filled with mud and the monster mom had 3 boobs (weird i know) but thats all i remember. HELP i want to remember the name

It's certainly not unanswerable, or unreadable, but it's a poorly formatted question. There is a single sentence, with no grammar or capitalisation and it includes unnecessary text (HELP i want to remember the name).

If the odd question being posted was like this, people wouldn't mind so much - but I have to edit almost all identify questions to make them somewhat more readable and to remove unnecessary text.

Obviously, if anyone reads the question before the edits they are likely to downvote it for its presentation (after all, if someone can't be bothered to do some basic formatting, why should we answer their question)?

And even if they read it after the edit, they may still feel the description isn't clear enough or the question is so poor it doesn't deserve votes.

Downvoted before edits

Similar to the above, some questions have very little detail when they are posted, and despite being changed later have already been downvoted based on this little information. Take this question. It originally read:

I'm trying to find the name of this movie for my dad. I haven't seen it myself, and all he remembers is that near the beginning and older woman is talking to a young boy and then she unexpectedly gets hit by a bus. Google is failing me. Any ideas?

That's a pretty poor question. It has since been updated with some more information, but it still has a score of -4. I don't see this as a bad thing though. We don't want to encourage poor questions, we want people to research and post better questions in the first place.

Helpful to others

The Stack Exchange doesn't just exist to help a questioner, but to help future questioners as well. Many and questions have almost no information whatsoever - and so even if an answer could be provided to the question, it's unlikely to help any future user to the site.

Here's a current example of one such question, which is currently still open:

I remember this scene where there were men with a black eye mask, they were wearing a hat, black clothes and they were fighting on the train with weapons, then the train fell from above...

It's not completely unanswerable, but it's exceptionally vague. I downvoted this and voted to close it. It's not because I don't think an answer could ever be found, but because I think the question is of no use to anyone other than the OP - I don't believe any future users would benefit from it.

Dislike of ident questions

A quick browse of the Meta will show that and are fairly controversial here. Many people (myself included) would like to ban them totally. There are a variety of reasons why, which are all covered elsewhere and would take a while to explain in depth, but in summary there's a strong argument that the presence of ident questions reduces the quality of other questions and harms the sites.

Our identify and questions continue to rise, and there's a real worry it pushes movie fanatics away due to a front page that is constantly overloaded with poor quality ident questions.

Given this, many people will downvote these questions unless they contain a substantial amount of detail, such as this question, or this question.

Lack of interest

We don't just upvote correct answers, and downvote incorrect answers. We also upvote answers that we are interested in and which help us, and downvote answers we disagree with.

Part of the problem with and questions is an all round lack of interest in the actual question.

Take a question like this: Asian movie where a girl commits suicide jumping off the window (art cinema)

It doesn't sound familiar to me and I've little interest in it. Aside from checking if the question itself needed to be edited to make the formatting clearer (it didn't), I had no interest in the question and no interest in the answers.

That meant that I ignored the question (didn't upvote or downvote) and ignored the answers. However, on other similar questions which have poor answers, I'm more liable to ignore the question, ignore the other answers and downvote the poor answer - as even without an interest in the question, a poor answer stands out very clearly and so is easy to downvote.

Inability to check correctness of answers

Another issue with and questions is knowing whether to upvote answers or not.

Many answers are very simplistic and I've noticed people often hold off on upvoting them too much unless they include lots of detail or the OP accepts them. Take this question for example:

I vaguely remember a movie with thieves that break into a mansion but it belongs to their boss. They didn't know at the time when they broke in. They broke in and went to a basement where they had to break a wall and get gold or money from inside a wall. Then they got locked in when the bad guy (they helped get the gold for) set off the alarm and killed the guard dog. In the end I think they had to get all the gold back.

It has two answers:

An answer the OP said was correct (but which the OP left unaccepted):

Sounds a lot like The Hangover 3, in which they were tricked into stealing gold from a mansion and then threatened if they could not steal it back.


A downvoted answer:

I guess, it is Tower Heist (2011) with Ben Stiller.

Both are pretty sparse on details. Whilst The Hangover answer was what the OP was after, the answer describes a scene many films could have. So should voters cast their vote based on whether they think the film matches what the OP is after, or wait for the OP to confirm it's what they're after.

Obviously, the answer is the former. We cast our votes based on our opinions. But with such short answers given, for me to know if either of those answers could be correct, I have to go and research the movie in question to find out. But I'm reading an answer - I have zero interest in researching to see if it's correct. The answer should provide all the evidence necessary to show it is correct (see @Walt for examples of this sort of answer). Therefore, for that question, I downvoted the second answer and simply ignored the first.


There are many, many reasons why the questions and answers don't get the love some people feel they deserve as opposed to a single, specific reason.

I feel the downvotes are obvious:

  • Poor formatting/grammar
  • Lack of information
  • Little help to future users
  • Dislike of ident questions

However, another issue that compounds this and make the downvotes more clear is the lack of upvotes on the questions fora few reasons:

  • Dislike of ident questions
  • Lack of interest in question
  • Inability to check "correctness" of answer in relation to OP's ask
  • 3
    As a novice user I can say that I would feel like coming to this site much more often if the ident questions did not clutter the home page. I wonder if it's possible to have some kind of voting through the site, for people above a certain rep, to decide whether to discontinue them?
    – Siddhartha
    Commented Mar 5, 2016 at 17:28
  • 3
    @Siddhartha You can add the "identify" tags to your "ignored tags" filter. Also know that downvoting bad questions helps removing them from the homepage, IIRC anything below -3 is removed from the front page.
    – BCdotWEB
    Commented Mar 5, 2016 at 22:03
  • I did add both to my ignored tags, but for example, yesterday when I opened the front page, only two questions weren't greyed out. At that point the feature doesn't help anymore. And thank you, I did not know that.
    – Siddhartha
    Commented Mar 6, 2016 at 3:16
  • 2
    @Siddhartha Annoyingly you have to go to another settings page on your profile to actually hide the questions, not just grey them out. When you do, you'll get a full list of non-identify questions. Commented Mar 9, 2016 at 9:36
  • @Siddhartha For your consideration: meta.movies.stackexchange.com/q/2250/49
    – Napoleon Wilson Mod
    Commented May 13, 2016 at 12:41

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