This has happened to me before so I'm wondering if I'm doing something wrong. Someone asks an identification question with poor detail which is quickly voted as being Off-topic due to Identification. However, something in their poor description sparks my own memory from having seen exactly what they are looking for or its specific enough for me to be able to find something from a Google search, and I'm able to find a quote and/or video showing the scene they are remembering and thus identifying their movie. I post the answer and get several up votes as well as an accepted, however there are also a down vote or two.

So I'm curious if I'm being down-voted for not following a specific guideline that I'm not familiar with or if someone's just upset that I answered an off-topic question and are projecting their dislike of the question onto me. I will admit to some annoyance at being down-voted but I'm a big boy and can move past that as long as I'm not unintentionally doing something wrong here by answering these. Aren't there even badges for answering questions with negative votes?

Movie with an inspirational scene [on hold]

Cartoon movie with archery tournament with “paintball” arrows, people dressed as animals

  • 13
    It's probably because it's ID, and you're not alone. For the last couple of weeks someone has been downvoting almost every new ID question AND answer regardless of the quality of either. That said, I'm not sure I understand why you'd deliberately answer something you know is of poor quality. I very rarely DV answers, but a recent ID Q about Mad Max (I think it's deleted now) was so poor that when it was answered, I was tempted to do just that. IMO, answering bad ID, no matter how easy it is, only propagates it and probably encourages more bad ID.
    – Walt
    Oct 31, 2016 at 20:01
  • 1
    As for why I answered a question that I voted to close, I initially voted to close the question because it was poor quality and "identification" which is specifically off topic. However, after I voted to close it I decided to search Google on a whim to see if I could actually answer it from the minimal details and against the odds I actually found the quote and video, so I added it as an answer.
    – sanpaco
    Oct 31, 2016 at 20:13
  • 2
    As Walt already mentioned, there have been down votes recently to pretty much every ID question and answer. The last two ID questions that I answered were both down voted even though the OP agreed that my answers were correct and they were both accepted. Both answers contained the proper sources and information. I agree with you that some of the ID are easy to recognize without the "proper" information added to them. You're not alone in feeling this way :) Oct 31, 2016 at 21:26
  • Some random account has been downvoting everything? Can't mods do something about this? Or should this be reported on meta as well?
    – BlueMoon93
    Nov 2, 2016 at 10:10
  • @BlueMoon93 While this meta question is well-intended and makes a reasonable point, I'd not go as far as claiming that some random account suddenly showed up and is downvoting everything when there is absolutely no proof for that, let alone something that even can be proved at all. Let's not go overboard with downvote conspiracy theories here. Sometimes posts are just downvoted, that's how it is. I'm not saying this question is baseless, just that we might excercise some consideration before calling the cops on a supposedly malicious downvoter that suddenly showed up.
    – Napoleon Wilson Mod
    Nov 2, 2016 at 14:27
  • @BlueMoon93 As to the technical question, moderators can't do much against it, let alone to even validate if something malicious is going on. Neither will the SE employees bother much about what is rather a problem of community attitude than an actual rule violation of a single individual. This meta post (and the resulting discussion) is still the best way to adress any possible issues. If there is a problem in this regard, it can only be handled in a "soft" way.
    – Napoleon Wilson Mod
    Nov 2, 2016 at 14:30
  • @NapoleonWilson I've been following the tag long enough to recognize certain patterns. I agree, however, that this really shouldn't be blown out of proportion. It seems to have subsided now, and it's not againt any SE rules I know of anyway (I also doubt someone set up an account just to downvote stuff). I only mentioned it because it's a possible explanation for sanpaco's downvotes.
    – Walt
    Nov 2, 2016 at 17:45
  • @Walt I know, I was only referring to BlueMoon93's comment.
    – Napoleon Wilson Mod
    Nov 2, 2016 at 17:48
  • @NapoleonWilson Me too (mostly). ;)
    – Walt
    Nov 2, 2016 at 17:48
  • I don't know the limits WRT the amount of votes you get each day, but I hardly doubt a single account can downvote all ID questions and answers each day, considering their volume.
    – BCdotWEB
    Nov 5, 2016 at 22:25

1 Answer 1


Votes on Stack Exchange are private. Only SE staff have access to the raw data that would indicate voting patterns on your answers.

That being said, I know on some sites there is a tendency to do exactly what you assert is happening to you.

If a question is closed, negatively scored, it has no accepted answer, and all of its answers are negatively scored, the Roomba will delete it in short order. I can never recall the exact rules for the Roomba but I know for a fact this is generally the motivation:

  1. Close a poor-quality question that, in the minds of the close voters, cannot be salvaged. Close it before it attracts an answer worthy of being accepted. Agree or disagree, a person makes up their own mind about close votes and there is no CM peeking over one's shoulder to ensure a close vote is cast per the guidelines.
  2. Downvote the question and all answers such that none have score zero or greater.
  3. Conserve one's delete votes, knowing the Roomba will do its job.

I, for one, do this over at Software Engineering for questions that are blatantly off-topic. Given that "identify this" questions are hotly debated here on Movies.SE, I just assume there is a close cabal of users here who do the same to poor-quality ID questions (and maybe even good quality ones). However, I lack the reputation to have access to the 10k and 25k tools that might back up my assumption.

Your best bet is to improve the questions before answering them. If a question is not good enough for an upvote, it is not good enough for an answer. Fix the question, upvote, then answer. That helps prevent the situation you are talking about, while improving the overall signal to noise ratio on the site which is a win for everyone.

If a question cannot be improved, then it rightly deserves a down vote and close vote.

  • 1
    "Your best bet" etc. +1
    – Walt
    Nov 5, 2016 at 12:37
  • 2
    Very good assessment and guidance. If anything, close-voting and answering doesn't throw the best light on the answerer's motives to begin with.
    – Napoleon Wilson Mod
    Nov 5, 2016 at 14:02
  • How do you improve a "Can you ID this thing with these details that OP recalls" question without reading OP's mind. Posting some comments to narrow stuff down or ring a bell can work. But putting details in OP's mouth inside the question?
    – infixed
    Nov 8, 2016 at 23:12
  • @infixed it is difficult for sure, but the phrasing, the subject line, formatting and organization can all be improved without the asker's involvement. Adding details certainly would require asker intervention.
    – user9311
    Nov 9, 2016 at 1:14
  • @infixed That is a very good question indeed!
    – Napoleon Wilson Mod
    Nov 9, 2016 at 13:06
  • 1
    @NapoleonWilson What would you assume of someone's motives if they close-vote and answer? The only thing I can think of is they like doing work for little benefit but I don't think it casts a bad light.
    – Pants
    Nov 11, 2016 at 19:38

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .