Can I ask a question about a movie without having watched it? Would only googling about it be considered as doing research as well? I understand that not having time to watch it is my problem, not yours, but I think spending time googling it is enough to not being a help vampire.

I know each community is different, but in Mathematica SE they allow me to ask about the program without trying it, just because I can't google out: What does getting Mathematica locked up with specific equations mean?

  • 1
    There is no possible way that you googled "Is the force used in the prequel trilogy" and weren't able to get an answer to that. The second result when I search that is : scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/64300/…
    – Catija
    Commented Feb 16, 2017 at 19:47
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    There's absolutely no way we could enforce this requirement -so no, having watched the movie is not required. However, with minimal knowledge of the movie there is a danger of you asking a question that people consider to be poor or obvious and having lacked research - so you may attract downvotes. So it really depends on what you intend to ask.
    – iandotkelly Mod
    Commented Feb 16, 2017 at 20:14
  • @Catija yes I haven't googled those keywords. But I have googled for possible reason, and find no result. After having someone suggested me in the comment that I start to know what should I search
    – Ooker
    Commented Feb 17, 2017 at 5:38
  • @iandotkelly I understand that joining a movie club without having zero knowledge about movies is not preferable. I don't want to lie that "I have watched the whole series and still don't understand why". However this is not about requirement, this is about altitude. Is there a way to mitigate that?
    – Ooker
    Commented Feb 17, 2017 at 5:46
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    From StackOverflow but the concept is the same - meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/261592/…
    – Paulie_D
    Commented Feb 17, 2017 at 12:23
  • How is this about attitude? The main problem with your question (and why it attracted downvotes) was not the fact that you haven't seen the films. The main problem is that your question is about a question in a comic that only tangentially relates to the series. If you have an issue with the reception of your question, address that, not your specific "I haven't seen the film" issue. Many questions here have come from people who haven't seen the films/tv shows.
    – Catija
    Commented Feb 17, 2017 at 17:03
  • @Catija well, I just want to address different issues, not both in one question. It's true that I don't understand why my question is still comic-centered after an edit, but when I was about to submit that meta question the system said that I had to wait for 40 minutes, then my laptop crashed... By attitude I mean the attitude when you decide that you have been researching adequately, and enough to ask a question, not the attitude of answerers. Maybe it's not a good word choice. Perhaps ethics?
    – Ooker
    Commented Feb 17, 2017 at 18:46

1 Answer 1


No, you can ask about a movie without having seen it.

I speak from personal experience, since I haven't seen Star Wars. (Different site, but the principle should be the same.)

But be careful what kinds of question you ask, or you may end up embarrassing yourself.

Continuing with the example of Star Wars: if you haven't watched the films and you ask "who is Luke's father?", you're likely to be downvoted into oblivion for lack of research. Nobody who has seen the films is going to be remotely interested in the answer to that question. But if you ask an out-of-universe question like "why was this character killed off?" or "how did they achieve this effect?", that's a safer bet. Watching the films doesn't usually tell you anything about behind-the-scenes stuff, so you don't have much of a disadvantage for these questions compared to someone who has watched them.

A good rule of thumb might be to ask yourself:

Will this question and its answers be interesting even to someone who has seen the movie?

  • If the answer is no, don't post it: most of the people following the tag for a given movie will be people who've seen it, and if none of them are interested, your question is unlikely to fare well.
  • If the answer is yes, by all means post it. A good class of questions which you can ask about a movie without having seen it are out-of-universe or behind-the-scenes ones, as said above.
  • If you don't know, then it's a gamble. Without having seen the film, it may be impossible for you to tell whether, from the point of view of those who have, your question is trivial or interesting. You can still post it, but don't be too surprised if you end up getting boatloads of downvotes because the answer to the above question turned out to be no.
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    "Watching the films doesn't usually tell you anything about behind-the-scenes stuff" True, but I would expect someone who is interested in such things to have watched the extras on the DVD etc.
    – BCdotWEB
    Commented Feb 20, 2017 at 6:45
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    @BCdotWEB true but maybe they saw the movie in the theater, streaming, etc. so they didn't have the opportunity to see the extras.
    – Erik
    Commented Feb 28, 2017 at 0:23
  • @BCdotWEB Frankly, that's expecting a little bit too much from the askers, especially if they don't own or know about that extended material. There still ought to be interesting questions to actually ask here. Keep that extended info for answers.
    – Napoleon Wilson Mod
    Commented Dec 10, 2018 at 10:51

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