An ID question was recently posted with a vague, first hit on Google description, and self answered immediately with a copy paste Wikipedia answer without detailing or addressing anything in the question text. The only reason I can think of this being done is for abusing rep gain. The asker does not have a genuine need for this question and this prevents others from participating. As ID questions are already of limited use for others, why is this being upvoted?

  • No one asked a similar ID, and how is the op of a supposed original question supposed to know about the rep stealing duplicate, or even confirm it's the real answer?
    – cde
    Commented Apr 27, 2017 at 1:59
  • And if they did do that, which is plagiarism and illegal with attribution, the new question should be closed and marked as a duplicate.
    – cde
    Commented Apr 27, 2017 at 2:04
  • 4
    Its definitely an odd pattern, and I doubt I would personally upvote self answered ID questions of this nature. It's strange to be sure, but I seriously doubt it's really a decent mechanism to abuse or game rep gain. I'm not going to loose that much sleep over it unless it starts to become a problem. If someone chooses to upvote it - that is definitely their prerogative.
    – iandotkelly Mod
    Commented Apr 27, 2017 at 2:46

2 Answers 2


Generally I don't like this because ID requests are self serving. Rarely do 2 users have the same recollection and there is no grantee that how a self answered ID Request is asked is going to found by anyone else looking for the same title (especially when it's easily google-able the asker is just being lazy).

Assuming however we are talking about this question -> Late 90’s Gross-out Comedy Sport Movie, to quote the related chat post by Paulie_D

@SreeCharan All part of my cunning plan. If you know the answer to a bad ID question then rather than answering in the comments (which is a no-no) ask a good version of the question and answer it yourself. The site quality is improved and it allows the asker of the bad question to find his answer.

Though honestly I'd rather see low effort ID Requests sent to oblivion it does make some sense because then rather than other (new) users seeing crap id requests they see much better ones and hopefully try and put some extra effort.

As you said though it is sorta gaming the system so to eliminate that so that it really is for the good of the site

  • Flag the question for a mod to manually make into a community wiki

    In the past, questions could be made community wiki by their authors or by certain automatic triggers but now the only means is by a moderator converting it to community wiki. When a moderator converts a question to community wiki, all existing answers will also be converted in addition to converting future answers

    This way no one is getting rep.

    • you can also make the answer a community wiki from the start. you gain less rep for question upvotes so it'll be seen less gaming by giving up almost 2/3s of the rep you could be getting while you wait for the mods (though quite sure you still loose all rep from the question+answer anyway)
  • Vote the original bad question as a duplicate of the community wiki question.

If the asker of the original question says it's not a duplicate (wrong movie/series title) then it up to them to improve the question with more details to prove it's not a duplicate. This hopefully will have them improve the question.


Since my name has come up.

I am assuming that the OP here was, in fact, referring to my self-answered ID question (as others have assumed) so I'll address a few of the comments from the OP's points.

The original terrible question was in the process of being closed (it lasted nearly 40 minutes before being mod-hammered) and was attracting answers in comments.

As for the answer-comments, see the Meta Discussion: Answer comments are getting a bit out of hand for more information

Those answer-comments have been flagged and deleted under this 'policy'.

My Q & A was posted 2 days later...not immediately as has been stated, in fact I deliberately delayed posting in case the OP of the other question came back and improved it.

Since SE is intended to be a resource of quality Q&A I saw no harm in having the Q&A be found by a Google search on M&TV rather than some other site and so created the offending self-answered question.

The only reason I can think of this being done is for abusing rep gain.

"Don't assume malice" - I've stated my reasons, in fact I'd mentioned the idea in the meta discussion linked previously.

I confess I hadn't really considered any potential rep gained as abuse but I can see how, in isolation, it can be (and apparently has been) perceived that way.

Community Wiki isn't intended to disavow/deny rep and so I did not, at the time, consider it appropriate to utilise this option.

However, since the reception to this question seems, erm, divided, I have now made it a CW answer.

Whether I'll try this experiment again I don't know. It seems to me to check off a number of positives which I've covered before but apparently those don't outweigh the implied negatives.

Live & Learn. :)

  • 2
    There is no answer comments "policy"...
    – Catija
    Commented Apr 27, 2017 at 13:23
  • @Catija There is no official policy but the consensus has been (AFAIK) to flag these as "not constructive" and have them deleted. Hence the quote marks around "policy". :)
    – Paulie_D
    Commented Apr 27, 2017 at 13:38
  • 4
    Consensus? That question is sitting at 0 and your answer supporting it is downvoted. The highest upvoted "answer" isn't actually an answer, it's a request for "if we do this, what should I do in these situations", which at the least shows that people are confused by this policy recommendation. Please, don't sell stuff that's highly contested as anything close to "policy".
    – Catija
    Commented Apr 27, 2017 at 13:48
  • Well it seems to be moderator policy..based on previous discussions on meta. Perhaps the words "policy" or "consensus" are poorly chosen but the fact is at the moment that answer-comments are regularly deleted as "Not constructive" for the reasons already covered elsewhere. Perhaps it's not written in black and white (few things are) but it does seem to be common procedure... at least for low quality ID questions.
    – Paulie_D
    Commented Apr 27, 2017 at 14:56

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