In order to prevent this site from turning into Trivia central we need some borders.

I don't think we can get all in one go (or even at the end of private beta) but we could at least start.

Working Draft

Movies & TV - Stack Exchange is for Movie & TV enthusiasts.

If your question generally covers …

  • Analysis of content or theme of all forms of Movies/TV
  • Identifying a Movie or TV series
  • Questions about a Movie/TV show's production.
  • The works of a director / an actor / a writer related to Movies/TV

Movies also includes Made-For-TV movies, Direct-to-DVD, and Mini-Series.

Please note that the following subjects are considered off-topic here:

  • Distribution
  • Movie/TV purchasing/viewing locations
  • The operation of playing a movie
  • Banal trivia that does not add to the understanding or appreciation of the title.
  • TV news and current affairs
  • A title's release date or rumors about a specific title or series.

Please note that spoilers are allowed here and may be out in the open. Read at your own risk.

  • The list of off-topic is far too long. I recommend including only demonstrated recurring problems, and using clear labels (e.g. “general reference” is only clear to a few SE insiders). – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Jan 17 '12 at 22:51
  • @Gilles The list is down to 6 now. superuser.com section is 5. – phwd Jan 17 '12 at 22:56
  • Well done for reviving this process. My thoughts are: why are you proposing 'trailer analysis' as off-topic - have we had a problem with a bunch of low quality questions about trailers? I wouldn't ban what we don't have a problem with. Second thought, non-fiction will preclude documentaries. You might just want to explcitly exclude 'reality-tv', 'tv documentary series' and 'tv news and current affairs' as a suggestion. – iandotkelly Jan 18 '12 at 0:44
  • @iandotkelly I rather talk about this in chat beats having to refresh this window or get tons of comment notifications – phwd Jan 18 '12 at 1:11
  • I've updated the actual FAQ page to reflect the current version – DForck42 Jan 27 '12 at 19:58

General Reference questions should be off-topic. This includes questions that can be easily answered by a visit to IMDB or similar resources. Example off-topic questions:

  • Who starred in [X movie]?
  • What is [X movie] about?
  • What is the first movie that [X person] acted in/directed/produced/wrote?

And questions that can be easily answered by a simple Google or Wikipedia search:

  • What is [movie-making technology]?
  • Is [X movie] based on a book?
  • If one of the example off-topic questions is "What is [X movie] about?", then why do we allow "Explain the ending of [X movie] to me" questions? They seem pretty identical in principle. IMDB or wikipedia contain summaries of the endings of movies. – Laura Dec 7 '11 at 18:29
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    @Laura: I think the two questions are quite different. "What is Marry Poppins about?" would be answered with "It's about a nanny hired by a British family, who teaches the family to love each other." This is clearly answered by IMDB and the back of the DVD case. Where as the other type would be more like "Why did Marry Poppins leave when the wind changed?" That's much more specific, and is not general reference (not saying you can't find any resource that address this type of question). – Flimzy Dec 7 '11 at 18:48
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    Okay, your example is a fair one of the differences between the two. What prompted my comment, however, is something like the ending of Donnie Darko question. The answers are virtually identical to the information you get on IMDB and Wikipedia. I think we should kill questions that say simply "What happens in the end?" – Laura Dec 7 '11 at 21:43
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    In short, maybe "Why" questions would be okay, but "What" questions wouldn't? (with regard to plot) – Laura Dec 7 '11 at 21:43
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    On French Language, I use the “too localized” close reason for questions that can be answered by a dictionary entry or Wikipedia link. If you get as good an answer by browsing fr.wiktionary.org/wiki/foo as french.stackexchange.com/q/42, then the question isn't helping anyone but the asker (and him only just barely). – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Dec 9 '11 at 0:25

Questions about marketing questions e.g. http://area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/8544/film-making, should be off-topic

See What is the unique selling point in the The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Official Teaser?

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    Reasons for on/off-topic questions shouldn't take into regard a site that is so far off even being in beta yet. When that site launches we can decide to amend our policy then. This is a comment about the principal of deferring to proposals, not a comment about whether marketing is on/off topic. – iandotkelly Dec 11 '11 at 15:29

A clear definition what is on-topic. We need some sentences on what is on-topic. 'Questions about movies' is far too cloudy. Which questions are good. As I see the questions so far, I think the following might match:

  • questions about analysis of content or theme of movies

Another type of question is in discussion:

  • questions about identifying a movie

There are more questions asked currently, but I cannot catch them into a good sentence describing them.


There needs to be a decision about whether TV is OT on here or not. Also, it should be added that (I assume) topics about movie piracy are a no-go as well.

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    I think all questions regarding illegal things are banned on all SE-sites. Not because the are off-topic, but because they are illegal. I don't think the gardening.se accepts questions about how to best hide and bury a corpse. I think such questions should be flagged and removed as fast as possible. – Mnementh Dec 9 '11 at 13:39
  • Aye, but its always good to put it in a FAQ for clarification. A great saying I heard once is that "If there is a rule for it, someone was dumb enough to do it." – Tablemaker Dec 9 '11 at 13:42
  • @Shads0 except no one has done it yet AFAIK. If we start getting questions encouraging illegal activity then maybe we'd need an FAQ. – DisgruntledGoat Dec 20 '11 at 13:57
  • Or since we know it is wrong, there is nothing wrong with stating it, then referring the future offenders to the FAQ – Tablemaker Dec 22 '11 at 13:50
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    Something to consider: legal in one place may not be legal in another. – tshepang Jan 19 '12 at 9:21
  • It's a general SE policy that we do not discuss illegal activities aka Movie Piracy or circumventing rules, etc – Tablemaker Jan 19 '12 at 13:08

I think we need to also address spoilers in the FAQ. IMHO if you don't want something spoiled, you shouldn't be on this site (at least not on anything but your question).

  • Strongly agree. I've not seen Tinker Tailor, so I avoided the question about the Owl. – iandotkelly Jan 18 '12 at 15:25
  • The only exception is that spoilers of recent movies should be avoided in the title of a question – iandotkelly Jan 18 '12 at 15:25
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    @iandotkelly the only real thing that I would say is "don't put a friggin spoiler in the muther friggin title". if someone feels that a title is too spoilery they can edit it. so here's my opinion wrapped up: spoilers are ok in the body, just not in the title – DForck42 Jan 18 '12 at 15:41

Another thing that's off-topic: general comparisons of works (ie, what's the difference between [movie a] and [movie a remake]).,

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    I don't particularly think we need this in the FAQ. There could be good questions about the differences between a movie and its remake. – iandotkelly Jan 18 '12 at 15:27
  • Deferring to @Gille's point above somewhere - why start to ban things that are not obviously a problem. If someone posts - 'please list all the differences between movie A and remake B' - then it gets downvoted and closed as a list question. Anything more interesting should be answered. – iandotkelly Jan 18 '12 at 15:30

We should have the "Identify-This-X Questions" section of the FAQ mention image-only Identify-this questions. It currently doesn't mention them at all, and today someone cited the FAQ requesting additional information, when the question asker didn't have any additional information.

  • Meh, you don't give up on those rubbish questions, no? ;) – Napoleon Wilson May 16 '13 at 17:37
  • @ChristianRau If you disagree with my answer, then downvote it. People in chat endlessly crap on this type of question, but none of you bothered to vote against them. – user209 May 16 '13 at 19:42
  • Behold the ";)". And I downvoted eagerly on those things already, though my previous efforts of close-voting them have been declared invalid by the community, anyway. Still this meta answer (this here) isn't entirely bad when seen in light of the community's poor decision of allowing them, so no need to downvote this one. And your other answer (the linked one) contains some valid arguments, even if I disagree with the final deduction from them, so no need to either upvote or downvote it either (but after thinking more thoroughly, meta downvotes aren't for quality, so maybe I really should). – Napoleon Wilson May 16 '13 at 20:16

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