I posted this question asking about an aspect of the Star Wars plot. I think I'm being fair by saying that the plot question isn't "basic or trivial," but of course that could be wrong.

Before posting the question, I did a Google search and found some sites that attempted to address the question. None of the answers were completely satisfying. (At least, they raised follow-up questions in my mind and were not perfectly consistent with the movies. One of the comments on scifi.SE pointed this out, noting that the answer was inconsistent with the movie itself. No one replied to this comment, and I assumed the site was not focused on the movies so much as the entire body of canonical work.) So I came to this site looking for a movie-specific answer. I did a search and read through ~5 questions that other people had asked here. No one had asked this particular question on Movies.SE, so I asked it here.

Another user posted this comment:

-1 for lack of research. There are plenty answers here: scifi.stackexchange.com/q/11429 and here: lmgtfy.com/?q=why+did+darth+sidious+wait+66


Assuming the question is non-trivial, does the fact that it has been asked elsewhere on the Internet prohibit someone from asking the same question on Movies.SE? Even if we assume that the question has been answered adequately on other sites, would this mean it shouldn't be asked on Movies.SE? Movies.SE requires users to research their question thoroughly before asking it on this site. The help center links to the Movies.SE search engine, but I'm wondering whether users have a responsibility to do that research only in the Movies.SE site or also on other sites.

(In this particular case, I was interested in an answer that relied only on the movies and not on the novels, etc., which was why I came to Movies.SE and didn't go to scifi.SE. Before posting my question, I came across the scifi.SE thread, and my original question contained a list of possible explanations that I found most compelling from the scifi.SE question. But I didn't cite the scifi.SE page and I didn't discuss specific issues I had with their reasoning as I assumed it would be intertwined with the books.)

Motivation for this Question

This meta question discusses the issue in a slightly different regard. It seems to be about simpler questions, whereas I want to ask about complex questions that Movies.SE wants on the site but which have also been asked on other sites. A reason to include these questions was articulated by the founder of Stack Overflow in this blog posting. He talks about how he envisions high-quality posts being the first hits on a Google search. Having good questions with good answers would drive traffic toward the site and away from other sites which might also contain the very same questions.

  • You are misreading the comment as implying that you shouldn't have asked your question on the site. The comment clearly states that the downvote was for lack of research and examples of adequate answers were provided. You also made NO mention of your Google search, in fact you stated you had only searched SE.movies: " I researched this SE site thoroughly and read 5 posts from movies.SE about the Clone Wars before posting the question." Again, please refer to the "Search, and research" section: movies.stackexchange.com/help/how-to-ask
    – MmmHmm
    Commented Jan 2, 2018 at 5:36
  • 1
    The search section specifically links to Movies.SE's search tool, not Google or some other search tool. Clearly we disagree about whether the answers on the links are satisfactory. If I spend two paragraphs hashing out the faulty logic, I draw attention toward the validity of those particular answers, thereby taking attention away from the true answer in general. If I seek an answer to the question, I should ask the question. If I seek to understand whether someone else's logic is flawed, I should ask about their answer. I would have cited other answers if they had been posted to Movies.SE.
    – jdmovies
    Commented Jan 2, 2018 at 5:42
  • 1
    As is, your question simply shows no research effort, hence the -1. Wasn't it nice to, at the very least, get an explanation of why a downvote was cast? Instead of thanking me, you can edit your question to reflect the research you've done and specify the kind of answer you are looking for. Do that and I may very well even upvote the question. Welcome to Movies&TV.SE.
    – MmmHmm
    Commented Jan 2, 2018 at 5:54
  • 1
    @Mr.Kennedy, you seem to be missing the point of my question. Every time you mention "shows no research effort" you're making an assumption about what the phrase means. There is no research whatsoever to identify on the Movies.SE site. This question hasn't been asked on Movies.SE. You're extending the "research" requirement to other sites. That's precisely what this meta Q is about--should that be part of the requirement for "research effort"? Is this your position: "questions that exist elsewhere on the Internet should not exist on this site"?
    – jdmovies
    Commented Jan 2, 2018 at 5:57
  • 1
    @Mr.Kennedy, if you want, we can get into details about why the link you shared is inadequate. But as I already said, there's a simpler way to prove that it is: the answer I accepted is more thorough and more consistent with the movies than any of the answers on the site you linked to.
    – jdmovies
    Commented Jan 2, 2018 at 5:58
  • 1
    I'm not sure which part of "shows no research" you think translates to "questions that exist elsewhere should not exist on this site". Again, if you reflect your research in the question and specify what you are looking for in an answer, I may change my vote. Otherwise, "research" is not limited to the Stack Exchange site where the question is posed.
    – MmmHmm
    Commented Jan 2, 2018 at 6:00
  • @Mr.Kennedy, the part where the "shows no research" links to the Movies.SE search engine and makes no reference to any other search engine. Do you see why your position tends to drive traffic away from Movies.SE?
    – jdmovies
    Commented Jan 2, 2018 at 6:01
  • 1
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because the person asking it is just having a hissy fit after having received a downvote
    – MmmHmm
    Commented Jan 2, 2018 at 6:01
  • 3
    @Mr.Kennedy, I don't know what part of this you think is a "hissy fit." You've asked questions and I've given answers, and then you've ignored them. See my comment above: "The search section specifically links to Movies.SE's search tool, not Google or some other search tool." Am I wrong? Other SE sites specifically state on meta that the requirement to research an answer before posting a question does not encompass research on other sites. They also give a reason: to drive traffic toward their SE site, not away from it.
    – jdmovies
    Commented Jan 2, 2018 at 6:03
  • 1
    @Mr.Kennedy, I've added an edit. You haven't answered my questions about driving traffic away from the site. I don't know whether you're familiar with the idea of making SE questions appear as the top hit in a Google search. You haven't acknowledged this line of reasoning and how it bears on the question of whether "research" should mean "questions existing on other sites shouldn't also exist on this SE site." I've linked to a Meta post and to a blog from the founder of Stack Overflow dating back to its original launch.
    – jdmovies
    Commented Jan 2, 2018 at 6:15
  • @Mr.Kennedy, consider a hypothetical scenario where Reddit did contain an adequate answer to a complex and non-trivial movie question. Should the site rules prohibit that person from asking the same question on Movies.SE? Let's assume it's easy to do a Google search and find the Reddit thread.
    – jdmovies
    Commented Jan 2, 2018 at 6:25
  • Let us continue this discussion in chat.
    – MmmHmm
    Commented Jan 2, 2018 at 6:27

2 Answers 2


In regards to questions on other Stack Exchange networks

If the question exists there, can it be asked, here? Yes, but. There is nothing immediately wrong with this, but it does send up flares, to me; there should be other considerations.

  • Is the question better suited for the other exchange? If you found your answer on another exchange, it might be that you are not really looking for an answer best suited to a Movie expert. In this case, Star Wars covers both Movies and Sci-Fi. You establish that you are explicitly seeking a movie explanation, but to be fair, it was only an after note. You do establish the difference, here, but I would expect users to miss it, entirely. An explicit "I am explicitly seeking an explanation from the Movies" would have been more useful, here, had that not been obvious to other users.
  • Are you really adding anything new to the question? Stack Exchange does not mean to become the single repository for questions; it means to become a repository for good quality questions. If you pose the exact same question as that on another Stack Exchange site, I would have to ask if were just having a rehash. You have made it clear that the questions dug up from the SciFi network did not have satisfactory answers; however, you do not tell us so in the actual question. In such cases, it is always a sign of quality to note "I found this question on this Stack Exchange site, that details this answer, but I have problems X, Y and Z with this." This also gives users the ability to better address any confusion that might arise from previous material.

In regards to cases where we have a good question, but are able to answer it with a bit of Google-Fu

A good question is not immediately disqualified, if you actually find the answer to it, during your initial research. Always remember that we have the option of self-answering; if your question is truly of good quality, and you can provide an equally as good quality answer from your research, share it with the network!

If you do not find a satisfactory answer, it does not hurt to make note of what you have found. This can be especially useful in answering your question, as well, as it helps others address further issues that have been raised, in your initial investigation.

  • Thanks, Gnemlock. You'll notice that my original question included a list of possible explanations. These are the most convincing things I found in the scifi.SE thread. Is it insufficient to discuss those things I found--do I also need to cite where I got the ideas? Should I have also pointed out the flaws I saw in those other posts?
    – jdmovies
    Commented Jan 2, 2018 at 7:31
  • @jdmovie, something as simple as "My research led me to some questions on SciFi SE, and I concluded X Y Z" would have been fine. Something to note that it came from said research.
    – Gnemlock
    Commented Jan 2, 2018 at 12:37

If research is not reflected, indicated, cited nor demonstrated in the question itself, it is completely reasonable to cast a down vote. Unless there is research indicated in the question, how is anyone to know that it was researched or verify the research offered? (Hint: they can't). When no research is indicated in the question, it simply makes no difference if the research is done on the particular SE site, other SE sites, or elsewhere on the internet, public library, et cetera.

Should [downvotes for] lack of research encompass outside sources?


Of course, and at the very least, researching the SE site is a great place to start. In general, research should also include what can be found on the first page of any major search engine, and especially so in the case of movies and television shows which gross billions of dollars, are distributed world-wide, are over a decade old, and have large fan bases with active communities and archives explaining plot trivia, e.g. the Star Wars franchise (including Episodes 2 & 3 which are the ones you ask about).

In the case where other sources do not provide an adequate answer, a well researched question should clearly state and reference the inadequacies of what are available elsewhere. This does not need to address the inadequacies case by case, however, it is enough to mention them so as to focus the question with laser-like precision.

As Gnemlock points out in the comments to his answer, "something as simple as "My research led me to some questions on SciFi SE, and I concluded X Y Z" would have been fine. Something to note that it came from said research."

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If you have not already, please hover your cursor over the down arrow and you will see that clarity, usefulness and research are of equal merit when considering the value of any question to the Stack Exchange community. If considering the value of the downvote, it can be helpful to also offer a comment explaining the reason for the downvote, e.g. "-1 for lack of research" and a couple of links pointing towards answers which already address the question.


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