Quite a few times I see people directing users with ID questions to go to other sites like SF&F. While we still welcome ID questions there, we do expect a reasonable level of detail and it only frustrates users if they end up getting closed there for lack of information after having been told "you'll find your answer there".

For example:

AI stack at the end

There really isn't enough in that question to even begin searching for details.

  • 2
    I have sympathy with the user here to be sure. Can I suggest answering your own question putting a suggested comment when people redirect users to SF&F - including any SF&F meta directions for minimum standards for ID questions?
    – iandotkelly Mod
    Commented Nov 25, 2022 at 15:04

2 Answers 2


Let me preface this answer by saying that I'm not only an SFF mod but also intimately aware of the discussion and controversy around ID questions on this site and its relationship with SFF. As such ...

I don't think we should discourage people from recommending SFF to ID askers here.

It can be a frustrating experience for the OP to have their question closed, and if we can help them by pointing them to somewhere quite close by where they may be able to get an answer, then we're doing our duty as Helpful Internet People without compromising the scope of this site. In fact, the only reason ID questions aren't migrated from here to SFF (on request from people who know they'd be considered on-topic and good-quality for SFF) is because a then-CM told us not to use migration for the purpose it's intended.

Bear in mind, too, that SFF's guidelines like in the tag wiki and the famous meta question aren't hard requirements for ID questions: they're more what you'd call guidelines than actual rules. (I mention this for the benefit of non SFF regulars who may remember when M&TV imposed such guidelines as actual rules.) The only real rule is "have enough information to be uniquely answerable", and sometimes SFF considers even very short ID questions to be successful if some very distinctive (unique) detail is mentioned. So there's no need to avoid recommending SFF if a question doesn't list all of the details asked for in those SFF links.

In other words, don't use those links as guidance for when it's OK to suggest SFF as a new place to ask: don't go through the list and think "if the OP didn't provide these details, no way they can post this on SFF". What you can use them for is just as informational links to provide the OP with when recommending them to post on SFF. (Again, I'm trying to reduce the burden on M&TV people here: it's not your responsibility to figure out what SFF considers good or not, but it's great that you continue linking it as an alternative resource.)

So a good comment might be something like the following:

Unfortunately, ID questions are considered off-topic here, so your question needs to be closed. We have a list of alternative resources for questions like this. In particular, your question may fall within the scope of our sister site Science Fiction & Fantasy SE, but please check their guidelines for ID questions before posting there.


Please consider that SF&F has guidelines for what makes a good (and hopefully answerable) identification question, and advise users of this when suggesting they try asking over there.



  • 1
    Thank you - we can direct users to look at this answer now.
    – iandotkelly Mod
    Commented Nov 26, 2022 at 20:25
  • 1
    We already do link to this on meta, though.
    – Napoleon Wilson Mod
    Commented Nov 27, 2022 at 23:58

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