NOTE: Due to the fact that people seem to be completely mis-reading this question, I'll quote the last paragraph up front:
Just to be clear, I'm not against the concept of story identification questions, and some (very few) of them are quite great.
TL;DR version: "My personal evaluation of intrinsic worth of story-identification questions seems wildly out of sync with the aggregate community based on the # of upvotes they receive. Why?
Now, for the full original question:
I am genuinely puzzled by the fact that story-identification questions are so well rewarded. Why? Is it good?
First, a couple of stats. As of now, the site has close to 300 of questions tagged story-identification - out of 2000 total. Some of them seem to be mis-tagged (and closed), so let's say 250.
The 50 highest voted ones have 11+ upvotes each
The second 50 highest voted are 8-11 upvotes each.
The third 50 highest voted are 6-8 upvotes each.
2 highest voted ones are 30 and 28 upvotes (admittedly, 28 upvotes one is a great one that even I up-voted).
Of the latest 50 tags that I analyzed, the average was 6.7 up-votes, with ~3 standard deviation. Here's the histogram (X-axys is the question's # of up-votes, Y-axis is # of questions with so many up-votes):
My questions are:
Somewhat rhethorically: why are those story-identification questions so much up-voted? Are they really THAT useful to so many people or so brilliantly written? I don't know the stats for the entire site but i'd not be surprised if site-wide upvote average is lower than 6.7.
Personally, I feel that those questions, while perfectly OK to be on-topic, are not a big win for the site and should not be stongly encouraged by lots of (in my humble opinion) undeserved up-votes. If I posted an identification question - which I may have but don't recall - I would honestly expect at most 1 upvote if it was about some obscure work with no great interest as far as overall SciFi field.
Does the community feel that these story-identification questions are in some way, as a class, helpful to the site? Do the drive many visitors? Do they bring in some special nuggets of knowledge that nobody knew about yet many people would find useful?
Please note that I specifically refer to upvotes on the questions themselves - I don't feel that the ones on the answers are in any way un-deserved.
Just to be clear, I'm not against the concept of story identification questions, and some (very few) of them are quite great, either due to the question's innate quality, or a really interesting take on a well known work, or just genuinely interesting (e.g. this). But a vast majority that I see are nowhere near special.