There was a minor disagreement about this answer of mine, so I thought we should discuss it here.

How much opinion commentary is appropriate in the answer to a story ID question? Or, put another way: Should answers include the answerer's subjective impressions of a work? Personally, when answering such questions, if it is a work that I know well, I try to offer my thoughts on the work in question. I think that is useful data, which may be valuable to anyone interested in or searching for a work.

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    Hmm. A toughie. I'm tempted to say "keep it to a minimum" but I strongly suspect people will start dredging up answers where I've said "It's X, but don't watch it because it's terrible". – Valorum Jul 31 '18 at 21:22

Nothing wrong with including some opinion, as long as you also answer the question properly.

This goes for pretty much any type of answer, not just story-ID. It's OK to include a little bit of more subjective discussion, or even humour and jokes, as long as the bulk of the post is focused on seriously answering the question. We don't absolutely "hate fun" ;-)

For story-ID in particular, there are several things we in general might learn from a Q&A as well as just providing the OP with their answer. For example, the question might show us which aspects of the story were most memorable, at least for that particular OP. A good answer will show how the given story matches each element of the question, but it might also be interesting to include some additional information, even if that's subjective. We're not a review service, but there's no harm in a little bit of opinion every now and then.

In this case, you provided a decent answer to the question - quoted plot summary, link for further reading - and then finished off with literally four words expressing your opinion of the film. I don't think there's any problem with that.

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    I seem to recall someone delete the word "execrable" from one of my answers for much the same reason :-) – Valorum Jul 31 '18 at 21:55
  • I explained in the comment on the answer but seeing as it was my edit I’ll reiterate it here. I only removed the opinion cos it’s essentially noise and I was fixing the quote anyway. This was only an “issue” because the opinion was edited back in and I wondered why. – TheLethalCarrot Jul 31 '18 at 23:44
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    @TheLethalCarrot From your point of view, yes. From Buzz's point of view, it became an "issue" when you edited it out. – Rand al'Thor Aug 1 '18 at 5:39
  • @Randal'Thor Sure, I was mainly clarifying my reasoning for editing it out. – TheLethalCarrot Aug 1 '18 at 7:44
  • 'We don't absolutely "hate fun" ;-)' - Indeed, hating fun would make very little sense given the entire subject matter of this site is recreational. – Kevin Aug 2 '18 at 2:04
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    @Kevin 'Twas a reference to a blog post of old. – Rand al'Thor Aug 2 '18 at 7:12

You asked how much opinion should be included in a story-ID answer. To that I say that a little goes a long way. I usually try to avoid it entirely, but I make an exception when it's one of my very favorite authors or stories.

You didn't ask what kind of opinions should be included. Please bear in mind that, in most cases, the asker is asking about a story that he or she remembers with some affection, and may not appreciate being told that it stinks; they have asked us to identify it, not to evaluate it. Please remember that The Customer Is Always Right, and there is no pressing need to prove what good taste we have and how hard to please we are. In other words, if you can't say something nice about the work, consider keeping your opinion to yourself.

  • what about content warning? to give one example, i'd add one to most of Piers Anthony's books. – user68762 Aug 2 '18 at 11:45
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    Personally, I would try to support any opinion pieces with some sensible reasoning. Not just "this book isn't very good" or "this is one of my favourites", but "I liked/disliked reading this because ..." – Rand al'Thor Aug 2 '18 at 12:55
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    -1: The customer is not always right. We don't give the OP special treatment on Stack Exchange. – Kevin Aug 2 '18 at 16:16
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    @Kevin No but you have to follow the Be Nice policy and if the OP remembers the book as "the best they've ever read" and you answer and then say "I remember it being terrible" it's not exactly nice to the OP. (Not saying that hypothetical example is breaking the Be Nice policy but it's something to be wary of when giving an opinion which I believe is what this answer is getting at). – TheLethalCarrot Aug 3 '18 at 11:16
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    @TheLethalCarrot: I fail to see what the Be Nice policy has to do with anything. You yourself admit that it doesn't apply here (or at least, that you are unwilling to claim it does). – Kevin Aug 5 '18 at 3:39
  • @Kevin In short it isn’t nice to say this book is terrible after an OP has said “its a great book and I can’t wait to read it again!!!” – TheLethalCarrot Aug 5 '18 at 8:37

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