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There is this meta question, which doesn't have an accepted answer/practice associated with it.

I am asking, because this question was edited citing the above example, and promptly re-edited essentially because "I don't agree with that meta".

Is there a meta resolving this that I missed in my research, or should we have a discussion and reach a definitive practice so we don't end up with the edit version of "Did not!" "Did too!"?

  • Acceptance on meta is unnecessary. The only thing that counts is the number of votes. – Valorum Jan 15 at 20:36
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    @Valorum When deciding whether something is standard policy, one should only look if there is a meta question and look at the number of votes, and nothing else? So if there are 2 votes against 1, I could simply upvote the other answer and it would stop being the policy? Until someone else voted and so on? It doesn't seem good to me (I tend to think community-wide consensus needs more eyeballs) -- but hey, if this is the meta-policy on policy, please point me to where I can downvote :) – Andres F. Jan 15 at 21:30
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    @AndresF. - In this case there weren't 2 versus 1, there were 11 versus 6. Not a big number, but certainly a decisive vote in favour of what appeared to be the status quo. Ironically, since an hour ago the vote is hardening. – Valorum Jan 15 at 21:33
  • @AndresF. - And yes, if you don't like the existing policy, you can downvote the answer you don't like. If enough people agree with you, the policy will change. That's literally the entire point of community-based-policy-making – Valorum Jan 15 at 21:34
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    @Valorum I think that's not the point of community-based policy making, and in fact in the real-world this is how it's subverted -- by not making enough people aware they could vote on this particular topic, and by deciding very few votes constitute a consensus -- but I think by this point I'm flogging a dead horse, so I'll let it go ;) – Andres F. Jan 15 at 21:42
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    @AndresF. the homepage gets solved story-id every day and they're not retagged with the work while being featured on the most eyeballed place of the site, so I'd say the habit made the policy for all these years ;) – Jenayah Jan 15 at 21:45
  • @Valorum One more thing, and please consider it a genuine question: in the meta question you claim is a duplicate, the argument seems to be "Should we tag [...]", which I think is what Jenayah was arguing (imagine if we had to tag thousands of questions). But one could honestly make the point (which has just occurred to me, if I'm honest) that the question is asking whether we must tag them, i.e. that policy is we should always tag them. If so, a negative vote simply means "no, we're not obligated to tag them" but it doesn't mean "we cannot tag them". <continued> – Andres F. Jan 15 at 21:59
  • @Valorum <cont'd> Don't worry, I won't tag it and won't use this argument to tag it. But I wonder if the meta could be more clearly worded: "must" instead of "should", to make it clear it's not the alternative (and also valid) intepretation. I ask this because it never occurred to me that if we tagged this question [dune] we would be forced to tag every id question! – Andres F. Jan 15 at 22:00
  • @AndresF. - I think that policy shifts are generally accepted to apply on an ongoing basis. That allows us to change a policy without requiring someone to go back through every question that's ever been asked and re-apply the new policy. Over time the number of questions that remain untouched will diminish organically as people touch them – Valorum Jan 15 at 22:05
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We shouldn't.

For the same reason as we shouldn't edit the answer into any question once it's solved. For story-ID questions, the story title is part of the answer, not the question. Editing it into the question, even in the form of a tag, would make people do a quick double-take and think "why did they need to ask when the correct answer is already right there?" before they check the revision history.

Tags are meant to aid searchability, but someone looking for questions about story X isn't going to care about reading an ID question whose answer turned out to be X.

For a question to be useful for posterity, it should generally be such that it would still be a valid question if asked today in the same form it's in now. Including the answer in the question defeats that purpose, even if it's only done later. Leave the answer in the answer, please.

Copied from my answer to the same question on another site.

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    Thank you. This is pretty much what I wanted, was something we could point to as definitive rather than the edit back that occurred. – JohnP Jan 15 at 20:52
  • @JohnP It might, though, be a good idea not to accept so quickly. Ten minutes is hardly enough time for voting to stabilise. – Rand al'Thor Jan 15 at 21:01
  • @Randal'Thor Wouldn't you say tags will help searchability in this case, for someone looking to answer about heartplugs? (not id Dune, of course) – Andres F. Jan 15 at 21:26
  • @JohnP in my defense, the first edit was very poorly justified, by pointing to a forgotten meta of which one comment specifically said "this isn't the policy" :) – Andres F. Jan 15 at 21:27
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    @AndresF. in my defense, I wanted to provide a better explanation than "just look at those 7k solved but not work-tagged story-ids" :) guess I should've gonne for the longer edit reason - in any case, save for the "hybrid questions" stuff, the matter is on its way to being settled, so all is well that ends well :) – Jenayah Jan 15 at 21:35
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    As a note, it is possible that someone might validly tag their story-identification with an author tag from the start, say if I remember Mercedes Lackey as having a story about a woman who does ritual magic who has a parrot, but can't remember the title (incidentally, while I can't recall that title at the moment, it does have an answer). Some of the more prolific authors would be good fodder for that sort of practice. – FuzzyBoots Jan 16 at 21:16
  • Incidentally, I'm pretty sure I was thinking of The Wizard of London, which features a spirit-possessed parrot named Grey. – FuzzyBoots Jan 17 at 17:57
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Consensus I don't know, but there are:

If we start retagging with the work/author, that makes up for at least seven thousands question to retag. Back in 2011 (year of Should we tag (solved) story identification questions with the name of the author / property?) the numbers might have been moderate enough to justify it, but nowadays it's not consensus anymore, it's common sense.

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    More's the point, adding tags to story-ID makes the OP look like a moron. Why are they asking the question when they've already tagged the answer? – Valorum Jan 15 at 20:47
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    @Valorum completely agree with that. How baffled do you think I was when I spotted that one in the [dune] questions in the first place? – Jenayah Jan 15 at 20:48
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    For the record, the current score on the dupe is 11: "Don't do it" vs. 6: "Do it.". Not big numbers, but relatively decisive. – Valorum Jan 15 at 20:48
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    @JohnP I remembered and didn't want to go into an edit war, but in that case I'd say the habit kinda makes the policy... (on top of the very good words of Rand in his above answer) – Jenayah Jan 15 at 20:51
  • Agreed. That's why I did this (As I stated to Rand), a definitive no rather than a "Well, it's not accepted" back and forth. – JohnP Jan 15 at 20:54
  • @Valorum Makes the user look like a moron? Whaaaat? – Andres F. Jan 15 at 21:04
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    @AndresF. - Because why would they be asking someone to identify the story if they already knew the answer? Note that the overwhelming majority of site users don't know how to review the edit dialogue to see that the tag was added later. – Valorum Jan 15 at 21:05
  • @Valorum But the user didn't add the tag. I did. Why does this make the user look like a moron? I simply don't understand this reasoning, unless one is specifically looking to call people morons... :/ Note that Jenayah removed this tag 2 days ago, but it was from 2016. Did the OP feel like a moron all this years? – Andres F. Jan 15 at 21:10
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    @AndresF. - Because a casual user would see the story-ID question. Then see that the tag says [Dune], then question why OP was asking in the first place if they already knew the answer. – Valorum Jan 15 at 21:12
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    @AndresF. If I were a user unfamiliar with SE editing practices, and I saw a question tagged #dune asking to identify something which was clearly Dune, I'd probably think it was some sort of troll. Like the ID question we once had about Twilight which was a copy-paste of the Twilight Wikipedia page with the names removed. – Rand al'Thor Jan 15 at 21:13
  • @Valorum I tend not to think other users are morons, but whatever. – Andres F. Jan 15 at 21:20
  • @Randal'Thor Aren't new users more clearly identified now? In any case, this was Schrodinger's Cat, not a new user. He clearly wasn't offended, either. Why are we talking in hypotheticals? – Andres F. Jan 15 at 21:21
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    @AndresF. we need more people like you on the Internet, then. :) (I'm not being ironic). Unfortunately, not everyone thinks that way... – Jenayah Jan 15 at 21:22
  • @Jenayah Thanks. In any case, let me explain myself about the edits: I reverted yours because I disagreed with your link. I reverted Valorum's because he didn't provide a reason, and I didn't look at the comments :) Now that I see there's an explicit meta about this, I won't revert it anymore, even if I disagree with it. – Andres F. Jan 15 at 21:23
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I think re-tagging should be considered in a case by case scenario, and should primarily consider whether this makes the site better. So consider these two scenarios:

  • Is a pure "identify this story" question made better by adding the tag once the story is identified? I'd argue no -- nobody will find anything interesting to answer while searching for this tag since, by definition, pure identification questions have nothing else left to answer.

  • Is a "hybrid" id question that asks meaningful followup questions about the story (which only make sense once identified) helped by tagging? I'd argue yes, since people searching for this tag will find something meaningful to answer.

In the case of the question that prompted this discussion, and which has an answer by me which was accepted, people looking for [dune] can find it and disagree with my answer (for the heartplugs) and maybe provide a better one.

Will the original asker be helped or not if someone provides a better answer, one that not only ids the movie (which we're sure by now was Dune) but also provides a better answer to the question of why were the heartplugs used in the first place? I think yes.

There's another question here: should hybrid/multiple questions allowed? I think not, because they bring this kind of problems, but I also think there's a grey area. In this particular case, I tried to convert it to a single question by changing the title to focus it on the heartplugs, but someone (NOT the original asker!) disagreed with this and rolled back my edit.

I think the question should either be split into its two components, and the one about the heartplug clearly tagged with [dune], or this one re-framed to be about the heartplugs.

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    Having now read your answer: you do have a point about hybrid questions (I actually meant to mention earlier in comments that this particular question is an odd case). But I think the best solution is not to add a work tag on an even partially ID question, but to close hybrid questions as too broad unless one half is edited out. – Rand al'Thor Jan 15 at 21:27
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    Hybrid questions are quite rare, I think (honestly? I think that's even the first one I ever saw, and I read a lot of story-id Qs). I think, as you said, that the best course of action for that one would be to re-post the plugs part in a new QA, tagged [dune] and separate from the story-id part. This way everyone's happy, and [dune] searchers will see it. For what it's worth if that question was asked today (the plug question), I certainly wouldn't vote to close it as a dupe of the story-id one. – Jenayah Jan 15 at 21:33

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