The reason I say this is that story-id questions seem to frequently make the hot network questions list and closing them rips them back off the HNQ again. If someone has put a lot of effort into identifying a story it seems mean to deny them their place in the sun (and the upvotes that come with it).

I'm not suggesting we don't close story-id questions as duplicates, just that we could leave it 24 or 48 hours after the answer is accepted to give it time to get some love.

  • 1
    Disregarding the question if closing ID questions as duplicates makes sense in the first place, no question or user has a right for HNQ attention, especially not if the question ought otherwise closed. It's a gift given if you're lucky and the stars are aligned, not something to actively strive for, let alone something anyone is remotely entitled to.
    – TARS
    Nov 10, 2020 at 15:16
  • 1
    @TARS the site benefits from HNQ as well, and users across the network benefit from hearing about this site and perhaps joining in and participating. Perhaps focus more on the users' rights and less on the question's rights?
    – uhoh
    Nov 17, 2020 at 10:51

3 Answers 3


Story-ID duplicates should be closed (duped) as soon as they're confirmed to be duplicates. That is the way the site works across the entire network and is the way it should be here. We certainly shouldn't be creating arbitrary rules to leave them open for x hours before we close them.

Note that people aren't posting Story-ID questions to earn rep, they're posting them to get an answer to their question.

  • "the way it works" & the way it is used are not synonymous. There's nothing fundamental about SE that requires "as soon as" that spans "across the entire network". You have plenty of insta-closers here but in slower question rate sites it's often much more productive to take it slow and simply help the OP to improve the question without laborious and delaying close voting and reopen voting processes Closing blocks answers and the delay prevents authors.
    – uhoh
    Nov 17, 2020 at 9:29
  • There certainly may (or may not) be a need for insta-closing here, but it is absolutely false that this "as soon as" concept is applied "across the entire network" the same way that it is in the high question-rate sites. Every site is not just another adaptation of Stack Overflow.
    – uhoh
    Nov 17, 2020 at 9:31
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    @uhoh On a normal question I see your point (and I understand what you're getting at generally) but it doesn't apply to the case of story id questions where we don't want anymore answers once the work is found and the question can't be edited into a state where it will be reopened.
    – TheLethalCarrot Mod
    Nov 17, 2020 at 9:56

I wonder if we are a bit too quick to close story-id questions with accepted answers as duplicates

Yes, that might be so, but there are some challenges to doing what you propose...

I have often thought that to reduce the existential tension between a question that "feels like it needs to be closed" and the need for a community to work together to optimize the outcome, the quality of the answers and their findability in the future, an modification of the close process could be considered in the future.

...just that we could leave it 24 or 48 hours after the answer is accepted to give it time to get some love.

I'll give a couple of concrete examples of community-based love-giving to questions that probably needed to be closed, but benefited from a delayed closing in order for at least several answers to be posted. They are in a high question-rate site, but one where questions are given not only love but significant respect.

There could be several other reasons why an inevitable, but delayed close would have some advantages when applied to a question that isn't bad, but for some reason shouldn't be left open forever, and besides allowing for the possibility of a few more answers is of course longevity on the HNQ.

I think that sometimes the urgency to insta-close stems from a mistrust of the community. "I know this question must not be answered, so I must make all possible haste to prevent the posting of answers".

Perhaps a 24 hour or 4 our delayed close could be in Stack Exchange's future. I'm not up to proposing it as a feature request certainly, but in the quieter and/or more evolved communities it could certainly come in handy.

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    This is an interesting thought and something that might make sense in the general case (though even then duplicates at least should likely be excluded from it). However, as I commented above to you it doesn't make sense to the case being spoken about here: story id questions.
    – TheLethalCarrot Mod
    Nov 17, 2020 at 9:57
  • I believe I've interpreted your answer correctly. I'm saying keeping story identification questions open for longer than necessary isn't beneficial and in some cases can be harmful. I am disagreeing with the OP, in the case of story identification questions as is the scope here, in that keeping them open for an arbitrarily length of time for questionable reasons isn't the correct thing to do.
    – TheLethalCarrot Mod
    Nov 17, 2020 at 10:50
  • @TheLethalCarrot ya you do I"m catching up now. I'd deleted my comments.
    – uhoh
    Nov 17, 2020 at 10:53
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    That Sesame Street question would be fine on SFF if it was asked here
    – Valorum
    Nov 17, 2020 at 16:07

We should almost never close a story-id question as a duplicate.

Stack Exchange sites are searchable. They archive answered questions forever, so that other people who find it can learn from the answers. We don't delete or close questions just because they're answered. We leave them open just in case someone can add a different answer.

This applies to identification questions as well. If someone posts a good answer to a story-identification question, we don't delete the answer just because the original poster of the question confirms that it's not the work that they're looking for. We leave the answer visible because it may help someone else find that work by a keyword search.

This also applies if someone posts an answer after the original poster accepts an answer to confirm that he found what they were looking for. There's no reason to distinguish depending on how fast the answer was posted. Closing the identification question as a duplicate denies the opportunity that someone posts an answer that helps someone other than the original poster.

I believe the current practice for marking identification questions is arbitrary and harmful. The main reason why it's happening is because “that's how we were always doing it”.

I wish we could find a way to break out of that habit. To do this, we need to gather consensus on meta, then reopen every identification question that was marked duplicate but isn't deleted.

  • 3
    You seem to have entirely misunderstood the point of closing as a duplicate.
    – Valorum
    Nov 9, 2020 at 0:37

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