So basically, there was this one movie I was remembering from a long time ago. After searching on several search engine, I was able to find it again.

Right after, I decided to search the title of the movie on Science Fiction & Fantasy to check if it was already asked and answered, and it did.

What makes me want to ask my own question is the fact that I seemed to remember many more scenes than the existing question, which could help anyone who know it to recognise it more easily. But since it's not my question, it's just not right to edit in the stuffs I remember, into their question (after all, they didn't remember all that stuffs).

However, at the same time, I don't think it's a good idea either, because the purpose of Story ID questions isn't to make an octopus of connected question all converging toward the same thing (I mean, we're neither on TvTropes nor Wikipedia).

I'm thinking it's definitely a bad idea, but I still wanted to ask on Meta to be 100% sure about it.

  • 2
    – TheLethalCarrot Mod
    Commented Apr 6, 2021 at 8:54
  • 2
    – TheLethalCarrot Mod
    Commented Apr 6, 2021 at 8:54
  • @TheLethalCarrot Thanks, I really should improve my skills at searching (Meta) questions.
    – Clockwork
    Commented Apr 6, 2021 at 8:58
  • 2
    – TheLethalCarrot Mod
    Commented Apr 6, 2021 at 9:02
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    It helps when you've seen the discussions in the past. I remembered them so knew sort of what to search for.
    – TheLethalCarrot Mod
    Commented Apr 6, 2021 at 9:03
  • @TheLethalCarrot Still, for my case, I was thinking about asking and marking it as duplicate right away (without answering it).
    – Clockwork
    Commented Apr 6, 2021 at 9:05
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    I think it's up to you really, you know the answer now and think you can provide more information... that's what a good duplicate does. It's up to you whether you want to ask and self answer and then VTC or just ask and VTC. I don't suppose it matters, as long as the answer isn't in the question itself. If you're "manufacturing" the question i.e. adding details you now know but didn't before then it becomes a bit more iffy in my opinion and that would belong in a self answer.
    – TheLethalCarrot Mod
    Commented Apr 6, 2021 at 9:10
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    If the question is incomplete, I am all for someone modifying their question to include further (correct) details from another question, or even writing a new one and self-answering either so that we have complete details, or to provide the accepted answer.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Apr 11, 2021 at 15:28

1 Answer 1


Maybe. It all depends.

Scenario A:

You write a question that describes scene #1, then flag it as a dupe of an existing question. You write another question that describes scene #2, and flag it as a dupe. Repeat for every scene in the entire story.

Don't do that. It should be fairly obvious, but this is a straightforward abuse of the system. Having lots of different questions about the same story is simply not very useful, and it may distract people who are looking for other stories that happen to have similar events.

Scenario B:

You see an already-answered question which is really vague. It describes the story in the simplest terms and barely gives enough information to go on. There are a good half-dozen answers, all pointing to different stories, and all upvoted to some degree.

This is surprisingly common. Quite a lot of story ID questions, especially older questions, are just not specific enough to uniquely identify a single story. Unfortunately, you can't edit the question to make it more specific, because that would invalidate upvoted answers (which is generally frowned upon). So asking a separate dupe may be the only way of getting this information into the system. In that case, I'm not sure it should be characterized as abusive per se, but you should definitely make sure that your question is very well-written and detailed. It's probably also a good idea to provide a high-quality canonical answer at the same time, especially if the original question's answers are basically just a bunch of "Is it [Title]? How about [Other Title]?" one-liners. Then you can dupe the old question against the new question instead, because the new question will be superior.

Still, deliberately asking dupes is not something you should be making a habit of doing. The system doesn't like it when you have a lot of closed questions, and (in general) you can get question banned for it (but I'm not 100% sure if that applies to duplicates in particular). Regardless of particulars, asking and answering new questions is on the whole a more helpful and productive activity, and will likely earn you more rep in the long run.

Another consideration is how many other people are asking about it. To borrow the words of Isaac Asimov:

Then, too, it has had the strangest effect on my readers. Frequently someone writes to ask me if I can give them the name of a story, which they think I may have written, and tell them where to find it. They don't remember the title but when they describe the story it is invariably 'The Last Question'. This has reached the point where I recently received a long-distance phone call from a desperate man who began, "Dr. Asimov, there's a story I think you wrote, whose title I can't remember—" at which point I interrupted to tell him it was 'The Last Question' and when I described the plot it proved to be indeed the story he was after. I left him convinced I could read minds at a distance of a thousand miles.

For some reason, some stories are just more memorable than others. They stick in our heads, and turn into Story ID questions. If a story is highly memorable, it's likely that other people will have written other Story ID questions about it. You should go looking for those questions, and if they already have the relevant details, then obviously you should not post another dupe with the same information (but you may be able to post a high-quality answer, if the question doesn't yet have one).

  • This does make me wonder. There is one question, describing mostly the final scene and a few other details (some of which I didn't remember), only one accepted answer, with keywords to find it easily on Google based on the description of the final scene (i practically found it myself the same way). But people who remember the other scenes, which I do, wouldn't be able to find it that way. Plus, I saw it in a different language than the original one (and the title was difficult to find in the other language, so I wanted to add it in too).
    – Clockwork
    Commented Apr 16, 2021 at 8:05

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