Most story identification questions are easy to vote on, if you think it's well written, not obvious and deserving of an answer it probably deserves an upvote.

The answers however are much harder for me to vote on. How do I know if the answer is 'useful' unless I know it's correct? I feel I either 'guess' at whether the answer is correct and hope I'm right. Or I hold off voting till it's accepted then try and pile on votes to reward the answerer.

I'm not sure if either of those is beneficial to stack exchange.


3 Answers 3


My voting policy for Story ID answers varies depending on the quality of the question.

For questions that deserve an upvote (sufficient detail, interesting description), I upvote an answer if it is indicated as the correct one, or if it is for an incorrect answer that matches exactly all of the information provided by the question (i.e. the question, while still detailed, is worded in such a way as to allow for multiple "correct" answers, only one of which would be the one the OP is looking for). This is to reward people who put the time into checking the details of the question against their memories and/or research on the topic.

If you are answering, and 3 of the 4 criteria match what was described in the question, but the 4th criteria clearly does not match your recommendation, then you get no upvote from me.

However... if the question is poorly formed, and does not deserve an upvote (does not provide enough information, or is such a generic description that it could be any number of fairly populat stories), I am more inclined to vote for answers that make an honest attempt to answer the question, while providing suggestions that seem particularly interesting.

Given multiple valid answers identifying the same title, I'll upvote the one that provides the most useful information.


I don't vote on answers that I don't know are correct. I think if the purpose of Stack Exchange is to provide quality "expert" answers, then it's important to vote judiciously. The answer should earn your vote. I'm curious as to why you would vote on an answer or subject you know you know too little about to make a discerning and correct decision? Not judging -- just curious.

  • If I guess, it's usually an informed guess, but more often than not I don't.
    – AncientSwordRage Mod
    Apr 29, 2012 at 11:01
  • You don't upvote answers that contain relevant and useful information, if if they dont quite answer the question? I always do. Apr 29, 2012 at 12:09
  • I think upvoting criteria and reasoning varies person to person. There is always value in useful and relevant information. Apr 29, 2012 at 15:24
  • 3
    Your approach has a problem: Story identification questions remain unanswered really often. So people who invest time and try to answer the question should be rewarded. If all you can expect is a potential accept, why bother?
    – bitmask
    Apr 29, 2012 at 16:06
  • 1
    My approach doesn't have a problem. It's perfectly valid. It's also perfectly valid for someone to take a different approach. I don't think everyone who plays at SFF or SE in general has the exact same motives or derives satisfaction in the same way. You say Why bother? Well, I might bother because it interests me. There's nothing problematic or wrong about that. I don't agree that anyone's entitled to a reward for meeting the basic expectations of the site. Apr 29, 2012 at 17:52

I agree with your criteria for upvoting questions:

Most story identification questions are easy to vote on, if you think it's well written, not obvious and deserving of an answer it probably deserves an upvote.

For answers, I wait for confirmation from the one who asked the question that it was the story they were looking for, either in a comment or an accept.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .