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The way I've always viewed story identification questions is finding the stories that left details in mind and yet the title has slipped and simple google is not helpful. These usually have the "a-ha!" moment, where additional details from an answer make the asker see that it indeed is what he was looking for. However today a question like that arrived:

Books similar to The Lord of the Rings: dark elves, different gods, Thommas, red-haired woman

In it, in quite nice detail, OP asks about a story two other people were talking about. In other words, no matter how good of an answer might come, there is no fair way to accept any answer, seeing as any additional detail can't possibly help in recognition what they were really talking about.

Is this a proper story identification question?

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Yes, it's fine.

Good answers explain themselves. Often our story ID answers omit this bit, but that's a fault of existing answers, not a justification for future ones. A good answer to this question will carefully justify itself, talking through the querent's points and explaining how the suggested story meets those points.

This lets voters make informed voting decisions, so that likely answers float to the top and unlikely ones go to the bottom. That's what's important.

Frankly, Stack Exchange doesn't put a lot of stock in answer acceptance. Acceptance means the answer was useful to one single person, but questions and answers on the Stack are for everyone, not just the original querent. We don't track "accepted answer" metrics. We don't remove or obscure unaccepted answers. And we've got a badge for giving a super-upvoted answer when another answer gets accepted. Stack Exchange is most interested in the groupmind evaluation (through voting) of answers. If the question gives enough info for informed voting on whether an answer is clear, thoughtful, and useful, that's awesome.

Besides: We should not presume to tell a querent that they won't know the answer to their own question when they see it.

  • 1
    I wonder if the OP specifically left this answer unaccepted :-) – k_g Mar 3 '15 at 22:59

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