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Editing a question on Movies & TV.SE, which was tagged (their equivalent of , I saw this awesome little reminder box pop up automatically, reminding OPs to include relevant information:

enter image description here

It asks for language, country of origin, and approximate year of release.

We frequently find ourselves leaving comments on Story ID questions here on SF&F, asking the OP about format, book cover designs, approximate time the OP read/watched the media in question, etc.

Shouldn't we save ourselves some hassle by adopting a similar tip box for all questions tagged ?

If M&TV did it, it should be relatively easy to follow suit.

SO has a similar feature:

enter image description here

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    I'd like this suggestion approximately a hundred billion percent more if the tip box could automatically suggest the story-id tag itself. Unfortunately I think the level of AI required is slightly beyond SO's resources right now – Jason Baker Nov 11 '15 at 22:21
  • @JasonBaker - There's an argument to be made that new users frequently ask a story ID question first, and as such, we should have some text appear under the tag bar asking "Are you trying to identify a story? Click here" by default for new users. But alas, that is a suggestion for another meta question. – Wad Cheber Nov 11 '15 at 22:24
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    Related meta question that sparked the referenced implementation (and has links to the SO precedent without which it would probably not have been feasible at all): meta.movies.stackexchange.com/q/1419/49 – TARS Nov 11 '15 at 22:25
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    Note however, that M&TV's implementation is by far not perfect, it isn't configurable at all without involvement of SE übermods and it only shows when the tag edit box looses focus (which often happens right when clicking "Post Your Question"). And as Jason remarks, it of course requires the correct tag in the first place, but that is likely not circumventable. – TARS Nov 11 '15 at 22:27
  • @TARS - Imperfect is far preferable to what we have now (i.e., nothing). – Wad Cheber Nov 11 '15 at 22:28
  • @WadCheber Well, you also aren't literally plagued by those question, so I wouldn't say it's that urgent. But sure, it's a nice thing. – TARS Nov 11 '15 at 22:29
  • @TARS - I actually can't tell if you were being facetious. Story ID is by far our most commonly used tag, twice as common as the #2 tag. We tend to get decent Story ID questions, and I understand that's not really true of M&TV's ID questions, but we certainly get a crap ton of them. More than twice as many as M&TV, in fact (5286 vs. 2402). But of course, we have more questions overall than M&TV, for reasons I don't fully understand. – Wad Cheber Nov 11 '15 at 22:34
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    @WadCheber Well, at least not facetious regarding the fact that M&TV indeed seems to be plagued by those questions while this site doesn't seem to. If I have overestimated the quality or underestimated the amount of ID questions on this site here, then I might simply be wrong with that above statement, but that was then rather unintentional. – TARS Nov 11 '15 at 22:38
  • @TARS - No, we have often discussed in chat the peculiar fact that other SE sites have problems with low quality ID questions, but ours are almost always decent or at least salvageable. The best theory (in my opinion) for explaining it is that the things people usually remember about a sci fi story are also the things that make the story unique and memorable. That makes it easier to identify such stories. The same dynamic doesn't necessarily apply to movies and television shows, or whatever else. – Wad Cheber Nov 12 '15 at 2:52
  • @TARS - So we get more ID questions than you, but they are usually better (i.e., easier to answer) than the ones you get, and because we have more questions overall than you, our story ID questions make up a smaller percentage of our questions than is the case on M&TV. – Wad Cheber Nov 12 '15 at 2:53
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    I wouldn't have thought that "the things people usually remember about a . . . story are also the things that make the story . . . memorable" is peculiar to sci-fi stories. – user14111 Nov 12 '15 at 5:03
  • @user14111 - The conceits are. A wizard who has to destroy a ring, a boy trying to redeem his father who has become a monstrous henchman to an evil Emperor, etc. Compared to other kinds of stories, the details of sci fi are unique to a degree even when they bear similarities to other works. Being memorable to me doesn't always mean it's memorable to you, but "father son laser sword fight" is pretty easy to identify. You deliberately omitted my use of the words "unique and" before "memorable" because you wanted to play gotcha. That means you understand the point. – Wad Cheber Nov 12 '15 at 5:22
  • @user14111 - In any case, not my idea, I'm just paraphrasing it. meta.scifi.stackexchange.com/a/7116/44025 – Wad Cheber Nov 12 '15 at 5:23
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    No, I didn't get your point till later. I'm not that smart. I'm so dumb that when I saw the title of your question, I thought a "tip box" would be an arrangement where the guy whose story ID question gets answered can donate a dollar to the guy who answered it. – user14111 Nov 12 '15 at 7:59
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    @TARS You might find this interesting (inspired by Napoleon's very similar post on M&TV Meta) – Jason Baker Nov 12 '15 at 23:19
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Yes, we should implement this.

The specific contents can be decided on in a separate question, but this would help. If nothing else, it would help establish guidelines for asking story ID questions.

Also, if tip boxes can be added to be shown by all tags, we could add one that instructs users to add if they have a story ID question, if that tag isn't already on the question.


Perhaps the larger franchises could benefit from tip boxes as well, instructing people to use both the main franchise tag and the specific work tag (for instance and ), or other pointers for that franchise, but again, that's something for another question.

  • You may want to note that having this box doesn't seem to have helped the mod team on Movies.SE achieve what they consider an acceptable level of quality on Story-ID questions. – Valorum Aug 15 '16 at 12:01
  • @Valorum True, but it doesn't hurt to try. Like I said, it will at least establish guidelines for Story ID questions. – SQB Aug 15 '16 at 12:13
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    I'm not entirely convinced that we have a big enough problem to merit doing something about it. – Valorum Aug 15 '16 at 13:04
  • I believe that our story-identification questions are of a consistently high quality compared to many other sites. I doubt this will increase the quality much, but it might save me and others a lot of comments asking people to add pertinent details. So, +1. – Adamant Aug 15 '16 at 21:17
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    I'm with @Valorum here. We don't have that much of a quality problem in story-ID questions (especially compared to other sites), and adding a tip box probably wouldn't do much to fix it. Adding the occasional comment to ask for more detail isn't too much hassle, especially now that we have this thread to help with crafting those comments. – Rand al'Thor Aug 15 '16 at 23:41

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