As one of the site's top answerers of story-identification questions, I'd like to offer the following suggestions to anyone thinking of posting a question in this tag:
No detail is too insignificant. You might think it's ever so obvious that your characters are white or teenagers or whatever, but you still need to tell us. If you don't tell us, we don't ...
A couple of weeks ago someone asked the same in chat, and I gave some tips (see transcript). I'll try to whip that up into a more or less clear guide below. Still in writing.
Disclaimer: all examples will be answers of mine, as obviously they're the ones I know best. Sorry if it looks like I'm showing off - this is not the intention.
Learn the way ...
Questions must have as much detail as possible, including, but not limited to:
Media (short story collection, magazine, novel, TV, film, animated, website) Was it part of a series?
Original year of publication/airing, or at least when you read/saw this work of fiction. "Read when I was a child" is not as useful as "Read when I was a child (early 1980s)". ...
They should be allowed.
As long as it's SFF, it's fine.
We are a site about science fiction and fantasy. And, let's face it... there are very often explicit scenes in SFF. And sometimes there is a book that is erotica that is a SFF story. It is about SFF, so that's one point in its favor.
It's been mentioned that it could potentially ...
If a question is overtly offensive, it should be flagged as such.
Gratuitous NSFW pictures, links to porn, unnecessarily graphic language ... all of these are at best things to be edited out of a question immediately, and at worst might be forms of trolling. These are the kinds of thing which really need to be off our site. I know nobody will disagree with ...
With gratitude to Hakase's answer on Meta.Anime
In addition to the elements we've already discussed in How to ask a good story-ID question?, anime- and manga-specific questions that the poster could identify include:
What type of anime was it?
Did it feel like a feature film, a made-for-tv film (commonly known as an OVA) or was it a TV series or a ...
story-identification questions should only be closed as duplicates where both answers are accepted, regardless of the similarity between them. (If the OP posts a "yes this is it" comment, that's as good as an acceptance.)
Simple, easy to administer.
Ask them as often as you want. Asking a high volume of good quality questions is not only allowed but encouraged. Good content is what these sites thrive on.
However, you may want to slow down your pace, for a couple of reasons:
If you ask too many too fast, some of them may get lost in the shuffle. After seeing 5 or 6 of them, users may decide they've ...
As long as there was a consistent science fiction theme throughout, these books would be perfectly well on topic.
We've had other questions about puzzle books (typically of the CYOA variety) as well as scifi artbooks and the community seems broadly happy with them.
The user who asked the question should be encouraged to accept the correct answer
If the user who asked the question accepts the correct answer then no notice on your incorrect answer is necessary. A moderator has already encouraged the asker to accept the correct answer in this case. Other users have done so as well.
However, the asker may still choose to ...
It's not bad form.
You should absolutely feel free to cross-post your story-id question to as many sites as possible, with the exception of posting it elsewhere within the Stack Exchange Network.
Good form would be, if you were to find the answer elsewhere, to return and self-answer (and self-accept) so we know that you found it.
You might also want to ...
No, we should not care.
There's no real limit to the number of unresolved questions we can keep lying around. These are not bad questions, and their presence does not harm the site. If we do the same search on Stack Overflow with the popular [java] tag, and again without the date range, we can see that their ratio has gotten all the way up to 94%, and ...
Because, more rep These questions are fine and totally on-topic. In fact, we've had some good ones too:
B-Movie. Spaceship uses chickens as a power-source. Planets shaped like butts
sci-fi book where kids are sent on a suicide mission to a black hole?
Book ID: Girl who steals magic from her reflections
Does anyone know what this fantasy script is from?
I don't see any need for new rules/procedures, the generally-accepted guidance from meta.SE is that if you see an answer posted in comments, it's fair game to "steal" it and post it yourself.
e.g. Should old questions with a solution in the comments but no posted answer be answered?
Here's a similar question on ServerFault, where Jeff Atwood weighed in ...
If only one question has a known correct answer, then we should leave the other open.
My response to the suggestion that we close ‘obvious’ story ID dupes has always boiled down to “Okay, but why?”. We have a slightly tidier site, but that seems to be about it. By contrast, there are several reasons not to do it:
If we’re wrong, we’ve just annoyed the OP.
Information added to a story ID question by another user may change the meaning of the question because the other user (editor) may be recalling a similar but different story. According to the help center's information on editing, this is not the proper use of the editing privilege (emphasis added):
When should I edit posts?
Any time you feel you can make ...
All of the questions below meet our main criteria for an acceptable migration candidate;
That there's discernible SF/F content
That they're uniquely identifiable
You weren't grilled harshly, you were asked to provide some basic information we generally ask of all story-identification requests. If you don't believe me, go through that tag and look at the comments on the questions.
While you painted a very vivid scene that proved to be enough to identify it, we get a lot of questions looking to identify a book, film, ...
The simple answer to why they get so many upvotes is that they're correct. These upvotes are usually either from people who agree with the identification, or who come in after the OP has accepted it.
They may not be very good answers by the standards we try to encourage here, but they did help the OP with his question, which is not an insignificant metric. ...
As one of the site's top answerers of story-identification questions (by volume), I tend to follow a very simple process when answering.
Indicate the name of the film
Indicate the year of the film (if needed)
Link the name of the film to IMDB (or another reliable source of information such as Rotten Tomatoes)
Include a brief synopsis of the film,...
On top of Valorum's list, it is also helpful to describe the relationship between the fic and the original:
Tone and narrative voice - Is the fic written in the same overall style? For example, A Song of Ice and Fire is known for killing off characters, while Wall-E is not. Does the fic observe similar practices to the original in this and other ways?
Same as always (though I don't remember the exact meta at the time).
If you're positive it has sci-fi/fantasy elements, and can provide them, sure, it's on topic;
If you can't remember its SFF parts but are dead positive it had some, then it's on-topic (although you'll likely get close votes), per the votes on the answers to Is a story identification ...
Looks like it. The previous record was about 7 years.
Short story about two brothers leading an expedition to the prehistoric past, one (Orren? Owen?) is killed and erased from history
Our overall record of over 8 years hasn't been broken, though.
What evidence supposedly supports Tau as related to the Necrontyr?
Here's the top 15 at the time of answering (...
Short version: Yes it's OK.
Long version - On top of being explicitly encouraged in site rules, there are TONS of highly-voted and un-closed questions like this.
See this DataExplorer query:
There were 95 questions that were story-...
You should definitely include spoilers. The two biggest reasons that I can think of are:
The spoilers or plot twists are usually very memorable if done well. This means that the spoiler or plot twists are more likely to lead to a correct identification. I'm not an expert on the work you give in your example. When I read the first description It wasn't clear ...
For the same reason as we shouldn't edit the answer into any question once it's solved. For story-ID questions, the story title is part of the answer, not the question. Editing it into the question, even in the form of a tag, would make people do a quick double-take and think "why did they need to ask when the correct answer is already right ...
I'll post my answer in the form of a question: I have to question what makes a story ID question a duplicate? Is it the answer? I ask because the name of a book could be the answer to several different questions. Just because the answer is the same doesn't mean the questions were. It's a slippery slope.
We typically don't like it when an edit invalidates existing answers. But your question doesn't have any existing answers, so this is pretty straightforward. I would recommend the following:
Edit the elements of the unknown story out of the question
Answer the question with the story you know, and accept the answer.
Post a second story-id question with the ...