So as a new user, I'm trying to find a balance between supplying useful answers, getting help that I need, and also trying to raise my reputation at the same time.

A really bad experience, and a really incredibly "good" experience, today has led me to believe that the ranking or reputation system for Stack Exchange in general, while it's needed and provides that anti-Yahoo Answers community, is keeping some other users down. For instance, any issues we may have with the community (such as this post), we could certainly talk about it in a blog, but we don't have the rep for doing that.

My bad experience today was asking a simple Identify this movie question in the Movies Exchange. Although there is a meta question about what makes such questions good or bad, there seems to be this grey line. Apparently, we should be spending our time searching on other sites rather than ask the community what kind of movie we're looking for, says one of the answers to this meta question. However, given my question, I tried to find my movie online afterwards and couldn't get a result. So while we could spend our time on Google looking for our movie, I believe the point of the community is to help give members the answers (and the first answer was what I was looking for). Thus, because of my "lack of details" and the supposed belief that I could simply look on Google, my answer got downvoted to the point where I lost all my rep on the Movies Exchange. Call it a personal problem, but moderators (and I've noticed this in the Sci-fi section as well) are (my opinion, but there may be other reasons) either very picky or very lazy to edit/correct posts, and just downvote or close or put the questions on hold.

My "good" experience was simply working on Stack Overflow. I find it incredibly easy to gain reputation simply by editing posts, particular those with bad grammar. While this seems "great", we know many of these edits may not have been necessary.

So what is the point of reputation if I can exploit certain parts so easily and yet it seems like a waste of time to do (given the amount of downvoting due to lack of moderation)?

  • 3
    I don't understand given the amount of downvoting due to lack of moderation. Isn't down voting a form of moderation?
    – rene
    Jun 29, 2016 at 16:56
  • 6
    It isn't moderators who are downvoting your question. Or rather, it could be, but the question has four downvotes and there are only three moderators on Movies.SE.
    – mmyers
    Jun 29, 2016 at 16:57
  • 6
    I can't say you should really be too broken up about a movie identification request. A lot of users on that site don't like them at all and think they should be off-topic, and I'm sure their "grey lines" are in a much different place than other users' grey lines. But ultimately, asking one there is going to lead to downvotes simply because some users don't like seeing them.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Jun 29, 2016 at 17:00
  • @rene it's the lack of good moderation in my case. I suggest reading through the meta question. Jun 29, 2016 at 17:01
  • @animuson I understand that people may have different definitions of what a good movie ID question is. Perhaps we should create a similar Exchange just for movie/TV show/book ID? Jun 29, 2016 at 17:02
  • 4
    Everything aside, how on earth did you post to Meta.SE without an association bonus?
    – SE is dead
    Jun 29, 2016 at 17:03
  • 1
    Also @animuson if another Exchange is a bad idea, then people who are downvoting simply because it's another ID question should just not downvote. I mean, there are people there who are answering those ID questions, willing to help out. If other people don't want to contribute, then they shouldn't feel compelled to. Jun 29, 2016 at 17:04
  • 7
    @ragingasiancoder Those questions are generally off-topic on our network. Movies & TV is actually one of the very few sites that does allow identification requests, and even a large portion of their community wants them to go away. Experience has shown that these types of questions just don't work well on our sites. In fact, Anime SE (another site which allowed them) just recently banned and closed them all. To be fair though, they are using downvotes legitimately. These users don't believe the questions are useful to the community, which is exactly what the downvote is for.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Jun 29, 2016 at 17:05
  • 1
    For all categories, no. Because our sites need to have a focused topic. There have been several recommendation proposals lately, but most of them end up dying because there's not enough interest in the first place. I don't imagine identification proposals would fare much better.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Jun 29, 2016 at 17:14
  • 2
    @dorukayhan I think that Meta is just like a regular site - users with 1 rep can post. I think that they can even comment.
    – Mithical
    Jun 29, 2016 at 17:21
  • 2
    The minimum rep level of 1 was just lifted @dorukayhan
    – rene
    Jun 29, 2016 at 17:26
  • 1
    As a note, there are several non-SE sites utterly dedicated to movie ID questions. If you're disappointed in your reception on M&TV, perhaps consider getting help on a site where all they do is movie ID.
    – Catija
    Jun 29, 2016 at 23:07
  • 2
    There are many ID with 3+ upvotes in latest lot, so it's not about downvoting ID but details lacking ID. And people do upvoted improved stuff, so all stakes not lost. Jun 30, 2016 at 6:48
  • 2
    I really don't understand the 'bad experience' part. Surely it's best to read a community's FAQ and guidelines before posting. How is Movies&TV.SE any different?
    – Walt
    Jun 30, 2016 at 9:03
  • 2
    Your ID question fit none of the criteria for a good on topic well received ID this question.. so.. reap what you sow
    – Insane
    Jun 30, 2016 at 20:36

4 Answers 4


To be clear, id-this questions DO NOT require you to spend ANY time searching other sites. They do require you to provide enough details for people to actually identify the movie and to choose a title other than "help me remember the name of this movie." Your first draft was far too terse and didn't actually even ask a question. So people downvoted it. Perhaps because that site doesn't know how it feels about id-this questions you got more downvotes than a poorly worded question about Game of Thrones death counts would have, but that's really neither here nor there. When you don't know how a site works, it's easy to lose a ton of rep. You can get it back by fixing the question so it earns upvotes, or by deleting it - but do that with great care, or you might get question-banned.

You seem worried about the exploit of getting rep on StackOverflow by editing - this is no exploit, it's gamification. You're reading dozens of posts, along with looking at their comments and their vote counts, and learning what belongs and doesn't belong on the site. You're also making the site better by fixing hard-to-read grammar, spelling, and punctuation. So you get rep, which you deserve. Yet when you go to another site, where you don't really know what belongs, you stumble. It's a really common occurrence. It doesn't mean reputation is broken. In fact, it proves that rep really means something.

  • 1
    There are tons of ID questions that are easily answerable but some unnamed people whine that it's still not good enough and will close and down vote them regardless of having a good, accepted answer at the time.
    – cde
    Jun 30, 2016 at 4:03
  • 4
    @cde answerability != quality Jun 30, 2016 at 6:36
  • 3
    @cde even if you are correct, this doesn't mean the reputation system on stack exchange is broken. The fate of id-this questions is a subject for the Movies and TV meta, wouldn't you say? And just because something has an answer does not mean that it's a good question. That's true throughout all the stack exchange sites. Jun 30, 2016 at 12:28

I'd like to look at one particular aspect of your post:

Call it a personal problem, but moderators (and I've noticed this in the Sci-fi section as well) are (my opinion, but there may be other reasons) either very picky or very lazy to edit/correct posts, and just downvote or close or put the questions on hold.

It seems that you want editors to fix problems in your questions for you. They certainly can - they've earned that privilege - but they aren't obligated to. Yes, it's very nice when high-rep users help new users by editing new posts into shape, but they don't always do that because they don't have a duty to repair other people's content. There's only one person with a duty to make sure your content is high-quality, and that person is you.

You've also said this:

I find it incredibly easy to gain reputation simply by editing posts, particular those with bad grammar.

When you fix other people's content for them, you're helping them, and you're earning trust. Congratulations, that's a good thing! Yet you're not obligated to fix every single post with bad grammar, and I'm sure you've looked at some and decided to let them fall. It's your choice.

  • 1
    To add to this, others don't always have the time to fix posts that aren't theirs. If they had an obligation to fix every post they saw, they'd have no time to help the users who have asked high quality questions in the first place.
    – Tim Malone
    Jun 29, 2016 at 22:28
  • I laughed when I read you're not obligated to fix every single post with bad grammar. @TimMalone said it: there is so much poor grammar (on SO) that the idea of one person editing it all is crazy. Especially when the review queue can only hold 200 suggested edits at once.
    – Laurel
    Jun 30, 2016 at 0:35

Your question was closed and downvoted. Part of that close reason includes a link to the M&TV "on topic" page with a note to review the site's policy for quality in ID question asking.

"Identification questions must contain sufficient detail to meet the site's quality standards and should not be about a commercial or music video. For help writing a good identification question, see: Identify-This-X Questions."

As a site, we have made an effort to help users create the best possible ID questions so that the question can remain on the site. If it fails to meet these guidelines, the question is closed. The requirements are:

Identification questions are currently on-topic for this site with the exception of commercials and music videos. Please try to show effort and give as much detail as possible:

  • Plot details of any scenes you remember
  • Descriptions of any characters or locations
  • Where you watched the movie or TV show
  • When you watched the movie or TV show
  • Any idea of how old it was
  • Any idea of country of origin (if known)
  • Whether it was animated or not
  • Any other distinctive detail

Also try to give the question a meaningful title that already includes key identifying details (e.g. description of a character, setting or plot) and avoid generic titles like "name of horror movie". See this question to get a feel of what we expect from a well rounded Identify-This-* question.

Here is the content of your question:

I am looking for the title of a movie that follows a group of people in the desert, looking for something. They come upon some jewels with bugs inside, and the bugs break out and start devouring the people.

Out of the eight bullet points above, only the first (and possibly last) are covered in this question. If you edit your question to include these details, it is likely to be reopened and possibly upvoted... and if you can't remember some of them, even noting that you're not sure about them shows us that you've reviewed the guidelines and tried your best.

You seem to expect the users of M&TV to do the work of editing your question for you... which was done... but with an ID question, all we can do is make the question look pretty. We can't intuit the rest of the required info from your head.

Please note, that getting a correct answer does not mean that your question had sufficient detail to remain open.

I'm not really sure, considering all of this help that is available to you on M&TV and was given to you when your answer was closed, why you believe that the users of that site (of which I am one) are the ones at fault here.

We have done our best to help you succeed. We can not fix your question - you must do that yourself.


the ranking or reputation system for Stack Exchange in general, while it's needed and provides that anti-Yahoo Answers community, is keeping some other users down.

That's because the exact point of reputation is this: To benefit from all features of Stack Exchange, you must first prove yourself as a literate user who cares about the site and composes good questions & answers. Those with low rep are basically those who didn't prove themselves... yet!

Most users with 2000+ rep are great examples of "proving yourself".

we know many of these edits [that somewhat improve bad grammar] may not have been necessary.

If your edit will improve anything (no matter what), JUST DO IT! Make your dreams helpful edits come true!

  • Let me clarify. I cannot participate in blog pages or even commenting on other people's posts to offer my insight, solely because one question dropped me back to 1 rep. In my beginning days on SE (more specifically SO), I didn't feel like my insight was 100% worthy of an answer, but I couldn't comment on the question or other people's posts. So I had to answer, which leaves me with the debacle of losing rep because people were downvoting my answer solely because it was in between an answer and a comment. How else could I earn rep??? Jun 29, 2016 at 19:30
  • 1
    @ragingasiancoder In that case, simply guess the intent of the asker and mention that you couldn't comment in your answer. Posting a comment as an answer is never well-received no matter why is it done.
    – SE is dead
    Jun 29, 2016 at 20:33
  • 3
    Making the assumption and saying what that is, is good, but I would advise against mentioning that you are answering because you cannot comment. That is either unnecessary, or obvious from your rep. It does not contribute to the quality of the answer.
    – PolyGeo
    Jun 29, 2016 at 21:36
  • 1
    @ragingasiancoder This might be helpful re commenting and answering: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/214173/…
    – Tim Malone
    Jun 29, 2016 at 22:30
  • 1
    If you can't post a comment, the last thing you should do, is post it as an answer which can be down voted. Earn the reputation then comment....I personally when I read an answer do not care you can't submit a comment, and find said comment in an answer, to be unhelpful. An answer should answer the question that was proposed. If you have something worth while to say, in addition that is relevant, feel free to add that to the answer also. "So I had to answer"; no; you choose to submit an answer that was actually a comment.
    – Ramhound
    Jun 30, 2016 at 23:23

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