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This is just from assumption, but the Stack Exchange websites such as Movies & TV or Anime & Manga are most likely having their questions answered by similar viewers and readers, rather than all of them being the directors, artists, producers, actors, etc. of the motion pictures being asked about.

Unlike the ones like Stack Overflow which has a description like:

Q&A for professional and enthusiast programmers

This one for Anime & Manga is:

Q&A for anime and manga fans

Which made me question how those versions of Stack Exchange websites work. They still seem to request the same etiquette.

Anime & Manga requesting same etiquette for questions

However, a lot of the questions on those sites seem to either end up in a discussion or was a discussion-based question from the question alone, such as "Why did the chicken actually cross the road?"

Were some of these Stack Exchange sites made with the intention of allowing or even encouraging those types of questions? Or is this just a positive side effect of the users being "fans" rather than the ones actually taking place in the production of those films or books (or in a similar position themself)?

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Were some of these Stack Exchange sites made with the intention of allowing or even encouraging those types of questions?

As for Anime.SE: it works just like other SE sites; striving for the facts instead of opinions/baseless theories and discouraging open-ended discussions.

This has been discussed since the beginning: Should we explicitly allow discussions? where it's answered by ex-staff Shog9:

I think that these questions just can't be answered, they just provoke a discussion, because the true answer isn't known.

Try hard to differentiate here between:

  1. Questions that cannot be answered (because, for instance, they're asking folks to predict the future or are based on an under-specified and/or completely hypothetical scenario). These should generally just be shut down - discussing them produces nothing but speculation.

  2. Questions where the answer is obscure or difficult to obtain (relies on knowledge in an author's private journal, protected by a non-disclosure agreement, guarded by a dragon). These can be ok, if folks are disciplined about not answering when they don't have access to information. If they degenerate into idle speculation, they should be shut down as with #1.

  3. Questions where the answer is irrelevant and the asker simply wants to get to know other members of the site better by getting folks to post their feelings (this is often the actual case for instances of #1 and #2, but some questions are explicitly asked for this reason). These should generally be shut down - they are discussion for the sake of discussion, and there are other venues more appropriate for this.


However, I think the crux of the question is

Or is this just a positive side effect of the users being "fans" rather than the ones actually taking place in the production of those films or books (or in a similar position themself)?

It is not really about being "fans", but if they had restricted the site only for the professionals, then I doubt the site had came into fruition in the first place due to the lack/difficulty of reaching the users: Japanese people and its language barrier.

On the other hand, the site still accepts questions for professionals, which has been discussed on Are questions about how to make anime and manga off-topic?. (the current policy is n611x007's answer)

  • The question should be about real knowledge of Japanese production internals.
  • ...
  • The question must be focused tightly on the knowledge of how Japanese actually make anime, not on how they might.
  • The question has no place on Video Production, nor on Japanese Language, and definitely not on Graphic Design. Western artists and craftspeople don't work in Japan, and most of them probably have no clue how Japanese actually make anime. They are no experts in Japanese internals, and western internals are not interesting in anime production.
  • There is a real question hidden there about Japanese commons of anime production that could be very special and quite distinct from anything else. [...]

So, I believe what really matters is the subject-matter experts (SME). One doesn't need to be a professional to be able to answer questions for professionals. They can still learn and do some research on how those professionals done it. On the other hand, the site always welcome real professionals to contribute (although I have never seen them on Anime.SE...)

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    This is pretty consistent with how things work at RPG. Though we have had game designers, authors, and artists drop in from time to time to answer questions about their work. Nov 30, 2022 at 9:04
  • I understand. I guess my overall question was more toward whether the questions leading to a discussion or an "in my opinion/experience" answer was also considered a question that fits with the overall build of that specific website. A lot of them are left up rather than closed, so I am curious whether it is more towards luck if they stay open.
    – leguchi
    Dec 2, 2022 at 16:56
  • @leguchi they try to strike a balance, but that kind of questions are generally discouraged and closed, and that's one of the pain points of Stack Exchange format Dec 3, 2022 at 1:31

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