Name that thing is at least as old as Usenet.
Part of this goes to the curmudgeon aspect. That if one asks a short, answerable question, they are less likely to have the curmudgeons complaining about the use of a Singleton or that C++ isn't C or some other issue of perceived pedantry.
There is also the bit that if you ask a question and show a desire to learn, you can get a better answer.
This actually worked on Usenet and mailing lists because searching those things in days of old was impossible at best. Go in, get your answer for what to look up, and then go to your lab's wall of books and poke around in the indexes.
Doesn't work well on Stack Exchange.
Yes, the search here is less than ideal, but it is orders of magnitude better than what existed before. However, there is a persistence here that isn't as easily discarded as Usenet or mailing lists. This leads to the problems mentioned in Let's Play The Guessing Game that people aren't searching for existing material before asking. With that persistence of old material, it has the distinct danger of being a place where people come ask a question and leave. This is what happened to Literature.SE and its what Sci-fi worries about.
As mentioned over on English.SE (another site with this 'name that thing' type problem) described in Against single word requests. They note that this type of question attracts less active users (its easy to drop a "I think its a Singleton" as an answer and then not show up again) but repels more active users (frankly, if we were to get a similar proportion of unclosed name that thing questions as Sci-fi gets with story identification or English gets with name that word, I'd be looking at contributing elsewhere).
I don't think that the people asking these questions realize how much those who get these questions constantly realize how annoying and insulting they can be, because they haven't invested more than the time it takes to paste the question in the site. At the time they ask the question, they haven't found the other questions and answers on the front page useful or interesting enough to read for the sake of reading.
I also don't believe that these users realize the difference in the focus of the sites (and that each SE site is distinct), or the difference between SE sites and forums at large.
Pedagogy vs Problems
One additional aspect of this is the way that we (as professionals) focus on problems. If one was to go up to their professor in school and ask a question about the proper way to handle a class such that there is only one instance of it, the professor could very well say "its a Singleton - go look it up in chapter 4 of Design Patterns by Erich Gamma."
While this approach works in college classes (getting the student to learn more), we are expecting to solve problems here rather than provide material for the student to learn from. It is also noted that many new programmers in the field haven't yet taken this change of world view from student to professional yet and are still expected to be treated like students. Not realizing that the people that they are asking questions of aren't here to primarily teach, but rather solve problems.