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NOTE: Got linked here but don't really care about all the meta discussion? Just want quick help with identifying your movie? Take a look at this question and its answers.

Since its very inception this site has struggled with the problem of identification questions and their controversial nature. Over the years these questions have become more and more of a quality and moderation issue and the community grew more and more weary of them and the work they generate as well as the bad light they throw on the site.

A recent call for input from the community on this problem has shown a rather unanimous dissatisfaction with the current situation as well as broad agreement that they are not worth the trouble anymore. The site needs to finally make a stand and come to terms with the fact that these questions, while once ago thought to be worth a try, have failed to prove their worth and manageability. The community has thus come to the decision to move forward and finally make official what has ultimately been its unofficial stance for quite some time:

We will stop supporting identification questions on this site.

But how is the site going to proceed with this newly found confidence? We very much know, that this is quite a big step in the site's development, given how prominent these questions have become over time. It will thus be approached with a gradual process in order to ease the site into this development. First and foremost, and quite obviously:

  • All identification questions will from now on be off-topic on this site and the existing close-reason will be adapted accordingly (inspired by a similar close-reason on Anime & Manga):

    Identification questions are off-topic, because they tend to attract low-quality and low-effort posts. The community has decided to no longer support these questions. Please refer to this meta post for additional details.

  • All users are encouraged to make use of their flagging and close-voting privileges accordingly on any new identification questions. Practically this means nothing else than extending what the community already does on the majority of identification questions to all of them.

    You may go and close-vote any older ID questions from before this announcement if you feel thus when stumbling across them. However, we will take care of our existing baggage of ID questions in a more automated and systematic fashion later on during this cleanup process. It might thus not be the best use of your or the rest of the community's time to flood the review queues with 50 old questions to close manually each and every day.

  • The help center, the tour page, as well as the respective tag wikis will be adapted accordingly.

As to the future outlook of the overall cleanup process, the next steps will involve:

  • Closing all existing questions (starting 15 days from now):

    We will ask SE for help in automatically closing all existing identification questions and, for the time being, applying a historical lock to them (which makes them unvotable and uneditable by non-moderator users, as well as removing them from normal question lists).

    Together with that, we will blacklist the identification tags (again with help from SE), which makes them unusable on any new or existing questions (generating an appropriate error message when trying). The tag will remain on existing questions that have it (which will be locked for editing, though), making it useful for finding those questions for any further cleanup.

  • Cleaning up the existing questions (another 15 days later):

    We of course also need to come up with a reasonable cleanup approach for the existing baggage of identification questions, keeping in mind various factors, like having examples for the site's development and the questions' off-topicness vs. hampering their search engine indexing that attracts new ones.

These issues will, however, be addressed in future meta posts respectively. For now the community has made the first step in finally deciding to deprecate identification questions. But feel free to share any suggestions and feedback about the overall cleanup process.

  • 118
    A rather unanimous dissatisfaction? I liked the identification questions. – userLTK Jan 4 '18 at 11:21
  • 49
    @NapoleonWilson I didn't see it. Wasn't aware. I understand popular vote, I just wanted to speak (or write) my piece. – userLTK Jan 4 '18 at 12:31
  • 73
    @NapoleonWilson Like userTLK, this also came as news to me today. Do you seriously imagine that every member of SE is also regularly engaging with Meta? Or is it that you only consider the opinions of those who participate in Meta when you claim unanimity? This process is seriously flawed and the decision to ban ID-This questions is a poor policy choice. – Mr. Kennedy Jan 4 '18 at 15:39
  • 10
    Then how else do you expect any kind of decision to be made or solution to be found for a problem, if not by an open discussion on meta about it, one that has been advertized even on the main site for over a month? If people don't care enough about the problem to be even remotely interested in checking that discussion, that's for them to hash out with themselves. It's not like the signs on the main site weren't pointing to at least something being wrong. This whole thing didn't come out of nothing, not the slightest. Again, I'm sorry you weren't heard, many others were, though. – Napoleon Wilson Jan 4 '18 at 15:46
  • 8
    And again ,an expanded discussion with obvious and clear intents not this "check in" which is a very vague term, or you know an actual voting. Also, I see hatt this discussion only mentioned new questions. – madmada Jan 4 '18 at 17:58
  • 10
    I too missed the meta discussion that we were proposing to ban identification questions. I'm ok with the decision to rule them out if the volume of poor ones is large, but not every historic identification question was crap and many of the old ones should be preserved rather than deleted. Erasing good historic ones won't help the current situation and I'd plead for them to be preserved even if we don't allow new ones. – matt_black Jan 5 '18 at 12:05
  • 65
    Identification questions were all that kept me coming back. – aryxus Jan 5 '18 at 20:11
  • 26
    @aryxus same here – Nyx Jan 5 '18 at 23:36
  • 5
    I'm not in agreement with this, especially when there are more pressing - to my mind - issues. That said, decisions are made by those who show up and I didn't show up. That's mainly due to the other, pressing issue, wherein massive spoilers to shows I hadn't seen yet made me decide to keep clear of this SE to avoid ruining good fun. – Longspeak Jan 6 '18 at 3:40
  • 46
    I love identification questions. I think taking them away may draw people away from this site. When someone wants to find a movie and stumbles across SE via google or whatnot, and posts a question.. then the site is in their radar and they may stay around and contribute. Just my two cents. I’m not sure I’ll be sticking around since ID questions were my favorite. – followthemeow Jan 6 '18 at 19:16
  • 23
    I tend to agree with followthemeow and others who enjoy ID questions, as well as those who expressed frustration over the sheer un-obviousness that ID questions were being put to (another) debate/vote. e.g. I remember one such debate ages ago (which @madmada mentioned). The matter seemed to get settled on the pro-ID-question side then, and as such I wouldn't have thought to continually re-check in to see whether the subject had been brought up again. Plus, ID'ing movies is often what brings me back to the site on occasion, even during stretches when real life pulls me away from it otherwise. – ghostdog Jan 7 '18 at 3:00
  • 37
    Well, you removed the main reason I had to come here. What a shame. I don't understand your rationale. This was a very interesting feature. "We can't have nice things", I guess... Adieu. – ayaio Jan 11 '18 at 16:23
  • 10
    @NapoleonWilson If you sincerely believe this: "It's not like the signs on the main site weren't pointing to at least something being wrong." Then you are simply out of touch with how the majority of humans interact with the internet. People come here and look at the questions being asked, or search for info or ask questions - they aren't looking at Meta & ignore the rest. – Mr. Kennedy Jan 13 '18 at 5:50
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    ID questions aren't a problem. The questions fit within the SE model. People who don't like them can simply ignore them - that they apparently can not ignore what they dislike - THAT is the problem. Also, if, as a moderator, your "month long advertisements" aren't engaging the community, then the problem is how you're moderating, not the community. – Mr. Kennedy Jan 13 '18 at 5:55
  • 9
    Finally! I know some people like ID questions; I don't understand that. +1 I 100% agree with this post/decision. – caird coinheringaahing Jan 14 '18 at 10:34
82

Just an observation; Walt was recently lauded for hitting the 100K mark here in terms of rep. Take note that 67% of his posts are in and another I'm-not-really-sure-how-many are in . Our biggest contributor just lost his biggest tags.

Actually, we voted on this in 2016 and we decided to keep them. I don't know why we needed a re-vote, but 15% of my own questions are in this tag and I'm currently #6 on the rep list. So, 2 of the top 6 users rely on this tag. Is it really that much of a bother to keep these questions? is it worth losing that much participation?

EDIT

On the right side of the screen, you should see a link for Favorite Tags. Click the Edit button and you'll see a box for Ignore tags. Add to your Ignore Tags box. Problem solved.

  • 6
    Yes, we decided to give them another chance...and they failed that chance, the situation only got worse. So this time the community asked for a more open discussion, asking people about their opinion on the matter and why these questions are worth the damage they have on the site. But... noone could actually tell us why, not a single person and not a single reason. So the community realized they couldn't just continue sitting around and looking at the misery. – Napoleon Wilson Jan 13 '18 at 0:57
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    @NapoleonWilson you keep saying "the community" but Johnny Bones' point is that what you consider "the community having spoken" amounts to such a low percentage of registered and even regular users that it raises the question of how the policy decisions get made and specifically, by whom. Yes, lots of people don't like the ID questions. Thing is, those people can just ignore them. Banning them altogether is a bad policy decision. – Mr. Kennedy Jan 13 '18 at 5:40
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    Then I have to ask you yet again how we are ever to arive at a reasonable decision if we can't discuss it at the place where such things are supposed to be discussed and drawing a conclusion from that discussion. – Napoleon Wilson Jan 13 '18 at 11:49
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    @NapoleonWilson No one is saying it can't be discussed. But if that is your take on this discussion, the problem is your lack of engagement with the community. Please note the difference between engaging a community and pushing your agenda – Mr. Kennedy Jan 13 '18 at 16:34
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    You should have expected that the majority of users wouldn't find out about the change of policy until after the option was gone. Again, if you really think users are hanging on your every post in Meta, then you are simply out of touch with how this site (and the internet in general) gets used. – Mr. Kennedy Jan 13 '18 at 16:36
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    Then what do you propose, a main site question? We have to discuss it somehow and meta is that venue. It is how SE gets used. It was expected that there might sure be some people dissatisfied with the outcome or maybe even simply not noticing the discussion. But that always happens to some degree. It was also expected that the loudest complaints would arrive once something would actually be done about the problem rather than sitting around. But that's natural, too. It's much easier to ignore complaints about the status quo than complaints about some major progress. – Napoleon Wilson Jan 13 '18 at 16:37
  • 17
    It's not my responsibility to figure out how to do your job as moderator. There are lots of ways to engage with a community and you are relying on one which is merely symbolic such that you can say, "if you don't like what was changed it is your fault for not seeing the tiny little sign I posted about it". Again, the solution to the problem of a small group of people being annoyed by ID ?s is for them to ignore what they dislike, not to remove the function of the site altogether. Simple. – Mr. Kennedy Jan 13 '18 at 17:20
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    It has been explained how this problem goes beyond a select few people not liking some questions and how this affects the entire site and its community. It's just not as "simple" as that. You don't have to agree with the arguments presented (provided you read them at least). But stop saying that is all this is about, since that's just wrong and actually disingenuous. And stop playing down the legitimate venues this has been discussed on time and time again just because you didn't contribute, that's belittling the significant part of the community that did. – Napoleon Wilson Jan 13 '18 at 17:46
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    What I wonder now is that people who should come out and say their opinions when the discussion was going on are now raising their opinions. Ignorance is not always bliss. And ignoring the tag is not a solution to the long-term problems they cause. This suggestion is like ignoring the fire in the house next to you and not thinking the damage it might cause to your house. – A J Jan 13 '18 at 17:46
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    My only point was that two of the biggest rep users here rely on this tag. That can't be disputed. Pulling this tag would be a huge disservice to those who have put plenty of time and energy reflected by reputation. You guys are mods. You make the laws. I don't like this one. You know that users can add filters to ignore tags, right? If users don't like the tag, they add it to their "Ignore" list. No sweat. I did that for GoT questions, because I don't watch the show and they were clogging my feed. – Johnny Bones Jan 13 '18 at 19:59
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    @AJ drama queen much? Sorry, no - ID questions are not a fire. Furthermore, as Johnny Bones points out, you have the option to ignore them. That you do not is the problem, not the ID questions. – Mr. Kennedy Jan 13 '18 at 20:41
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    @Memor-X your metaphor doesn't make ID questions the problem. I for one enjoy answering them. I enjoy seeing them answered. If they are really poorly written, I'm happy to edit them but that is an aesthetic concern and basing policy on aesthetics as compared to pragmatics (i.e. the ID questions are useful to the community) is a poor policy choice. – Mr. Kennedy Jan 14 '18 at 6:40
  • 2
    @Mr.Kennedy Please don't suggest the ideas that have been suggested before and never worked. This problem has been around since years ago when site was in public beta and you just have been here for less than a year. The problems they cause have been discussed before and the suggestions to cope with these have been made before, but those problems still are as they were. Please don't repeat those suggestions... – A J Jan 14 '18 at 9:06
  • 2
    ... If we hadn't taken the step to start banning them, this site that focuses upon most aspects of movies and TV shows would only have been remained as ID-this-movie-TV-show site. Here are words of a community manager, which you should really take a look at. – A J Jan 14 '18 at 9:08
  • 12
    No offense, Johnny, but I think you're going about this the wrong way. I'm pretty sure no one stands to lose more than a couple hundred points other than me, and I couldn't care less about my rep. (That said, I am against banning ID, and would've explained why if I felt it mattered at all.) – Walt Jan 17 '18 at 2:15
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I think one option we could do is create a meta post detailing the avenues/resources that our experts would follow in order to identify movies and tv shows. This way we can at least point users to a reference to help them find what they want, rather than just telling them 100% no. I think putting this in either the tag wiki or the closing reason would be beneficial.

11

Not sure if this should be an "answer" or a comment, but I think that the tags should still show up in the selectable list when someone is asking a question with a warning of not to use the tags. If the tags are just not visible, people might try to create a new tag, or just use other unrelated tags and not notice that Identification is no longer a valid question. In other words, if I make a new question, and start typing "ident..." in the tag box, I should see the existing id tags with a "do not use" warning.

Of course having a context warning when a variation of "identify" is typed into the title box would also be nice, but I'm not sure if that is a supported feature.

  • 1
    For now the existing tag popups have been adapted to say that the questions are off-topic. Once the tag has been blacklisted, it will be selectable but cause an error with a similar popup message. So this is status-planned. (The tag wikis have been adapted accordingly already, too.) – Napoleon Wilson Jan 4 '18 at 19:19
7

Identification questions is what introduced me to this site. It is also why I got addicted to it. It is really a shame to see it go away. Especially when there is no other site that provides such service and has such powerful community. And extra especially when the community never complained about such feature.

  • 6
    "when the community never complained about such feature" - Not sure if you've ever been to Movies & TV Meta during the last 5 years. – Napoleon Wilson Oct 23 '18 at 8:05
5

It sounds like there is enough support for a Movie/TV Trivia SE.

Seems odd to create what will essentially be a competing group, but other areas of SE have branched apart, so it's not unprecedented.

  • Let's make that happen! – Neil Meyer Sep 22 '18 at 7:37

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protected by Napoleon Wilson May 25 at 19:49

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