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The question, What is the name of this painting displayed on the Domo's wall in Eternals? - which was closed as both "trivia" and "identification" was unilaterally left closed in the reopen review queue as "Original close reason(s) were not resolved" by a community moderator, Napoleon Wilson ♦, taking it out of the reopen review queue.

This is despite the fact that the community has changed its stance to now allow “trivia” questions, so the “trivia” close reason is no longer valid. And the fact that only identification questions that ask to identify movies and TV shows (and episodes) are considered off-topic here. (There is no community consensus to ban all questions that involve identifying something about a movie.)

Also, the site has several open, well-received, similar questions that ask to identify paintings, photos, or other objects in movies or TV shows:

  1. Whose portrait hangs on the wall in the movie "The Godfather Part I"?
  2. Name of a painting in Wall Street (1987)
  3. Who is in the painting behind Mycroft's desk in "The Empty Hearse"?
  4. Can anybody identify this painting from Black Widow?
  5. What book is Rachel reading?
  6. What is the title of the book Sonya drops at the train station?
  7. Who/what is this action figure in Abby's lab?
  8. What photograph can be seen in Gideon's living room in All That Jazz?
  9. What is the painting in the end credits of 'La Piovra' season 4?
  10. Significance of the painting in Mallory's office "My question is: What painting is that?"
  11. What is the large painting in the background from the meeting with Santino and how does it relate to the scene?
  12. Why is this picture used in the opening titles of Cheers, and where is it from?
  13. what is this pistol John Wick and Caine use during their epic duel?

I am puzzled why this question was kept closed, as it does not appear to fall under any of our close reasons. We have many similar questions that are open and well-received. Why are those allowed and the one about Eternals isn’t? Some of those questions are more than a decade old.

Note: I was one of the initial close voters, but I have since realized why it was a mistake. Hence, my reopen vote and this meta post.

Could someone please explain this inconsistency and provide some guidance? (by posting an answer)

This post is also a request to please reopen the question: What is the name of this painting displayed on the Domo's wall in Eternals?

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    Problem is, as soon as we extend the question asking what the painting's purpose was and thus making it more appropriate, we'd basically make the existing and accepted answer entirely irrelevant. Abandoning that problematic close-reason wasn't really an invitation to reopen every gosh-darn trivia question of the last 10 years.
    – Napoleon Wilson Mod
    Jul 6, 2023 at 13:22
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    @NapoleonWilson I didn’t say anything about extending the question to ask what the painting’s purpose was. It’s not off-topic, as-is, anyway. I would also appreciate it if you could please write that as an answer to this meta post, so that the community can weigh in on it. Jul 6, 2023 at 13:41
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    @GalactocNinja - Precisely this. Identifying objects in a film is a very long way from identifying the film itself.
    – Valorum
    Jul 6, 2023 at 14:15
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    That is true, yes. @galacticninja, Joachim and Todd kind of picked the wrong close-reason there.
    – Napoleon Wilson Mod
    Jul 6, 2023 at 14:20
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    Downvoters: Could you please elaborate on your stance on this by posting an answer? I am puzzled why this question was kept closed, as it does not appear to fall under any of our close reasons, and the site has several similar questions that ask to identify paintings, photos, or items. Jul 6, 2023 at 14:34
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    It does seem an odd one to downvote without comment. Are they downvoting because "Boo! Mod abuse!" or are they downvoting because they agree with the mod and think "Boo for questioning this sensible decision!"
    – Valorum
    Jul 6, 2023 at 15:14
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    The question has been (rightfully) reopened
    – fez
    Jul 14, 2023 at 18:48

1 Answer 1

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Preface: I wrote an answer to avoid the automatic deletion of the meta discussion post by the Community bot (AKA “Roomba”) and the silent downvoters. If no one had written an answer, the meta post would have been roomba’d, dismissing it entirely. However, since the question concerns a moderator’s action, it would be best if a moderator could answer the meta post.


This is a reply to Napoleon Wilson ♦’s comment on my post above:

Problem is, as soon as we extend the question asking what the painting's purpose was and thus making it more appropriate, we'd basically make the existing and accepted answer entirely irrelevant.

I didn’t say anything about extending the question to ask what the painting’s purpose was. It is not off-topic, as it is anyway; just look at the multiple open, well-received, similar questions that I have listed in my post above as examples.

Abandoning that problematic close-reason wasn't really an invitation to reopen every gosh-darn trivia question of the last 10 years.

This, I believe, is an exaggeration. The SE sites have the Community Bot (AKA “Roomba”) that regularly deletes negatively received closed questions. Those negatively received trivia questions have already been deleted, so there is no need to worry that many low-quality questions will be back if we reopen this one question. (And there are many others like it that are open anyway.) The trivia questions that remain are the ones that are positively received by the community, such as the one I mentioned in my post. I wouldn’t vote to reopen and write this meta post, if the question was of low quality.

@galacticninja, Joachim and Todd kind of picked the wrong close-reason there.

I agree with you, and I have since realized why it was a mistake. That’s why I voted to reopen the question and posted this meta discussion. It seems that we both agree that the question should not have been closed as "identification".

…which brings us to the "trivia" close reason. The community has already discussed this issue multiple times, and the consensus since 2015, more than eight years ago, has been that the community does not want "trivia" to be a valid reason for closing questions for multiple reasons.

If your only reason for keeping the question closed is because it’s "trivia", then I’m afraid you have no leg to stand on (the community has rejected that close reason long ago). Users who consider those types of questions to be low quality can downvote them, but should not misuse the close vote as a super-downvote.

Related meta posts:

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    I'd also suggest that, having lost the argument about closing trivia questions, that those that are opposed to them should stop systematically downvoting them. It just makes the site look shitty and unfriendly.
    – Valorum
    Sep 28, 2023 at 15:03
  • @Valorum A bad question can still be a bad question. The entire point of not using close-votes as super-downvotes is that that's what, well, downvotes are for. As repeatedly pointed out, abolishing this problematic close-reason didn't change the site's manifesto. We still aren't encouraging questions identifying the brand of this T-shirt DiCaprio once wore in that one scene if it doesn't futher the appreciation of the film. Noone "lost the argument" about this, there just was never an argument about it. Downvoting bad questions is how these sites work. There's no "system" to it beyond that...
    – Napoleon Wilson Mod
    Sep 28, 2023 at 18:04
  • ...This does of course not mean that each and every question that got closed in the past ought to be downvoted to hell now. Part of doing away with the close-reason indeed was trying to make people see the good in questions rather than jumping to the close (or downvote) button too eagerly. Yet it doesn't mean really crappy questions shouldn't be downvoted anymore just because you can't close them with an easy reason anymore either.
    – Napoleon Wilson Mod
    Sep 28, 2023 at 18:06
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    @NapoleonWilson - There was a sizeable argument about the question of 'trivia'. Your example "We still aren't encouraging questions identifying the brand of this T-shirt DiCaprio once wore in that one scene if it doesn't further the appreciation of the film" seems to be a perfect example of the denigration of questions that you personally consider to be too trivial, whereas the asker may consider it quite interesting and important to their enjoyment of the film
    – Valorum
    Sep 28, 2023 at 19:11
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    @NapoleonWilson - And consistently downvoting those 'kinds' of 'crappy' questions is a form of sour grapes, in my opinion, for having lost the battle on Meta. If a question is well-written and on-topic, it should be left open and not downvoted. You always have the option of just leaving it alone.
    – Valorum
    Sep 28, 2023 at 19:14
  • @Valorum And that is the point, Richard. Write it well (by explaining why we or everyone should care). Then it oughtn't be downvoted because, well, it's a good question. Your definition of "well-written" isn't really any less subjective than anyone else's. Only by amortizing this natural subjectivity we're going to get anywhere. That's what votes do. Also, the "just ignore it" shtick simply isn't going to work on SE, where we care about questions and curate our sites. I want your question to be good and get upvoted for that, because...I don't actually like downvoted questions. ;-)
    – Napoleon Wilson Mod
    Sep 28, 2023 at 22:58
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    @NapoleonWilson - Actively targeting a particular style of question with downvotes (and encouraging others to do the same) is akin to using a close vote as a "super-downvote". You're just using a downvote as an inferior close vote instead.
    – Valorum
    Sep 28, 2023 at 23:22
  • @Valorum I don't know where you take it from that anyone is actively targeting these questions or even encouraging others to do so. Again, this is your perception while others are simply voting based on their assessment of the question's quality. That's the entire point I'm getting at here. But banal trivia also has the effect that it often doesn't make for all that engaging questions. Neither did I say "downvote these questions!". If anything, I encourage people to not blindly downvote them. That was part of why the close-reason was abolished.
    – Napoleon Wilson Mod
    Sep 28, 2023 at 23:52
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    @Valorum I couldn’t agree more. I think M&TV SE needs to chill out a bit on the downvoting, especially when there aren't many upvotes going around. It makes users feel unwelcome to participate. I believe most users don't think these "trivia" questions are supposed to be downvoted anyway, as several meta discussions have shown. That’s why I support the idea of joining the SE 1-rep voting experiment. I believe it is likely to boost positive participation and engagement in our community. Sep 29, 2023 at 3:08

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