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Identification questions have these features:

  1. Many casual users ask them, don't want to read some rule about how to asking such questions before asking them, don't want to get downvoted/closed/deleted, don't want to answer following questions on comments. Just want to ask it quickly and get an answer quickly if possible.
  2. In many case the memory is very faint and it could even indeed be a mix of different films, it is really hard to make it clear. Identification with the most vague description is both the need and the fun for answering.
  3. The ansewr need not to explain why it is the answer, just the result is enough. It is just the best guess that pops up in the anwerser's mind with the given vague description. It's very normal that different people get different pop ups - the randomness and casualness is the essense of such Q/As. It is not about right and wrong, it's only about helping others to get back the title if possible. The purpose of the traditional explainations seems only to be make the answer more "SE-compliant".
  4. These questions are low bar questions and is vulnerable to spams. It's hard to discriminate spams from the vague questions from real user with real need. Gaining the normal reputation for such question will be problematic.

The above features doesn't fit SE model well, the result will be like the users feel it is hard to ask question and the reviewers feel there are overwhelming flood of bad questions.

So these questions seems to fit meta sites better. But there seems to be no talk about utilize the meta system.

  1. The best way is SE provide multi-meta feature. That is, for example, there can be movies.meta.stackexchange.com and also id.movies.stackexchange.com, both work under the site specific meta model (with some minor rule changes). Then many feasible SE sites can open their id meta sites.
  2. Without the multi-meta feature from SE, tag on meta is the interim solution. This will also contaminate the meta site. But meta users are more experienced user and they can use excluding tags to filter out the contamination. How to guide casual user to meta and make the experience not weird is a problem.
  3. No review/downvotes/close/deletion of such questions - go completely casual. Only let the SE platform to deal with the most serious cases.
  4. Reward for answerer: maybe a "identified movies" (means accepted answers) number beside user name, and also new badges.
  5. If there is too much historical data load to SE, maybe auto delete the ancient ones.
  6. Limited questions per user in a period, e.g. you can only ask one question per week or even per month or 12 questions per year- there is not that many movie to be identified for most people.
  7. No rules, just warn the user to provide as many details as possible - to get higher chance to get an answer more quickly - you get what you provide.

The essence is to exploit the crowd expertise of SE with a casual framework. And that casual experience is intertwined with existing SE culture seemlessly (hopefully - it may have some unseen serious problems).


Clarification

The original post may not make the point and thinking clear:

  1. What decides the experience of SE to general public is the main sites, not the meta sites.
  2. SE have strict model and requirements for the main sites to keep a high content quality.
  3. Some questions such as identification doesn't fit well with main sites model. That is, to keep high quality, there are always rules which seems to be too much for some question genres, which make the user feel it too hard to ask and also induce too much reviewing workload. The negative impacts on both side seems to be unnecessary for some question genres. Letting low bar questions to gain reputations has negative impact like attract more spam posts. Go casual on such questions is a solution.
  4. It is not easy to lower the requirements for such question genres especially going casual on the main sites due to the general SE policy on the main sites. The result is a dillema whether to ban them. The result of the ban is that real need can't be helped any more and also decrease the value of the site to users.
  5. This is why it may fit meta model better - meta can be more flexible regarding rules and it will not affect the quality of the main sites. Also, there is no reputation gain from meta, that could reduce spam posts.
  6. The last problem is that it is not easy to let SE to provide the multi-meta feature, that's only the long term goal.
  7. Then the remaining problem for now is that, can active meta users bother the inconvenience of always have to use excluding tags to filter out those contaminations? Here is another potential advantage of meta. For the general public, a clear non confusing site is crucial, that's why using tag to put id questions on the main site could be problematic - they don't bother to use tags. But active meta users are experienced users, for them, flexibiliy/feature rich is more important than smooth and simplicity and using a tag may not be a serious problem. These id questions on meta can be migrated to an id-specific meta site in the future.
  8. Also note that meta does not have to be always only about the site. In theory you can just talk about the site on the main site, the reason for meta is to spin off distinct unpropriate question genres from the main site. You can also do that for any such genres - like identification - best if each genre has its own meta site.
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    "these questions seems to fit meta sites better" - I don't see how they remotely would in any possible sense whatsoever. That...might be why there has never been talk about utilizing meta for it. Meta isn't a dumping ground for off-topic crap.
    – Napoleon Wilson Mod
    Commented Nov 21, 2023 at 15:27
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    The smart thing would to just have another vote whether to make them on-topic again. The consensus of opinion seems to be at variance with the current policy
    – Valorum
    Commented Nov 21, 2023 at 18:05
  • 2
    I don't think the Stack Exchange model supports one site having multiple Metas as you're suggesting.
    – F1Krazy
    Commented Nov 22, 2023 at 9:36
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    FWIW I am the moderator probably most in favor of allowing ID questions - and even as an interim I think this is a poor idea. The purpose of Meta is for Q&A about the site, not a location for subsets or alternative questions to the site. As for the subdomains, that isn't something that we on M&TV can do.
    – iandotkelly Mod
    Commented Nov 22, 2023 at 15:02
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    "The above features doesn't fit SE model well, the result will be like the users feel it is hard to ask question and the reviewers feel there are overwhelming flood of bad questions." - Thus the best option is to start a new SE site dedicated to these questions... but the OP is apparently unwilling to put in the work.
    – Paulie_D
    Commented Nov 23, 2023 at 13:32
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    @Paulie_D - Far and away the best option would be to sinply make these question on-topic again. It's pretty clear that's what the consensus of opinion wanted
    – Valorum
    Commented Nov 23, 2023 at 18:32
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    @Valorum It's certainly pretty clear that's what you want, at least since you decided to grace us with your presence again, Richard. ;-) And yet you still can't seem to argue why this is remotely a good idea for the future of the site other than "me like answering" and "looky, people no happy that they can't ask where that YouTube clip they dreamed of was from". Things that never even have been in question.
    – Napoleon Wilson Mod
    Commented Nov 23, 2023 at 21:11
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    @NapoleonWilson - the overwhelming majority who voted the last time we asked also said that they likey. It's only a small group of curmudgeons (who tricked the system) that don't. And most of those haven't bothered to hang around anyway, after screwing the others over.
    – Valorum
    Commented Nov 23, 2023 at 21:14
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    Personally, I'm surprised that a moderation team that's presided over such a dramatic decline in readership hasn't looked long and hard at what they've done wrong. Perhaps excluding thousands of users wasn't the smartest idea...
    – Valorum
    Commented Nov 23, 2023 at 21:17
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    @Valorum Well, no, they didn't. In fact noone did when we discussed this last time. That is the primary reason those questions don't exist anymore. Noone "tricked the system", Richard. It was used as it ought to be used. No amount of gaslighting is going to conjure up rash decisions that are trapping this site into an abysmal fate. This isn't Britain. ;-)
    – Napoleon Wilson Mod
    Commented Nov 23, 2023 at 21:29
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    @Valorum Of course when you wish your favourite questions back onto the site, everything looks like a consequence of banning them. Fortunately, though, there are people here long enough to know how the site developed when those questions still existed. And fortunately they are still here, to some part because this fate was averted. Noone is claiming this suddenly solved all problems this site has or that there might not have been new ones arising. But saying "oh, maybe that thing we did back 5 years ago to save the site caused all this" would be...naive at best.
    – Napoleon Wilson Mod
    Commented Nov 23, 2023 at 21:32
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    Imagining how this site would look if every second question was a terrible ID question in addition to other problems that arise over time, doesn't particularly paint an all that colourful rainbow picture of a site, your ability to "help" all those poor lost souls notwithstanding. Ya ever been to Music Fans? (Okay, maybe not the best example, they've actually come to the same conclusion like we did some time ago and already seem to recover from it. Yay for them!)
    – Napoleon Wilson Mod
    Commented Nov 23, 2023 at 21:36
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    @NapoleonWilson - There are none so blind, etc. We now have excellent tools to allow people to simply ignore their least favourite questions.
    – Valorum
    Commented Nov 23, 2023 at 21:36
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    @Valorum We alyways had these tools, Richard. They are almost as old as the argument of just closing your eyes to the problem, which in turn has never been a solution, speaking of blindness.
    – Napoleon Wilson Mod
    Commented Nov 23, 2023 at 21:39
  • 1
    Comments have been moved to chat; please do not continue the discussion here. Before posting a comment below this one, please review the purposes of comments. Comments that do not request clarification or suggest improvements usually belong as an answer, or in Movies & TV Chat. Comments continuing discussion may be removed.
    – Napoleon Wilson Mod
    Commented Nov 23, 2023 at 21:44

1 Answer 1

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The meta site is not suitable for identification questions

I disagree with your proposal to use the meta site for identification questions. The meta site is meant for discussing the main site, not for hosting questions that are deemed off-topic on the main site. Instead of moving the identification questions to meta, we should reconsider the ban on the main site.

The current community consensus

SE has a strict model and requirements for the main sites to maintain high content quality.

The site policy ("strict model and requirements") is based on community consensus. The ban on identification questions was based on the community consensus in 2017, which was a reversal of the previous consensus just a year earlier in 2016.

However, the community consensus has changed again since then, as shown by the votes on the meta posts about this topic. The answers that argue against banning identification questions have significantly more upvotes than those that support the ban. The announcement post of the ban has a negative score (-76), indicating that it is widely unpopular among the community members who have enough reputation to downvote. The votes reflect the current opinion of the community, which is different from the one in 2017.

It's worth noting here that the ID ban announcement post was downvoted by 132 users, and that downvoting requires 125 rep. The fact that it has substantially more downvotes than upvotes (which require only 15 rep) is significant.

How to respect the voice of the community and update the site policy

I suggest that we create a featured meta post to poll the community about whether we want to repeal the ban on identification questions on the main site. This way, we can respect the voice of the community and update the site policy accordingly.

Improve the guidelines and criteria for identification questions

As for the quality of the identification questions, we can still use the existing close reasons, such as “needs details or clarity”, “needs more focus,” or "opinion-based,” to filter out the problematic ones. We can also improve the guidelines and criteria for asking and answering identification questions by hashing it out on meta, e.g., requiring certain details. I mentioned some suggestions on how to deal with problematic ID questions in a prior meta post: "Why wasn't a movie identification site created?"

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    "I suggest that we create a featured meta post to poll the community about whether we want to repeal the ban on identification questions on the main site" - This seems very sensible. Main site is where they belong, if anywhere.
    – Valorum
    Commented Nov 24, 2023 at 7:32
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    The meta site is meant for ... This is the defacto, but sometimes people can go back to the more primodial reasoning like what is the essense of meta or even what is the essense of SE (maybe - helping others when possible and at the same time keep the quality high). No need to always stick to a defacto. Also, what to be unloaded to meta is specific valualbe important genres, not every off topic thing. BTW it is highly possible that if such questions are allowed on the main site again, it will finally occupy every corner of the main site and the site will be come the movie id site.
    – jw_
    Commented Nov 25, 2023 at 2:05
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    @jw_ - Yes, but you can always set those questions to "ignore" and then you'll never ever see them. If a tree falls in the forest and you don't see it fall, do you care?
    – Valorum
    Commented Nov 25, 2023 at 10:35
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    @Valorum But for general public, its possible that they don't know how to ignore and they just find out that id questions are everywhere and if their intention is not id then go...
    – jw_
    Commented Nov 28, 2023 at 13:51
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    @jw_ - My perception is that it wasn't irregular users that had a problem with all of the ID questions.
    – Valorum
    Commented Nov 28, 2023 at 14:34
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    @Valorum "Irregular users" (or rather new visitors) don't "have a problem" with ID questions, they simply ignore the site when that's seemingly all it does. And there are users who do care about falling trees, because they care for the forest. Ignoring all the falling trees, you might wake up one day realizing that the forest is gone. I'd rather trees just, well, wouldn't fall.
    – Napoleon Wilson Mod
    Commented Nov 28, 2023 at 16:41
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    @NapoleonWilson - The epitaph on this website will be "We had to destroy the village in order to save it"
    – Valorum
    Commented Nov 28, 2023 at 17:00

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