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I noticed that the question “What is the name of this Peanuts character wearing a purple shirt and purple/pink shoes?", which became a Hot Network Question 8 hours ago, was removed by a moderator from the Hot Network Questions list. I wonder why this happened since the question seems to be well-received (judging by the number of upvotes on it and its answer), and more importantly, is on-topic.

The question is about who's the Peanuts character in the provided media. Peanuts is a comic strip that has been adapted into several movies and TV shows, so questions about Peanuts characters in movies or TV shows are on-topic. It is not asking to identify a movie or a TV show from memory — for example, questions like “I remember [insert description here] about a movie or TV show; what movie or TV show was this?” are closed as off-topic here. As far as I know, there is no community consensus to ban all questions that involve identifying something about a movie or TV show.

I think that removing the question from the Hot Network Questions list was a missed opportunity to attract more users and activity to Movies & TV SE, which has been struggling lately in this regard. The question and its answer were interesting and informative, and they could have sparked more site engagement and participation about Peanuts and its movie and TV adaptations.

I would appreciate it if the moderator team could explain their decision and the rationale behind it. I hope that they will reconsider it and restore the question to the Hot Network Questions list, or at least clarify the scope and guidelines of this site. Thank you.


What follows is my reply to the mod’s answer to my question.

The question you reference is not a good question. In fact the jury is still out if this is even an appropriate question.

I disagree with this assessment. The quality and appropriateness of a question should be determined by the community, not by a single moderator. The question had only one close vote and several upvotes, indicating that it is on-topic and well-received by the community. I think it was an misuse of moderator privileges to remove the question from the HNQ without consulting the community or having a meta discussion beforehand.  

It slams really hard along the edge of episode identification and in fact if it was a live-action shot, it would very much be actor/episode identification. 

It is asking to identify a random dude from a random picture on the internet.

This is a mischaracterization of the question. The question was not about identifying an actor, episode, TV show, or movie. It was about identifying a character in an animated show. Asking about characters is not off-topic here, as far as I know. Like I already said, there is no community consensus to ban all questions that involve identifying something about a movie or TV show.

It is pretty much the low end kind of question that this site talks about when it speaks about not doing trivia. 

This site does not have a policy against trivia questions, as you are aware. This has been debated several times, and the majority of the community has voted to allow trivia questions, so I don’t see why you are bringing this up again.

We really don't need bad questions to give outsiders the wrong image of what this site is actually about.

This makes sense if a blatantly off-topic question is removed. The question I am referring to only had one close vote and is well-received by the community. It was not a negative representation of this site, but a positive one.

But while we're assessing how to proceeed with this question, removing it from the HNQ is a first step that can be done to avoid using bad content to advertize this site.

I suggest that next time, you reverse this order of actions. Instead of removing questions from the HNQ without consulting the community, you should first post a meta question and ask for feedback from the community. Then, based on the consensus, you can decide whether to keep or remove the question from the HNQ. This way, you will respect the community’s voice and avoid creating unnecessary conflicts.

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    It seems an odd decision, at best.
    – Valorum
    Nov 24, 2023 at 7:02

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The question you reference is not a good question. In fact the jury is still out if this is even an appropriate question. It slams really hard along the edge of episode identification and in fact if it was a live-action shot, it would very much be actor/episode identification. It is pretty much the low end kind of question that this site talks about when it speaks about not doing trivia. It is asking to identify a random dude from a random picture on the internet. You have been explained time and time again that the abolishment of a problematic and often misused close-reason has not been a 180 on this site's approach to what it is actually about.

But while we're assessing how to proceeed with this question, removing it from the HNQ is a first step that can be done to avoid using bad content to advertize this site. We really don't need bad questions to give outsiders the wrong image of what this site is actually about. Now our site has historically not been as plagued by bad HNQs as other sites and the HNQ feature has generally worked to our advantage here. But occasionally the hotness algorithm gets us, too. For those cases there exists some possiblities for managing the HNQ on a fine-granular level, like removing inappropriate questions from there.

As to attracting more users to the site. Yes, this is a good idea. However, we need to be careful not to do that at all costs and what content we actually attract these users with and for. The idea that any activity is good activity and the craving for "moar clicks!" is at the heart of a lot of rather terrible decisions by Stack Exchange lately (not to speak of other sites across the entire web or human culture as a whole). Let us not sacrifice our site's core values at the altar of empty "engagement". If we were so desperate for clicks, establishing a bot for terrible AI-generated questions and answers would likely be a more fruitful approach. ;-)


In fact this figures into a general trend some people seem to be following lately here (if not so say the world at large). There is a bit of frustration that the site might not be as active as it was back in the "good old times" (whenever those were). This might be true or understandable, but as a consequence people seem to be grasping for the wrong straws. Lowering activity doesn't mean we ought to lure people to this site by painting it as something that it isn't or by encouraging low-quality content just because that's easy. Nor was everything back in those "good old times" actually good. In fact there were a ton of terrible questions back then, too, to a degree that brought the site to its limits. Bringing these back now out of a desperate feeling that something needs to be done isn't going to magically bring back those good old times, nor is it going to bring back quality activity. We have seen in the past that this isn't the case, which is why the times changed afterall.

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    I think it's great that you're at least acknowledging that there's a problem with the site.
    – Valorum
    Nov 24, 2023 at 17:34
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    @Valorum Again, Richard, selective perception notwithstanding, we never claimed everything was perfect on the site (or that one or the other change of direction suddenly made it so). It never was and likely won't ever be. That is just not how the world works.
    – Napoleon Wilson Mod
    Nov 24, 2023 at 17:46
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    When the site is bleeding users, you might want to worry less about attracting what you (rather snobbishly) consider to be the right kind of subscriber. Your response above is indicative of someone allowing the perfect to be the enemy of the good.
    – Valorum
    Nov 28, 2023 at 12:55
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    Is the jury already in? What is the jury's verdict about this question?
    – Joachim
    Dec 10, 2023 at 12:48
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    @Joachim - The question itself has no close votes and is firmly upvoted. The answer is nearly at +20 with no downvotes at all. I'd say that the jury has responded with overwhelming positivity.
    – Valorum
    Dec 10, 2023 at 23:41

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