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There have been several topics and discussions about whether "identification questions" should be on-topic or off-topic. Now, anytime such a question is asked, pros and cons come with their arguments. But I feel like that's nowhere close to being resolved, as it goes on and on again, and related topics are many years old.

Is it time to discuss this again? Will we reach a consensus?

Time (and answers, upvotes, downvotes) will tell...

Related topics:

  1. https://stackoverflow.blog/2012/02/29/lets-play-the-guessing-game/ (2012)
  2. Discussion on identification questions (2012)
  3. What can we do with generic "NAME THIS MOVIE" question titles? (2015)
  4. Shall we ban identification questions? (2016)
  5. Check in on Identification questions (2017)
  6. We are discontinuing support for identification questions (2018)
  7. Why are ID questions banned when there are only 55 votes in favor of it and 135 votes against it? (2024)
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  • 7
    Finally some has the guts to actually come out and ask it. So first and foremost thank you for the intiative! However, as we've seen time and time again on SE, simple polls on one liners aren't really going to resolve anything. I'd encourage anyone be they pro or con ID or anything in between, to properly present their arguments or plans forward in an effort for the comprehensive discussion this serious issue deserves. I'd remove the answer stubs for now and let people present some proper answers to discuss.
    – Napoleon Wilson Mod
    Commented Jun 17 at 9:03
  • 6
    A simple up/down yes/no vote seems the most sensible way to proceed.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jun 17 at 11:03
  • 6
    Frankly, my main concern isn't that we're going to win or lose the vote. Regardless of how we proceed, the existing moderator team have made it clear that they hate these questions with a vengeance and are going to act with bad faith to undermine the result, then ultimately delete the product of people's efforts.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jun 17 at 11:06
  • 9
    @Valorum Frankly, Valorum, if you're going to throw accusations like these around, I'd be careful with attributing bad faith to others if I was known across SE for gaslighting people into thinking your interpretation of site policy is the one true reality. Stuff like that really isn't going to get us foward. We have discussion going now. If you don't want to actually discuss the issue rather than pointing at a number and say "look, people asking ID question like ID questions", then continue that but don't pretend it's the only thing you can do.
    – Napoleon Wilson Mod
    Commented Jun 17 at 11:30
  • 7
    @NapoleonWilson - This isn't an "accusation", it's a precise description of what happened in 2016, where there was a successful vote to preserve them that was then reversed in 2017 under dubious circumstances. People's ID questions and answers, representing thousands of hours of effort, were then destroyed utterly. I fail to see any reason we shouldn't assume that will happen again.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jun 17 at 11:32
  • 3
    If you believe it or not, I'd be happy with a clear outcome from this discussion, no matter what that outcome is. However, things simply aren't as clear as a vote score on an announcement post, the last 14 years have shown that. I'm sure you like to pretend they are. But for now I'd like us to focus on finally discussing this issue without continuous underhanded pseudo posts beating around the bush of if we want these questions or not. More than 6 years ago we decided we don't, maybe things have changed, maybe they haven't.
    – Napoleon Wilson Mod
    Commented Jun 17 at 11:35
  • 6
    @NapoleonWilson "Finally put in the work for once and make a case for them" Isn't that what some of these users have been doing already? This is the reason that I had to take a break from this site. I was making a case and nobody was listening. What else do you want them to do? lol. You're a mod. Create a Meta post with a yes/no voting system and ask the community what they want. Boom. Commented Jun 17 at 12:30
  • 5
    @steelersquirrel We have a meta discussion now and are all concerning ourselves with this issue. People leaving angry comments or complaining in chat isn't the sme as genuine discussion for revisiting a long standing policy. All that ever happened is a few users beating around the bush with side questions. If we want ID back, let's actually talk about that. Maybe we should have started this discussion earlier, when seeing this unrest from a select few users, I give you that. But we have it now and we can actually talk about the issue instead of merely pointing at votes.
    – Napoleon Wilson Mod
    Commented Jun 17 at 12:56
  • 5
    @NapoleonWilson That's all fine and good to have a discussion; however, the discussion aspect is why we are here again. These users (myself included) want to see a community vote rather than a discussion. Y'all keep saying that ID was banned because of "discussions" rather than community votes. I just don't want to see that happen again here. Just let the community vote to bring them back Commented Jun 17 at 12:59
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    Okay...fine. I'll rephrase "Let the community vote if they want to bring them back" lol. If policy were merely a poll, then why did you guys put up the meta vote to ban them? Commented Jun 17 at 13:13
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    Do we really need another meta post on the topic of identification questions? I believe the community's consensus on this issue is already clear from the previous three meta discussions and the voting results on their answers: Shall we ban identification questions?, Check in on Identification questions, and We are discontinuing support for identification questions. Commented Jun 17 at 16:37
  • 5
    … Notably, despite the pro-ID ban stance in these meta posts, the top-voted answers are clearly against banning such questions. Commented Jun 17 at 16:38
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    @NapoleonWilson - I'm reasonably certain that if that "old score" was in your favour, you'd be pointing at it furiously right now.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jun 17 at 17:47
  • 4
    @Valorum Yes, that is the stuff that makes for reasonable answers. I do think much of this has been tried and doesn't actually work, but that's the stuff for other answers and comments. ;-)
    – Napoleon Wilson Mod
    Commented Jun 17 at 20:58
  • 5
    @AnkitSharma Huh? I'm not mudslinging. When in the heck did I mudsling? Commented Jun 17 at 22:08

3 Answers 3

9

tldr do what other sites have done successfully (e.g. Font ID on Graphic Design) and introduce a clear set of strict requirements for ID questions. Communicate it very clearly (Ask sidebar links, custom close reasons, tag description, standard comments...) and close anything that doesn't meet those requirements without hesitation (but allow good questions that followed the requirements, and re-open questions from good first time users who edit their questions correctly when prompted).

Bad questions from bad users disappear quickly, good questions from good users have a chance to survive and thrive. Other sites have made it work.


The problem was never identification questions, it was the high % of bad identification questions. Many sites (like Sci-Fi/Fantasy) get generally good quality ID questions and love them, many (like, I believe, Gaming) get even worse ones than we did and hate them; many sites are somewhere in between. I think there's a common pattern across the network as to whether they are good or bad:

ID questions are bad when a site's "Ask a question" form is in the Top 5 Google results for low-effort search terms like "What's the movie"

This was the case back when ID questions were at their worst: movies.SE had great search index ranking and searches like "ask what's this movie" had the Ask A Question form as the #1 result in Google. Not the homepage, not the ID tag, the actual Ask page. Click on that, and a first-time user who knows nothing about the site sees a big inviting text box they don't even need to log in to use, with very little (and very ignorable) information around it about what kind of site this even is. Of course that invites terrible-quality questions (and some good ones).

Sites like Sci-Fi and Fantasy don't have a corresponding common low-effort search string that matches their URL and h1 tags. Few lazy people are typing "what's this sci-fi and fantasy stack exchange". Therefore, their ID features tend to be used by actual SE users and tend to be higher quality. Sites like gaming rank as high as we did for "What's the game"-like searches, and struggle similarly.

This is also (as I recall, maybe I remembered wrong) why banning the questions had a seemingly slow impact on actually slowing the questions. For at least a year, the crap got deleted faster, but (to me) it didn't seem to slow down. The number of good ID questions plummeted, but the crap seemed to continue to trickle in at a similar rate. Eventually usage across the board began to slide and the site started to drop down Google rankings (for me it's now not even on the front page, well below a random ELL.SE question "Can I say: "What movie/novel is this?".

Then the questions (all types, but ID in particular) started to slow down.

Okay, but what should we actually do?

It looks like the actual cause of the underlying problem has gone away on its own. There are still some bad ID questions, but a manageable low number. It seems to make sense to cautiously allow them again, and just keep an eye on the rate (which I imagine won't change much, because it won't influence the Google ranking of the "Ask" page, and 95% of bad askers don't know or care what "on topic" means anyway and didn't hesitate to ask when they were banned).

But, to ensure quality, have very clear rules and enforce them ruthlessly.

The Graphic Design site did something similar with Font ID questions and it seemed to work; they:

  • created a clear set of requirements,
  • closed questions that didn't meet these without hesitation
  • re-opened questions that were edited and did meet them
  • had lots of time-saving boilerplate like a custom close reason that stated clearly what was required, a checklist on the tag, etc
  • had a clear meta post to link to outlining the requirements in more detail, and linked to it in the Ask page side bar:

enter image description here

This way, the amount of admin for a system that allowed good questions and purges bad ones became very similar as the amount of admin for banning all of them. For the people who didn't like them, "Hit close and copy-paste a comment" turned into "Glance to see if it meets the criteria, if yes ignore it, if no, hit close and copy-paste a comment".

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  • 4
    That is a very interesting point with the search hits. I've never seen this brought up before. However, I have to contradict in one point: "This is also why banning the questions had such a frustratingly [...] slow impact on actually slowing the questions" I made a very different observation there. In fact I was genuinely surprised how quickly the daily influx of these questions actually drained and thought we'd still get a ton of them for quite a while. Sure, we still got the occasional one, we do now too. But we quickly went from multiple a day to few a week, and not just after a year.
    – Napoleon Wilson Mod
    Commented Jun 25 at 15:20
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    I can get behind this. Granted a set of "guidelines" that will have a consensus from both sides of the for/anti debate will be tough. Certainly such a guide has been proposed before (during other on/off topic debates) and did not gain much traction but I have hopes now. Lowering the close vote number to 3 so we can close "bad" questions (whether IDQ or not) would be a welcome step up too.
    – Paulie_D
    Commented Jun 25 at 15:43
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    It deserves its own thread, but I think, make the old guidelines stricter on trying, but with wiggle room on genuinely fuzzy memory; understanding that most ID questions will go on hold at first, 10% will be re-opened after they add details, and that's okay. e.g. must have 1) Language or country of origin (attempts like "I watched it dubbed into Flemmish but I think it was American" are okay, the important thing is, we see they bothered to try), and 2) Approx year of release (if unsure, when and where they saw it), and 3) Describe at least one scene, and 4) Describe at least one character Commented Jun 25 at 16:00
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    Thank you for bringing up the apparent success of ID questions on Sci Fi, along with logical reasons why there would be a difference. Commented Jun 26 at 11:37
  • 3
    "[...] by giving grumpy users an outlet. They could satisfy themselves by slamming the close button, then move on, causing less damage than usual": that's looks like a not-so-nice way to "identify" people (pun intended) as ***, although users who just want to keep their standards (even when not shared) where they set them.
    – OldPadawan
    Commented Jun 26 at 14:30
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    @OldPadawan - You're entirely ignoring the fact that many ID questions have multiple upvotes and multiple views precisely because they are useful to more than just the person who asked them
    – Valorum
    Commented Jun 27 at 6:36
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    "That means making anyone who makes crappy comments (or abuses the close button) aware that they're being "not nice"": I've always thought that SE network trusted users so that they wisely use their earned powers. This quoted sentence just sounds like 'it's my way or the highway'...
    – OldPadawan
    Commented Jun 27 at 7:00
  • 2
    @Valorum And we are indeed currently in the process of deciding that. Though, we seem to still be quite a bit away from actually reaching a clear decision on this matter (even regardless if you employ discussion or voting oriented approach to consensus). At the moment we don't accept them, but that might very well change. In any case though, close-voting on-topic questions is never something that should be done...
    – Napoleon Wilson Mod
    Commented Jun 27 at 16:18
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    ...If, however, a question is an edge-case or we do end up with a close-reason for lack of detail as proposed in this answer, then that lives from people making a proper judgment and the close-system crystalizing a decsion out of these individual votes. In that case, though, calling anyone who makes use of their close-voting privileges "abusing the close button" or comments asking for more details "crappy comments", is not something that fits to how either close-votes or comments work...
    – Napoleon Wilson Mod
    Commented Jun 27 at 16:19
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    ...Now it's possible that's not what you meant, but nuace isn't something that comes across well when it looks like you're calling voting against your own preferences "abuse". Being nice is indeed usually the prime directive that should be strived for in interactions on this site (and not only when people ask questions you like to answer), but close votes or comments asking for clarification are not per se "not nice", regardless of the question type.
    – Napoleon Wilson Mod
    Commented Jun 27 at 16:19
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    We did this, and people ignored the instructions. Like I said before: back when we allowed them, at least once a day I saw a question that didn't even have the identify-tag -- if that is too much effort, then people are not gonna follow the instructions. Also, pointing out people should follow the instructions caused acrimony. And IIRC there was evidence that people who ask ID questions are overwhelmingly fly-by-night. I don't see the point of all this effort for very little return.
    – BCdotWEB
    Commented Jun 27 at 21:00
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    @BCdotWEB - Killing those questions put a huge dent in the site's activity (to the tune of a thousand questions a year and hundreds of thousands of views) from which it's never recovered. That's the point.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jun 28 at 17:59
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    @BCdotWEB - Can you point at the graph and spot where we banned one of the site's single most popular question categories? i.sstatic.net/YzpnXWx7.png
    – Valorum
    Commented Jun 28 at 19:08
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    @ToddWilcox - Low quality here means "I don't like them"
    – Valorum
    Commented Jul 12 at 17:50
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    @BCdotWEB - "Easily googleable." is a great reason to downvote and a terrible reason to mark for closure. Note also that not everyone's Google results are the same, especially if you're from a foreign country. Set your VPN to "China" and ask Baidu what happened on June Fourth.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jul 13 at 22:50
8

Yes, let's allow identification questions again.

Revitalizing our community

One glaring issue we've faced recently is the alarmingly low activity on Movies & TV SE. As noted in this meta post, user and voting engagement has taken a concerning dip. Currently, we're averaging a mere 1.9 questions per day, which is worryingly low for a Stack Exchange site. SE sites with comparable or even smaller user bases have seen significantly higher participation levels.

Graph showing the number of questions per year on Movies & TV SE:

Graph showing the number of questions per year on Movies & TV SE

You'll notice a steep decline in posts in 2018, which is when identification questions were banned. It's no coincidence that several of our top members (by rep) left around the same time as well. This predates the more recent events involving Monica and generative AI that led to an exodus of users from Stack Exchange sites in general.

Graph source: Valorum's post at "Why does Movies Stack Exchange have low activity even on very popular titles?"

Fewer questions inevitably lead to fewer answers and less participation, creating a vicious cycle that can turn our community into a ghost town (if it isn't already). Allowing identification questions once more could be the spark we need to reignite interest and attract new enthusiastic users to our site.

Ensuring quality through curation (voting)

Some have raised concerns about the quality of identification questions, but this argument seems outdated (we last allowed ID questions more than 6 years ago) and cherry-picked, disregarding the numerous high-quality, well-written, and interesting examples we still have, such as those listed here:

Just like any other type of question, there will always be good and bad examples. However, we have the power to curate these questions through our voting system. Vague or unclear identification questions can still be closed as "needs details or clarity," just as we do with other questions.

Respecting the community's voice

Perhaps most importantly, the majority of our community has historically been against attempts to ban identification questions. As evident in the vote tallies of the answers from our previous meta discussions about ID questions (1. Discussion on identification questions, 2. Shall we ban identification questions?, 3. Check in on Identification questions, and 4. We are discontinuing support for identification questions), the community has consistently and overwhelmingly voted against any suggestion to ban them. This is now at least the fifth meta discussion post on the topic, and it will likely be the fifth time showing that the community does not support the ID ban. (Related meta post: Why are ID questions banned when there are only 55 votes in favor of it and 135 votes against it?)

The onus is on those in favor of the ban to provide evidence of a clear, current community consensus for their position. As far as I can see, there is currently no meta post showing that a clear majority of the community supports banning identification questions.

Given this long-standing lack of community support for the ID question ban, as expressed repeatedly in several meta posts, it's perplexing why the ban still remains in place. It makes one wonder if revisiting this topic through yet another meta post is truly necessary.

A way forward

Bringing back identification questions could prove immensely valuable for reinvigorating our community. It is likely to boost engagement and attract new users. We already have the means to curate these questions and ensure quality. More importantly, continuing to ban them would go against the community's wishes, as expressed repeatedly in past discussions. Let's embrace this opportunity to revitalize our community and continue providing a welcoming space for all movie and TV enthusiasts.

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    @steelersquirrel Yes, apparently, he was in favor of ID questions and made a lot of good points against banning ID questions, and the community agrees—their answer is the top-voted answer. :) Commented Jun 18 at 9:40
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    Well, I was also in favour of identification questions over a decade ago. But that's all part of growing and learning how things work out. You think something makes sense and will work and you try it and maybe you relize it actually doesn't. That's practical experience for ya. And if you mean that poll from '16, that wasn't even Ankit's actual opinion back then. So while arguing that a poll post has many votes or makes good points makes sense, I don't think looking who specficically was in favour of what is all that productive, let alone accurate to reality.
    – Napoleon Wilson Mod
    Commented Jun 18 at 12:57
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    @NapoleonWilson Okay....I didn't call anyone a hypocrite. I was making a joke. Thanks for reminding me why I left this site in the first place. First, Ankit says that I was mudslinging, which I'm still trying to figure that one out. Now, you're saying that I'm calling someone a hypocrite when I was trying to keep this whole thing light hearted. I'm out. <sigh> Commented Jun 18 at 13:36
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    @steelersquirrel It's okay. I was speaking more generally and also having the general tone in mind that discussions like these sometimes tend to take. I'm sorry if that sounded more targeted than intended. This really doesn't need to blow out of proportion yet again. Keeping things light hearted is very appreciated. But in the same way I'd like to try and keep it mostly objective, because keeping it light-hearted can come with the, even if possibly unintended, danger of only being light-hearted to some people. I hope you understand that humour can be difficult for such a controversial topic.
    – Napoleon Wilson Mod
    Commented Jun 18 at 13:40
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    I see this "we have the power to curate these questions through our voting system. Vague or unclear identification questions can still be closed as "needs details or clarity," just as we do with other questions." and have to say that as a general rule... we don't. Questions with these issues (and others) aren't closed fast enough. There isn't enough DV/CV going on to weed out the trash as it is and adding to the sheer volume of the crap won't help. A 3 vote close would help but I'd rather not deal with the stuff in the first place.
    – Paulie_D
    Commented Jun 18 at 15:21
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    @Paulie_D - I don't think the key to making ID questions work is heavy-handed closure., especially if it's based on one person's opinion that a question is "trash". I think we all need to be clear on what the absolute minimum standards are, and if those are met, the question gets to stay and we have to bite our tongues.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jun 18 at 18:53
  • 3
    Sure, but whenever we tried to impose minimum standard (or even define them) we got nowhere. If you can come up with a set of standards that have a consensus I'd be overjoyed provided the "community" is willing to impose those standards on the questions we'll get. I don't oppose ID question in principle it's poor questions I objected to have to deal with and the majority of IDQ were poor, at best.
    – Paulie_D
    Commented Jun 18 at 20:01
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    @Paulie_D - The problem is that the minimum standards were designed to close as many questions as possible, not to find an absolute bottom limit in order to keep the reasonable ones open. If we allow these questions back, we need to be generous with the people who are asking them.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jun 18 at 20:54
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    "find an absolute bottom limit in order to keep the reasonable ones open": that's the problem. Lowering the threshold to get more. Lowering the quality to get the quantity. Lowering the quality to have more fun. To get more rep. That's not what we should aim for... Better one suit from Savile Row than a full wardrobe of Shein.
    – OldPadawan
    Commented Jun 18 at 21:15
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    @steelersquirrel When I was new I felt ID are an asset but with time and observation I felt I was wrong. Experiences change our opinions and we grow with them. For the later post I added yes just for the sake of equal chance not because I agree with it.
    – Ankit Sharma Mod
    Commented Jun 19 at 3:14
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    @OldPadawan Most of your points make sense but I don’t understand the one about not having more fun. Why not have more fun? What is this stack for if not fun? It’s not like professional movie critics are coming here to get better at their jobs. Commented Jun 23 at 5:17
  • 1
    @ToddWilcox: it's having fun in the sense of 'laughing' opposed to 'having pleasure'. They're not the same. We'd like to build a 'library of knowledge', and in a library, you can have some (silent) pleasure, not crack jokes to have fun. Just speaking for myself (with the hope that others feel the same) I take a lot of silent pleasure answering questions, because I think they're important for the library. IDQs are just some kind of instant fun before going back to 'real studies', they may help steam off the pressure, but won't help the building of the library because they help one.
    – OldPadawan
    Commented Jun 23 at 5:38
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    @OldPadawan - I've lost track of the number of users who've posted a comment on an ID question thanking me because I've helped another user to find it. These answered questions serve as a useful signpost for people other than the original asker.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jun 23 at 13:22
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    Yeah people often play the "repository of knowledge" card without even bothering to look at the stats. There are dozens, maybe even >100 ID questions with thousands of views each, and several with >10,000, as people remember and search on similar details to the original asker (some also get very few, sure, that's always the way with any set of content, a long tail of niche content does no harm) Commented Jun 25 at 14:34
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    @OldPadawan "IDQs ... won't help the building of the library because they help one." I'm curious how we know ID questions only help the asker. Depending on what we think is "help", I'd say ID questions I didn't ask have helped me before. Also, part of my brain is saying I've seen comments on an IDQ before saying something about how others have also been looking for the same thing and now they have their answer. Commented Jul 2 at 4:51
-6

NO modification, keep ID questions off-topic. I'd like that policy to remain as is, a minima for the title of the movie. Here are my points:

I think this policy, despite being perceived as harsh and constraining, is the one that this community needs. Why? Because, having seen how it works for years, my opinion is that identification questions lower the quality level of this stack.

Of course, these questions attract new users and generate some traffic, but these persons, for most of them, won't stay after they get their answer and never contribute again. And we're stuck with one question and answer(s) that will benefit one person only. That is not what SE should be about, what it was built for, a library of knowledge, intended for the many.

Beside that, low quality questions ask for much more work than the average question. I can only rank these as "gimme th3 c0d3" type of question on SO. They're different in essence, but the spirit is the same: I don't know, so feed me with the answer I need, and ciao bambino!

Identification questions are no more than a fun trivia, like the one you can play with family and friends. "Guess who?". "Pict it". And others I don't know. Fun for a while, but not that much.

I know users can set their homepage to ignore the identification tag, but many don't even know that, and I'm pretty sure the vast majority of visitors will see a homepage filled with many ID questions, misleading them about the core of this stack. Closing your eyes doesn't make the dirt disappear, it hides it for you, but the stains are still here, and the others can still see it.

ID questions are low-quality items, badly written most of the time, and degrade the overall quality of the stack. They're bad apples that will stain the basket.

There are some other points that can be discussed, such as music, because it can be likened to props, and be an important part of the movie? But then, it would depend on the importance, on the relation to the narration...etc

As stated by Jeff Atwood in his blog post Let's Play The Guessing Game:

The question owner tries to describe something they can't quite remember, in hopes that the greater community will "buzz in" to hazard an answer based on the limited information provided, like on a game show. The best guess gets upvotes, and potentially an accepted answer checkmark. It's fun, right?

Of course, guessing game questions aren't a new phenomenon; I alluded to them in the Pee-Wee Herman Rule. But after a year of observing these guessing game questions grow and spread to multiple sites with similar effects, I no longer believe that the slight benefit of these questions outweighs the many negatives.

When people say that the rules of a stack should be modified because a majority of users wants to, is it potentially a sense of democracy or a coup d'état? If tomorrow I find myself regrouped with many people who want the right to curse all throughout the posts and insult others, just because I get loads of upvotes, do we need to allow this?

Just because a post is upvoted, an another one downvoted, then the winner is... ? Is that really the kind of childish decision our community needs for such an important matter? Based on a poll? Shouldn't we look at the greater picture, and still aim for excellence instead of some "instant (kind of) trivia fun"?

If people want to change the established rules, it has to be for the greater good of many, not just the few dozen (at best) willing to. New blood? Maybe. What about the old blood? Too old, so get rid of it? Many users may have left when ID questions got cut, but many users will probably also leave if this stack is flooded with low quality posts.

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    "these questions attract new users and generate some traffic" - Movies:SE site traffic is at an all-time low, and significantly lower than the point at which the site left beta. Perhaps attracting some new blood isn't such a bad idea.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jun 17 at 20:58
  • 3
    @Valorum: it's probably easier to trade something you ignore the value of because you never possessed it, but I cherish mine so... thanks, but, no thanks. Rule #19 would probably apply here.
    – OldPadawan
    Commented Jun 18 at 4:08
  • 8
    That to me has been the problem all along. There has very much been a "to save the village we had to destroy the village" mentality. Having excluded a popular class of questions, resulting in several of the sites top members leaving, and devastating site-engagement levels, the winners sat back and congratulated themselves on having fixed the site.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jun 18 at 5:58
  • 5
    @Valorum: I'm possibily wrong, and willing to accept it, but please write an email to Jeff Atwood explaining how his vision is biased and how he built his village on unsteady foundations. And share the answer with us. Or write your own. I personally share his vision.
    – OldPadawan
    Commented Jun 18 at 6:17
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    "Many users may have left when ID questions got cut, but many users will probably also leave if this stack is flooded with low quality posts." - And many users might already have left because we didn't do anything against ID until '18. It's ultimately hard to count which group is larger or would have brought more fruitful site contributions. Users come and go over all those years.
    – Napoleon Wilson Mod
    Commented Jun 18 at 13:05
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    @OldPadawan Jeff Atwood hasn't been involved in SE decision-making for a decade now. Back when he was, he was known for provocative comments (e.g. "the correct answer to any question at SFF.SE is 'who cares'") and alienating entire communities. I'm sure he also made a lot of good points which are worth arguing for on their merits, but "please write an email to Jeff Atwood" is unhelpfully dismissive and irrelevant to discussing SE policy in 2024. Commented Jun 20 at 9:12
  • 3
    @OldPadawan - Sure, but it's pretty clear that removing their questions is going to drive them away. That's all fine and dandy when we have users to burn, but that ain't the case at the moment. The site is dying on its arse and banning ID questions is merely hastening the demise. A better solution might be to engage with ID-question-askers and encourage them to ask a non-ID question to follow up
    – Valorum
    Commented Jun 23 at 12:49
  • 4
    @NapoleonWilson - The first step in engaging with this regular supply of new users is to stop making them feel like garbage. We're already failing at that with the rude note that we put on their questions before we unceremoniously delete them.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jun 23 at 13:18
  • 3
    @NapoleonWilson - Making these questions work is incredibly easy and something that SFF:SE have managed with ease. Edit them to make them look nice, tag them correctly, ask the user lots of questions to try to encourage more details and delete them if the question has zero redeeming features. Note that the goal isn't for every question to be an absolute hero, but for them to be potentially answerable.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jun 23 at 13:19
  • 4
    @NapoleonWilson Indeed, there have been several discussions—I've counted at least 5 meta posts. And if I'm reading the votes correctly, the top-voted answers suggest the community wasn't keen on an ID ban. I think you can see where I'm going with this. 😉 Commented Jun 23 at 14:20
  • 6
    @NapoleonWilson “ID questions on SFF.SE generally tend to fare a lot better with regards to post score (and possibly also answer success). However, they also basically take over the site.” Even using SF&F as someone who doesn’t like ID questions, I haven’t found that they “basically take over the site”. There are many quality non-ID questions posted there every day. Commented Jun 27 at 10:53
  • 4
    @Valorum I did exactly that (set the tag to ignore, here and on SFF where I am more active and has better quality IDQ), because in general I am not interested in them. However, that does not make want to see them removed entirely. I happily support IDQ even if I don't interact with them.
    – Skooba
    Commented Jul 2 at 21:02
  • 5
    @OldPadawan Let's not be so quick to label ID Qs as 'dirt' and 'stains.' ID questions can be interesting and helpful to many users. The community feed is meant to serve diverse interests, not just one person's ideal. While I personally ignored the ID tag on Sci-Fi & Fantasy SE, I recognize that these questions might be both interesting and helpful to others. Commented Jul 3 at 1:19
  • 7
    It's surprising to see that the only answer with a negative score is the one that's marked as accepted. Why not let the dust settle after this post is unfeatured, then select the most-upvoted answer as the community's pick? Commented Jul 3 at 1:31
  • 7
    @galacticninja It is also strange to me that this answer is accepted since it doesn’t seem to actually answer the question, but I’m pretty sure which answer is accepted is meaningless in this situation. Commented Jul 3 at 17:46

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