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Questions like "What is this anime song?" or "What manga is this character from?" are vague by their title. Unless one takes a look inside, one cannot be helped by the solutions to these answers.

That makes this website function unlike other Stack Exchange communities. To quote it, Stack Exchange believes in questions that present, well, the question. It is their motto to not be a discussion portal or a forum.

However, these questions do classify as questions and are appropriate at this website. Someone might really want to know who a specific character is.

All the questions tied by the identification-request tag should therefore be a different genre of questions, or pseudo-questions, which do not conform totally by the Stack Exchange guidelines.

I can think of only three solutions (these are personal opinions only and can be revised or abandoned):

  • Visual differentiation: We might differentiate such questions visually, so that they seem outer questions. A color change might do.
  • Encouraging and teaching users about the rightful usage and crafting descriptive questions.
  • Lengthening descriptions of those questions, or of all questions, can be beneficial.

Anime and Manga Stack Exchange is a special Stack Exchange website, and therefore needs special rules, probably.

But Why Should We Do It?

  • It's hard to skip the common sense that goes against such questions.
  • It's like not going by the ideals of Stack Exchange. For example, on Ask Ubuntu, I cannot ask questions like "What text editor is this?" and then slam all the description in the body. I will get downvoted a lot. (However, Ask Ubuntu doesn't even support identification-type questions, so maybe this point is useless.)

It also has bad implications: My question What is that twiggy strand in hair of some anime characters called? is marked as a duplicate (and rightfully so) for this question: "What is this hairstyle called?" (which is now changed to "Name of hair style with one strand sticking upwards" (which is apparently a non-standard, discussion-evoking question, but already has answers, so skips this issue)).

Now, if the other question had a descriptive name like mine, I would've found it in the search. But with such a non-descriptive name, even if I see the title, I won't bother to go inside it. Common sense. I would think that there can be a lot of hair styles - and would be tempted to write my own question (which I did).

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  • I think you put too much thought into this. Just edit the title so that it asks a real question or makes it clear what it's about. – Hakase Aug 5 '14 at 9:19
  • Hmm. You solved the problem a bit too quickly that I can't think how can that entirely uproot the problem. I think you're not looking at the big picture here, the concept. – Abhimanyu Aug 5 '14 at 9:21
  • Question titles aren't really that big a deal. It's the content that's important. Check out hundreds of questions with purposely ambiguous titles in the Hot Network Questions list. Nobody is editing them because nobody has a real problem with them. – Hakase Aug 5 '14 at 9:23
  • But new visitors, which Stack Exchange gives utmost priority, are not helped by the titles, even if their query matches that of the description to that question. Neither will his or her query appear on Google searches, in-site searchers, or anywhere else because the user wants to know the name for dupe and the questions (that have his or her answer) go like: name of this hairstyle. I really don't think those questions are useful at all for most people. – Abhimanyu Aug 5 '14 at 9:25
  • If you want a site with identification-type questions, you might check for scifi / movies .se – Vogel612 Aug 5 '14 at 9:35
  • Title does not have to explain what the question is about with absolute precision. The body of the question serves that purpose. Title only has to be clear enough to make difference between questions with similar titles. But there are some types of questions that make it almost impossible to do (music identification requests). New users who don't know this should familiarize with how StackExchange works before saying it works "wrong". – Hakase Aug 5 '14 at 9:39
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This will be the "quick answer".

If you see such a title there's roughly 2 possibilites.

  1. The question is formulated badly.
  2. The question is formulated nicely.

Assuming we are only in the area of questions (even for almost all other questions) then the path for such questions is simple.

If the question is formulated badly, you should close it (or in your case flag for closing), because it either does not fulfil the criteria imposed on identification requests, or is unclear.

If the question is formulated nicely, then just the title needs a change. The best thing about StackExchange is: You can make it better. Suggest an edit to the question. You don't need any rep for that, and if it gets approved, you get +2. --> Everybody wins.

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  • You're not getting the point of this question. Of course you can edit all questions that might have vague titles, but that doesn't solve the problem, does it? – Abhimanyu Aug 5 '14 at 9:27
  • @Abhimanyu why does it not solve the problem?? – Vogel612 Aug 5 '14 at 9:29
  • The problem is that vague titled questions can make SE a forum and do not specify the title. IDK about you, but I know that most SE sites seem to be wanting askers to put special emphasis on the title, even more than the body. For example, it's said that you should write your question first and then think the title. The title is the thing, and that's what's exactly spammed here. – Abhimanyu Aug 5 '14 at 12:38
  • @Abhimanyu I fail to see the point you're making. It's OP's choice to make a title. If he sucks at it, well so be it. If you don't like the title, change it. If OP doesn't listen to advice... well he will get what he deserves. I fail to see the problem you have with that. Feel free to ping me in Anime & Manga Chat though. – Vogel612 Aug 5 '14 at 12:42
  • I don't know much about the chat ;__; Anyway. Well, you're wrong. If identification-requests are left to be like how they are currently, it's bad for SE business – Abhimanyu Aug 5 '14 at 12:46
  • @Abhimanyu sorry to tell you, but you can't just tell me I am wrong, and expect me to accept that. Also why should it be bad for SE business? You fail to make your point clear and present biased opinions of your own as absolute truth. What are you trying to accomplish? From what I see, it's definitely not a discussion but a one-sided half-rant with a big "Please confirm my opinions"-banner on it. And that's definitely not the purpose of meta. – Vogel612 Aug 5 '14 at 12:50
  • @Abhimanyu please provide authorative references confirming that SE is indeed interested in question titles more than the question contents, and how exactly bad titles harm the business of SE. – Hakase Aug 5 '14 at 12:59
  • 1. In a new question, it says "What's your anime or manga question? Be specific" in the title box of the question. "What is this character" is, well, not specific. 2. In my discussions on Ubuntu and Philosophy SE, it's stressed that those questions shall be avoided whose titles can mislead new visitors, as SE treats new visitors before existing members. (I couldn't find it states anywhere, but it does, and rightfully so) 3. I'm just saying that identification questions do not help new visitors. That's all. What's so big deal? It's common sense... – Abhimanyu Aug 6 '14 at 12:08
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    Precisely so. It's not a big deal, like you said. Identification questions are most helpful to the askers of these questions. Anime&Manga allows these questions because it's not a big deal to answer them for us. And there is always a chance, that these questions may help other users that search for similar descriptions. And the better the guidelines for descriptions, the higher the chance. But there is a limit to how good any given asker can conform to these guidelines exactly because they don't remember something. And there is nothing we can do except guide them and ask additional questions. – Hakase Aug 6 '14 at 12:47

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