We've talked about this for a while, but we've never done anything about it... so let's do this now. Let's talk about what we should do with image id-requests that can be easily found via reverse image search.

What constitutes as "easily" reverse image searchable? There's various ways of going about it... you can use: Google, Tineye, SauceNao, or iqdb.

I want to propose that if it's explicitly clear on at least the first page of a Google reverse image search who someone is or what series it's from, it should be marked as off-topic (probably bundled in with our bad id-req reason).

I don't think we should be bothered with these kinds of trivial id-reqs, nor do I think they should take up space on our front page.

What say you community? Should we put the hammer down on these simple image id-reqs?

  • 2
    I was planning on asking a similar question, but yours covers most of the points. Instead of posting an answer with some thoughts I'd like to add, I'll leave them in comments (hoping they still get visibility). I generally think these should be treated as regular id-reqs. In fact, our current guidelines also cover id-reqs that provide images as one of the criteria provided. If the minimum criteria requirement is not met, the question should be closed. – JNat May 10 '15 at 12:58
  • I'm just unsure as to whether or not this should also be the case when the question has found an answer in the meantime (e.g. 1, 2). Granted, there are some id-req questions that are not easily found by reverse search, and that could really use our help (e.g.). But these should also probably be closed and we should ask the OP to add some more details, such as what they already did to try to find an answer to it and whatnot, and then can possibly be reopened. – JNat May 10 '15 at 12:59
  • All this closing brings about an undesirable side-effect: the front-page not only being filed with crappy id-reqs, but with crappy closed id-reqs. Deleting them seems unfair, and defeats the purpose of having questions put on-hold rather than being closed. – JNat May 10 '15 at 13:03
  • Which brings me to the second point I'd like to bring up: people seem to be afraid (or something else, IDK) of down-voting crappy questions. There are some posts with discrepancies in the number of votes the question and the answer get (the answer getting more votes, and generally up-votes, I mean), which means some users bother to vote in answers but not in questions. – JNat May 10 '15 at 13:03
  • Down-voting the questions would get them off the front-page, and still allow the OP to edit some stuff in allowing the questions to be re-opened and possibly revert the voting trend. So basically I'd like to encourage people to both vote-to-close and down-vote these questions (understanding these are two different things used for different purposes), and also to try to explain to the OP what's happening and what they can do to help salvage the post. – JNat May 10 '15 at 13:03
  • 4
    @JNat Speaking for myself, when I first joined, I was reluctant to downvote questions because I felt it wasn't gracious to downvote people who came here for help and didn't know the SE system. Now that every second question is someone wanting to know the origin of some image when it was easily searchable, I have shed this compunction and downvote such questions freely, but I still sometimes upvote the answers if I feel the answerer put in some good work. – Torisuda May 10 '15 at 17:42
  • Sure, there's no problem in up-voting the answers (or even the questions, even if they are id-reqs) if you feel they deserve it. I'm just saying I feel most people refrain from down-voting content worthy of being down-voted for some reason I'm unaware of. – JNat May 10 '15 at 19:51
  • @JNat In all honesty, have extra details on an image-based question ever helped you locate the origin of the image? I've answered quite a few of these, and I've literally never read any additional information like this. I honestly can't imagine how they would help at all. – Logan M May 11 '15 at 0:03
  • @LoganM The user telling us where they've already searched and failed, or where they got the image could be of help. Other than that, there is actually probably very little extra details the user can provide, otherwise they'd probably be able to id it themselves, I guess. – JNat May 11 '15 at 0:10
  • 1
    @JNat "Could be" is this speculation on your part, or has it actually helped you in the past? I've spent the past few months trying to figure out what people actually use to answer identification questions, and in the process realized that when there's an image, I neither use nor need anything else, nor would anything else be very helpful to me. – Logan M May 11 '15 at 0:12
  • @LoganM Speculation on my part, and hasn't helped me so far. Which doesn't mean I don't think it couldn't eventually help me (or others) in the future, but yeah, I get what you mean. – JNat May 11 '15 at 0:15
  • 2
    @JNat Basing policy after something that you haven't seen happen ever so far is ridiculous. The goal of making policy decisions on meta is to deal with a large majority of possible cases, not everything we'll ever encounter. In a large majority of cases so far, such details are useless, so it doesn't make any sense to make a policy requiring them. – Logan M May 11 '15 at 0:18
  • 3
    For the record, I think banning particular types of identification requests amounts to putting lipstick on a pig. Image-only id-reqs are, I guess, the crappiest type of id-req, and getting rid of them would be an unmitigated good, but this is just a half-measure. Allowing some but not others does nothing to stem the tide of crud (we're at 25%-and-rising of all questions being id-reqs, with >= 40% of questions asked in each of the past eight fortnights being id-reqs). – senshin May 11 '15 at 3:33
  • 1
    I don't see a good solution to this problem, but I'm afraid if we just downvote, we might end up like Programmers.SE, where every third question has negative votes. There's even a post about it on their meta. I've never asked a question there, and when I have something that might be on-topic for Programmers, I try to recast it for SO or Code Review because I fear the reception I'll get on Programmers. – Torisuda May 11 '15 at 19:25
  • 1
    Late to the party, and maybe tangential as well, but I'm still thinking how image-only id-reqs would help future readers, considering that I can't search it on Google, and I think there's only a small probability that other users also try to find it, other than browsing on this site directly, unless it's very notable (e.g. particular event, not a random image from random manga/anime). This is my PoV, if we try to follow SE's mission to be a repository of high-quality Q&A, not a personal helpdesk. – Aki Tanaka May 15 '15 at 11:11



As usual, this poll presents a false dichotomy: Either we add a new off-topic close reason or we do nothing. Neither of these is an optimal solution.

The best option (as I explained in more detail here) is to realize that the real problem with these questions is that they're all abstract duplicates; it's a volume problem rather than a content problem. This calls for a canonical question and answer and closing future questions as duplicates of that when they're trivially answerable by reverse image search.

This will allow the remaining non-trivial questions to remain answerable and be easier to follow for both experts and new users than some abstract meta policy that requires one to check several completely different sites to even know if the question is on-topic.

  • 5
    What canonical are you proposing? – Madara's Ghost May 11 '15 at 7:34
  • 5
    @MadaraUchiha Basically, that we make a copy of meta.anime.stackexchange.com/questions/793/… on the main site (or move it if possible, but I don't think it is), and start closing incoming trivially searchable ID requests as a duplicate of that. Of course, changes can be made as necessary. – Logan M May 11 '15 at 23:47
  • 2
    Just to be clear: Are you proposing closing all image ID-reqs as dupes, or just those that can be easily found via reverse image search? – Killua May 13 '15 at 16:19
  • 2
    @キルア Only those which can be found easily via reverse image search. (As best I can tell, the "yes" answer also only applies to such images.) – Logan M May 13 '15 at 23:42
  • 3
    I don't think it's at all appropriate to close a question based on a deliberately false interpretation of the question. Someone asking where an image is from isn't asking how to do a reverse image search. (It's not even clear that the later question is even on topic for the main site.) New users asking these questions aren't going to understand why their question was closed as a duplicate. They aren't going to buy this "abstract duplicate" nonsense. – Ross Ridge May 15 '15 at 22:37
  • 3
    @RossRidge These days on SE, "exact duplicate" is often used for questions where the answer to one also answers another even when the questions are superficially different. Canonical questions and answers are very much the norm on large sites when a specific variety of question is asked repeatedly and can always be answered the same way every time. We're far from the only site to do it (in fact, I'd argue we're doing too little of this), and so far it's only rarely caused confusion on other sites, which was usually easily alleviated by a couple comments. – Logan M May 16 '15 at 3:39
  • 5
    Except these questions are substantially different and can't be correctly answered the same way, not without deliberately choosing to misinterpret them. The problem with these questions is that they're of low quality, not that they are all the same. – Ross Ridge May 16 '15 at 4:41



(We don't need them!)

  • 4
    Now I'm going to have to post a lousy, easily Reverse Image Searchable id request to find out where you got that awesome picture from. – Torisuda May 10 '15 at 17:37
  • 3
    @Torisuda Air Gear chapter 227, page 8. John Omaha. – кяαzєя May 10 '15 at 21:32


We better not...

(I think we should let them be...)

  • 7
    I'm voting for this, not because I like these questions, but because I think this isn't a great solution - I think they should be down voted and deleted, but not closed. Seeing the wording of the new closure reason might change my mind, but for now I don't think it's the way to go – Toshinou Kyouko May 10 '15 at 13:56
  • 1
    You can't delete a question without closing it first. Only moderators can do that. – Madara's Ghost May 10 '15 at 14:00
  • 1
    @MadaraUchiha normal users can flag for deletion and heavily downvoted questions go into the review queue for low-quality questions where deletion votes can be cast too. – Toshinou Kyouko May 10 '15 at 15:50
  • 1
    @MadaraUchiha actually that's not quite correct. The trusted user privilege includes expanded deletion privileges – Vogel612 May 10 '15 at 20:52
  • +1 only because of Kana ^__^ – Jan May 10 '15 at 23:02

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