It's that time again, let's look at another aspect of the site that you picked for review. Our continuity tagging experiment is still underway, but this is an item I've wanted to review for a while. This time we're looking at s that are based off of an image search. Here's the gist of the original suggestion:

Our current id-requirements for an id-request are 3 points of information. Currently, Image-based requests are not being held to that standard. Part of this is because Image id-requests are hard to "provide more information for" if all the user has is a single image.

We need to standardize how these are asked.

  • What additional items could users provide?
  • Do we need to rethink our rules for this type of questions?
  • What counts as extra information? What if I post multiple frames of a .gif / several scenes?
  • Which comes first? Closing as reverse-searchable or as too-little-detail?

How should we deal with these questions?

  • 2
    Image only ID should be straight closed, we do similar with them over Movies.se. Commented Feb 3, 2016 at 10:47

1 Answer 1


Rather than attempt a roundabout way to tackle this problem that will make our rules more complex and that we will inevitably come back to re-assess, I think the source of the problem with these questions is clear:

Questions with only one image are not good questions.

Regardless of information of whether the user reverse-searched it, where they found it, etc - it still boils down to one piece of information that an answer has to work off of.

That is why I would like to limit these questions to a specific subset. (Feel free to suggest additions in the comments):

  • Merchandise
  • Cosplay from a convention you attended

My rationale for these exemptions is that they provide more information for our answerers - With merchandise, the user can provide any angles requested, any markings on the items, place of purchase, etc. Cosplay can also aid identification through offical convention media such as facebook groups, titled photo galleries & cosplayers often advertise their personal pages. Note that this does not include random cosplays from the internet (although perhaps this rule could be relaxed based on feedback from the rest of the users here).

I think I share the same sentiment as many other users in that it feels like we are treated as an alternative reverse search engine. And new users will treat us as such when they see these types of question on the homepage, usually a high percentage of it - If you watch Joel's talk on Cultural Anthropology , you'll see that these questions signal to our users what we are about and if they want to join our community. So it's no real surprise that we're being treated as a community for identifying random anime-looking pictures on the internet if the front page is filled with questions that are single images with "what is this anime".

This will also solve another issue which I think is silly: The reverse-search duplicate closure reason. These questions are most definitely under-specified so they should have been closed as "too little detail" anyway. The introduction of the closure means that all reviewers have to check if they can find the image on reverse search engines wasting 4 people's time.

TL;DR: We are not a search engine. Let's stop accepting those particular questions and focus on more interesting and relevant ones.

Even if you don't read the rest of the question - just ask yourself why we should accept this terrible standard:

Sure, some of them have nice pictures, but we can just get that from our lovely bot in chat - or, you know, Tumblr.

  • 1
    Recently there also seem to be a lot of "id all the anime in this video of random clips" questions, which I hate even more than the image ones because they are basically equivalent to "identify ten random images in one question".
    – Torisuda
    Commented Jan 26, 2016 at 3:10
  • if image id requests get limited to cosplay and merch, with those would we then use the cosplay/merch tags along with the id request tag? or would we want to have separate tags such as id-cospay and id-merch
    – Memor-X
    Commented Jan 26, 2016 at 3:45
  • 8
    These questions are certainly abominable, but they are not substantially worse than identification requests in general. Soapbox aside, I am sympathetic to people who come here wanting merchandise identified: having a concrete physical entity you own identified is actually valuable in a way that most id-reqs aren't. "What is this thing I own" is a question worth answering, whereas "what is this thing I remember" is rather less so. Cosplay falls into the latter class, imo (unless you own the costume or something, I guess), but I don't feel terribly strongly either way.
    – senshin
    Commented Jan 26, 2016 at 5:25
  • 1
    @senshin I think the main problem with them is there's no clear quality control, whereas at least we have the 3 points for other questions. Cosplay is indeed a less justifiable case, but we can assess this if it gets bad. I believe there won't be too many of them Commented Jan 26, 2016 at 7:02
  • 2
    To @Memor-X's point, I think we should tag cosplay/merchandise image questions as just "cosplay" or just "merchandise". Then we have a clear policy: there are no identification requests on images. At all. There are just merchandise questions and cosplay questions.
    – Torisuda
    Commented Jan 26, 2016 at 8:24
  • 1
    In the end, it has come to this. I don't have any objection, though, since allowing them requires consistent effort from the community to do the up-keeping work. +1
    – nhahtdh
    Commented Jan 26, 2016 at 8:38
  • Do itasha id-reqs count as cosplay?
    – кяαzєя Mod
    Commented Jan 26, 2016 at 21:33
  • @ʞɹɐzǝɹ I would think that would fall under the same rules - if you take the photos yourself / it is part of a larger anime event, it could be okay - but if it's just another picture on the internet, I'd be inclined to have it under the removals Commented Jan 26, 2016 at 21:58
  • 3
    The problem I find is that there is a disconnect between something you took yourself vs something someone else took. The disconnect where to draw the line. If you say a photo that someone else took and posted on their blog, it would be considered "another picture on the internet." Sometimes the photographer makes a mention, but usually they don't (i.e. because they don't know themselves). It might be worth discussing whether or not we should have them provide a link or mention a source it's not their own.
    – кяαzєя Mod
    Commented Jan 26, 2016 at 22:03
  • 3
    It's also worth mentioning that we should still allow these questions to be asked in our main chat. Given that there is a 20 rep limit to do so, users that have gotten this far have showed that they've at least made some effort to familiarize themselves with our site and should be provided this courtesy.
    – кяαzєя Mod
    Commented Jan 26, 2016 at 22:07
  • 2
    The problem with our current policy is that it's highly complex, full of grey areas, and forces people to waste time checking sources before they can even know if the question is on-topic. If we start making exemptions and adding conditions, we're going to end up with another highly complex policy full of grey areas and loopholes. If accepting cosplay and itasha is going to drive us into another maze of loopholes, I think we should not accept them.
    – Torisuda
    Commented Jan 27, 2016 at 4:50
  • 4
    I think the most practical course is to outlaw all photo-based identification requests which fall outside the bounds of merchandise and cosplay, and decide the edge cases when they show up, instead of trying to cast our minds ahead to come up with them and predetermine our policy to deal with them. I suppose itasha are either merchandise or cosplay, depending on how you look at it, so they can be allowed in general.
    – Torisuda
    Commented Jan 27, 2016 at 4:56
  • @Torisuda That's a good suggestion :) Commented Jan 28, 2016 at 21:15

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