The topic of id-request is a very subjective one. I believe that it's difficult to provide an objective data for analysis. Afterall correlation does not imply causation.
Id-requests are something we struggled with dealing with since they first came up on our site. Objectively on paper, they can make decent questions. But in practice, this is far from true. Some common complaints about these types of question are that:
They are too localized and oftentimes vaguely worded, and typically unhelpful to other users. Someone trying to remember the same thing as you might recall certain details more vividly than others, this oftentimes results in different descriptions of the same thing.
There's no easy way to resolve this. Answering identification question is not unlike giving directions: if you don't give someone good directions they'll have a hard time finding what they are looking for.
Take a look at this map, made by a directionally-challenged character from a popular manga:
Would you find what you're looking for or where you need to go? The place you're looking for based off of these directions? Probably not. However more often than not we get users the ask question that feel like these maps, despite our attempts to help them include better details with our guidelines.
Users make little effort, but expect the world in return. We've seen a lot of these types of id request questions. Most of them are in the form of image-only id requests, which got out of hand really quick, mostly because the ones asking the question almost never tried doing a reverse image search themselves and expect us to do it and tell them. We're not here to be someone's personal search engine/concierge service, we're here to ask and answer questions about the world and culture of anime and manga. Filling our site with these questions can be as bad as watching filler episodes of a long-running anime. It gets us nowhere.
Since then we've disallowed media-only (only a link to an image, audio, video) identification questions, but we've made some provisions to allow users to ask questions about identifying specific merchandise, cosplay, and the rare but occasional itasha, using actual pictures that you've seen or taken yourself.
As of this post, the help center topic for what's on-topic and our tour page have been updated to note that users should follow these guidelines when asking identification request questions, including our updated stance on media-only identification requests.
Rarely do users that ask id-requests stick around or bother to come back. Statistically speaking the retention numbers on id-request askers are low. Not only that, but a fair number of them are asked by unregistered users, whose accounts are cookie-based and volatile, meaning that once they lose their session cookie, they have no way of logging back to this account (without registering that account). This results in many id request questions being essentially abandoned.
While we care about making more of an effort to downvote and close these questions, the fact that these post continue to pop up and with the same issues, is a bit of a cause for concern.
I, for one, do not like to see the current trend of where identification questions are going and would like to start deprecating them. We've made many efforts and guides to help users write better identification questions, but as time goes by, reminding them of such gets pretty tedious. Our previous stance was to downvote and close these questions based on our guidelines. That's all fine and done, but it requires users to actively pay attention to these questions as they come up via the review queue or on the main page. Instead of devoting our time to dealing with these questions, I'd like to see our community's efforts direct to community development between users. We've done gift exchanges, viewing sessions, and even a multi-discipline project like game development: I'd like to see us nurture this spirit more. Therefore, I believe it's in the community's best interest to deprecate and eventually remove identification questions in their entirety from our site.
I do understand that there is opposition to removing the questions completely, which is why I'd like to give them one last chance to not only be heard but also defend their position on this matter and what they believe would help improve the situation of dealing with the influx of low quality and abandoned id-requests. Maybe we've overlooked something, maybe we could have done something better, or maybe we went about things in the wrong manner.
You may discuss or scrutinize the plans as much as you'd like here on meta or in our main chat room. Regardless of how much or how little reputation you have in this community, your proposal will be heard equally, as long as there is consensus on it within the community. However, note that this is likely to be the final time to voice your opinions. I would like us to finally reach a decisive conclusion on this matter once and for all.
You have until May 8th to make your case (for, against, other) and leave any comments.