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In the first brainstorming session, we've discussed the status of "list" questions on Anime and Manga.

What are list questions?

Any question which asks for a list of items as the answer. Some examples:

The status of such questions was controversial, we aimed to officially define the position of such questions.

We've come to the following conclusions:

The status of "list" questions

A list question will generally be allowed, if it qualifies all 4 criteria below:

  1. It is specific and to the point. Don't ask about list of abstract concepts or anime series featuring some theme.
  2. The list items can be determined objectively. Don't ask about a list of our favorite things, or things we think are "good".
  3. The list is reasonably scoped. If you can imagine an entire wiki-page listing your answer, the question is not reasonably scoped.
  4. The list isn't prone to rapid change. If the list is hard to maintain, it won't be, thus losing its usefulness.

The fourth is a bit tricky. If the list proves to be useful enough to be maintained, a list changing rapidly can be fine. It's tricky and will be defined better once we have more users.

  • I'm not sure "experts" is the right word for it. Type B anime fans is probably a better term. – Logan M Jan 30 '13 at 23:01
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    @LoganM You're gonna have to explain what Type B fans are. Since only Type B fans know what it means. :P – Mysticial Jan 30 '13 at 23:02
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    @Mysticial I guess technically we're not even that worried about Type A vs Type B at the moment. We're more worried about the very high portion of main-site questions which are about shounen shows. Of course, having questions on Naruto, Bleach, etc. is fine, but we're underrepresented in a lot of other genres. – Logan M Jan 30 '13 at 23:06
  • Who does the "we" refer to? – Masked Man Feb 1 '13 at 11:04
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    @Deidara The community. You really should try and make an effort to come to our sessions in chat. – Madara Uchiha Feb 1 '13 at 11:38
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    Thanks for clarifying that. Don't you think asking me to "make an effort" to join the chat at 2:30 am local time is a bit unreasonable? In any case, the posts here, especially the ones related to site usage should be written such that people who do not participate in chat should not miss the details. – Masked Man Feb 1 '13 at 11:56
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    @Deidara-senpai Originally this question had the information from both here and meta.anime.stackexchange.com/questions/355/…. It was split because we discussed two mostly independent things, but the comments got left here instead of on the other post. – Logan M Feb 1 '13 at 16:21
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    @Deidara-senpai: That's why we have a log of those conversations. You can easily look at it here – Madara Uchiha Feb 1 '13 at 17:19
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For questions that don't satisfy the 4 criteria, here is how we have decided they will be dealt with:

  • If it fails #1, close as "unclear what you're asking" because it's hard to tell what is being asked.
  • If it fails #2, close as "primarily opinion-based" because it's subjective.
  • If it fails #3, close as "too broad" because it isn't reasonably scoped.
  • If it fails #4, this will be handled on a case-by-case basis.

On #4, the important part is whether the list can be sufficiently be maintained and kept up to date so that it is still useful.

If it cannot be maintained, then we may lean towards closing the question. If it can be maintained, then it will be kept.


This may seem very strict, but it is necessary to filter out list questions that have the potential to degrade into an unconstructive mess.

Examples of lists question that passes all 4 criteria are:

  • "What are all the level 5's in the Index/Railgun universe?"
  • "What are all the shows that X director has produced?"

Note that this is not to say that these are good questions. They are just examples of questions that would be considered appropriate for the site.

  • +1 I agree with this – iKlsR May 23 '13 at 14:38
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Different opinion: After seeing https://anime.stackexchange.com/questions/2825/titles-where-characters-are-in-trapped-in-a-game - which fits all of our current list criteria, I have to say that I think list questions in general are a bad idea.

Look at both of the answers for that question. Which one is better? Why? The best answer to a list question would be a community answer where everyone inputs their own contribution for one full list. But as it is now, aren't list questions just a contest of who can answer first or who has the longer list?

Maybe it's just me, but I think something like that shouldn't be the criteria for a good answer on SE.

  • I feel like having multiple lists isn't a bad idea. Future viewers of the questions can upvote the ones they feel gave them the best choices, and the OP can accept the one that fit closest to what he expected (and yielded an anime/manga he liked). – Killua Mar 16 '13 at 15:19
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    @Eric That's part of my concern - For example, what part of going to AniDB, copying as many titles as you can from the "Virtual Reality" tag list, and pasting them here makes something a good answer? What if I copy the previous answer and add one or two of my own answers? Does that make my answer THAT much better? – atlantiza Mar 16 '13 at 17:05
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    I think the real issue is that we haven't defined the rules well enough. Furthermore, we haven't been applying it consistently. I don't think we want to go with a blanket ban on list questions though. Since I see no issue with questions such as, "Who are the all the super-saiyans in DBZ?" - which is very answerable and constructive. – Mysticial Mar 16 '13 at 21:48
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Concerning the question: List of anime with correct animation of the characters playing musical instrument, also related to this meta post: Do we still like questions asking for lists of anime/manga/etc.?

This definitely falls into the out of universe list and it would seem to abide by the 4 criteria for a list question. The problem I think is how the "reasonably scoped" part is interpreted. In this meta post it seems that the scoping mainly applies to how many items end up on a list, and it should, since asking for all shows that feature a pet is probably a really long list. In the case of the question about characters playing music, the resulting list is probably not going to be incredibly long. So it appears to satisfy the scoping criteria.

I thought that it may have been brought up during the chat (I can't remember) but should the scoping also include the set of items, shows, manga, etc that the list is derived from? When the question asks for something resulting in a relatively small list (e.g. "List of anime that has a character that is wearing a pinky ring") but the list is derived from every anime ever made, the scope is likely going to exceed what any one person can reasonably participate in. This doesn't mean that someone can't answer such a question by posting a link to an already completed list, but if such a list hasn't been created, and assuming nobody has watched every anime ever made (or a satisfyingly large percentage of them) and remembered enough details to create a list, this is going to be answered by committee, and people are going to list the shows that they've seen that match the criteria.

An example of a smaller scoping of the set that the list is derived from: "How many Lupin III movies/specials didn't have Fujiko?". The resulting list is reasonably scoped, we're not going to get all that many, maybe a dozen?. But the set of anime that the list draws from also isn't every anime ever made (10k?, more?) but the list of Lupin movies, which is maybe 30 or 40.

  • Also, I realize that on a case by case basis, we could make it a community wiki given how useful/popular a list question could be – Jon Lin May 21 '13 at 22:07
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Anime/Manga recommendation questions (list or not) should, IMO, be expressly considered off topic. Most questions on "anime with a particular theme" can usually be answered by simply clicking on a tag in your favourite anime/manga database. In the case of the question, https://anime.stackexchange.com/questions/2825/titles-where-characters-are-in-trapped-in-a-game , the tag is usually something along the lines of "play or die" and some combination of "game" or "video game".

While there should be the proverbial exception to any restrictive rule, it's best, IMO, to keep recommendation questions at a safe distance from this site. If they do have to be exceptionally accommodated, it should be achieved by rewording the question appropriately to fit within the rules of the site.

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    Agreed. My suggestion here would close all of these questions, though it's quite a bit more restrictive than what you are saying. – Logan M Mar 7 '13 at 21:41
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I made a new self-answer list question here: List of manga chapters animated in Hayate no Gotoku! Cuties

Since I write the question and answer myself, I get the experience when faced with list question from both sides: the asker and the answerer. I am posting this to express my own experience when I post a list question and self-answer it, and also to do a self-evaluation of my question against the closing guideline.

There are 2 close reasons that may apply, which are NC and NARQ:

not constructive

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or specific expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, see the FAQ for guidance.

My question can be supported by facts or references. I cannot imagine how it will solicit debate and argument, although it might becomes a polling session if the answers are not complete. I decided to make it a self-answer style of question, so that the answers are not spread across different posts.

not a real question

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, see the FAQ.

I am quite sure myself it is not ambiguous, vague or incomplete.

However, it was a bit tedious to write the answer. It took me an hour or two searching through the manga. It is slightly broad, but the information will be quite disorganized if I try to split it up into many questions.

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