I've noticed that, at least in the past few weeks if not longer, we've had a fairly large number of music ID requests, especially compared to the number of non-music ID request questions. I'm having a hard time dealing with exact numbers because I'm on mobile, but of the most recent half dozen or so I've looked at, the person is new not only to Anime SE but also to SE in general, asks no other questions, and has a question that basically boils down to "at x time or in x scene in y show, what music is playing".

While this doesn't have the normal ID request problem of being answerable through reverse image search (though not all ID request questions did either), it seems to be having some of the other issues that we had with those questions, which in the end were determined to be off-topic. So I guess what I'm asking is, should we keep these questions on-topic, and if so what are they contributing to our site?

  • what issues do music id request share with others? with general id requests the flood of bad ones have very little details to be identifiable and overly generic while most image only ones could easily be solved with a reverse image search.
    – Memor-X
    Commented Apr 4, 2017 at 22:23
  • @Memor-X As I mentioned, the problem (discussed in anime.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/3874/… for regular ID requests) of people who seem to make their account just to ask this and don't ask anything else. They also seem to be, as the second answer talks about, of relatively limited use--it's not clear how many people will want to know the song from 1 minute of episode 240 of Naruto (as a random example).
    – kuwaly
    Commented Apr 4, 2017 at 22:31

2 Answers 2


I agree that music identification questions are frequently uninteresting, of limited use to future readers, and have some superficial commonalities with [identification-request] questions, such as the "hit-and-run" nature of the users asking these questions. However, these are what I might call "pragmatic" issues. If the only problems with [identification-request] questions were "pragmatic" ones, I'm not sure we would've ended up banning them.

Indeed, the chief problem with [identification-request] questions (as I see it) is that they were "philosophically" unsound, if you will. In particular:

  • While a community of anime & manga experts are probably the people best-suited to answer identification requests about anime & manga, the kind of expertise involved in doing so is somewhat orthogonal to the kind of expertise needed to answer all of our other questions. In practice, it turned out that, with the exception of a small number of exceptionally well-read users, these questions were answered primarily by means of adept googling. Search engine wizardry is not really the "core mission" of our site, so to speak.
  • They frequently had more than one "correct" answer, in the sense that there were multiple different things that fit the description provided in the question. While the ability to have multiple answers is a feature of Stack Exchange, in this particular case, it moves the question into the realm of an out-of-universe list question, which we strongly proscribe for other reasons.
  • They sometimes were not about anime & manga at all, and we had no a priori way of detecting this.

Music identification questions anchored in a particular show or franchise suffer from none of these "philosophical" problems, and so I see no problem keeping them around. Every Stack Exchange site has its long tail of mundane "workhorse" questions; music identification questions are shaping up to be ours, and I don't think there's anything wrong with that.

[W]hat are they contributing to our site?

This kind of information is usually not easily found elsewhere on the internet (which is, I think, part of why we're starting to get so many of these as our site grows). As such, I think one way to look at it is that the users asking these questions are helping us to contribute to the broader internet anime community by turning us into a repository for this kind of information.

(Personally, I also happen to enjoy answering these questions for shows whose music I like. I assume there are some other users that do too. So in that sense, these questions contribute by virtue of providing more content to keep users like me interested.)


I find myself largely agreeing with what senshin is saying, but I do have...a bit of an issue with both music identification as a whole which was exposed thusly:

Every Stack Exchange site has its long tail of mundane "workhorse" questions; music identification questions are shaping up to be ours, and I don't think there's anything wrong with that.

It doesn't feel like these sorts of questions do a lot to grow the site, realistically speaking. "Workhorse" or not, they don't really inspire me to answer them at all. This mentality would have a direct negative impact on the site, as it means that I wouldn't engage with the questions being posed. Suppose then if the entire front page were questions about music; I couldn't engage with the site in any way I wanted to.

However, because they at least satisfy my requirements of:

  • being reasonably scoped,
  • being specifically about a single piece of work, and
  • are often asked in context to a single episode or some single work on the OST,

...I'll begrudgingly let them stay on topic. I do expect this to shift in the future though, since I don't doubt that there are a number of folks who don't really want to answer this type of question.

  • 1
    If it starts becoming a problem like it did with ID request, we'll ban them too. For now though it seems like much less of an issue. Worst case we'll have a complete music score for each title with links to soundtrack albums on amazon. Doesn't sound as bad to me as infinite unidentifiable anime character images.
    – Hakase
    Commented Apr 17, 2017 at 14:53

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