A related question asks if such questions are on topic. Result:

All of these questioned should be marked as a duplicate of this question.

Problem is, apparently we cannot mark questions on the main site as duplicate of questions on meta. On the other side, I cannot simply refer to the meta site in answer (see e.g. this question), my answer gets marked as trivial and the question remains open.

So the only insightful answer one could possibly give is an answer about site specializing in X, which seems to be very rare. In all other cases the question cannot be answered, except by repeating the list of the linked meta question or adding general entries (which may turn out to be illegal, or, if not, could just be added to the meta post).

On top of that, this kind of question is a list question and thereby not good by normal SE standards anyway.

The help center currently reads as such:

Questions requesting illegal or copyrighted information: Where can I watch anime X online? Where can I download chapters of manga Y?

I hereby propose to change it to the following

Questions requesting illegal and/or copyrighted material: Where can I watch anime X online? Where can I download chapters of manga Y? For a list of resources, see here.

With that change in place, questions like this one can be faithfully be closed as off-topic. I think that this change will help this SE in the long term.

EDIT: To clarify, I don't say anyone asking for a read/watch source is looking for an illegal source. I say we should just ban the "legal" questions of this kind, too. At the other meta post, Gao had some good words:

You could potentially ask this question for every tag there is/ever will be and in most cases they wouldn't be of interest to more than a few people. Heck, these kinds of questions don't even enrich our understanding of a series or anime/manga in general. They aren't even fun. Do you believe they have a place here?

  • In the past, for identification requests, we moved anime.stackexchange.com/questions/21618 from meta to main to be used as a duplicate target. If we really do need to close most of the incoming "where can I find X" questions, that would seem to be a viable option here assuming it is technically feasible (may require CM intervention). – Logan M May 11 '18 at 17:46
  • 2
    However I am not convinced that all such questions are answered by the content there, and there are often other options in specific cases (e.g. electronic Kindle copies are now common for LNs, at least if you are willing to read in Japanese.) I am not sure a universal policy is justified here, especially since such questions are fairly rare and don't seem to present a threat of overrunning the site. – Logan M May 11 '18 at 17:47

There is no reason that we should follow the normal SE standards (What is normal anyway? Who dictates it and why should we listen?), as they may not work for us. Unlike most established communities with a design, we don't really serve anything an mainstream topic that everyone can get into. We're a niche media, that some perceive negatively due to long standing prejudices. There's not much we can to convince those unfamiliar with the culture, except to make with what we already have.

I agree that oftentimes these types of questions asking where can I watch/read/download X series or media are just looking for places to stream or download such media for thinly veiled reasons of privacy. In an effort to appeal to the politically correct stance of media consumership we've disallowed these questions and oftentimes completely rewrote questions to ask for legal sources. As mentioned, on rare occasions, we do get a thoughtful question about where to find a series that is legitimately hard to find overall or a question about availability of a certain series on a certain type of media. While we are an English-speaking QA site, unlike most other recreational SE sites, we don't cater to a particularly homogenous culture or ethnicity.

Anime and manga, which being pretty niche, is not a product exclusive to Japan, despite being originated from there. Anime and manga has spread it's branches throughout the world in all sorts of places and shapes, some good, some bad, and some in between. How anime and manga are viewed differs significantly, by country and ethnicity, sometimes even drastically between the same groups within these countries. Just like fans of the same series/franchise can't agree with canon, it can get complicated for complicated reasons.

We can't expect everyone to agree and we certainly don't discriminate against newcomers who might not be as accustomed to the media or culture. Not everyone has immediate access to anime and manga for various reasons, such as might be due to censorship, availability, price, or social impression. The internet and streaming media opened a lot of doors for anime and manga, and games as well. The Japanese, being the traditionalist they are were not quick to capitalize on this mode of distribution. But that didn't stop pirates from taking advantage of opportunities.

Anime and manga piracy has been a very gray subject and still very much is. It's partially thank to piracy that we have such proliferation of anime and manga around the world. But rather than bore you with the history of it all, I'll cut to the chase. While piracy is harmful to consumer-based media industries, it's still a venue to introduce and make people aware and give exposure to different media. While not guaranteed, a pirate may eventually one day, become a loyal (and legal) consumer. People seek piracy for various reasons, some due to availability, so due to sheer laziness, some for other reason all together. I think we should judge these question by the amount of effort put into them.

We should ask users to put more context in these answers. If the user explains their situation and what they are looking for and/or gives a semblance of the reason and what they are looking for along with where they are from, I think we should take sometime to help them. However if they just post and request asking for help along the lines of i want 2 find dis, where can it git it? We'd be less inclined to help as these are the same type of "vampiric" users that are commonplace on Q&A sites that leech resources and offer little in return.

We are our own community, we don't have the ride the bandwagon just because other bigger communities do things a certain way. We can certainly take cues from them on what works and doesn't work, but we need to apply them to what best fits our community. They are them and we are us. We care as much about them as they care about us.

I am in agreement that these types of questions, the policy, and close reason is in need of a review. While you may not see eye to eye on all points, each of your make valid arguments.

  1. These question don't serve to help anyone but the asker themselves
  2. They provide little context most of the time and border on annoyance akin to identification questions
  3. Most of the time the user just needs to be informed about the available sources of streaming media
  4. While a list of legal sources cover most general cases, there maybe circumstances where someone wants to find a particular series that is obscure, or not readily available, due to reasons of distribution, age, or trade

Unlike many other SE communities his community seeks compromise and arbitration. Just like some people have long standing prejudices about anime and manga (particularly anime), people have long standing prejudices about certain types of questions as well. This is understandable as you don't want to see the site inundated with low-effort content.

Will we'll consider precedent, it is up to the moderators along with members of the community to interpret what's best for the community based on the rules and guidelines set by Stack Exchange. Open discussion and collaboration is encouraged, rather than forced.

I propose that we review the reason and deprecate simple request asking for media and require that they give a least a bit of minimal context such as:

  • What they are looking for

  • Why they are looking for it

  • Where are they looking for it

Like identification questions, it's an effort have the user add more details to help us help them, but unlike identification questions, the one asking the should know what they are looking for. E.g. I'm looking for or looking to watch X series on A media, I'm from Q country, because P reason. We can better direct answers to suite their needs when we have more details and context as, we may know that the title may be banned for political reason, and that if they want it they have to import it, but if they do it might be confiscated via customs.

We can change the reason to say something along the lines of:

Questions requesting where to find/read/watch media requires [additional context][Link to yet to be made relevant meta]. Questions requesting media from unlicensed sources are off-topic. For a list of legal sources for anime and manga, please see this list.

With this we should no longer make any effort to edit simple questions requesting media from unlicensed sources and close questions that ask for such or are vague in context (e.g., Where can I read the rest of X series after G episode?).

It is in my opinion that if better context is given there are chances someone in similar circumstances may have the same problem, and the expanded detail will help them better find this question via a search engine. What does the community think on this?


First off i would be against using the illegal content close reason if we was to make them off-topic. while your suggestion to edit it is made in good nature, a user who reads that might not think the same.

when a "where can i watch/read" question appears we should assume good faith that the OP isn't looking to pirate but if we close every "where can i watch/read" question as asking for illegal sources then we aren't showing good faith (though though deep inside we suspect that what they are doing) and assuming everyone who asks is a pirate, especially in cases where it could be a legitimate reason like with Tokyo Ghoul:re where geoblocking is preventing US users from watching it on Chrunchyroll while UK and Ireland users can

My opinion is to not make them off-topic but rather following the suggestion that you quoted which would require this question to be moved to the main site which i am sure was suggested before too.

if it was i would however suggest it's gets marked as protected as a sorta barrier to prevent some users posting spam answers to illegal sites which does happen to some of the questions here (not just "where can i watch/read" ones)

this way when people google "here can i watch/read x" and we get high enough in the search rankings they'll find the duplicate question and get redirected to the list to find a legal source rather than risking an illegal one.

however we shouldn't be so quick to close as duplicate if the list was moved to the main site and rather have it as an option for us to use. reason being is because even if the user wants to stream a series the answer might be they can't for that language. the alternative could be getting the home release or that the release they want just doesn't exist (ie. wanting Monogatari dubbed in english but the best they can do is subbed)

in regards to your answer getting converted, in my opinion it is lacking as it just suggests to look at the list rather give a definitive answer of which site has the release the OP wanted. rather it's more suited as a comment

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