For identification requests, are we allowed to give an answer in the comments?

I'm just confused since while the site bans these questions, I sometimes see comments giving out the answers anyway. While I have nothing against people doing so, if they believe it as an act of goodwill or something since we also do not want to intimidate new users, I just think it defeats the purpose of banning these questions in the first place.

Why? If, for example, it was me, a new user with an unregistered account, posting an off-topic question and I see people closing it but commenting the answers, what's to stop me from asking another off-topic question via another unregistered account, knowing I'll get answers anyway? I don't know about others but it's quite a pain seeing and having to close them all the time.

If you'll allow a suggestion, I'd like to suggest that comments on some off-topic questions

  • Explaining the site's policy
  • Giving links to meta posts on how to do reverse image search, etc. and other helpful tips to find anime/manga

be the only thing that we give while comments

  • Where direct answers are given

not be allowed. This, I think, would deter the same people from asking these type of questions in the future. Besides id requests can be asked in chat anyway.

Some might argue that this might be useless since 20 rep is needed to use chat. I think this is just fine to avoid users that just 'hit-and-run'. I don't think we're doing these users who ask id requests any good if we keep 'feeding' them answers without teaching them how to find 'food' on their own. As they say, 'Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.'

Note: This is just a suggestion.

1 Answer 1


We don't want to encourage people answering them, but at the same time we can some times empathize with their desire to find that thing they watched back then. Most of the time these questions are asked lazily. But on the rare occasion that the one asking actually put effort in provding, we don't want to have it go to waste, so we throw a bone to them as a consolation.

I would prefer not to have people answering in the comments, but we have no way of reasonably enforcing such a restriction besides out right locking the question. Such a response feels too heavy handed and burdensome to the moderation staff. Instead it may be better to leave it particularly at the discretion of the users. If the user really wants to help and has a good idea of what it is that can leave a comment, but also inform them that such questions are off topic. If they want to continue, they should move it to chat (need to give them write access if they are under 20 rep). The one asking should be given 24 hours to respond. If nothing is initiated within that time, the room may be frozen and deleted if it has been inactive for up to a week.

This gives to both those asking and answer some leeway while at the same time discouraging extended conversation in the comments grasping at straws.

If you come upon two user fumbling about in such a manner in the comments you can just ask them to take it to chat, or flag it for a moderator to do so.

While we want to discourage Id requests we realize that many users are either unaware of if our internal policies or have little understanding of the way SE works. If you feel they deserve a hand based on their efforts, give them a hand. Otherwise vote to close or flag it as needed.

  • Thanks for the reply! I do understand why this would be a burden to moderators and to shift the hard work to them was not my intention at all. Saying that we users can have the discretion to help based on the willingness and the effort of the one who asked is, I think, enough and probably suffices as the answer to the question.
    – W. Are
    Commented Mar 14, 2019 at 21:35
  • And since we now know what the moderators recommend as a course of action for this, I think this can be taken into account when deciding how to help the OP who asked an identification question.
    – W. Are
    Commented Mar 15, 2019 at 1:04
  • 1
    For what it's worth, I'd like to point out the comment privilege guide explicitly states to avoid posting answers in comments. It's pretty much a standard across all (if not most) SE sites, but I doubt very many people actually read the help guides :) Commented Mar 15, 2019 at 20:14
  • Btw, I'm trying to grant someone under 20 rep write access but I can't seem to find his/her name when searching for it in the chat? This is his/her profile: anime.stackexchange.com/users/45441/silverman1212
    – W. Are
    Commented Mar 16, 2019 at 1:49
  • 1
    If the've never been in chat, they don't have a chat profile. As them to is they want to join in a chatroom first. If they accept you can make one and send them the link to join. After they join, you can adde them. SE doesn't make chatting with new users conveient or easy sadly.
    – кяαzєя Mod
    Commented Mar 16, 2019 at 3:07
  • Still can't add a user, even on granting write access. It still says 20 rep is needed even though the description says that low rep users can be given access. Or is it not possible to add a user who only has 1 rep?
    – W. Are
    Commented Mar 16, 2019 at 8:19
  • 1
    Which user are you looking to grant? A mod can grant them write access if you can't.
    – кяαzєя Mod
    Commented Mar 16, 2019 at 18:09

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .