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Dear Fellow Members and Lurkers of the Community,

In these trying pandemic times, we find ourselves with an excess of time and a need to apply it. Since our graduation and our “design graduation” we’ve had many bumps in the road arriving to where we are today. Due to various personal obligations and political turmoils, the community has stagnated a bit and could use some revitalization. To start rectifying, the active moderation staff here, Dimitri mx and myself, have gotten together to make plans to clean up and revitalize that which has been lost throughout the years. We do not expect immediate results, but we intend to do some clean up and enhancements where we can. Any community members willing to contribute are welcome to join and reach out, even if it is to provide minor feedback.

The some of the objectives of this initiative we have planned include, but is not limited to:

  • Consolidating all current site policies in an easy to reference and provide a platform to review and propose changes to these policies.

  • A better, more customized FAQ (i.e. a how to use guide) for new users for introducing them to the Q&A site format as well as the community culture in general.

  • Investigating, exploring, and deprecating unpopular questions and topics.

  • Exploring avenues to raise user interests, such community content corners for engagement.

  • Opening up a new venue for private feedback (positive and negative).

With this initiative, the active moderation staff intends to provide better transparency on efforts concerning this site and it’s community in general. We intend to post an update to the community at least once a month (tentatively set for the first weekend of each month). Users are free to provide feedback as an answer via the meta post, contact form, or by email as they find appropriate.

Why do this?

Since the concept of this community from Area 51, to the beta, to it’s graduation, until now. There have been many great policies created by new and old members of the community that have persisted to the present day. Unfortunately there hasn’t been an efficient means to catalog these answers, so some of them have been collecting dust.

What's on the agenda this month?

This month, we are looking to create a consolidated master list of current and existing site policies, with the intent to create a system for better tracking, updating, and providing feedback and revisions for these policies. We intend to use this as a springboard for enhancements to various areas of on-topicness, consistency on how to use certain tags, possibly provide a style guide for consolidating tag wikis and wiki excerpts, and possibly also provide guidelines for those answers that “need citations”. This is a long term endeavor, so we don’t intend to roll out everything all at once, we also expect to make changes to existing plans as we move forward.

Additionally, because the community has spoken out about it we will be working on the depreciation of music id-requests and providing a written policy to discourage these types of unpopular questions. Specific details beyond the previous meta post concerning the topic are pending as we are still in the process of discussion.

Anything else?

As a bit of a side note, we are looking to implement a content corner of sorts mostly for the amusement of the community. It’s mostly for the enjoyment of the community to top-off every announcement. Participation is optional, feedback would be appreciated.

Contributions and coordination from the community (no matter how minor) is welcome and appreciated at all times. We also understand that some people would feel uncomfortable with public forums, for those you can also reach out to us directly (via the contact form or by email). You will find the means to contact us in our A&M community profiles.

Without wax,

Your friendly neighborhood Anime & Manga Moderators (кяαzєя & dimitri mx)


With all that out of the way, here's something for your amusement:

Did You Know? – Anime and Manga Edition

When you read a manga or watch an anime, so you ever wonder what those seemingly permanent lines on the cheeks of characters are?

They are called "kote lines" (コテ線) likely originated from KoteKoteJapan コテコテJAPAN, a column in a 90's magazine that focused on arcade games.

kote kote zoomed kote alt zoomed

These lines are not there to express emotion, but are there to give dimensionality to the cheeks or make them seem more rosy. Variations can be expressed in many ways with dark colored lines or red color ones. Notable examples include the main protagonist of the Pokemon, Fafner, Slayers, Sailor Moon, Hidamari Sketch, amongst other series. Sometimes you they can be referred to as "whiskers" (ヒゲ, hige) by those unfamiliar with the term.

Hidamari Sketch Slayers Pokemon Fafner

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  • I'm intrigued. How can I help? – Makoto May 11 at 16:26
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    @Makoto For starters, we'd love to hear about your taught on the first 2 points we tackling. Know a good way to consolidate the policies? Perhaps you have insight on outdated policies you'd like to share. Or know how to improve user engagement/involvement. Perhaps you have ideas on current or future issues that can/should be tackled as well. Aka, we are open to all feedback and suggestions for A&M, so feel free to share anything and everything. Or if you prefer to a more hands-on assistance, I'd suggest we touch base in chat/discord to see how we can get that up and going. – Dimitri mx May 11 at 18:45
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    We'll see how it goes with schedules and free time and all of that. I will contribute an answer or two on the first two points, though; figure that's a safe enough start. – Makoto May 11 at 20:07
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    "Investigating, exploring, and deprecating unpopular questions and topics." -- I think this is addressing the wrong problem. I haven't been active on this site in going on three years, and it's not because I was offended by the presence of music identification questions. It's because there was almost nothing I was interested in answering and nobody to answer what I asked. That's why general id requests became such a problem that we had to ban them, but Literature and SFF haven't---because there was nothing else going on here to balance them out. – Torisuda May 16 at 23:36
  • It's been a while since you've been in these parts @Torisuda. I'd really want you to capture your thoughts somewhere better than a comment - maybe an answer? – Makoto May 18 at 16:02
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Consolidating all Site Policies

To be fair, we don't have a whole lot in the way of this...

The big thing is to make it obvious and up-front about what policies we've formed as a result of our community being around for a while. The big ones that I can think of are up above.

I want to make it clear that:

  • We're perfectly OK with questions about Manwha.
  • We're cool with Avatar, RWBY and Legend of Korra.
  • We like talking about Anime games, like Touhou, Kantai Collection and iM@S.
  • Light novels are cool tool; we like to read as well.
  • Visual novels are games first (so no gameplay pointers), but plot and story aren't out of scope.
  • We don't tolerate links to fansubs/fandubs or any sites which encourage the piracy of Anime/Manga.
  • We can talk about music in anime, we're just trying to decide if we're as keen on identifying it for you.

How should we go about conveying this?

The above is all meta content, and would ideally be the first thing someone sees when they post a question on the site.

enter image description here

It can't be shoved off to the right since no one will ever look at it, and it would make this whole exercise fruitless. We could hope for someone to - maybe - put in some regular expressions to filter out obvious phrases like, "I forgot the name of" in a question, or "I'm looking for this anime/manga/show/book/etc", but honestly that involves a dev's time and I get the distinct impression that's costly right now.

How should we go about revising, revisiting and updating these policies?

One thing I noticed that we lack is a FAQ meta post which contains a link to all of our FAQs. I may create one before the end of the weekend just to get that ball rolling, but this can serve as a main hub of where information is added which pertains to the actual FAQ of the site. This can also give us the appropriate visibility into what we're saying are our policies, or what we're thinking about should become our policies.

At the end of the day, it might turn out that we have too many.

A better FAQ

I feel like this is a separate page that is built by Stack Exchange and maintained in some capacity by us. I don't want to even think about how to wire it up, but the stark reality is that what we get "for free" doesn't seem to cover it, nor does it give us the ability to freely elaborate or describe why we don't want questions of type X on the site without making someone go on a treasure hunt on Meta.

Maybe something that is rooted in Community Wiki which gives us the same presentation abilities as the actual on-topic page.

This, too, would require dev/CM attention, though.


I'm guessing then that if we're looking to improve on these things and really make it clear what we're about (e.g. celebrating what we want to talk about and letting everyone know what our scope is which also serves to inform what we don't want to talk about), we may have to get on Stack Exchange's radar sooner rather than later. I don't believe that we can motivate a lot of change without their involvement, unless I'm not thinking outside the box enough here.

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  • It can't be shoved off to the right since no one will ever look at it Well surely it can't hurt to put it there. Better than putting it on a completely separate page. – ahiijny May 17 at 2:34
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    It wouldn't hurt @ahiijny, but my sometimes controversial opinion is that it's worth doing a little more work up front to make things easier down the road. People already don't read our FAQ or Meta to determine if their identification question is on-topic or not, and it feels like anything short of putting this information directly in front of a question asker is not enough to get their attention. – Makoto May 17 at 3:47
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That Did You Know should really be an answer to What are those weird three-line blushy things on some anime/manga characters cheeks? ;)

I started on this endeavor of consolidating a master list of current and existing site policies privately some years ago and stopped prematurely (it was a monumental task). I recall Ero Sɘnnin also did the same things independently. I will probably not revisit them anymore, so I post them below for anyone who's interested (they're very disorganized though). Take them or leave them.


Anime & Manga StackExchange Meta

Continue from Should we ask answerers to give a reference?

Are animations or comics inspired by Japanese culture or styles considered on-topic? How is anime defined?

E.g. Avatar, Samurai Jack, Dreamland (French "manga", read right-to-left?), OEL manga.

Where to draw the line?

  • People tend to agree that manhwa and manhua should be on-topic.
  • None of the above examples are catalogued by MAL (although they used to be).
  • To the Japanese, there are only anime and manga — reason to be more permissive?
  • Should have Japanese influence (Japan has historical dominance of East Asia, so manhwa and manhwa count). Otherwise, might as well call Cartoons and Comics SE. Aarthi's post is conflicting itself, e.g. whether on-topic shouldn't be based on what looks like manga, but rather the strength of Japanese influence (but this is subjective and not determinable). However, anime-inspired (read: influence :x:) Western shows should be disallowed. (What about cartoon/hollywood-inspired Japanese shows like Oblivion Island?) Since anime is outsourced so much these days, does it still matter?
  • Some of the episodes in the second season of Avatar/TLoK are done by Japanese studio, but they're usually not considered anime, so the best indicator is probably if the original audio is in Japanese or not. (Aleksi Torhamo)
  • My viewpoint: since anime and manga are loan words from Japan for terms that already exist in English, should restrict to that which are originally Japanese, unless if there is an e.g. all-English anime from Japan, then also restrict to from Japan (how to determine, though, because outsource; which parts of production are the deciding factors?). For the time being, could be lenient to manhwa and manhua. Other option is to expand to CJK countries.

ANN editors identify two technical definitions of anime, 1) by origin and 2) by style. They agree to "by origin" definition.

Both Wikipedia and Anime News Network apply the "per origin" definition.

Can we also discuss Visual Novels, Light Novels and other related media? Are questions about VOCALOID allowed?

Case in point: Melty Blood (LN-ish).

  • OK if asking about plot (in particular, play order), but not mechanisms (Arqade).

Argument: Part of otaku culture. OK if there is a "main" anime/manga. Some say only OK if making comparisons to the anime/manga.

Note: VNs are welcome on Arqade (e.g. Analogue: A Hate Story).

Are questions about technical aspects of visual novels on-topic?

Pro: Nearly computer-illiterate users wouldn't know how to ask this question at a site like Super User or Digital Signal Processing, and even if they gave the right answer (which anyone will tell you is AGTH/ITH, both of which are VN-specific) said user would likely not be able to follow the instructions. What problem does allowing occasional technology-related questions that are also anime-related cause, so long as they don't overwhelm the other questions?

Con: By extension, we would allow "I can't play Episode X of anime Y from group Z, help!" or "Why can't I play Visual Novel X?"

Refute: First one is illegal, moot. Both are not interesting (low votes and helpfulness). Too localized become close reason.

Are questions about how to make anime and manga off-topic?

Generic techniques or software should be asked on Graphic Design or Video Production because that's where the experts are. The question must be focused tightly on the knowledge of how Japanese actually make anime, not on how they might. Acceptable: in the booklet of Hoshi no Koe, the first self-producted anime by Makoto Shinkai, software he used back in early 2000 are listed: Photoshop 5 (2D), Lightwave 6.5 (CGI), Commotion DV3, Adobe After Effects 4.0.

Are live-action series based on anime/manga/light novels on topic here?

Yes, if tied/compared to anime/manga. (Not sure about light novels.)

Are stage productions based on anime/manga on topic here?

Seijitsu's answer. In short, allow anime musicals, audio dramas based on manga/anime, and manga-based novels as on-topic.

Should event-related topics be allowed?

Should we allow questions like "Where AnimExpo will be?" or "How many people went to Comiket 83?" No. Use meta or chat for that.

Is discussing hentai allowed?

Yes, but only if you keep them scientific. (Note SE site used by 13 age and above, and site policy forbids pornographic materials.)

What do we do with questions about future events/releases?

Grace: "A news outlet needs to be on top of their topic, they need to be proactive about their information before the masses even know they should ask about it. We're restricted on this front because we are a reactive service - we provide answers only in so far as people come in to our service. Which means that our ability to provide updates and news is only reflective of those who ask about it on our site. We don't have a motivation to seek out the latest and hottest out there because it's not in our mission to distribute this manner of information."

"I think that our system is very inefficient for this kind of distribution. It would be wiser for us to leave the distribution of news to other sites, and keep our strength at Q&A knowledge." So off-topic.

Are “Identify this” questions on-topic?

Jeff's opinion: http://meta.stackexchange.com/a/76024

Being good at story identification is definitely a benchmark at how attractive a discussion site about SF is. If the questions offend you, put story-identification (or whatever we end up using) in your ignored tags list. And if the question is really terrible (“I read a book and it maybe had a green cover”, it can be closed, on merits, not because of its nature.

On Arqade, no (except if have screenshot).

Should we allow questions that are about Japanese language use in Anime/Manga? Are Japanese Sound Symbols on-topic here, or on Japanese Language & Usage

In a case such as this, where the use of a certain language quirk is a central part of a character's personality and/or their backstory, it should be on-topic here.

Questions about Japanese itself (e.g. "Translate this") should be considered off-topic, but questions which are in some way connected to the plot (e.g. "What is character X implying by saying ") are fine so long as they can't be answered by merely a translation but also require some understanding of the plot.

Sound symbols off-topic. Ask on Japanese.SE.

Should we allow “I want to skip the filler in series X” questions?

What is filler/canon? "Things in are decidedly not canon, as created by the original author or production company."

Trigun, which started as an incomplete manga where the anime filled in some of the story gaps.

In Naruto's case, the author has acknowledged that anime filler in Naruto is non-canon (as seen numerous times by when the anime does something that the manga contradicts later).

The One Punch Man re-draw has new scenes added to existing material and new side stories that weren't in the original web-comic, however all the changes were ok'd/written by the original Author and simply enhance the series as a whole.

A question of this nature could be asked at most once per series.

"Filler content" is a slightly ambiguous term. For instance, many manga have extra chapters that get animated but aren't related to the plot of the story. It's not clear whether or not these should count as filler. I'd suggest that these sorts of questions are better phrased as comparisons between the anime and the source material, e.g. "Which Naruto episodes are not based on content from the manga?" As far as I know filler content is almost never added for anime-original series, so this doesn't seem terribly restrictive.

The answer is usually easily searchable. Most series have their dedicated wikis, where this information is available complete with color-coding. As a result, asking this question in itself, constitutes poor research and as per SE rule/etiquette, would be closed.

In many cases, episodes cannot be separated easily into "canon" and "filler". Several canon episodes have some amount of filler in between. It would be impossible to give a perfectly correct answer, because it would involve, "from 4:30 to 8:00 in episode 487, the main characters just fool around, which is not in the manga, and hence filler."

Should we allow “where can I find X info / resource about anime / manga”?

Main or meta? C++ booklist is on main (unlocked and updated only once in a while), but SE discourages poll type question. But attracts many users in the short run, so post on main and close as OT but for historical purposes? Quality will degrade in the long run if not closed.

Can you ask questions even if the answer is easily found elsewhere?

"Too Simple" is something which has been discussed on Stack Exchange before, and was implemented on other sites with a General Reference close reason. It was considered a failure though, since all it results in is users drawing arbitrary lines in the sand for when a question is "too simple", and what sites are considered general reference.

Furthermore, a tool already exists for questions which are too simple, it's called a downvote.

“Why did they write it that way?” questions should be off-topic

Need to draw a line somewhere, but no consensus exactly where. It's not good to ban all such questions because it might be answerable sometimes, which requires great expertise.

Should we allow recommendation questions

No.

Are "What episode does [event] happen in [anime/manga]" like questions on-topic?

No. That's what downvotes are for. But EL&U has General Reference as a close reason.

Should anime/manga names/tags be in English or romanized Japanese?

Choose most popular as primary. Synonimize others (but they don't show up in search).

Consistency, English is official language at SE, and most new comers to anime only know English names.

Should tags about specific characters always use English naming order or the original order from the series?

Use the conventions of the culture that the name is from, but respect the intent of the original work. So if an English name is used in a Japanese series, then use the English/Anglicized name, as the creators of the series intended for the name to be represented in that way.

Accept both and use English ordering as the primary tag. See 35, same reasoning.

What should our policy be regarding spoilers? What do we do with questions which are spoiler by nature?

Spoiler can be in title, but avoid as much as possible. Most important is the title is good. Basically common sense and if you think spoiler, edit it with spoiler tag.

Making the spoiler markup more accessible

That's how it should be. Spoiler markup - which hides information - is by-design a reader-hostile feature! It should be used sparingly, and avoided whenever possible.

The last thing you want to do is encourage new users to start spoiler-marking every last detail of their posts on the off-chance that someone doesn't know them yet. This is supposed to be a community of experts and those seeking expert knowledge - don't hide your light under a bushel.

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If we want to make sure a (new) user sees that questions about identifying music or anime from descriptions will probably be deleted, we need to be able to:

  • Write some detection algos (maybe just Regex will not be enough for this, maybe we'll need some complex if-else expression engine, idk);

    • This would require SE developer time, but I think if we present it right, other sites will also find this very useful and it will not be just for A&M;
    • I think having a testing page like for SE database queries would be ideal. I don't know if it's reasonable to ask SE to develop that, but I also have a hard time imagining how one would test a proposed change without it;
    • Moderators might have to edit them after voting and agreeing on change proposals from the community on Meta;
  • As the user types their question title and body, run it through the detection algo and if there are any matches with potential rules this question might break, show them as bright yellow/orange list items that pop up either on top of the question form or in the sidebar (popping up and doing a short bright CSS color transition should attract attention).

    • Make sure the message is clear that these autodetected issues are potential and if the user knows what they're doing, their question could be fine to post, because this is not a hard blocking rule that prevents from posting, but a very loud warning that, let's be honest, it's very likely that it's probably an ID request that will be removed soon after posting.

Regarding reviewing all the policies. If the goal is to review all policies and see which ones are no longer in power, and which ones are still active, we're gonna need better tools than what the SE Q&A engine provides natively.

Maybe check out one of your local country's online legal directories - lawyers generally have a better than average user interface for keeping track of updates and deprecation notices on complicated webs of laws. This is pretty close to what we would be trying to achieve here.

Things I would look for in such a tool:

  • Screen space would need to be packed with items.

  • Immediately visible and , tags for policies which make it easy to focus on the ones that are still worth attention;

  • List of Reviewed / Unreviewed meta posts;

  • Timeline of changes to a given policy to visually keep track of meta posts throughout history advocating for establishment / change / abolishment of a policy, and the result of each meta discussion's outcome (as written by reviewers, see next point);

  • List of Reviewed / Unreviewed policies - compiled from Meta Posts which were deemed to establish or alter specific policies;

  • Compact review action log in form of usernames/avatars and text descriptions or icons like so:

    • Policy 1 - anime ID requests are not allowed
      • confirm - see MetaPost1 - User1;
      • confirm - see MetaPost2 - User2;
      • reject: - I think MetaPost3 and MetaPost4 said they were still allowed? - User3;
        • MetaPost4 and MetaPost5 which were posted after MetaPost3 confirm that the community decided to ban them - User2;
        • Understandable, have a nice day :p - User3;
  • A threaded comment space under each policy to discuss its review activity, to come to agreement on what the result of the meta post is;

SE's native tools definitely don't have anything close to this, and I don't know how to make it comfortable for collaboration if users wish to stay more than less anonymous to each other in this effort as they are in using SE sites normally without hindering their ability to use these tools.

This will be a lot of effort, and my first thought is "I sure don't want my effort to go to waste", so I would make sure the work will be available publicly for backup and the tools be made with effort preservation and reuse in mind.

Personally, I can see myself developing parts of these tools or taking part in designing the workflow, but to do the entire thing on my own... And then someone would have to use the tools to actually review all the meta posts. You know. Mixed feelings and all that :p

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    "Write some detection algos" if I understand you correctly this already exists. "As the user types ..." this is the old ask a question model, they have changed it to a two step process. First you write your answer, then you 'validate it' which runs the automated checks, then you post it. – Peilonrayz Jul 2 at 16:30
  • well yea, we could take a bunch of deleted ID requests from the database and analyze common keywords, and use those mechanics to warn new posters – Hakase Jul 2 at 16:45

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