The question https://anime.stackexchange.com/questions/2645/im-looking-for-a-list-of-humorous-anime-similar-to-oruchuban-ebichu led to a debate on the correct interpretion of our policy on list questions. To avoid taking that debate all over the place, I opened this meta thread.

I copy the list questions policy below, along with my interpretation for this question, starting with the least controversial criteria.

The list items can be determined objectively. Don't ask about a list of our favorite things, or things we think are "good".

The list can be determined objectively, but we only need to be clear on what we want to determine. Specifically, we need to get more clarity on what "anime that is similar in humor" part of the question means.

The list isn't prone to rapid change. If the list is hard to maintain, it won't be, thus losing its usefulness.

If/when we figure out the reasonable scope for humor, the list won't change rapidly.

The list is reasonably scoped. If you can imagine an entire wiki-page listing your answer, the question is not reasonably scoped.

The list would be reasonably scoped once we resolve the ambiguity about the "anime that is similar in humor" part as mentioned above.

It is specific and to the point. Don't ask about list of abstract concepts or anime series featuring some theme.

With the way the question is currently worded, this seems the hardest to meet, because it asks for abstract concepts.

This is my interpretation of what needs to be resolved to reopen this question.

Edit A number of contrasting responses, but I think we overall agree that: Either the list questions should be disallowed altogether, or the rule needs to be refined so that it can be applied objectively.

Let us discuss this further in chat.

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    I agree, except with the order of "most controversial". But you've made some solid points here. I feel like the question has all the necessary components to be reopened if it is rephrased properly. – Killua Feb 25 '13 at 6:05

I think a case can be made that this question could be made to fit our current rules. However, I think that's not because the question is good, but our current rules are bad. There's no reasonable way to make this question objective and reasonably scoped simultaneously.

I'm mostly opposed to our previous agreement on list questions, at least as a be-all and end-all policy. If we all agreed on what it meant and applied it uniformly, then it would be an okay policy. But we still have high-rep users debating over the policy even though it's been in place for almost a month. I have my own interpretation for what it means, but there's no reason it should be the same as anyone else's interpretation. If I posted a question that I thought was perfectly allowable and others didn't, it would lead to some debate. I'd be okay in the end, but for a new user, they can easily get hurt feelings over these kinds of things and leave the site. Even when we agree that we're properly applying this policy, the OP probably doesn't, and there's lots of room for confusion and hurt feelings.

What we need is a simple policy that can be understood by everyone and clearly applied. The current policy on list questions allows some good questions, but it becomes a point of debate whenever we have anything controversial. Almost all of these controversial questions are asking for lists of anime/manga, and almost all questions asking for lists of anime is controversial. Hence, seeing no better alternative, I propose the following policy change:

Questions asking for lists out-of-universe, e.g. lists of anime, manga, etc. are banned. This includes questions asking for examples of a particular genre/theme/trope.

This is the policy on Scifi and they don't seem to have problems with it. I think in-universe list questions are a different animal, and our current policy seems to be serving them well.

This is very simple to apply, though there are a few cases that you have to be careful. For instance, Has an anime ever come out before the manga was published? is not a list question, even though the answers contain lists of anime. It's merely asking if it's possible to have an anime before a manga, and so it's a question about anime production. It would be possible for someone to come up with a totally theoretical answer to the question addressing all of the issues associated with producing original anime, but without any examples. This question should maybe be protected to prevent further answers that just list examples, but it isn't a list question so it should be left open. That's just how the answerers chose to answer the question.

Contrast that to the question we're looking at right now. There's no reasonable way to change the question into something that doesn't violate this policy. There isn't any minor modification that could be made to comply with this policy. So we would not allow that question. This policy would also affect some other older questions which were reopened after the original list question proposal.

It's worth looking at the questions which we'd be losing if we adopted this. After browsing the ones on the main site, none were questions that I'd be particularly upset to see go (feel free to comment if you think I've missed one). Most of them were either bad questions or tolerable questions that weren't interesting to very many people. The one that I'd be most upset about losing was the hypothetical question that I posed originally to show that there were good list questions:

  • What are all the anime films that were directed by Hayao Miyazaki?

This is actually a red herring. It was not asked on the main site, and for good reason-the answer is trivial to find. It's already on Wikipedia, exactly as you'd expect it would be. This is true in general for most out-of-universe list questions. Those which are "good" questions tend to have answers which are easy to find and verify, to the point that no one would even ask here. Losing these hypothetical "good" questions which are actually trivial isn't something we should worry about, and it's certainly not worth conflicts with new users over confusing policy.

To be clear, I'm proposing this primarily to avoid future conflicts with new users. An unambiguous firm policy that can't be argued one way or the other is the best way to do this.

tl;dr These sorts of questions aren't very interesting, and they lead to debate even among high rep users. Rather than allowing them in certain complicated situations, we should ban them altogether to avoid conflicts of opinion and simplify the rules.

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  • I agree with you but I really think you should bold your key points or add a summary, lol. – atlantiza Feb 26 '13 at 1:52
  • @atlantiza I tried to do both. Hopefully it is more readable now. – Logan M Feb 26 '13 at 2:04
  • I'm not sure I agree with this. Lists are a form of identification request, and are a practical and answerable question if phrased right. I do not believe that a sweeping iron fist of "Lists are not allowed" is justified or necessary. – Killua Feb 26 '13 at 2:20
  • @Eric Naturally, nothing is necessary. We can keep having these arguments every time a question like this is asked. But a policy that we can't figure out how it's supposed to work after a month is a terrible policy in practice even if it looks good in theory, and it's clear just from reading this question that we haven't figured it out at all. If you can find a different policy that we can explain to newbies in one sentence and leaves no room for debate, I'm all for it. I could also be convinced this is too extreme if you can provide a single clearly good instance of an out-of-universe list. – Logan M Feb 26 '13 at 2:28
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    I can think of a couple types (I don't have names to fill in with, just because I'm not vetted in anime producers and such), such as "Which anime films have A and B worked on together?" "What anime has A directed which use only traditional drawing styles (no CG)?" I can think of others, too. I mean, logically, these can be rephrased as "Have A and B done any films together?" But that's just a list in disguise. (As for a different policy, I'll be thinking on it, but I have no suggestions as of now.) – Killua Feb 26 '13 at 2:41
  • @Eric While those are definitely better than the example question I gave assuming they are motivated, I still don't see them as terribly interesting questions, and it doesn't change the fact that almost all out-of-universe questions are not very interesting. If we give up a couple of interesting questions and a bunch of not very good ones in order to have a better relationship with new users, that seems like a good trade to me. We've already lost 2 users who were active on other SE sites from our ambiguous policies regarding these questions, and all we've gained are a few mediocre questions. – Logan M Feb 26 '13 at 7:52
  • I'll just add that the policy on almost every SE site I know of prohibits these types of questions. Arqade bans "catalogue questions", Scifi is already referenced above. I highly doubt most of the technical sites would allow questions like this; the SO analogue is something like "List of Programming Languages with property X," which I haven't seen anything like. Even RPG, which allows recommendation questions still doesn't want questions where the answers are a list of games. – Logan M Feb 26 '13 at 8:00
  • You bring up several good points. We should either disallow these questions entirely, or have an objective way to define what lists are allowed and not. It cracks me up thinking that a rule with the word objectively in bold needs to be interpreted subjectively. – Masked Man Feb 27 '13 at 12:10
  • +1 FYI, SFF does allow some finite list questions. – coleopterist Mar 8 '13 at 0:29

I honestly don't think there's much room for discussion here. What's funny to me isn't funny to you. Humor and humor types cannot be determined objectively (such as, what anime contain zombies?, for example).

Therefore, it fails at your first listed criterion. We can't, and definitely won't, define the term "humor".

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  • There are comedic genres though. I am sure neither you nor I won't find all of them funny, but if a question asks for anime of a specific genre, it could meet our objectivity criteria. Can this specific question be edited to meet our criteria? I cannot tell, since I haven't watched the anime. – Masked Man Feb 25 '13 at 12:56
  • @Deidara-senpai Ebichu contains a lot of sex jokes, whether they're about sex itself or sexual body parts. That's most likely the kind of humor the OP was looking for. – atlantiza Feb 25 '13 at 16:44
  • I don't think we have to define humor. As Deidara-senpai said, there is a comedy genre. In addition to that, this is a specific type of humor: Jokes about sex(ual things). That is a quantifiable thing; whether I find sex jokes funny or not does not decide whether or not it's comedy. (I loathe the humor in Big Bang Theory, but many people find it funny. Either way, it's a comedy.) – Killua Feb 25 '13 at 22:45

I largely agree with this point of view. However...

I don't really agree with the order you've placed them in in terms of controversy. I would do it as follows (again, least problematic criteria first):

4. Scope

The list is reasonably scoped. If you can imagine an entire wiki-page listing your answer, the question is not reasonably scoped.

"Anime" is a long list. "Anime Comedies" is a shorter list, and "[Consistently] Suggestive Anime" is even shorter. There will not be a huge list of "Anime that makes Comedy of Suggestive Material".

3. Rapid Change

The list isn't prone to rapid change. If the list is hard to maintain, it won't be, thus losing its usefulness.

Anime do come out in significant numbers per year, but this is a rather esoteric category (see above) and not a lot of new anime will be coming out here at a consistent rate.

2. Specificity

It is specific and to the point. Don't ask about list of abstract concepts or anime series featuring some theme.

This hits the second point of "featuring some theme." However, I think genres need to not be considered themes; "funny" (comedic) anime should not be a theme, nor should adventure anime, fantasy anime, etc.

1. "Recommendation"

The list items can be determined objectively. Don't ask about a list of our favorite things, or things we think are "good".

This seems the hardest to discern from this question. The way it is currently phrased suggests that the OP is asking for questions which are suggestive and humorous to us. Based on his comments, and a bit of reading the line, I believe it's fair to say that he is asking for questions which fit into the comedy genre, and the comedy style of which is sexual and suggestive.

After some thought, I've rewritten the question into one which I believe complies with all four criteria above.

What are some anime that make comedy out of suggestive situations and themes?

One of the funniest anime I've ever watched was Oruchuban Ebichu. It's about a talking hamster, but I mostly enjoyed it due to the adult comedy:

This show seems to fall into the genre of "comedy" as well as "adult", but in a rather odd way: The comedy in the series largely stems from making jokes about sexual innuendo and suggestive themes.

The show is done in a simplistic art style, and its sexual content is played for laughs rather than for fanservice.(Wikipedia)

Is there a list of anime which employ this type of comedy? At present, the only one I can think of is potentially Golden Boy.

What I've done here is try to remove any reference to "humor", instead going for the concept of "comedy"; when a comedy is made, it is intended to make people laugh, even if it does not succeed. It still remains a comedy, regardless.

This answer got longer than I anticipated, so:

TL;DR: In my opinion, this issue is not about defining humor: It's about realizing that humor is subjective, while the genre that a show fits into is actually objective.

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  • I ordered "least controversial" in the context of applying them to this question (from my perspective, anyway), but that isn't too important. The key point is that it comes down to how well we can define the genre. So I think we are making progress in terms of resolving this. – Masked Man Feb 27 '13 at 12:04
  • @Deidara-senpai That's what I was going for as well. Now that I think of it, order isn't really too important as long as we can address the issue underlying each point. – Killua Feb 27 '13 at 14:56

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