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Sometimes we get questions that contain an image and ask "what is this image from?", where it turns out that performing a reverse image search on the image returns English-language results identifying the origin of the image. For example:

Are these questions good (i.e. upvote-worthy, or at least not-downvote-worthy)?

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I don't see these questions as problematic. I will preface this by saying: If you wish to downvote, that is your prerogative; the act of voting is anonymous and completely subjective. However, I would discourage downvoting, closing, and other such actions for the following reasons.

Many people do not even know Google reverse-image search exists. Unfortunately I don't have any specific polls or stats on this, but I have had many people ask me the origin of a specific image, after which I point them to the reverse search, much to their astonishment. We are an anime and manga site, not a tech site, so we should not assume people to be familiar with anything beyond Google's basic image and text searches.

Additionally, the question itself will contain a lot of searchable, textual details. Let's take the piyo-piyo apron question for example: It contains a title referring to the term "piyo", as well as the apron, and then shows an image. If we then imagine someone, without the image, who searches "anime girl piyo-piyo apron" on Google, they could easily end up on our site. That's a win-win: We get traffic, and our users get an answer.

In essence, I am opposed to viewing reverse-image-searchable questions as "poor" because there is little awareness of Google's reverse-image capabilities, and because having such questions improves our chances of drawing in someone with the same question.

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    I would consider downvoting to be valid as there is a lack or research effort (unless of course the asker states they tried a "search by image"). However, your point about people not knowing of the service remains valid. Giving an answer to their question that points to how you arrived as this answer helps educate the asker as well as answer the question, which ultimately is the most important part. Additionally, closing is not an acceptable response. A close vote is not a super downvote and this is, for this site, a valid question. – David Starkey Sep 16 '13 at 17:51
  • I agree with your position as long as the premise that "the question itself will contain a lot of searchable, textual details" is true. I suppose that rather than downvoting, a more productive thing for me to do would be to edit in textual descriptions where they're not present. Thanks for bringing that up. – senshin Sep 16 '13 at 20:49
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    One thing I'd like to add concerning the awareness of Google image search: Google and everything google related is blocked in China. Unless you've got yourself setup with a VPN out of their network, you're left with some less than accurate reverse image search engines like Tineye, SauceNAO, IQDB, etc. I tried a few reverse image searches on some of the questions using those 3 services and they all come back with incorrect results. – Jon Lin Sep 30 '13 at 19:05
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I do not think these questions are good, and that they do deserve downvotes. I object to them on two grounds:

  1. These questions show literally no research effort.
  2. These questions are almost entirely unhelpful to other people. Images aren't searchable except by reverse image search, so unless someone comes upon the question by reverse-image-searching the exact image that the OP put in the question, they'll never find it.

I'm not asking for them to be closed, of course - they're on topic, and deserve to remain open (in keeping with various SE principles, including the principle that there are no questions "too easy" to be asked). It's just that they're also bad, and so I do think that these questions merit downvotes.


Note that I am identifying a relatively narrow set of questions as problems here. Other identification questions that are superficially similar but to which I do not object include:

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    A lot of people don't even know Google has a reverse image search. I don't think it's fair to say it shows "literally no research effort". As for point 2, the questions are absolutely helpful since they should always detail what's in the image (like on the piyo-piyo apron question). I'll write up a full answer when I get more time later or tomorrow. – Killua Sep 14 '13 at 22:22
  • @Eric If the questions do detail the contents of the image in some useful detail (like the apron question does), I agree that the question is helpful. That didn't cross my mind; very good point. – senshin Sep 14 '13 at 22:30
  • I don't see an image in the third example question (aside from the image in the answer). The first example is particularly fantastic, and the second one is also good. – David Starkey Sep 16 '13 at 17:56
  • @DavidStarkey The point I was making about the three questions linked here is that they're good (or at least not bad) identification questions, provided as a contrast. – senshin Sep 16 '13 at 20:47

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