Generally, we like for text-based questions to contain as much information as possible. Things like names of characters, major plot points, and genre/atmosphere are very important, and less significant things like subplots, where/when the OP saw it, details about art style, etc are all very helpful for answerers. Questions which don't include enough information are usually bad questions, as they may have multiple possible answers and it's essentially a guessing game as to which is the correct one.

With that said, sometimes one has a reasonable guess what the right answer is, despite the lack of information. By reasonable, I don't just mean "this matches a couple of the OP's points," but "this matches everything the OP said, and it's very likely the correct answer." This is a subjective judgement, but I think it's something that users here can be trusted to make.

Normally, if a non-ID question is even remotely answerable, it can be edited to be a good question that fits our standards in some way. Either the question is clear, and can be edited and answered by anyone, or it's unclear and requires more input from the OP and should be closed. However, ID requests are different in that we can't even edit anything in. The OP is the only one who knows what series they're thinking of. Furthermore, they may not know any more information besides what they provided.

So, what's the proper policy when a low-quality ID request comes along that I think I know the answer to? Is it appropriate to post the answer despite the fact that the question has problems, and let the OP and the community decide on how useful it is? (After all, the problems were not significant enough to stop us from finding the answer.) Should I comment to request for clarification when I already think I know what the answer is? Should I vote to close as unclear? In addition, if I do manage to guess correctly, at that point should more details be edited in to the question?

I personally lean towards posting the answer--after all, all text-based ID request answers are guesses to some degree, and the community here is capable of judging whether the guess is at least reasonable. However, I can see arguments for other actions as well.

4 Answers 4


If you feel you have the correct answer for the question, I think you should post it. Flawed as the question may be, as you've pointed out in this type of questions answers are always guesses to some degree.

In addition to this, however, I think you could always leave a comment requesting some clarification you find necessary (maybe because you were not sure if it was show a or show b, and one simple detail would make you lean toward one or the other, or something of the like).
If you do leave the correct answer, I think it's mostly up to the OP to add said clarification or not (although IMO, there's no need for it).
However, if your answer is not correct, I think the OP should add some clarification (sometimes it may not be possible).

I think closing as unclear should only take place when the question is very generic, and after comments requesting clarification, no additional information was added.
However, even in such cases I am unsure about closing them: someone may be able to identify the show even with little and generic information, or maybe the OP remembers the show and can answer it himself. So maybe these unclear and generic questions could be down-voted instead of closed since they are, in fact, bad questions.


We should clear up any confusion on the subject of what a good should have.

An identification request should have as many of the following points as possible:

  • Any description of the leading/recurring character(s) (i.e., physical description, behavioral, etc)
  • Any description of any distinctive features (e.g., girls who a soda cans that do battle) or the setting
  • What the genre or style was (e.g., mecha, sci-fi, fantasy, shonen, shoujo, seinen, etc)
  • What the drawing/animation style is like
  • When and where you saw it (If you saw it when you were a kid don't give you age, give the approximate year, and month if possible)
  • Type of media: TV show, OVA, movie, manga, one-shot, etc
  • Any image(s), audio, or video(s) related to the series

If your question has less than two of the the above mentioned, or the description given are deemed to be too ambiguous, it will be put on hold as "Unclear what you're asking." You should edit your question to add more details, before it can be reopen.


Text-only identification question are typically rely sole on the memory of the OP, which often times are unreliable (if it was, they'd remember it).

Give the OP sometime to better form their question. If the OP does't at least try to make an effort to give some details to narrow things down, then they probably don't really care if it is answered or not. After all you're taking your time to help them answer thier question.

While there are far less title to deal with in anime than in TV show and movies. Dealing with identification questions related to manga can sometimes be a huge hassle (especially with oneshots).

We can adopt something similar to TV & Movies.SE's guidelines (see "Identify-This-X Questions"):

Identify-This-X Questions

Identification questions are currently on-topic for this site. Please try to give as much detail as possible:

  • Where you watched the movie or TV show
  • When you watched the movie or TV show
  • Any idea of how old it was
  • Whether it was animated or not
  • Any distinctive detail

See this question to get a feel of what we expect from a well rounded Identify-This-* question.

Identify-This questions are of limited use to other users of the site, and are asking people to spend some time identifying the Movie or TV show, so it is the responsibility of the person asking the question to try to answer clarifications within a reasonable amount of time, certainly within a day or so.

Identify-This questions may be deleted if it is considered that they are unanswerable and the person asking is not answering clarification comments. Questions from unregistered users unanswered after 2 weeks are liable to be deleted. Questions lacking in research, i.e. if a question is easily answered from an Actor's name on IMDB or Wikipedia will be closed.


If you feel that there are more details missing from the question, and perhaps the OP didn't know he should include them, comment him about it.

If you feel that the question can absolutely not be answered because it lacks details, vote to close it as unclear. Putting a question on hold, editing to improve it, and then reopening it is a healthy process that beneficial to both the site and the user.

If you are confident you can answer it even though it's a bit vague, post your answer and comment for more details. Remember we aren't limited to one answer per question and not per user either.

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