There are a number of questions asking about what was the first anime to show a particular trope or type of plot or idea (such as crossovers), some of which I have asked. I honestly never thought that there was a problem with this, but there is now somebody who is going around downvoting them under the argument that they are silly and trivial (and, I assume, by relation off-topic). I just want to clear up for myself and anyone asking these questions what is on or off topic with this kind of question. Where should the line be drawn with these between constructive/on topic and off topic?

Examples of these questions include:

1 Answer 1


The general case of "What is the first instance of X in anime/manga" seems like a reasonable question in many cases, and is rarely what I would call "trivial" (to me, "trivial" means that something is so simple that anyone can answer it). Rather, I'd argue that if anything, they're too hard, in that it's very difficult to definitively prove that the early example you've found is actually the correct one. That is to say that they aren't usually off-topic, but they could be closed for other reasons.

As for downvoting the questions, I'd argue that's the prerogative of the user in question. If he feels that these are not interesting, useless, unclear, or shows a lack of research effort, he's free to downvote the posts, and I don't think there should be any restrictions on that. With regards to closing the questions, these certainly aren't universally off-topic (at least not without some previously established consensus). They could be closed for other reasons though, e.g. being "too broad".

For me, the line between the constructive and nonconstructive types of these questions is fairly similar to other types of questions, in that it should be something notable that probably has an answer. For instance, asking "Who was the first anime character with green hair, heterochromia, and a speech impediment?" is silly and nonconstructive, while "What was the first instance of heterochromia in anime?" could be a very reasonable question. This isn't really any different from the fact that "Why does Naruto wear an orange jumpsuit?" would probably be okay, but "How many teeth are on the zipper of Naruto's jumpsuit?" is silly and not constructive.

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