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Anime:SE have made a firm decision to reject any future Story-ID questions (regardless of the quality of the post or the information on offer) but do still get the occasional wayward soul who asks them and instantly gets shut down.

Given our solid track record of solving story-ID questions and their long history of acceptability on SFF:SE, would we be happy to offer a direct migration path for any anime story-ID requests that contain (or seem to contain) science fiction or fantasy elements?

For example;

https://anime.stackexchange.com/questions/43280/help-i-can-t-remember-the-name-of-this-anime - (Contains giant robots and space goblins)

https://anime.stackexchange.com/questions/43138/anime-related-to-angel-and-metal-sword - (Contains a character with angel wings that he can use during a fight)

etc etc.


Instead of simply closing them with a terse message, their mods and users could then push any seemingly relevant ones over to SFF, subject to the same quality-control we usually apply to other migrated questions.

  • now> Is it not too late to call now ;D – Ankur Rathee Nov 22 '17 at 2:15
  • @SteveHarrington - It's come to my attention that they still get a reasonable volume of Story-ID questions and that a not sizeable number of those contain elements of sci-fi and fantasy. It seems a real waste not to reach out the olive branch and give them somewhere to put some of those misfit questions rather than simply closing them. – Valorum Nov 22 '17 at 2:37
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    I would add that the problem was never that we couldn't answer ID Requests. one of the complaints about deleting them after blacklisting was people loosing rep. the problem was always that the questions were crap and the users who asked them made no effort to check out the guidelines we put up everywhere we possibly could – Memor-X Nov 22 '17 at 3:35
  • Why the brackets in the post title? I call discrimination! – Rand al'Thor Nov 22 '17 at 13:13
  • @Randal'Thor - Think yourself lucky I didn't put a sad face emoji after it. – Valorum Nov 22 '17 at 13:31
  • Related (not dupe): Migration Paths – Möoz Nov 22 '17 at 20:46
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    @Möoz - This is more about them feeling welcome to migrate to us. I don't expect the same is true in reverse but hopefully we can find some other way to support them in future – Valorum Nov 22 '17 at 20:56
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    Anime & Manga has posted the same meta post to share and receive the feedback from this community. – Andrew T. Nov 23 '17 at 6:13
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Yes, absolutely we should. SFF:SE should aim to be the home of science fiction and fantasy questions (including those related to anime, manga and animated films) and we should welcome any additional questions from our sister sites with welcome arms.

Points in favour

  • It's been long-established that questions are on-topic as long as they contain scifi or fantasy, regardless of the format, so questions about anime, manga and animated films should pose us no problems.

  • Anime's own users and mods will do some quality control for us, ensuring that inappropriate questions (such as those that don't contain any SFF content) won't get migrated over.

  • The volume is not likely to be especially high (a few a week, from what I can tell).

  • Happy users getting their questions answered will stick around on SFF and might ask other questions.

Point against

  • Err. I can't think of any. Unless they start using us as a dumping ground for all of their Story-ID questions. Which I can't see happening.
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    You spelled I can make a ton of rep from it wrong. ;-) – Möoz Nov 22 '17 at 1:32
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    Re: points against; yeah, in fact, I'm sure the Mods would do well enough not to let that happen. – Möoz Nov 22 '17 at 1:32
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    @Möoz - Keeping our mods busy is my #1 priority – Valorum Nov 22 '17 at 1:33
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    Do you have any data backing up your last pro point? Anime and Manga has contradicting data to your point on user retention and was one of the reasons to get rid of them – Memor-X Nov 22 '17 at 3:31
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    @Memor-X you call it "contradicting data" but none of that data talks about answered identification and the rate of retention of those. Unless of course they had a 100% correct identification rate, which I'm guessing they didn't. – Edlothiad Nov 22 '17 at 7:44
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    @Edlothiad your right it doesn't talk about answers, it just shows that most users who asked id requests as their first question only ever posted that. unless you're say that it's the mentality of users to only ever participate on an SE site if their primarily self serving question is answered first then it's irrelevant if they were answered or not – Memor-X Nov 22 '17 at 8:33
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    Well if you get what you wanted from the site you may have an increased desire to ask again, as it's gained your trust, similarly if you have a question answered you may feel like asking again, if not other users coming through google may see the question and decide to stay, or the HNQ. There is no reason we shouldn't have these questions on our site if they're on-topic and of a reasonable quality. – Edlothiad Nov 22 '17 at 8:46
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    @Memor-X - Arguably Story-ID questions are the most useful questions that people can ask on SE. While it might be satisfying to know why Picard joined Starfleet (the unknown), whether MCU Captain America is gay (he isn't) or whether you can 'fake' being choked by Vader (no), it doesn't actually help anyone. – Valorum Nov 22 '17 at 8:54
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    @Valorum i would argue they are but only as a sort of recommendation. as per the link i posted Kazer points out people remember the same stuff differently and you can't do a duplicate link to another question unless the asker agrees either before the 5 votes or by indicating it in a comment or accept vote unless the details were remembered the same and personal experience says this is rare. when i was about to ask a question about Kylo Ren's Lightsaber and it's stability, before i posted i saw the same question was asked and answered. i have never had that with id requests – Memor-X Nov 22 '17 at 10:53
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    @Memor-X - Our policy is that if the OP agrees that it's the same as another accepted answer (either by clicking the accept button or saying "yes, this is it" in comments), we dupe it to the more detailed one. – Valorum Nov 22 '17 at 10:55
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    I have posted a response to our counterpart to this post (I am a moderator at A&M). I am generally willing to give this a try, but if by "quality control" you mean "filtering out badly-written questions that are still about SF&F media"... don't expect too much. – senshin Nov 27 '17 at 16:51
  • @senshin - We can fix "badly written" with ease. – Valorum Nov 27 '17 at 17:11
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This sounds like a great idea in general: if ID questions are getting closed over there that would be upvoted and answered over here, then there's no reason not to deprive those questions' OPs of getting their answers. That said, I'd mention a few caveats we should consider.

Quality control

I've never spent any time on the Anime & Manga SE, but having seen the type of non-book ID questions that some other SEs get, I'd guess that the quality of ID questions being posted to Anime & Manga was so bad that they eventually had no option but to cut out the canker entirely. We don't want our site to be flooded with crap and lose its reputation as one of the few SE sites to have mostly good quality ID questions without needing draconian rules.

To this end, I'd suggest not setting up a direct migration path which could be used by any five 3k-rep users, but instead relying on the A&M mods to migrate ID questions to us manually. Migration paths have caused issues for other sites in the past: e.g. see Please stop using SoftwareEngineering.SE as your toilet bowl and A friendly reminder: ELL is not EL&U's trash can. Unfortunately, allowing anyone to vote to migrate questions often results in really bad questions being dumped on other sites, essentially passing the buck on the job of closing them.

We should also bear in mind that "good quality" for ID questions is subjective and varies by site. Some sites have very different standards from others on what makes a "good" ID question. So we can't necessarily rely on A&M mods or users to know which of 'their' ID questions we'd want and which we wouldn't. The best way to inform them is by manually flagging migrate-worthy questions on A&M ourselves, with a flag text something like:

Since ID questions are off-topic here, could you migrate this question to Sci-Fi & Fantasy, where it would be considered on-topic and within SFF site standards? (Source: I'm an active user on SFF.)

I can't see any sensible reason for a mod to decline such a flag: if a question would be closed on their site but would be open and well-received on our site, then it's an ideal candidate for migration. This seems to be the best way to ensure that we get only the questions we actually want rather than being flooded with crap. The alternative would be educating the users or mods of A&M on exactly which ID questions we like and which we don't, and then potentially having to complain if they migrate bad ID questions which get downvoted here as well.

The decision on the other end

Of course, the ultimate decision of whether or not to migrate such questions is up to the A&M community and mods. They're the ones who have to do the actual migrating. But again, if they don't want the questions and we do, I can't see any sensible reason for them to refuse. Just remember that if you want a migration path, someone will have to propose that on their meta and get enough support for it there. (If we go by the manual flagging approach I suggested above, then posting on their meta won't be necessary unless for some reason those flags are declined.)

  • My only issue is that I'm not active enough on Anime to spot these questions before they get closed and don't have enough rep to see them once they're closed other than through google cache. – Valorum Nov 22 '17 at 11:55
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    Also, are their mods happy to manually migrate questions on a daily basis? The entire point of a migration path is to leave it to the community rather than relying on a small group of users to do the work. – Valorum Nov 22 '17 at 11:59
  • @Valorum Re being active on Anime - I presume you wouldn't be a one-man army, and other SFF users also have accounts on A&M and might be willing to help. Re seeing the questions - closure doesn't make a question invisible to anyone. Do they get deleted immediately after being asked, or just closed and left for the roomba to clean up? Re mod workload - maybe that'd be worth a Anime & Manga Meta question? – Rand al'Thor Nov 22 '17 at 12:05
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    They get deleted immediately, hence why I've had to use google cache links above – Valorum Nov 22 '17 at 12:10
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    @Valorum generally if we want to delete id requests, for normal users we'd have to wait for the question to be closed and have a score of -3 before we can vote to delete. Mods don't need to do that and Oded used to close and delete. if left to the mods to migrate the normal user base could flag for migration while closing which gets picked up by the mods – Memor-X Nov 22 '17 at 21:45
  • @Memor-X - I can't see any problem with that. As I said to Rand, the whole point of a migration pathway (or a custom flag) is to get the community to do the heavy lifting for the mods but whatever you're comfortable with – Valorum Nov 22 '17 at 22:02
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    Anime & Manga have opened the meta post regarding this matter. – Andrew T. Nov 23 '17 at 6:21
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    I think I'm with Rand on this. We've had a TON of migration discussions on SO, and they inevitably break down because the target site gets a lot of rejected migrations. Invariably, what will happen is it will promote the lowest common denominator. "Oh, a story ID question. Off to SFF you go!", only to have us now do more work to close the ones not in the rules. If you leave it mod-only, the mods will learn the rules a LOT faster and reject migrations we wouldn't accept – Machavity Nov 24 '17 at 2:39
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    The quality on the recent migrations seems pretty decent. Certainly almost all of them have been both answerable and at least well-written enough that if they'd been asked here, we wouldn't have batted an eyelid – Valorum Jan 1 '18 at 17:51
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I would be fine with this idea but there are some things to understand first.

  1. Given our solid track record of solving story-ID questions

    i know i'm cherry picking but as i said in a comment our ability to answer them was never the issue. i answered many myself, we've had users to get tag badges, we did everything under the sun to try and set a standard of quality with guidelines and asking that askers meet at least 3 points to make the id request uniquely identifiable which wasn't too much to ask? we posted this link everywhere, in the help center, in the tour, in the tags, in the close reason, in comments we would post, in the How To Ask.

    The problem was that many were just low quality. even when asked to provide more details many didn't respond. as per our close reason

    Identification questions are off-topic, because they tend to attract low-quality and low-effort posts.

    and it wasn't just questions, the answers i hate the most was

    it's [SERIES]. check it out it's great!!!!!!

    to me these are useless because they require the asker to have to look up the series. the rest of the SE Network wouldn't accept the answer "google/look up on wikipedia [search term]" and when it comes to id requests, and answer like that might as well been a guess. i thought it was easy for new users to make good id request answers by matching what was asked in the question to examples in the series but my faith was drained and i ended up changing my support for them because most new users didn't put in effort into their questions or answers

  2. as per Valorum's post

    Be available to answer questions about it, and answer them in a timely fashion.

    this will only work if their user account get created here aswell as part of the migration.

    now i'm not 100% sure on the mechanics of migration but i think that if the asker is unregistered or isn't using a Stack Exchange Login they may not be able to even answer comments unless (for unregistered users) they create another account and post answers as comments or merge the new account tied to the question that ends up here.

  3. while you have , and these are still on-topic on Anime and Manga so long as


    that being said i would like to see a guideline or something of what could be migrated. ie, would you accept the following id requests if they had scifi/fantasy elements?

    • Image only id requests
    • Id this anime/music from this Anime Music Video (AMV)
    • Can you find me this AMV which has Scenes from [SERIES(ES)]
    • Id this hentai/adult doujinshi
    • How little is too little information?

i'll finish off saying that i've always been amazed in how SciFi has never had a problem with ID requests like what Anime and Manga had. maybe it was because the community was larger. maybe it was because SciFi had more than enough questions from other topics to offset the id requests. maybe it's just that anime fans are shit and that when SciFi gets topped ranked for "id this anime" in google it would get into the same situation we got and question whether they should go.

Whatever it was, had we knew what secret SciFi is hiding in keeping id requests under control maybe we would have kept them.

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    We're happy to accept image-only ID's as long as they appear to be about sci-fi/fantasy or if the OP is insistent that they're from a sci-fi or fantasy work. "Who is this" wouldn't be acceptable, but "Who is this" would be, as would "Who is this, I'm sure he was in a scifi show" – Valorum Nov 22 '17 at 10:50
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    We'd be happy with an "ID this thing at timecode X:X:X on an AMV" question. – Valorum Nov 22 '17 at 10:52
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    How little is too little information? - Our one rule on information is that it needs to be uniquely identifiable. – Valorum Nov 22 '17 at 10:53
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    "Be available to answer questions about it, and answer them in a timely fashion" is a suggestion, not an order. If they want to post and never come back, that's their prerogative – Valorum Nov 22 '17 at 10:54
  • @Valorum (second comment) so it's ok so long as the imagery of the AMV shows any scifi/fantasy? – Memor-X Nov 22 '17 at 10:58
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    It's tricky because I'm guessing there will be no end of AMVs that have both scifi and non-scifi content. I'd err on the side of yes, as long as the question asked about a scifi clip in an AMV. So "I'm trying to find an AMV that had lots of clips of Rey Ayanami set to Britney Spears" would be perfectly fine – Valorum Nov 22 '17 at 11:11
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    One of the regular from Anime & Manga here~ "maybe it's just that anime fans are shit" I hate to say it, but it might be correct, since anime tends to cater to young audiences and they might not have been mature yet. And also look at other anime/manga related forums... – Andrew T. Nov 23 '17 at 5:38
  • @AndrewT. or just look at how many times "what anime is this" gets repeated in youtube comments despite it having been answered – Memor-X Nov 23 '17 at 5:41
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    While I mostly agree with your analysis, I don't think "the ID requests were too low quality" was the only problem. We also kept making the criteria for asking more complex. Eventually it got to the point where even the close voters didn't bother reading the guidelines, meaning the incoming ID requests were de facto banned even if they were officially legal. Every time a new compromise was made the "Ban" segment of the user base was still unhappy. It got to the point where it just wasn't worth anyone's time arguing over it; no one could reasonably claim we were still doing a good job. – Logan M Nov 23 '17 at 6:42
  • "had we knew what secret SciFi is hiding in keeping id requests under control maybe we would have kept them." - I actually think the secret is that there is so much older, obscure science fiction kicking around that these questions are genuinely useful to people other than the asker. I'm not sure how big the space of anime and manga is, but it's probably smaller and less interesting to trawl through. As a result, we have a stronger motivation to upvote and answer these questions, because they point us to "new" and interesting stories. – Kevin Nov 25 '17 at 22:07
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    @Kevin FWIW, there are so many interesting anime & manga that are available only in their original Japanese language, thus come fansub/scanlation groups (this is already a gray area, but we let it slide as long as there's no link to illegal sites). Now, most of readers/watchers find these from those sites, but don't remember many things (and sometimes, wrong/vague statement). Then come our job to identify these works with limited English resource... that's the problem with most of anime/manga ID request – Andrew T. Nov 27 '17 at 5:58
  • The difference here is that we don't try to enforce guidelines, we just suggest. Most users seem to be ok with sticking around and providing more info that way it seems. So to us, it isn't about the low-quality-ness per se, it's how we can work with the OP. – Möoz Dec 5 '17 at 1:44
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Wanted to throw this in, since it's pretty relevant. SO has had some big discussions on it and I think this part of the accepted answer is relevant to all sites, as the question there was asking for open-ended migration options

The problem with allowing arbitrary sites to be entered is that a lot of the time, the community on one site has really no idea what is on-topic and considered of sufficient quality on another site. As such the Stack Exchange dev team has resisted adding a open-ended migrate option; the Stack Overflow community doesn't get to decide what is on topic in other communities, basically.

In other words, people would be too tempted to pull the lever to migrate. The danger is that SFF would become a "catch-all" for Story ID questions. It's also an easy way for them to pawn off questions that should have been closed in the first place.

Leaving it to just the Anime mods seems to be a better solution. Mods quickly learn what we do and don't accept, and can close questions that wouldn't be acceptable anywhere. I've had good success with this on SO, as mods like to salvage where they can.

It's also worth noting that any user with close privileges can close questions with a custom reason, so they can add a custom comment pointing them to SFF if it's off-topic on Anime. If you use AutoReviewComments it's easy to automate that. It then puts the onus on the user to register here and ask the question. This works better for the user, because now they can see comments and accept an answer (which we need for dupes). Migration cuts them off from that until they register here.

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    As I said above, the requirements for an on-topic question on SFF are very very easy to understand. – Valorum Nov 29 '17 at 13:48
  • Relying on them re-registering and re-asking their question seems like putting up extra barriers and extra hassle for the user when their question is already written up, not least because we may lose detail when they re-ask. – Valorum Nov 29 '17 at 17:02
  • @Valorum In fact, that's why we can simply migrate the question rather than requiring a re-ask. – Möoz Dec 5 '17 at 1:45

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