Earlier today someone asked for the source of a picture of Captain Picard that is often used in memes. Besides the fact that this could have been easily solved by a simple Google search, is this actually an on-topic question?

I realize that there are several similar questions:

Sure, in each case the source of the image is a sci-fi series, but is that enough to consider this on-topic? To me, these aren't "questions about science fiction or fantasy", they're questions about the image source of a meme, and it's merely coincidence that these happen to be originating from a sci-fi series.

IMO these questions are adding to the noise of this SE. Considering the vast collection of memes using images from TNG I don't think they should be allowed here. There are plenty of good resources to learn about memes.


2 Answers 2


Your question title asks if they are "worthwhile"; your question body asks if they are "on-topic". Those are two different things.

That kind of question is, generally, a horrible question, especially if the answer is to just right-click and Google Image Search it. But, on-topic for this site is defined as:

  • Plot, character, or setting explanations
  • Historical or societal context of a work
  • Behind-the-scenes and fandom information
  • Story identification
  • Franchise/series reading or viewing order

I can easily see more than one of those bullets applying to "which episode is this image from?" questions. They're very similar to "what book is this I'm thinking of in my head?" questions; we appear to be the only site that embraces those type of questions.

If we're going to allow story-id-by-description questions to be on-topic, I can't see a good justification for rejecting story-id-by-screenshot questions.

  • Last I remember, Arqade accepts game-identification if and only if you have a screenshot
    – Izkata
    May 20, 2015 at 13:55
  • I'm not keen on id-by-screenshot because it's generally not searchable. It's searchable only when other people are likely to search the same screenshots, which largely coincides with when other people have been using the screenshot on the web, which is precisely when the question is not worthwhile.
    – user56
    May 20, 2015 at 18:58
  • 2
    @Gilles I'm not arguing that id-by-screenshot is good; I'm arguing that it's typically no worse than id-by-generic-vague-description, so it makes no sense to treat one as on-topic and one as not.
    – KutuluMike
    May 20, 2015 at 21:27
  • @Izkata - Arqade accepts game-identification questions with an audiovisual artifact, which could be a picture but also a video (such as an advert for a graphics card that showcases a game) or even a sound clip. The reason being is that any answer can be verified correct by third party users (not just the OP) and doesn't rely on the OP's memory, which may be wrong.
    – Robotnik
    May 21, 2015 at 6:33
  • Agree with @MichaelEdenfield. This and [story-identification] are the same thing. (And both useless in my opinion.) But I'm in the minority apparently. May 21, 2015 at 19:48
  • @Gilles - this is a very interesting site to start your sentence with "i'm not keen ... " :) Seriously, I think that your comment doesn't quite reflect how Google Image Search works - it actually matches the images and not just uses textual cues. Not certain. May 22, 2015 at 21:43
  • @DVK Yes, it does match images. If you're searching for an image with the same content but resized or resampled, that tends to work. With different frames of a movie, not really. It usually works for a meme, but only because lots of people have been using it on the web, which is when the question isn't useful. If someone took their own still of a movie and this is the first time this particular frame is on the web, it doesn't work well, and this is the case where the question could be useful — but then it's unsearchable.
    – user56
    May 22, 2015 at 21:46
  • @Gilles - I would guess (no research to back it up) that most memes are already-available-stills. I have my own opinion on the worth of such "hard to google image search" questions, but it's not a topic important enough to bother elucidating a full asnwer. May 22, 2015 at 21:49

Just to very explicitly address the "worthwhile" part (as defined by many other people here in terms of votes):

  • The downvote arrow hover-over clearly states as explanation

This question does not show any research effort

  • As others noted, this question is trivially researched via the means of Google Image Search. Unless the asker explicitly indicated thet did this and failed, the question should be downvoted into obvlivion without being off topic.

  • Once sufficiently downvoted, it would disappear from front page.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .