We seem to be getting a lot of questions that I would classify as "trivia."

While some people find them interesting, I don't think they would provide a long-term value to the site. I know these questions are off-topic for Movies & TV:

Unimportant trivia that does not add to the understanding or appreciation of the title.

I think it would lead to overly-specific Major League style questions that are really of no interest to anybody.

I realize determining whether or not a question is "trivia" could be a very subjective thing, but if we use it as a close reason (like M&TV does), it would allow the community to vote to close or reopen. This way, it would take several people to agree that it is trivia to close the question.

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    As a side note, while I agree that they aren't that engaging, the statement "these questions are off-topic for Movies & TV" should be relativated a little, since many of those questions you list as examples here would probably be considered on-topic over there, as that site features many questions of the first-appearance variety and similar record-like things. Not that I would consider those particularly good questions, but just so you know. Afterall it really comes down to the very hard definition of what is trivia and what isn't. But excellent question, of course. – Major Tom Feb 27 '15 at 20:29
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    I don't see an issue with the questions you posted. As for "trivia", if you want a meaningful discussion about it you'll have to define it first, since one could argue that in the context of this SE 100% of the questions can be considered trivia. What's the criteria? Otherwise we will be talking about different things unintentionally (which is already happening in this discussion). – Anton dB Feb 27 '15 at 21:48
  • trivia is defined here - trivia, defined as follows "1. unimportant matters; trivialities; 2. little-known, insignificant facts". It is great for quizzes and game shows, but of little real use. For example, after watching "Jeopardy", was there any answer/question that was of interest to you, or something you wondered about and did research on? – user3169 Feb 28 '15 at 19:28
  • @user3169 There's tons of interesting stuff on Jeopardy and, even if there wasn't, it's thoroughly irrelevant. – Matthew Read Mar 1 '15 at 19:03
  • @user3169 For the purposes of this discussion, trivia is still undefined under that description. Where is the threshold of importance, significance, triviality? I'm aware of the dictionary definition, but it's not useful on this context, which becomes clear by your example "it is great for quizzes and game shows, but of little real use". With one criteria, you could argue that 100% of the questions of this SE are of little "real use", and with a different criteria you could argue the total opposite. – Anton dB Mar 1 '15 at 19:29
  • @JCPedroza I pointed out in the question that the definition of "trivia" is probably subjective, and would be handled by close votes. The point is moot anyway, because the community wants to see trivia as on-topic. – Darrick Herwehe Mar 1 '15 at 21:26
  • @DarrickHerwehe That's why the line should be drawn first, to address both sides. If the consensus is that they should be allowed it is a moot point, but because the definition is left vague opposers don't have much to work with, and agreers are not talking about the same thing. A decision was made, but the discussion was not meaningful. – Anton dB Mar 1 '15 at 22:23

When it comes to music fans, there's really not a lot of stuff you can ask that can't potentially be seen as trivia. The question of, "What can you ask that will contribute to your enjoyment of music?", which is sort of the barometer over at M&TV, isn't even mostly applicable here as most of those questions woul dprobably be more suitable for Music Theory.

Since that is the case, I think trivia to some point has to be allowable here. I mean, what can you ask about a specific band that can't be considered trivia?

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    I agree with your answer, but I'm confused by your point about Music: Practice & Theory. We don't accept questions about how to enjoy music there. – Matthew Read Mar 1 '15 at 19:17

Yes, they are allowed.

The only questions that I can think of that can't be considered trivia are ones that deal with general topics that are applicable right now, such as What is the quality threshold for recordings sounding better/truer?, What does it mean for an album to be remastered?, or How can I determine the lowest quality encoding a music file went through?.

Anything that deals with the past or deals with a specific band/song/etc. can be considered trivia. That means that all the questions you gave as well as Who influenced The Beatles?, What does 'The Dark Side of the Moon' mean?, What are the historical roots of auto-tune?, and many more would be off topic - but that's not the case. Right now all of these are highly voted and accepted as on topic, which shows that the community is alright with having them around.

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  • Uh...wut? I don't completely follow the reasoning of the 2nd paragraph. – Major Tom Feb 28 '15 at 0:37
  • @ChristianRau I tried to rephrase it to be a little bit more clear – Zach Saucier Feb 28 '15 at 0:43
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    Doesn't change much though, it's the first two sentences that seem to come totally out of the blue (and seem to go along the lines of Ben's answer of declaring everything trivia, because, "music you know, that's all trivia!"). – Major Tom Feb 28 '15 at 0:48
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    @ChristianRau It seems quite clear to me, I'm unsure how to make it more clear – Zach Saucier Feb 28 '15 at 0:50
  • I just don't know how you can deduce from the given example questions to those other questions, they seem entirely different at their very core. And everything that deals with the past or deals with a sepcific band/song is trivia? That's what I just don't get, but maybe that's just me. – Major Tom Feb 28 '15 at 0:51
  • @ChristianRau There's a difference between is trivia and can be considered trivia :) – Zach Saucier Feb 28 '15 at 4:53
  • Well, then subsitute "is" with "can be considered" in my previous comment. ;-) – Major Tom Feb 28 '15 at 12:43
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    What is meaningless trivia to one person is a fascinating factoid to another person with different enthusiasms. I think as a community we have to err on the side of tolerance and inclusion with this, because we all have our own biases. On the other hand I accept that some questions may be too obscure even for a big fan of a particular thing. – Angst Feb 28 '15 at 14:58

I would not like to see questions about "trivia" explicitly off-topic.

The criteria of what constitutes trivia is going to be way too subjective. This is a site about entertainment. It's all trivia.

If there is an individual question you don't like for some reason, if you think that the question is not interesting or engaging, feel free to vote it down. If you think it is primarily opinion-based or too broad, vote to close. But I don't think that we need a blanket "off-topic" label for all "trivia" questions.

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    My reasoning is not that questions would get too broad, but too specific: Who was the first left-handed bassist born in the UK to have more than one top-10 billboard hit in multiple bands? – Darrick Herwehe Feb 27 '15 at 21:49
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    @DarrickHerwehe If that question comes up, just downvote it and move on. But the left-handed bass community will probably demand to know why you have downvoted the question. – Ben Miller - Remember Monica Feb 27 '15 at 21:52
  • Disregarding if they're off-topic or not, I can only give a -1 for saying "This is a site about entertainment. It's all trivia.". – Major Tom Feb 28 '15 at 0:39
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    @ChristianRau Why do you disagree with that statement? What's wrong with it? It might be even worth posting it as an answer, it is a point being used in other answers. – Anton dB Mar 1 '15 at 19:37
  • @JCPedroza I just don't agree that all on this site is trivia because it's about entertainment. In this whole discussion it seems a straw man argument which just doesn't hold. The discussion is about trivia vs non-trivia inside the given site topic and saying that the whole site is trivia just seems invalid in this context. Of course the questions here are less important for the sake of the universe, but that does not make them "trivia" to me. Even in an inherently more "trivial" topic there can be interesting questions vs "trivia". But of course this comes down to individual judgement. – Major Tom Mar 1 '15 at 19:46
  • @ChristianRau Even when talking exclusively inside the context of this site, trying to decide what is <important, trivial, significant> might be a futile (and maybe counterproductive) endeavour. What is important to some will be unimportant to others. That's why I think BenMiller brings a good point: for him everything here is trivia, which brings the question: is it possible to draw that line objectively? Maybe that dynamic will be easier to express through comments and votes, rather than an enforced rule. – Anton dB Mar 1 '15 at 20:06
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    @DarrickHerwehe By the way, I'm guessing the answer is Paul McCartney. :) – Ben Miller - Remember Monica Mar 1 '15 at 22:03

One kind of trivia question that I think should be off-topic would be those where the correct answer would change frequently - "Who is artist XXXX currently going out with", for example.

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    That's not even related to music. But I agree with the point -- "John Smith changes his brand of drum sticks every month, what is he currently using?" would be just as bad. – Matthew Read Mar 1 '15 at 19:07
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    @MatthewRead Just to be clear, a question does not have to be explicitly about music to be on-topic here, just of interest to music fans. For example, questions about Buckethead's bucket or about Pink Floyd's heads are on-topic. "Who is artist XXXX currently going out with?" is probably a bad question, but not because it isn't about music. – Ben Miller - Remember Monica Mar 3 '15 at 21:14

I think it should be off-topic to ask questions which are effectively just asking someone to look something up in another widely-available list - "What was the Beatles' last single", for example.

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    I disagree. 1) We are supposed to be one of those widely-available lists (I know during closed beta questions should be expert-oriented, but these meta rulings will be active beyond that period). 2) Not all lists and sources are correct. Including the question here would open the possibility of better answers, better sources cited, and inclusion of other details. – Anton dB Mar 1 '15 at 19:40

Up to now there have been a number of questions like the following (some already listed in the question):

In which countries does the music business contribute most to the economy?
What song has had the most versions that have made the singles charts?
What was the first track to be sold through Internet?
What's the shortest number one chart hit?
Which song was dubbed into the most languages?

Now I want to be clear that these are not bad questions themselves, but in my opinion these would be considered trivia type questions according to the way they are asked.

While the questions might not be considered as ID type questions, I would consider them to be trivia type questions that ask for something that is the most, least, first, shortest, longest, etc.

The problem is that you can come up with innumerable versions; just pick a topic and match it with a superlative. I wonder if such questions are of specific interest, or if they would have any reference use in the future.
As of this writing, only one of these questions has an answer yet.

If the topic is relevant, I would instead suggest a question asking for a reference source where such information can be found. For example, a better question in relation to the first question listed above might be:

Where can I find economic data that shows contributions of the music industry to GDP?

To answer the question In which countries does the music business contribute most to the economy?, this data will need to be identified first anyway. With that information, any related question (most, least, etc.) can be answered using the reference rather than by asking a new question.

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  • I personally like the idea of asking for resources but it's currently '-2' at meta.musicfans.stackexchange.com/questions/70/…. – user16 Mar 1 '15 at 19:45
  • @topomorto I agree, but only to encourage it (through the site's description, votes, comments, etc), and not to enforce it (through closing or deletion of answers or questions). – Anton dB Mar 1 '15 at 19:50

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