You can find the relevant past discussions here and here. Please let me know if I'm missing something.

Identification questions have been in a trial period for almost two months. The idea was to let the community experience them first hand to make a well informed decision later.

What has been your experience so far? What's your opinion? Should we allow all identification questions? Should we allow some types of identification questions? Should all identification questions, without exception, be off-topic?


3 Answers 3


My personal opinion is that a Music Fans site should be accessible to Music Fans. I think song identification is a big part of being a music fan. Being able to identify an obscure piece being played on piano or some rock song that was recorded by a local band and never released but happened to show up in an episode of a tv show. Whenever I run into these things the first place I turn is the internet. When I run into a programming issue, I can usually expect one of the first results to be StackOverflow and usually these help me solve my problem. I don't see why we wouldn't want Music Fans to be the same for identifying tracks.

I would agree we that there are frustrations when a questions has poor details or is something that could easily be solved with a little research on the part of the asker, but I think that is why we should make sure to have some good guidelines on what a good identification question is. Things I can think of off the top of my head:

  1. Provide a sample or clip that contains the song you want to identify
  2. If its part of a tv show or video clip, provide details about the clip or show
  3. Samples should be good quality so that the song can be heard

A poor question would be along the lines of:

I heard a song once in the 80's I think the chorus said something like "baby baby you make me feel good" I was 3 when I heard it.

A good question would identify the specifics surrounding the song:

Can anyone tell me the name of the song in this clip [link to clip]. Jump to 0:45 to hear the sample. This is from a commercial run circa 1993 locally in Madison, WI.

That's not a great example obviously. But in general I think the point I'm making is that if someone provides good details surrounding the song they want to identify, we should allow it.

I personally think that by disallowing identification questions you will render Music Fans obsolete for a large majority of people, both people with questions and those of us who actually don't mind the investigation process that goes into trying to identify a song clip.

When you hover over the downvote button the help text reads "The question does not show any research effort; it is unclear or not useful". This seems like a pretty good standard to use for any type of question including these. There can be good and bad identification questions.

  • Another thing that could be considered is the motivation for the question. Is it just cuz its bugging them? Or is there some other motivation for wanting/needing to know what the song is.
    – sanpaco
    Jul 16, 2015 at 21:50

Let's look at the stats of the last 50 questions asked. At the time of this post the stats were:

  • Of the last 50 questions asked there were 17 ID questions.
  • They have a combined net score of 1.
  • Only 6 of them have answers(~35% of the total ID questions asked in this time frame).
  • Of the 6 questions that have any answers, only 4 are considered answered*(~23% of the total ID questions asked in this time frame).
  • None of the questions have an accepted answer.

Now let's look at the review stats for our site as this is just as big of a part of the discussion:

  • There are 5 questions currently in the close vote queue.
  • There are 20 users not including mods that can access this queue.
  • In the last month, only 2 users who were not mods voted in the queue.

I'm not going to take one side or another on this issue, but I would like to state one thing. We need the community to be more active in the moderation of the site. The mods can and will step in when it's clear what the community wants, but right now it's not clear especially on this issue. We need everyone who is active to step up and not just talk about it issues like this, but follow through. Answer them, flag them, vote on them, and discuss specific problems in the meta and the chat.

*To be considered answered, a question needed to a score of at least 1.


Most identification questions I saw were simply the following:

I can't remember this song / it went something like this... / can you help me?

There's no need for these questions to be here. They offer no use to anyone but the person who can't remember that song.

  • 2
    I completely agree with this but that doesn't mean disallow all identification questions. There are some very good, on-topic ones.
    – sanpaco
    Jul 20, 2015 at 15:57
  • 1
    @sanpaco And in their rarity they're simply not worth the trouble.
    – Major Tom
    Dec 28, 2016 at 13:27

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