..so that people can talk about "songs that have charted" without perpetually having to specify exactly what chart they mean? Or should they always have to specify, e.g. "US Billboard 100"?

Have a look at what happened here:

Most longevity on the pop charts

Nothing was specified in the title, "US top 100" was specified in the question text, and an answer came about the UK charts. Now maybe that's fine. Still, thought it was worth a chat.

3 Answers 3


I think a default definition of 'chart' is chart. Unless the asker wants to ask about some specific chart, like "US Billboard 100", I think 'chart' is generic enough

  • so, any chart? Even genre-specific charts, airplay charts, Albanian charts, 'worst song of 1997' charts?
    – user16
    Commented Feb 25, 2015 at 15:24
  • 1
    Chart is a generic term. If you are interested in the worst Indian/Greek songs of June 1997 charts, ask a more specific question Commented Feb 25, 2015 at 15:26
  • Not unless we define it to be so, because there is no one 'chart' - just many individual ones.
    – user16
    Commented Feb 25, 2015 at 15:29
  • I agree with you; but I cannot think of a term more generic than 'chart' for what we are trying to refer to Commented Feb 25, 2015 at 15:30
  • I think the term chart is very sensible - it's what we are trying to refer to that I feel we might need to define!
    – user16
    Commented Feb 25, 2015 at 15:33
  • @topomorto If you want to be specific when you refer to something, just be specific. Typing out "US Billboard 100" once in a while is not a hardship. Commented Feb 25, 2015 at 22:23
  • @MatthewRead true. Edited the question a bit.
    – user16
    Commented Feb 25, 2015 at 22:30

You shouldn't really push for a site-sanctioned, default definition of "chart" if it's going to leave the rest of the Internet not knowing what you are referring to. Not everyone reads this meta.

If the question is ambiguous or the context unclear, ask the author to clarify their question in the body of the post. Keep in mind that the music interests here vary widely, and this site has has an international audience… so if the question is not perfectly clear in what charts the author is referring, a thoughtful reminder will help make the post more useful to all.

  • Changed the title to 'Should we', to allow for this opinion. Still, I was imagining that there will be a lot of potential questions asking about 'the charts' - one example is musicfans.stackexchange.com/questions/61/…. If asking about 'the charts', that means someone pretty much always has to ask 'what chart' before giving an answer, unless they know for a fact that the answer is the same for all/many charts, or we want to research the answer for a number of different charts. So I was wondering if there was a way of short-circuiting that loop.
    – user16
    Commented Feb 25, 2015 at 21:35
  • 1
    @topomorto No real shortcut here. There are places like the 'help center' and meta posts where you can help guide diligent users ask better questions. But once the question is on the site, there is no "guide" to help wayward users interpret what potentially ambiguous terminology actually means. Keep in mind that the main source of traffic on this site is search. When a user find a post through Google, the content has to be clear to folks who are not privy to these meta conversations. The information has to be contained in the body of the question or it is not accessible at all. Commented Feb 25, 2015 at 21:39

Without wanting to come over as 'area-centric' I'd say US Billboard or UK 'official chart' [1] could be used as authority without discrimination, as each has been particularly well-used across the years as 'definitions of success'.

I would encourage references to other charts, with links if available; I see no reason success in another market should be considered as automatically 'less important'.
True international success would be reasonably well-reflected in many markets - though this would only really apply to English language material. Non-English songs have always struggled to find a market outside their language area, but I don't think, in the overall scheme of things, this should make a reference less valid.
As this SE site is an English language site, it would be reasonable to suggest that English language sources be given higher weight, but not at the expense of any other source, if that source is relevant to the question.

I would also say always cite your source, whatever chart you choose as your reference.

As always - questions will have more or less generally-acceptable answers based on the specificity of the question.

[1] The UK official chart has been through several incarnations, but the one the BBC used at that point in history would be my reference. This was the one always used by British Hit Singles & Albums (originally known as The Guinness Book of British Hit Singles and The Guinness Book of British Hit Albums)

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