Full dislosure: It was an identify question of my own that initially turned me onto this site.
- Music Fans SE should engage in a time-limited trial run of restricting or eliminating "identify" questions.
There are three sections to this post: (1) Two proposals; (2) Justification; (3) Stats.
Two proposals regarding "[identify*]" questions
Treat "identify" questions as off-topic for a one-year trial period to observe the effect on overall participation.
Restrict, for a one-year trial period the "identify" questions that are on-topic. For example:
- Require that any posted video be on a publicly accessible site (e.g., not a personal cloud-share site; not a site requiring fees). (Also in the interest of security. I have no interest in downloading unknown files from random sites.)
- Require that the above site track views, and that the submitted video have a minimum such number (e.g., 10,000). This will at least suggest some future usefulness.
"Identify" questions have been a point of discussion, contention, and, for some, irritation since the inception of Music Fans. For example:
- “Identify this song / genre / artist” - on topic? (Feb 2015)
- Burn the identify-this-track tag? (May 2015)
- On-topic & Off-topic (June 2015)
- Why identify-this-* tag hasn't been banned? (Dec 2016)
- Answered question with dead link (Dec 2016)
- No effort, no research, no use to future visitors (Feb 2017)
- Am I wrong in my judgment of questions that have to be closed? (Nov 2018)
- The question you're currently reading (Oct 2020)
- Should we be strict with the identification tags? (Oct 2021)
As shown in the stats below, "identify" questions are
- Pushing out other questions;
- Producing less engagement and less impact;
- Of lower quality.
One concern has been that limiting or removing "identify" questions will reduce site growth. However, as measured by number of questions asked, growth is stagnant even with them (see Stats, below). Evidence suggests "identify" questions are actually suppressing growth.
As a personal matter, I find "identify"-type questions to be a drag most of the time. They often take a substantial amount of research to answer and are generally of limited long-term or popular value. For me, the "identify" questions have become a significant disincentive and have substantially reduced my participation.
I advocate strongly for a trial run of either restricting or removing them.
- In Music Fans's first year (Feb - Dec 2015) the ratio of "other" questions to "identify" questions was better than 4:1. However, since 2016, the number of "identify" questions has been holding steady at roughly double, while the number of "other" questions has dropped by more than 50%.
TABLE 1: Questions by year ____________________________________ [Identify*] ____________________ Year Is (%) Not (%) Total ____________________________________ 2021* 217 (62%) 135 (38%) 352 2020 189 (48%) 203 (52%) 392 2019 236 (59%) 165 (41%) 401 2018 206 (53%) 183 (47%) 389 2017 235 (50%) 231 (50%) 466 2016 231 (44%) 294 (56%) 525 2015** 108 (19%) 472 (81%) 580 _________________________________ *as of Nov. 30, 2021 **first site question asked 2/2015
- "Identify" questions are significantly less engaging and less impactful than other questions.
TABLE 2: Question impact/popularity* ____________________________________________________ Averages ______________________ Q-type Score Views Favorite >1 answers/total Q ____________________________________________________ identify 1 715 0 263/1445 = 18.2% other 4 2364 1 555/1703 = 32.6% ____________________________________________________ *Based on data from SEDE. Queries are below.
- "Identify" questions are of lower quality than other questions.
TABLE 3: Percentages of closed questions versus total _____________________________________________________ Tag Closed/Total % _____________________________ Identify* 50/1463 3.4% Other 93/4292 2.7%
Queries used for Table 2. SELECT AVG(ViewCount) FROM Posts WHERE Tags LIKE '%identify%' SELECT AVG(ViewCount) FROM Posts WHERE Tags NOT LIKE '%identify%' SELECT AVG(Score) FROM Posts WHERE Tags LIKE '%identify%' SELECT AVG(Score) FROM Posts WHERE Tags NOT LIKE '%identify%' SELECT AVG(FavoriteCount) FROM Posts WHERE Tags LIKE '%identify%' SELECT AVG(FavoriteCount) FROM Posts WHERE Tags NOT LIKE '%identify%' SELECT COUNT(AnswerCount) FROM Posts WHERE Tags LIKE '%identify%' AND AnswerCount > 1 SELECT COUNT(AnswerCount) FROM Posts WHERE Tags NOT LIKE '%identify%' AND AnswerCount > 1