Our last 7 questions (3 have been since deleted) have provided no detail toward helping to identify the autograph. These questions have been generally received well here, but since 11 out of 22 (7 out of 17 excluding deleted questions) of our questions have fallen under the category of "provided no detail," our reception may need reassessed.

What stands out are the differences in how these questions have been handled. Some have at least 3 upvotes. Some have a negative score. Two have been closed (then abandoned/deleted). Two have been deleted as dead.

Unless I'm missing something, each of these questions provided no more detail among the others. I didn't include questions that make an attempt to provide detail, for example:

dead question

How do we handle questions with no detail? I personally have been downvoting these questions.

Current questions with no detail:

Can someone tell me who signature this is

NFL Authentic Game Ball Autograph Identification

Who autographed my baseball?

Who signed this baseball?

Who autographed this MLB baseball?

Can someone help me identify this autograph?

MLB Autograph Identification

Questions that were closed:

deleted question

deleted question

Questions that were deleted as dead:

dead question

dead question

  • The first example is very distinctive, especially with the number. The second includes an image of the box, providing an avenue for investigation that can be correlated with the number too. Same with the third. Obviously the information provided can be quite subtle and difficult or impossible to pick up, unless someone is putting in good effort to find the signer.
    – Nij Mod
    May 26 '17 at 8:04

Unless the signature is pretty well known, it's very difficult to play detective and positively identify an autograph. Especially when few clues are provided to start from. If some level of detail is provided - time period and team perhaps - then it seems like it would be OK to leave the question opened and hope that maybe someone will come along that can help. Without any clues to go on, it seems highly unlikely that anyone will ever be able to help identify the autograph and we might as well close or delete the question as it provides very little value to the site.

  • 2
    I completely disagree. Just because the answer is not obvious to you, it is does not mean that another member of the site is unable to answer the question. In Frank's answer, a concrete example is provided in which a good answer was not able to be provided because the site hastily closed the question. Jun 8 '17 at 2:05

I disagree with this answer on the grounds that this post (on hold) features a clearly identifiable Willie Stargell autograph. Willie Stargell is a very famous, HOF baseball player from the 60's and 70's, and that ball may be worth some money. Although many of the posts do not have context, it is still possible that people can identify an autograph.

Perhaps if no context is given, there are no easily legible names, and after a certain period of time there are no answers, a question could be removed. Defaulting to removal of autograph posts steal the chance for the question to be answered.

  • 2
    These questions may be difficult to answer without additional information, but does not mean they're unanswerable. Jun 8 '17 at 2:06
  • As you'll notice - I didn't jump on the bandwagon to close that question - I thought it had enough signatures that some of them might be fairly easy to identify. And the Willie Stargell (well known player) signature was proof enough of that. The types of signature identification questions I'm against are just the ones where there is little to no context or clues to guess at and the question receives no comments or answers for months (or years) after being posted. I don't see how those questions provide any value.
    – jamauss
    Jun 8 '17 at 19:42
  • 4
    The question isn't if the question can be answered, but rather "what is a 'quality' autograph-identification question?" and "when do we close and/or downvote them?" I agree, closing such a question robs the chance for the question to be answered...which is why it would be nice to know when to close such a question and when it is acceptable to keep such a question around.
    – user527
    Jun 8 '17 at 20:35
  • 2
    Also, I don't know how I feel about the inference that a question asking about one autograph with no context doesn't provide value, but asking about 10 autographs with no context provides value on the grounds that some of them might be identifiable. The original meta post has an identifiable image of an athlete, but we determined that it was off-topic. What makes autograph-identification any different in this regard?
    – user527
    Jun 8 '17 at 20:42

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