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The moderator tools show that, in the last 90 days, out of 48 questions closed with custom close reasons, 31 are autograph identification questions. This number is greater than questions closed as duplicates (18) or primarily opinion-based (15).

Which means autograph identification requests are the top reason for closure on our site. That's why I suggest the mods to add a template for it (something which has been done on other SE sites):

Identification questions are off-topic, because they tend to attract low-quality and low-effort posts. The community has decided to no longer support these questions. Please refer to this meta post for additional details.


The request below is for SO employees. To implement something like this for us sometime in the future when they are not too busy:

On Movies and TV Stack Exchange, a warning message pops up telling users that they don't accept identification questions. A similar thing would be very helpful for us as well.

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  • Do you have an overview of how old these questions were? It actually looks to me like batch-closing old questions. – dly Jul 31 '18 at 7:16
  • First, I also thought about that, but we declared these questions off-topic almost 6 month ago whereas the stats are from last 3 months. But even if we look for the past 30 days, the situation is similar: 18 ID questions vs 11 dupes and 2 POB's. – gdrt Jul 31 '18 at 7:25
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    With 2 autograph identification questions in 1 hour today, I find this request appropriate. – user16112 Dec 20 '18 at 16:48
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    I uphold the proposal to have the warning in place. In fact I requested it before I was told this question exists: Can we have a warning to posters when about to publish an autograph or signature question? – fedorqui Apr 29 at 12:34
  • Rather than a pop-up when typing a title, it may be easier for SE staff to implement a tag warning: a pop-up that appears when a user tries to use the autograph-identification tag. – nitsua60 May 7 at 2:50
  • @nitsua60 yep, this is exactly what I requested. – fedorqui May 10 at 8:34
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I had hoped that closing autograph identification questions as they arrived on the site would stop the flow of questions. However, that obviously hasn't happened so I agree this would be a good idea.

The only slight flaw is that a site can have only three custom close reasons, and ours are already taken up with:

  • Questions on outdoor activities unrelated to a specific, competitive sport are off-topic here, but can be asked on The Great Outdoors Stack Exchange.
  • General health and medical advice is off-topic here; you should contact a qualified medical professional instead.
  • Questions on exercise and fitness unrelated to a specific, competitive sport are off-topic here, but can be asked on Physical Fitness Stack Exchange.

The stats here are frankly not very useful - in the past 90 days, the first of those reasons has been used three times and the other two twice each. These are all significantly less than the approximately 20 autograph identification questions we've had, so one of them should go. In reality, what tends to happen to outdoor or exercise and fitness questions is that a moderator migrates them to the appropriate site, so those reasons are probably less useful than the "health and medical advice" reason; I also think it's important to keep the "health and medical advice" reason so that we have less chance of giving people actually dangerous advice.

I would personally be tempted to remove the "outdoor activities" reason as my feeling is that, despite the stats for the past 90 days, we get more exercise and fitness questions, but I'm open to persuasion on this one.

  • My feeling is seeing more exercise questions as well, so I agree with removing the outdoor template. – dly Mar 5 at 11:18
  • I had a thought about combining the outdoor and exercise + fitness reasons into one collective close reason. However, I had another thought in which sports to exercise + fitness is more of a "natural" progression than sports to outdoors, which would remove the outdoor reason. The latter seems more reasonable to me. – user16112 Mar 5 at 12:39
  • We only just added the Outdoors template, and for good reason, and it's still being used. The other two close reasons are also necessary, why are we only looking at complete removal? At worst we might combine the two "off-topic here, go there instead" but there are sites with more than three custom closure reasons, why no investigation of that option? – Nij Mar 6 at 18:33
  • The warning part needs the mods to contact the Community team. I am a mod in another site and have been asking similar things, so feel free to ping if you need assistance – fedorqui Apr 29 at 12:34

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