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This community has come to the conclusion that autograph identification questions are off topic. However, it seems like pretty much every time I check this site for new questions a highly disproportionate amount of them are off-topic autograph identification questions made by new users. Obviously, this is not ideal, and it would probably be a good idea to do something about it. I'm not sure what we could about it, perhaps when a new user asks a question containing certain words such as 'signed' or 'autograph' it will put up a warning that autograph identification questions are off-topic.

But I'm new to this site and have only been on the stack exchange network for around 8 months (still a while but less than a lot of folks), so what do I know?

Not a dupe, as one comment pointed out

The first suggested duplicate was an attempt to appropriately scope on-topic autograph identification questions. The second suggested duplicate is an attempt to provide a prompt that autograph identification questions are off-topic. In any case, this is an issue that has been well-documented, though a course of action hasn't been carried through ostensibly since there are several things that can be done (which include but is not limited to: provide a stock close reason for autograph identification questions, delete all autograph identification questions, ping the mod team to provide a prompt). – user16112

other suggestions people have had: Can we add "autograph identification" to the "Some kinds of questions should NOT be asked here" list?

related: What is the next thing to do with the (autograph-identification) tag?

  • The first suggested duplicate was an attempt to appropriately scope on-topic autograph identification questions. The second suggested duplicate is an attempt to provide a prompt that autograph identification questions are off-topic. In any case, this is an issue that has been well-documented, though a course of action hasn't been carried through ostensibly since there are several things that can be done (which include but is not limited to: provide a stock close reason for autograph identification questions, delete all autograph identification questions, ping the mod team to provide a prompt). – user16112 May 23 at 11:46
  • I wouldn't say I was pointing out that this is not a dupe. What you suggest at the end of your first paragraph is the third time (1) (2) such a feature has been suggested. I would agree that the first suggested duplicate isn't exactly a duplicate, though the gist of both questions are similar (how to handle autograph identification questions). – user16112 May 23 at 16:15
  • @user16112 That was my suggestion, the point of this topic wasn't to suggest that we do that, but rather that we do something, potentially that. (I've never posted on any of the meta sites before, sorry if my question seems bad) – DJ Spicy Deluxe-Levi May 23 at 16:19
  • @DJSpicyDeluxe-Levi No worries. I have twice suggested (1) (2) the same thing. I certainly am on board with doing something about this. I would update your request to do something while linking the other suggestions here. – user16112 May 23 at 16:49
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    This is not a duplicate question. The other questions are asking about whether or not we should adopt specific solutions. This question is an open-ended question asking what can be done to reduce our problem. – Ben Miller May 25 at 23:45
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I believe that if we delete every existing autograph identification request question on our site (closed or not), it would stop the inflood of new autograph questions.

All autograph identification questions are now closed as soon as they are posted, yet they continue to be posted. Why? My theory is that when someone out there has an autograph they need identified, they google "autograph identification" or "who signed this baseball" or "whose autograph is this" and our site is on the first page of results, because despite the fact that the questions are closed, we currently have 42 questions on this topic on our site.

If we delete all of these questions and get rid of the tag, our site would disappear from the search results on those types of queries. My guess is that this would stop those questions from appearing on our site so frequently.

  • Searching "autograph identification" pulls it up but there's like 5 things above it, you might be right. – DJ Spicy Deluxe-Levi May 24 at 17:20
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    @DJSpicyDeluxe-Levi On the first page of the “autograph identification” google search, there are three places where the general public can post a photo and request help. One is a Facebook group, one is a subReddit, and one is us. To me, our site honestly looks the most inviting of the three to an outsider, as anyone can post a question without registering an account. If we delete all of the existing autograph questions, we’ll drop off the results for this google search. – Ben Miller May 24 at 17:30

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