Should we allow questions about product identification?

This question Does anyone know what brand this toy is? I have searched everywhere and cannot find it was self answered it has collected 2 close votes.

If we are going to allow them we should probably have a tag "Product Identification" similar to what SciFi uses https://scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/tagged/story-identification


The main arguements against this are twofold - firstly questions of this sort are unlikely to be useful to anyone else. Its pretty close to the textbook shopping question, and even if someone wanted the exact same duck toy, not trivially searchable or findable. Its also possible that a product no longer is on the market, and generally in practice this class of question is kind of useless to anyone but the OP

While scifi does allow storyids, they're problematic. Personally I'd prefer questions to be far more than just an image and a very vague description. On superuser, and hardware ID questions, we went with a "community FAQ" with a broad set of hardware, but that wouldn't work well here either.

This is closer to a classic product recommendation

As you can tell, I'm not a fan of these sort of questions and I feel they're not a good fit for the SE model.

On the other hand, questions asking for a broad class of options - like here where collars didn't quite work for the dog or here where a broad class of breathing protection is what I suggested work well because there will always be harnesses or N95 masks around. These are a better fit than the example question given


Each question to the site needs to stand on its own and fall into the scope of questions for pets.se There are a range of good and bad ways to ask a question.

With your help, we're working together to build a library of detailed answers to every question about pets. Welcome to Pets Stack Exchange

It is true that story identification questions do well and are popular on SciFi.se there was a discussion about continuing or stopping them and they still remain as about 25% of the questions on the site. We can infer that on that site they add value to many users as well as accounting for a large part of the traffic to the site. Some sites like The Great Outdoors also allow questions about finding specific books I think questions about specific books will probably work well here also.

For the most part new traffic is brought to the site, by search engines (i.e. Google). Having quality questions and answers that people are searching for adds value to the site.

Currently our stats are showing 11,754 visits per day, but only 2.6 questions per day, other wise doing well. While an increase in new questions would be good, they need to be good questions.

In chat Trond suggested some question might do well a special harness ...foldable food bowl for hiking. I tend to agree, special purpose products that are not easy to identify or find, we are probably the best option. If google can't help you find, and others will likely need it, we should try to help.

I tried to imagine a question about a general pet product that people might ask about, and if pets.se would be superior to google for finding.

I saw a person using this purple rubber pet brush and it was really effective for pet hair; what is it?

So we give google a chance to find it Google; purple rubber pet brush and google takes you to it no problem.

Others like the example Does anyone know what brand this toy is? I have searched everywhere and cannot find it for general products (toys, bowls, bedding, etc) where there are a multitude of similar products that will meet the need, there seems little value to the site to ask about specifics here.

In both of these examples, multiple essentially identical options are returned by search engines. There is no reason to expect anyone else to invest more effort and/or expertise, then the OP to find it.

TL:DR I don't see any reason to ban the class of questions about product identification. But they should be good questions where a search engine does not produce results AND it is reasonable to expect the question and answer will add value to other (not all) members of the community and/or visitors to the site.

  • I like this answer. Do you suggest we just close question which don't meet this criteria to force them to be edited or for people to post better questions? How might we deal with anecdotal answers ("I used this brush for a long time and it was great, no problems"). We don't want to be doing reviews. – Henders Feb 10 '18 at 13:17

I disagree with one part of the response written by James. When someone is looking for a very specific item, it is sometimes not possible to find it with a Google search, especially if it is a boutique item. Trust me, that was the first thing I tried. As stated in my question, my dog did not treat this "toy" like her other toys. She does not play with it. She simply sleeps/naps with it (it is a comfort toy). In addition, I was not asking for a suggested replacement.

I agree that I posed a vague question, and when one searches through the SO database, one would not be able to distinguish what type of toy I was referring to. I think it would be acceptable had I framed the question as:

Does anyone know what brand this yellow, miniature, plush, duck toy is?

This site should be a community where pet owners can offer their help to others. Had someone been able to identify that toy (maybe they had the same one and kept the tag on it), I would have saved hours of time finding it.

Dogs pick up on subtleties. Sometimes a suggested replacement is not the same thing as the original.

  • you have tried to find an answer to your problem and have put in some effort to solve it,the problem is some people do not do this before posting a question they just dump the question here whitout even trying to solve it themselves first. – trond hansen Feb 11 '18 at 10:17
  • So your logic is that because a few lazy people will inevitably abuse this site, we should make it more difficult for those who genuinely make an effort to seek help? – Floam Feb 11 '18 at 15:49
  • i am saying your question is ok and i am saying questions with too little information is frustrating like this from se.es earthscience.stackexchange.com/questions/13290/… – trond hansen Feb 12 '18 at 8:04
  • But but.... there is a specific, network wide rule about this very situation – Journeyman Geek Feb 23 '18 at 1:16

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