I mentioned this at the end of the question on revisiting AI, but it deserves some separate focus.

In the early days of the site, there was discussion on whether or not to include style identification questions as on-topic. The con argument was that it was similar to art history in terms of being theory rather than applied, which is the site's focus. The pro argument was that some amount of theory, like style identification, was fundamental , at least for professional artists; it was appropriate to include it as a "support" topic.

It ended up being included, but with some caveats to ensure question quality. For example, the tag description includes:

...Please provide images, and preferably a detailed description or list of the characteristics you are specifically interested in or that stand out for you.

The poster is expected to have some skin in the game.

We're starting to get questions that are nothing more than essentially, "Here's a picture. Tell me what style it is." On the computer sites, those are referred to as "Give me the code" questions, and they are heavily downvoted and immediately closed. The poster views the site and its volunteers as a free coding service, not a place to learn what they need in order to do it themselves.

On Arts & Crafts, some of these questions add, "so I can feed the name into my AI program". AI isn't even on topic, and that purpose has nothing to do with an interest in understanding art theory.

While it isn't material how the reader uses an answer, this usage has a ramification. Good questions are supposed to elicit educational answers, and good answers educate. Other people will waste their time researching and writing an educational answer, when all the poster is interested in is a label.

We're not a free style identification service. With the apparent growing popularity of using AI to transform pictures to different styles, we don't want to become known as the place that will identify the styles on all your pictures to feed into AI.

The first part of the hover text on the voting buttons refers to whether the question shows any research. These questions don't. They're just service requests. At least theoretically, they should be downvoted (we don't want to pile on negativity on a new contributor, but a single downvote would indicate that the question doesn't meet posting standards). They should also be closed as low quality questions. We can leave a polite comment explaining what improvement the question needs.

I've left comments on a few recent ones, but have refrained from unilaterally closing them without some community input. Should we be closing the "Give me the style name" questions?

1 Answer 1


I was about to write a meta post on this myself, but focusing on the fact that style is in the best case a completely unique, individual artistic characteristic (with more or less identifiable influences).

The part of the tag description you quote was added by me only two years ago or so, so not even part of the original tag; this just to say that the threshold for the questions was even lower, and this could account for our initially higher tolerance of these questions.

Nevertheless, my answer would be to keep style identification questions, but indeed be more rigid with closing them when they lack the necessary details we ask for in the tag description.

That means we should enforce a stricter adherence to the tag wiki, which states that the user asking such a question:

..provide images, and preferably a detailed description or list of the characteristics [the user is] specifically interested in or that stand out [for them]

Which we might want to change to:

Please be sure to provide images, a detailed description or list of the characteristics you are specifically interested in or that stand out for you, and preferably the reason you are asking this on our site for physical arts and crafts projects.

I still believe that some users will want to know more about a style purely for creative purposes (and, yes, I'd still like to see more theoretical questions here as well :).

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    As a more "quiet" user of this site, I'm in favor. The increase in these posts is extremely noticeable, and they're all very similar lazy "AI spit this out at me, tell me what it is so I can make it spit out more" posts. I'm already rather heavily biased against AI "art" in general, I'm not fond of turning this SE into the "AI Keyword Depot."
    – Allison C
    Commented Jan 24, 2023 at 15:32

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