When hovering over the downvote button, the following text appears:

This question does not show any research effort; it is unclear or not useful.

If an question is easily findable with reverse image search such as Tineye and Google, does that constitute "lack of research" from OP?

I know that downvoting is at each user's discretion. But I'd like to ask some advice. Is downvoting this too harsh? Or does it indeed meet the criteria of "lack of research"? Again, I know that there are no "rules" for what to downvote, and that it's a personal choice, but I just want to ask for some advice.

  • 3
    Did you notice that the question you just downvoted was from 2012? Reverse image tools weren't very good in 2012. Tineye existed but was little known, google reverse image was (if I remember right) still somewhat experimental. It might even have still been hidden under 'labs'? Certainly wasn't a right-click option in Chrome like it is now, and gave patchy results Commented Aug 9, 2016 at 9:37
  • @user568458 Wow, no, I certainly hadn't noticed that date. I wish I could undo my downvote now.
    – Fiksdal
    Commented Aug 9, 2016 at 9:46
  • 1
    Some people may be asking from a mobile device which doesn't allow for easy image search.
    – Golden Cuy
    Commented Aug 10, 2016 at 8:50
  • 1
    @AndrewGrimm It's a bit less, practical, yes. But you can still use the web version of Tineye or Google through this site.
    – Fiksdal
    Commented Aug 10, 2016 at 8:54

1 Answer 1


Most people don't know how to reverse image search - this is primarily a travel site, and there's no reason to penalise travellers who don't have above average tech-savvy. Also, ideally speaking, we'd hope that many ID-this questions should be either a photo the person or someone they know took themselves (in which case reverse-ID is likely useless), or a link to a travel site or similar where they found it (in which case hopefully that travel site didn't just steal the photo and hopefully reverse-search is useless, but, well, you know... and also like in that example when an image is widely stolen it's often also widely mis-captioned).

So let's not punish people if they don't know about a tech tool that might not even be appropriate to use in many cases. I'd upvote a question that includes "I tried reverse image search and found [x]" though, like this one. Downvote if it's seriously lazy like "Where's this" and there isn't even any clue where the image came from.

If, in, future Travel.SE gets many, many such questions a day and dealing with them all every day becomes a real problem, you could do what some sites do (e.g. Graphic Design for font-id and I think Movies for film-id) and have a strict, rigid policy. But it's worth stressing that these are extreme, obtrusive solutions to a real problem we absolutely do not have right now, where for a period of many months 25%-50% of new questions on those sites were poor quality ID questions:

  • Fixed requirements for what people must do to ask a question. For example on Graphic Design they must try an automatic font-id tool and report on what it said, on Movies they must give a few mandatory details like when and where they saw it
  • When someone asks a question and adds that tag, a nagging popup appears telling them briefly what these requirements are, linking to more detail
  • They have an agreed precedent on meta that if someone misses this notice and asks a question without meeting the criteria, the question is closed and they get a comment linking to the rules, then is re-opened when they update it.

We don't have any equivalent problem right now - we get maybe 1-2 ID questions a week and they're usually interesting and popular, unlike "What's the font in this document?" // "It's Arial..." (which was funny the first time...) or ridiculously generic movie ID questions. We don't need to take any extreme measures, but the option's there if a problem emerges in future.

Let's not force users to jump through hoops for a relatively rare, usually popular type of question where, in the ideal scenario ("I took a photo of this, what was it?"), jumping through that hoop will be a waste of time.

  • When mentioning extreme solutions, you should mention Anime & Manga’s very rigid policy of no longer allowing those questions altogether. They were even purged from the site except for a few good ones that got a historical lock.
    – Jan
    Commented Aug 19, 2016 at 12:18
  • I think gaming banned them, too; again because of a real problem of genuines hoards of bad questions. I'm not trying to write an exhaustive account of every site's policy here though... Commented Aug 19, 2016 at 12:44
  • Yeah, every site would be too much, but having the most extreme extreme of disallowing altogether seems like reasonable. Especially since there are two sites that do it ;)
    – Jan
    Commented Aug 19, 2016 at 12:46

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