In an earlier phase of this proposal (here), there was a discussion about presenting/identifying unknown sounds and the general agreement was on inclusivity. I wanted to open this up (again) for discussion and ask:

DO we want to allow questions such as "what make this sound?" ???

If so, will what tag should we use?

  • I should add that I lean towards inclusivity...Plus, we are bioacousticians afterall, aren't we?
    – Shannon
    Jul 1 at 1:23
  • I would also suggest we use the tag 'ID'.... which is a shorter version of "Sound-ID" suggested earlier-- but given the nature of the site, I feel that 'sound' is redundant.
    – Shannon
    Jul 1 at 1:24
  • I agree it would be a good thing to have, as per your question on Beta, there isn't anywhere that answers these sorts of questions. Maybe this could be the go-to site for that? How would people asking upload their sounds? Would there be an accepted platform / set of platforms people could link to?
    – EcologyTom
    Jul 1 at 10:06
  • 1
    SE makes it really easy to add photos using Imgur. I don’t know if a similar platform for sounds but can do some digging…maybe that is a feature that could be added specific for this site (perhaps should be a new question on Meta).
    – selene
    Jul 1 at 16:07
  • 1
    I support this as a type of question. I was reading up on this a litte b/c I have a few unknowns I'd like to ask for the group's help with. I believe Soundcloud or YouTube are accepted if you want to upload a sound clip. Jul 1 at 18:27
  • @angie_zorka can you make an example post? There is one already I think but now I want to know what your mystery sound is :)
    – selene
    Jul 5 at 20:24
  • @selene Will do! Be warned, I have a folder of mystery sounds -- pandora's box hahaha Jul 5 at 22:15
  • 1
    Do we need to get SoundCloud embedding turned on for our site? Video Production Meta's site if you paste the link, it will be rendered with an embedded player. Maybe I am still doing it wrong. Jul 5 at 23:55
  • @angie_zorka, I think your Q re Embedding SoundCloud would serve as its' own question in Meta (can we do it, how to do it?)
    – Shannon
    Jul 6 at 22:58

3 Answers 3


I would like to see sound identification considered on topic for this site.

I think ‘ID’ or ‘identification’ would be appropriate tags.

I recorded some birds last night that I wanted help with but I can’t figure out how to offload the files yet…I’ll try again to be able to ask that question.


One temporary (??) complication: these posts will necessarily have few/no answers in the short term and are more important as a long term strategy for a bioacoustics stack exchange site.

In the Beta stage, they will likely bring down our metrics for both % Questions Answered and #Answers Per Question.

There is a tricky balance between the need to show how to present these types of Questions early on (and getting community feedback on them), and making sure these types of questions (that are very important to our community) do not actually REDUCE our chances of success.


  • One idea: do not post these types of questions until later in the Beta process, where we feel the balance leans more towards improving our success rather than reducing our chances
    – Shannon
    Jul 4 at 14:20
  • What about an example of an interesting sound that we do know the answer too and so someone can answer and show how that sort of question might be approached?
    – selene
    Jul 4 at 16:07
  • Great idea 😁, and especially if it is a recent one
    – Shannon
    Jul 4 at 17:42
  • 3
    I don't think that we should be trying to "game the system" by avoiding questions in this way. If people are using the Beta site often enough for it to be deemed successful enough for public Beta then a small handful of questions aren't going to tilt the balance one way or the other. Also my interpretation of those metrics is that they are more of rough guidelines to aim for and not as much of a strict # requirement compared to the commitment phase. I think we should just use the site in the same way we would if it was live Jul 5 at 17:50
  • @TaikiSakai I agree I don't think we need to restrict these types of questions at this point, but if we do a good example then maybe it will set the tone for what useful info is needed for folks to help with this type of question. I tried to suggest that for the current identification question and I think it looks ok. What do others think?
    – selene
    Jul 5 at 20:25
  • @TaikiSakai They were used as hard metrics, once, but that's not the way the company's doing things at the moment, I don't think. (Look at all the sites that graduated without meeting those criteria!)
    – wizzwizz4
    Jul 9 at 19:43

Most sites, at some point, discuss whether or not to allow "identify this" questions. For some, allowing these works (with a lot of requirements to make them on-topic)... for others it becomes a pain point. Since I've seen this happen several times, thought it might be worth pointing that out.

At some point in the past, I ran some numbers on the Anime & Manga site, and came to the conclusion that most ID request question were asked by new users, as their sole question. That meant most users were "hit-and-run" users, popping by just to have their anime/manga identified, and then almost never showed up again to contribute to the health of the community. Furthermore, the quality of these questions tended to be low, and many ended up getting closed because they didn't conform to stringent requirements. These numbers later served as one of the drivers for that community to decide to disallow these questions, making them off-topic. I've never ran similar numbers on other sites, but other sites have banned these questions too, for similar reasons.

That being said, other sites do allow them, even if they have very stringent requirements for what needs to be included in such questions. One such site is the Sci-fi and Fantasy site, which links users to a guide on how to ask good "identify this" questions in the "draft your question" sidebar when asking a question. On the Literature site, the [identification-request] tag has extensive guidance, too.

So, yeah... it's ultimately up to you to decide whether these should be allowed or not, and under what circumstances. Hope the context helps, and that y'all can take the lessons learned by other communities to inform how to approach this issue.

  • 1
    Thank you for this very informative answer! I suspect that we (like the Biology site) will want to keep this option, but I really like the idea of linking users to a good how-to on how to ask good 'identify this' questions. Helpful!!!
    – Shannon
    Jul 6 at 19:07
  • Thank you! Those examples with extensive guidance on how to ask such questions will be really useful for us, I think.
    – selene
    Jul 7 at 0:57

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .