Questions like "What is the instrument used at 3:21 in this song?" are off-topic, because they are not useful to any future readers.

Today I saw the following question: Three days grace guitar distortion tone. It has a couple of answers and comments, and no close-votes, so I guess people think that this question is on-topic. I don't have a particular problem with this question per-se, but I would like to know why exactly we don't consider it as off-topic. To me, it seems like a "what is this effect?" question is quite similar to "what is this instrument?", and will rarely be useful to future visitors.


2 Answers 2


Generally we don't accept this kind of questions, unless they are well-written and show some research (the aforementioned question does neither).

This question is ~2 years old. The site was only a year old then, so maybe the reasons back then were different, or the question went unnoticed by most people.

If you feel like the question is off topic to today's off topic reasons, you can vote to close it, even if it is 2 years old.

  • Oooh, I see now. This question had a new answer today, which is why it showed up on my frontpage. Never mind the whole thing, then. :)
    – Lee White
    Dec 1, 2014 at 21:46

This is not an identification question; it's a reproduction question. We have a number of these.

To be fair, they can share a lot of features with indentification questions. Sometimes it can be hard to make them searchable and useful to others.

I am not sure that they have been discussed in detail here on Meta, but I would think that these are allowed because there is a prominent problem. Curiosity about the name of a song is, at best, right on the periphery of musicianship. On the other hand, trying to achieve a particular sound is something most of us who aren't pure theoreticians can relate to, within our core areas of expertise, and answers are potentially very useful to the asker (and hopefully others).

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