Note: this is not about the on or off topic status of identification questions, this is just talking about the tag.

The tag is in desperate need of clean up and we need to come up with a solution. It has been applied to a wide array of questions that don't have much in common a lot of which it doesn't belong on. I just removed it from several questions where it was not needed, but I'd like to see how we want to use it as a site.

The current tag excerpt states:

Find the name, term or phrase for the presented technique, instrument or notation. Please note that questions about identifying chords, notes, key and time signatures are off-topic.

This has several problems not withstanding the on topic-ness of instrument identification. For example, most questions tagged are at least partially identification and having an identification tag overlap does not help. Likewise we use for some of the technique identification when it comes to general concepts.

So, do we need the tag and if so how should it be used?

3 Answers 3


I do not think the current version of works on this site. I think we should remove it for now. If we eventually need to group identification questions it should be under a much more specific tag.

  • I tend to agree with that statement. I think 'terminology' covers a lot of the questions that are on-topic that currently have that 'identification' tag, and most of the times when I see the 'identification' tag the question is asking for identification of a technique or similar concept, and tend to work better with more specific tags anyway ('technique', etc).
    – user45266
    Commented Feb 20, 2020 at 2:54
  • "Analysis" is also used to cover a lot of the questions that would fit under "identification" like "what is this chord and how does it work within the context of the progression"
    – Caters
    Commented May 30, 2020 at 1:06

I consider the term identification as too generic, which leads to improper usage.

The explanation text is also lacking, since it apparently allows questions like "which instrument starts at 5:17 of this audio file", which I consider as off-topic (belonging to music fans, which would also be a nice addition to the belongs to other section choice), since it is thematically quite close to the identify-this-track of music fans.

I currently see only only one valid identification question type, where a photo of an exotic instrument or accessory part is presented and its name is asked for.


this is not about the on or off topic status of identification questions, this is just talking about the identification tag.

I think the ideal course of events would be to work out the status of the questions, and then re-word the tag to match the set of questions deemed to be on-topic. The tag would then serve as additional guidance as to what is and isn't on-topic, and can be removed from question that aren't on-topic identification questions.

You've just edited What is the name of this instrument? to remove the identification tag - understandable given that there's this question over the tag, but assuming that that question is on topic (which it seems to be given that you've left it open), an appropriately-worded identification tag would presumably work fine there.

  • The community has been pretty clear they are more off topic than on topic. I just closed the question because as worded now in the FAQ and on meta it is off topic. Regardless of that status, identification as a tag is pretty poor which is more the point of this question than the on and off topic ness of the questions. It has not been used in a way that even matches identification due to the vagueness of the term which guidot goes over.
    – Dom Mod
    Commented Mar 8, 2020 at 2:32
  • @Dom Agreed - I was just confused why you'd initially left the question open - removing the tag does make sense IMO but only if we do consistently treat these questions as off topic. Commented Mar 8, 2020 at 2:54
  • I'm not trying to spark any debates on this by just removing tags, but if it's causing confusion I'll close them. IMO, there's not much to debate on this. We just need to be consistently closing the question to match meta answers and the FAQ.
    – Dom Mod
    Commented Mar 8, 2020 at 4:26
  • @Dom if everything can match up, that's the dream! Commented Mar 10, 2020 at 7:46

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