When I searched for an identification the title reads like "Can someone identify these rocks?" There is many of them. The ones that have a solid identification should also include the name of the rock in the title. "Can someone identify these rocks? {anthracite}" would help so much than all the matching titles.

Not limited to just rocks.

How can this be implied as a standard?


2 Answers 2


I agree. The rock-identification questions are of little help for people other than the OP. So if we put the rock name in the title (something like [SOLVED: Anthracite]), would help for search engines to show the post if somebody is googling for anthracite.

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    $\begingroup$ +1 from me. mods? your opinion? $\endgroup$
    – Gimelist
    Mar 27, 2018 at 13:22
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    $\begingroup$ I think it is a good idea and worth a try. Hard to know where to draw the line on uncertain identification, though. $\endgroup$
    – haresfur
    Apr 6, 2018 at 2:37
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    $\begingroup$ I would suggest: The line would be that the answer is marked as correct and has at least 2 upvotes. That means someone did a very plausible identification, and 3 people think so. $\endgroup$
    – Jan Doggen
    Apr 6, 2018 at 14:18
  • $\begingroup$ This is starting to be done. I received a warning for suggesting to edit location:Macedonia from a programmer. He reedited my edition but he has not quited [SOLVED:beryl]. earthscience.stackexchange.com/questions/14197/… $\endgroup$
    – user12525
    May 25, 2018 at 8:17
  • $\begingroup$ @Jan Dogger: Maybe include a new tag for the pictures we have worked as geologist and have included in the guides? $\endgroup$
    – user12525
    May 25, 2018 at 14:50
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    $\begingroup$ My opinion on this is please don't. We separate out the question and answer for a reason - Google should still pick it up whether its in the answer or the title. $\endgroup$
    – hichris123 Mod
    Oct 16, 2018 at 2:35
  • $\begingroup$ @hichris123 I really liked the proposed idea (for 15 seconds) until reading your comment which is convincing assuming google or whatever AI we'll be using in the future to search Stack Exchange works that way. And almost for sure it must! As always, discuss improvements thoughtfully in meta, but consider that things in SE are the way they are for a reason, based on experience and previous discussion. But it still sounds like a good idea for a someday wish list, as an evolved, in-site optional search feature, maybe like sub-tags (I never said that, nobody can prove otherwise!) $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Nov 21, 2018 at 21:44

I lean towards no. That would be no different to answering other questions in the title (albeit most answers won't fit!) Users can still search the rock term of interest in the search bar and find all answers mentioning it, and adding the conclusion to the question no better helps future users answer their own questions, as they still likely need to click each question to see the topic rocks.

Plus many rock questions have multiple suggestions rather than one certain answer.

I do agree with undercurrent sentiment that many of you may well share: that rock identification questions are becoming a bit overwhelming and perhaps tedious. And part of that is definitely in the generic nature of them. I was quite a reasonable proponent for them early on, but wonder if they're starting to perhaps undermine other questions and weary answerers. (I don't know if I'd find such questions more tiring or less tiring if I were experienced enough to answer them.)

But rather than surface changes that improve the look of such questions but don't add any benefit to the user, I instead suggest we start actively editing question titles from "Can somebody identify these rocks" to "What rock is this red, grainy rocks found in New York?" or such. That way the change may actually draw users looking for similar rocks to it. Questions with multiple separate rocks pictured should be closed and split up just as any other question asking distinct multiple questions thereby preventing a concise title are.

I will offer one place where the answer could be useful to be edited into the title. If twenty questions ask "Is this a ?"... then having a summary answer might better guide people towards valid/invalid examples within the question they may want to ask.
Alternatively we could merge such questions into a central "How to determine if my rock is a meteoroid?", with pictures of many user rocks and a detailed checklist of how the determine such, and the limitations on Internet diagnosis. Then close all future questions as duplicates.

It would also be nice if somehow rock identification questions that get closed eventually were removed from the search list and similar questions lists and such. 1000s of unanswerable identification requests due to horrible pictures and incomplete information are of no use to the site, and are akin to if people asked "Why is weather?" regularly - I would hope such questions would eventually disappear if they were out of control.

Here's to hoping we can make some improvements to help keep our community keep being of best use and interest to all!

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    $\begingroup$ I attempted this with some of the recent identification questions. Let me know if you guys think it is a useful improvement. $\endgroup$ Apr 1, 2018 at 4:30
  • $\begingroup$ Alternative to "What is this complex reddish-brown stone with lighter spots found at a NZ beach?" we could do "[identification-request]: Complex reddish-brown stone with lighter spots found at a NZ beach", to keep them clearer in the list and save a few characters at times. But I think I lean towards the common language approach of the prior $\endgroup$ Apr 2, 2018 at 13:53
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    $\begingroup$ I liked your edits! Thanks! And regarding closed questions I understand that they would be deleted automatically after a given time that I don't remember exactly. $\endgroup$ Apr 6, 2018 at 4:27
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    $\begingroup$ @CamiloRada Funny enough, came across this info just last night while looking for something completely different. Not sure it's up to date, but good to know :) Glad to hear you like the changes, thanks :) $\endgroup$ Apr 6, 2018 at 11:06
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    $\begingroup$ [id-req] in the title is superflous. Within the site you can already search for the tag and the external link already uses a tag, half of the time identification-request and half of the time geology (weird: I thought this would always be the highest ranking tag?) (Google search) $\endgroup$
    – Jan Doggen
    Apr 6, 2018 at 14:24
  • $\begingroup$ the fact is the solution may be just a comment, as sometimes the identification is quick and don't need explanation. I wonder if then the searcher also find the post searching "anthracite" if it is not mentioned at the tittle or the question. The solution may be a link to wikipedia. I am not sure how engine works anyhow. $\endgroup$
    – user12525
    May 22, 2018 at 13:28
  • $\begingroup$ @Universal_learner you're right, I'm not sure they do. Truly people aren't supposed to answer in comments (see here). Doesn't mean it doesn't happen (and I know I've been guilty myself). But, yeah, usually such a comment could be an answer with just a few extra words as to what leads them to that conclusion rather than others, and/or a link to Wikipedia or other places that detail the substance, and so we need to encourage them to make it an answer. $\endgroup$ May 23, 2018 at 0:54
  • $\begingroup$ @JeopardyTempest: I have teste it a bit the engine and we have not a big trouble it finds everything, but for a student or collectionist may be helphfull to have it at the title, as the list of post will become big. Imagine you typed gypsum. It may appear at 200 unordered comments. I think to have it at the tittle would help a bit. $\endgroup$
    – user12525
    May 23, 2018 at 10:20
  • $\begingroup$ I think the way it would go the dynamics is suggestions/agreements and the maybe a person who is mineralogist or environmentalist and english speaker should write a collectiva answer. Then the op should marck that answer as correct. $\endgroup$
    – user12525
    May 23, 2018 at 10:28
  • $\begingroup$ We may make a common pattern. Description of the piece, ores,....we can make one of the best mineral guides of the world with gallery posters provide! $\endgroup$
    – user12525
    May 23, 2018 at 11:23
  • $\begingroup$ Can you open a post? If you prefer I can open it but then I will probably ask you again to be my editor. I wonder if it is better I wrote it in spanish and pass it throw google translator. $\endgroup$
    – user12525
    May 23, 2018 at 11:29
  • $\begingroup$ @universal_learner it's your idea, so you should post it. I think the way things work now is fairly reasonable... and my past drives to see such initiatives through hasn't gone well. But you're welcome to propose and see what others believe :) $\endgroup$ May 23, 2018 at 11:38
  • $\begingroup$ I would like to know what do you think wich is more useful for editors. Fact is translator goes pretty well if you write correctly in your own language. May be a meta hotty question. I give you thank again for correcting my texts. $\endgroup$
    – user12525
    May 23, 2018 at 15:17
  • $\begingroup$ @Universal_learner, as I alluded to once, my attempt at a second language is ironically Spanish. I find translators to be helpful compared to my own wording (though still often flawed). I will certainly absolutely gladly keep trying to look into your questions and answers when around and change them carefully so I'm not altering their meaning. $\endgroup$ May 23, 2018 at 20:47
  • $\begingroup$ @Universal_learner Usually Meta questions get pretty low attention, as people don't check it very often, and usually only very active, committed users do (they do not show up on Hot Network Questions I don't believe). So response may be slow. $\endgroup$ May 23, 2018 at 20:48

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