This recent question was deleted yesterday: Drawing of a christian helping his own assailant

It was certainly a shopping question, asking for help to find a picture of a priest who was helping someone who had just assaulted him and for more information regard the picture.

I linked to our two current meta posts about this to indicate that it seems like the community is wishing to allow these questions:

So now we're here with a Christianity related shopping question now deleted. The meta attitude seems to be to allow them while the main site attitude seems to be to disallow them. So I propose we clear this up right here and now.


1 Answer 1


Shopping questions: no

Help me find this thing questions: yes

There is a difference between a "find this thing" (aka "identify this") question and a shopping (aka recommend something to me) question as was pointed out in the comments to my question.

We can look to sites that thrive on "identify this thing" questions like SciFi and movies and tv stack exchange sites. They both allow "identify this" questions while banning "shopping" (help me choose) questions. Examples of closed questions I've seen on Sci Fi include "in which order should I watch the Star wars movies" or "Can you recommend a good Sci FI series to read if I enjoy LOTR, Dr. Who, and Eragon?"

Those involve opinions, not definitive answers. There is an easy to see distinction.

That said, the question that triggered this question is clearly a help me find this thing question. But it would be closed on those other sites, too because it lacks enough information to get a definitive answer unless the answers got very lucky. It should be closed as "unclear what you're asking".

  • There's actually a fairly reasonable chance the question was asking about this drawing of Dirk Willems, as it's a very famous drawing depicting that which is conveyed in the question. But now the question is deleted, so I can't really answer it... :/
    – Flimzy
    Commented Oct 19, 2014 at 18:52
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    That could be. It was deleted by the OP, not a moderator. I un-deleted it. As I say above, it's a "help me find something", not a "Can you recommend something" question and is on-topic. Commented Oct 19, 2014 at 19:39
  • Indeed, I see the user deleted it. I voted to undelete, but apparently that requires an amazing 8 votes... unless a mod undeletes it (which I'm not really advocating), I doubt it'll happen :)
    – Flimzy
    Commented Oct 19, 2014 at 19:41
  • @Flimzy - It just happened. Go answer. Commented Oct 19, 2014 at 19:43
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    @DavidStratton The OP deleted!? Well that kind of changes things a bit. I posted the metas there to encourage him to stick it out even though he got a downvote. I didn't think he would take that as "you should delete this."
    – user3961
    Commented Oct 19, 2014 at 20:29
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    @fredsbend - I'm still glad you posted the question. Flimzy had suggested this distinction be addressed, and it never was. Now it has been. We'll see if we get enough votes for a consensus once and for all. Commented Oct 19, 2014 at 21:04
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    Perhaps (like SF) we should have a specific tag for "identification" questions? Or do we? Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 14:48
  • @MattGutting Not a bad idea.
    – user3961
    Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 15:39
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    @MattGutting Late to answer, but verse-identification is basically the bible only version of this.
    – user3961
    Commented Sep 29, 2017 at 20:26

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