I pretend that some of the Font Identification questions for example will helps others. Maybe somebody else one day will want to know what font is used in that small coffee shop in rural Tibet is too. Who knows.

But others just have zero chance to ever be useful to anyone else. Stuff like (the vast majority of these being from the last week):

Personally, I'd like to start closing these as off-topic. The goal of the community as a whole is to provide Answers that can be useful to the masses, not the individual. Especially when some members have been getting more vocal about users coming here, asking their one question and then never returning. Answering questions that will not help anyone else seems to encourage this.

Does anyone have a solution? Do people agree with voting to close these?


I just want to clarify. I'm not suggesting closing all Font ID questions. Most I think are fine using the upvote/downvote system (I downvote nearly every one of them). I am suggesting closing the ones that are not at least of identifiable things, and thus no way to ever be useful to anyone. And really I feel all questions that are of no future use should be closed. These random object questions are just the most visible.

In my own opinion:

This is a reasonable question: What is the font used in the Thunderbirds 2004 movie?

This deserves a downvote or an edit to make Soldsie in the Question, thus searchable: What is the name of the typeface used in the Soldsie logo?

This (and all of the ones at the top of this Question) deserves to be closed entirely, because we can't identify the object and therefore make it useful to anyone else - ever: https://graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/questions/35036/can-anyone-help-me-identify-the-font-for-these-house-numbers

Basically, I'd like to know if others agree that if a question can't be made searchable to others / useful to others it should be closed.

  • @user No idea if bounties work on meta. Never tried. But if you get the option and want to, then be my guest.
    – Ryan
    Jun 27, 2014 at 3:20
  • Didn't we have a discussion at one point about a Typography Stack Exchange? Jul 2, 2014 at 0:16

2 Answers 2


To be fair, even in the most extreme cases like "What's the font in this poster I made for myself 10 years ago then lost the files for that'll never be seen by anyone but me?", it:

  • helps the asker,
  • helps the answerers (who wouldn't answer if they didn't enjoy doing so),
  • helps the community by giving newbies an easy way to get started,
  • helps anyone who sees the question, clicks on it then thinks "Hey, that's a nice font I didn't know about" (this gets more common as we attract more designers asking about interesting typography, and less SE daytrippers asking us to identify Arial...),
  • helps people understand the site format. Font ID questions demonstrate many of our USPs really clearly: separate answers with helpful comments like "close but the k is different", people improving answers by editing them e.g. adding better samples, and then the best float to the top. The advantage over messy forum free-for-alls shows especially clearly.
  • they usually get good answers quickly, and are a type of question any designer can have, which is good for site building: "Hey, that person got a great answer to a problem I relate to, and the format of this site really helped cut through the crap you get on forums. I'll make a note of this site and I'll tell my designer friends about it".

There are quite a few font identification questions, but we're hardly swamped by them. Right now I counted three in the first page of questions, out of 46 (around 6.5%). font-identification is down at number 9 in the most common tag rankings.

Some people don't like them, while other people really like them. There's a simple solution: people who don't like them can do this...

enter image description here

...then this...

enter image description here

  • 2
    not all content is for everyone. +1.
    – Vincent
    Jun 27, 2014 at 11:48

Your guidelines are very good ones to stick to. IMHO, Jeff Atwood's post from back in the day still provides important rules to stick to as well:

I think these can be on-topic -- so long as

  1. they can provide an actual screenshot of the font (important)
  2. there aren't too many, to the point that they dominate the site
  3. these questions are a soft on-ramp for onboarding new members of the community

...but that was several years ago. If you guys think that #2 is becoming a problem now, Ryan's solution in this question could be a good line in the sand.

However, there's another good chunk of food for thought here:

Our main goal is to help the most people we can.

So, we really, really love re-usable questions.

A question that is likely to viewed by, and helpful to, tens of thousands of people, is very high on the list of things we want.

But helping 100 people is pretty good, too, and helping 1 is better than 0.

Read that whole post, though, because there are some more complexities.

  • I agree but the problem is some would argue, and have, that they are over taking the site. Some even are upset that the amount of rep given for a font ID question is more than some well structured answers and questions and I think we have a meta question even mentioning this.
    – user9447
    Jun 25, 2014 at 21:48
  • Heavily edited question. Might affect your answer. Feel free to delete this comment if you want after viewing.
    – Ryan
    Jun 25, 2014 at 22:48
  • Great edit. You don't actually state though, do you think the ones without any identifying features should be closed or left open? When I read your link it pushes me more in favor of closure.
    – Ryan
    Jun 26, 2014 at 0:06
  • 1
    @Ryan Personally, I lean toward leaving them open unless they're actively harmful, but I don't spend enough time here to feel qualified to decide what constitutes active harm.
    – hairboat
    Jun 26, 2014 at 0:08
  • 1
    @user that's a longstanding SE debate, about simple questions often attracting more views therefore more votes than challenging ones, and having answers that are easier to judge therefore easier to vote on. Here's a meta.SE discussion that links to many of the others: Why are the values of upvotes for simple and complex questions equal? Jun 27, 2014 at 10:06

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