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This is a follow up to this question, where we got offered the opportunity of creating special tag alerts for font-identification and critique questions.

Tag alerts are special, tag-specific info messages that pop-up whenever the author adds certain tags to a question they are composing. To such an alert in action, begin asking a question on Stack Overflow and add the SQL tag to it. You can read more about tag alerts on here.

Now, to this question:

  • Do we want such tag alerts for and to inform users about how to best ask such questions?

  • If yes, how should these tag alerts be worded?

To keep things structured, I suggest to separate answers regarding the wording for each tag from each other as well as from answers addressing the question whether we want tag alerts altogether.

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It's aliiiiive!

These have been turned on with the copy in this answer.

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Font identification questions must include:

  • A descriptive title
  • Which automatic font-ID sites you've tried
  • An image showing the font clearly
  • The source of the sample

One font per question. Review our full requirements for more information.


Critique requests should:

  • Focus on specific aspects of the design needing improvement
  • Include images explaining the issue(s) and any improvement attempts
  • Encourage objective answers which can be supported by facts, studies, or recognized authorities

For more information, review our critique guidelines.

  • Very nice Scott - clear and to the point. The only possible suggestion I can make is perhaps linking to the guidelines earlier in the message? – bemdesign Jan 11 '15 at 3:43
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edit Shorter version:

Font identification questions must include:

  • Which automatic font-ID sites you've tried
  • An image showing the font clearly
  • A title describing the font and where you saw it

One font per question. See full guidelines.


After reading Dom aka DumbNic's post on Font Id questions, I'm convinced we need to be stricter about their quality control. So my proposal is to use firmer wording like this, and purge questions that ignore it. The asker, not the community, is then responsible for editting and improving these questions.

I'd suggest having a custom close reason, "Font ID question that didn't follow the guidelines [link to guidelines]", so that enforcing the rule is an easy one-click job. If an asker ignored the guidelines or didn't notice the popup, they can edit the question and it will be unblocked / undeleted.

So long as we have clear guidelines, and they're highly visible, this is a reasonable thing to ask.


We have strict standards for Font Identification questions. You must:

  • Include an example of the font in question as an image, and tell us where you saw it
  • Tell us what results you got from free automatic font ID tools, such as WhatTheFont and WhatFontIs. If you haven't tried these, try them now.
  • Make the question title specific to your problem. For example, "What sans-serif font is used on this Austrian road sign?".

Questions that don't follow the above may be deleted. To get good answers, please also:

  • Describe the font. If you don't know how to describe fonts, this question may help.
  • Check it yourself against common fonts on your computer. We're real, human designers, giving our time freely. Please don't ask us to identify Arial.
  • Consider if it could be hand-drawn lettering, not a font. Look for characters that appear multiple times - if they vary beyond joins to adjacent letters, it's probably not a font.

  • This still doesn't address answers though. The questions are only half the issue, and if anything my issue is far more with the link-only answers. Potential answer requirements: 1) link to the font foundry if possible 2) summarise how you found it and why you think they couldn't 3) provide a screenshot (usually done already). These simple little additions would completely transform the answers. Five words and a link does not constitute an answer that deserves upvotes. – Dom Jan 13 '15 at 14:28
  • Hmm, that's a rule that applies to all Qs on all sites. I wonder if it's possible to have a popup for very short answers that simply states the "No link only" rule? – user568458 Jan 13 '15 at 14:30
  • That would be pretty useful, but I don't know if it's possible. Without it we can again set guidelines but we can't get rid of answers that don't comply, which rather defeats the purpose. – Dom Jan 13 '15 at 15:10
  • @user568458: If you post a link-only answer, you are likely to get a warning anyway or may not even be able to post the answer (depending on the quality score of your answer). Keep in mind though that questions which contain at least the name of the font, are not link-only answers by SE’s standards. Finally, I can imagine cases where there is little more to answer than the name of the font, a link and the statement that you just happen to remember that font. – Wrzlprmft Jan 13 '15 at 15:47
  • Regarding the suggestion for the tag alert: 1) Bold-facing every second word is too much and is too patronising. I suggest to bold-face must and leave it at that. 2) The example is not the best one. The beauty salon has a name that should be mentioned. 3) I would drop the last point. To know that a font isn’t interesting, I need to know sufficiently much about typography to identify that font anyway. Also, interesting fonts should usually fail second point, anyway. – Wrzlprmft Jan 13 '15 at 15:54
  • @Wrzlprmft Fair comments, I've removed the bold and edited the other points. – user568458 Jan 13 '15 at 16:19
  • no we dont need to add anymore tags.. it should just be limited to that one tag. No sense taking better questions and mixing them with other tags. – DᴀʀᴛʜVᴀᴅᴇʀ Jan 13 '15 at 21:36
  • I think it's Arial – Scott Jan 14 '15 at 2:49
  • Good plan @Matt, I thought that was a policy I wasn't aware of. And I've added the official Arial link. – user568458 Jan 14 '15 at 9:24
  • @Matt tagging with the font-category was one of the only things working in favour of font-id imo (it was a decent chance to build up questions by font-category). Without them, the questions are literally unsearchable and have even less value than I had attributed to them. Are we really only giving Q's the font-id tag? If so, I believe they are completely useless to almost everyone and I'm more against them than I ever was before. – Dom Jan 14 '15 at 13:13
  • @Matt: Please keep the additional tags in. For example, given my background and resources, I am interested and probably quite good at identifying certain blackletter fonts, but not at everything else. It is likely that I will become aware of such questions via my subscription to the blackletter tag. – Wrzlprmft Jan 14 '15 at 13:44
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    Some people looking for font Q&As aren't really looking at font-id questions. We should NOT flood quality tags for a font-id service. – DᴀʀᴛʜVᴀᴅᴇʀ Jan 14 '15 at 13:47
  • @Matt I completely agree, I wasn't thinking about it that way when I considered it :) – Dom Jan 14 '15 at 23:00
  • I'm totally fine with your shorter version, and I like that it's even more compact than mine. If you like, you can edit it into the "official" community wiki post so that we have them all in the same spot when I re-submit the request (i.e. bug the SE staff again) – JohnB Feb 9 '15 at 20:00
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Yes I would like such a feature. I think it will help remind users to ask more meaningful font ID questions and also help GDSE provide better answers. I'm not sure on wording - maybe something as simple as "It looks like you want to ID a font. Please review our community guidelines for Font ID questions before posting! Following these guidelines can help you get better answers." And then link to the standards/guidelines?

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