16

It's a bad trend I've seen recently and have seen on Gaming.SE, repetitive titles.

Evidence shows we have plenty of clearly misleading/ambiguous titles, such as:

We need a better way to accept font identification questions. Eventually, we will get to the point where people end up asking the same title over, and over, and over, leading to a lot of questions regarding different issues yet having the same title.

What as a community can we do to do this? It just seems unsettling to see the same-esque question title for almost every font-identification tagged.

Just a thought of my own, but make a community wiki, where Answers are posted as font-identification pictures, and comments/edits serve to identify the font in the picture. This way you could avoid having a large influx of "what font is this?"

  • I think the problem mainly stems from the fact that some users are unable to create the right syntactical titles, such as myself. I do not have much experience, in fact, little to no experience in Graphic Design, so asking for a "What font is this?" is technically the best I could do for a question title. – yuritsuki Apr 8 '14 at 16:13
  • There is no problem in that you do not know what terms to use. The question, really, is how the more knowledgeable users can change the title to a more helpful, sustainable and useful one. I think it might be a point to keep the "non-knowledgeable" terms in the post: this to aid others that may not know the terms too. – benteh Apr 9 '14 at 12:30
  • How do they do it on gaming.SE? I know they have a similar problem with "What game is this?" type questions. Do they have a solution? – user568458 Apr 9 '14 at 14:55
  • They killed game-rec questions only if they didnt have a screenshot of the game or audio/visual artifact from it. At least it's easier to me to describe games though (2d, firstperson, rpg, etc) – yuritsuki Apr 9 '14 at 15:14
  • So, say there's a question "What game is this?" with a screenshot of a cut scene where it's not clear what type of game it was, what would they title it as? – user568458 Apr 10 '14 at 8:52
  • Then we leave it to other members to figure out what tag it belongs in. That's why many sites have an "untagged" tag in case users don't know how to tag it, because chances are that someone else knows what it is. Of course, this is all reliant on having an audio/visual artifact. – yuritsuki Apr 10 '14 at 14:59
  • The easiest thing about Gaming.SE is that instead of having titles like "What game is this?" or "Found a game, what is it?" is that at least for me it's much easier to describe a game. "What sci-fi shooter shooting zombies and rouge AI is this?" – yuritsuki Apr 10 '14 at 15:00
  • I made a slightly ironic edit on the title because it was unnecessarily long, 'better improve' seems redundant to me as improve means 'to make better'. – Dom Apr 10 '14 at 15:07
11

Great point to bring up. Whenever I come across a question, I always try and clean it up by making sure of three things:

  1. A screenshot of the font in question is available
  2. There's a descriptive title
  3. It's appropriately tagged.

Screenshots

This is rather easy. If it's a new user, I don't mind adding it for them and leaving a comment saying "hey, next time include a picture to make it easier!"

Titles

These types of questions can almost always be categorized as "reusable" and "throwaway". Any sort of font identification within a logo could potentially be reusable. Perhaps someone else is searching for the font used for Google's logo. In that case, an appropriate title would be "What font does Google use for their logo?"

"Throwaway" questions are where things get a little hairy. A screenshot of just a line of nondescript text is really unlikely to be utilized by anyone besides the original question asker.

I'm not sure it's the best course of action to outright forbid these types of questions, but we should still improve their searchability. In the past, I have just added in some or all of the text into the title and maybe try to describe it, such as "What font is used for this sans-serif sci-fi text ("lorem ipsum...")". In the rare case that we do get a duplicate font question or if someone needs to refer back to it, this will make it easier to search for.

Tags

These kinds of questions are rather notorious for "tag spam", users will often just throw in any tag that they feel is remotely relevant just because they're allowed to use 5 tags and want to fill them up. , , , and are all commonly abused tags. They can sometimes be relevant, but they are often not.

I think it's helpful to add , , or any other font category tag to help with searchability. If it's a logo, then can be helpful too. I'm not a fan of adding to these questions, I usually remove it as it seems incredibly redundant, already takes care of that.

  • Nice answer. Maybe some of the most awkward cases can be filled in with comments on the type of source (e.g. "What is the plain sans font on this business document?")? Maybe a good place to decide is on a new thread with a list of the most awkward questions. – user568458 Apr 9 '14 at 15:00
6

I've always been a believer that there are MUCH better places on the web for these type of questions. Let's face it, is anyone other than the original poster going to find, search, or see value in "What font is this?" And without knowing anything more about the specific typeface, I don't see how questions could be any more unique.

I've always felt that GD.SE is not the place for the font ID questions and they are permitted because some users enjoy the hunt. However, that doesn't make them on topic any more than software shopping list questions.

The only valid argument for them I've seen is that they may bring in new users. So in that respect, okay. But I don't think the general nature of the questions themselves can be improved. It's like asking Google to dig into your brain to improve what you are searching for (probably coming in 2017)... there's no way for anyone to know specifically what they are looking for until they see an answer.

So, if necessary, they are a necessary evil and should simply be answered then forgotten, not improved upon.

2

I am a little ambivalent about this. I see the argument Scott makes, but I also think these questions can be both relevant and at least a little useful.

Often, a new user will start with a question like that; that is not to say they have nothing to contribute to GD. To instantly close them is a pretty efficient way of getting rid of people. Personally, I try not to be too trigger-happy to close the questions of new users.

I agree with @johnb on the tags. Font-identification and serif/sans-serif is sufficient. In the case of other kinds, we might consider adding "slab", "blackletter" etc. It will not hurt, and it might actually be useful.

Should one, at some point in the future decide to close these questions or turn them into community wikis, they will be infinitely easier to find.

  • I think changing titles to more helpful ones is a first.
  • second; keeping the terms the OP uses in the body of the Q. This will help others who are not familiar with the terminology

When I come across a question of "which font is this" it can sometimes be helpful to wait for a good answer before editing the Q.

Just my two pennies.

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