Continuing from Are image transcription requests on-topic? ("What does this image say?"), here is a diverse collection of image-transcription requests found throughout the site (click to see the original question).

Let's pretend these images were asked about today. Suppose the OP comes along and posts:

  1. a question with a fairly generic title (like "what does this say?" or "help me translate this into English?")
  2. one of the images above,
  3. a brief description of where it came from, and
  4. nothing else, and in particular, no attempt at identifying the character(s).

(Ignore whether or not they're currently closed; we've been very inconsistent.)

How on/off-topic are they?

(Oh, and note that while number 15 is Japanese, they're basically Chinese characters.)

  • personally, only image 4 & 6 trigger my interest 😼 because these two are in seal script 😸 Jun 23, 2022 at 13:18

1 Answer 1


My answer to this question is based on my answer to Are image transcription requests on-topic? ("What does this image say?"). In summary,

With the above in mind,

  1. On topic, as they provided a complete transcription (”I tried to find out what is it, and got 丁財貴寿“) and are just asking for confirmation.

  2. On topic, as the first character is definitely cursive calligraphy and causes the trinket to be difficult to read. I voted to close this question before we had discussions like relaxing the rule of "asking for translations are off-topic", which was opened two days after this question was asked.

  3. Borderline off topic. Most of this is regular script character identification; although I concur that it isn't quite the same style of writing as the regular script that you see commonly, I would still expect to see some effort.

  4. On topic, as it is asking for seal character identification.

  5. Off topic, as it is asking for regular script character identification without any effort.

  6. On topic, as it is asking for seal character identification.

  7. Even though this was tagged , the question needs to be reworded to make it actually a question. As it currently stands, "I don't even know if the first kanji exists. Would you read 还活着?" is problematic.

  8. Borderline off topic. I appreciate that it might be viewed as semi-cursive, but I would expect some effort shown.

  9. On topic, as the ideographic description sequence is given (i.e. components are provided), although it would have been better with some context (where did they see the character?).

  10. Borderline off topic (same reason as 8.)

  11. Borderline off topic (same reason as 3.)

  12. Off topic (very standard regular script identification request with no effort)

  13. On topic (handwritten cursive script identification request)

  14. Off topic (handwritten regular script identification request with no effort)

  15. Off topic (print font Gothic Typeface character identification with no effort)

  16. Off topic (same reason as 15.)

  17. Off topic (same reason as 15. and 16.)
  • 1
    Thanks! This really helps. It seems like "the OP could identify the characters by drawing them in Google Translate or using OCR" is the threshold here. In cases like seals and cursive handwriting, it's just not possible. But in cases where it is possible, "show effort" means "explain why the obvious methods aren't sufficient".
    – Becky 李蓓 Mod
    Jun 27, 2022 at 23:18

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