I asked this question: https://linguistics.stackexchange.com/questions/7245/what-is-the-language-shown-in-the-image-please-help-me-identify-it at Linguistics Stack Exchange

Some people closed it as off-topic. My question is why this is off-topic? The site description says:

Linguistics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for professional linguists and others with an interest in linguistic research and theory.

So I think this is a research on language question. That satisfies above definition of the website.

3 Answers 3


In short, it doesn't seem to me to be a question about linguistics. The Help Center specifically calls out translation-request questions as off-topic, and in general "identify this thing" questions aren't very good ones for Stack Exchange anyway.

Imagine a linguistics site, the front page of which is filled with pictures of graffiti asking folks to identify them. Doesn't sound very informative to me, unless the site's title were actually "identify this graffiti."


Writing systems and orthography are definitely aspects of linguistics. Linguists at Language Log occasionally discuss these issues (eg. 1, 2). Here too, questions such as "Please help me identify this language (image)" get attention and votes.

Though I did not vote (up or down) either of these questions or their answers, I tend to favour the inclusion of questions about language identification. However, I don't think posting graffiti would be useful to the community at large: graffiti tends to by highly stylized (read "arbitrary"), and not really representative of how a language is written.


I think Robert made a good point but prash touched a subject that shows why your question was different from the other one: yours was about graffiti/tag writing which is not really the type of language we discuss about.

While the other question was asking for a regularly and correctly written word in a certain language, yours was about some sketched and stylized writing which belongs to "art" rather than "writing system" category. Not sure if I explained myself well, but that's the point.

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