Consider the following questions

The relevant close reasons are probably

  • Questions asking for translations, transcriptions or proofreading are off-topic unless prior research effort is clearly indicated; we're here to help you learn, not to provide a bulk translation service nor to proofread your translations or transcriptions. See: We don't do translations.

  • Questions seeking resources or advice about learning Japanese are off-topic here, but you may find our list of resources for learning Japanese helpful.

Should we close these questions or leave them open?


4 Answers 4


Update (2017/08/16) - Was there any consensus on what to do regarding (not) closing these type of questions? This topic was created over a year ago, but in the past couple of months, I swear I've seen like 4 or 5 of this type of question asked. This lead me back here, but it seems like we've never really decided anything. After reading my own answer here, I stick with my initial assertion, so I will continue to vote to close these topics when I see them.

I feel that writing is very objective: the kana and kanji have definite stroke order, shapes, etc. While it's true that people's handwriting is unique, that should not have an impact on correctness and legibility.

Clearly the people starting these kinds of topics are beginners; once you've been studying Japanese and writing for a long time, your writing will be decent. So I feel at the beginner stage, this is more-or-less a resource issue; that is, it's a matter of repetitive practice to get their own letters to look like what they've learned the letters are supposed to look like.

So, is essence, they should be objectively comparing their writing to a learned standard, instead of subjectively asking others' opinions. That's why I usually vote to close as primarily opinion-based.

On top of that, I don't see how one person's legibility request benefits the whole community. No one has gained any additional knowledge of Japanese by discussing one person's handwriting style. Talking about specifics of letters such as Is it standard practice, or acceptable, to connect strokes in certain characters of hiragana? or Why are there two versions of the kanji for 冷? is different and beneficial to everyone.

My ¥2...

  • 1
    In my view, the advice seen in the above questions about to write in squares, how to search for examples of how native speakers write the letters, advice about hooks etc I see in the questions above are useful to the community. Although it may be advice-based, I personally think this advice is quite objective and useful. But I'm not sure how many of these questions we should have - I suspect if we get many more of these q's, the same sorts of advice will start to be given each time.
    – cypher
    Commented Jun 4, 2016 at 1:04
  • Agree esp. on the last paragraph. The most correct answer might be just saying " Yes you are correct" if the given handwriting is perfect, and nothing is really gained in perspective of Community Knowedge in such case..
    – Yuki Inoue
    Commented Nov 3, 2017 at 5:26

I agree that we shouldn't be a checking service like lang-8, especially if we start to get very similar/low quality questions etc involving checking of handwriting.

But with probably not that many of these questions asked in as many years, I don't see them being an issue for the time being. I think some of these questions have yielded useful answers, not just for the OP, but for learners like myself.

If the site gets more of these questions, and the community takes issue with them, I think they can be dealt with as they arise. I don't think anyone here would say we should accept every ad-hoc request about handwriting legibility, but I think it should be left up to the community whether to close this kind of question on a case-by-case basis, and not just have them closed by default.

  • (...unless they're obviously not a good fit for the site for whatever reason, in which case close away, as would happen for other question types :)
    – cypher
    Commented May 31, 2016 at 4:02

I feel that it is off topic. We are not a checking service to check every ad-hoc request about handwriting legibility.


My view is that, all four questions doesn't (and didn't) need to be closed.

The shape of letters, as well as pronunciation, is an interface between mental representation and physical reality, so that "misconception" happens here is clearly visible. What answerer should do isn't training the OP or correcting individual shapes one by one like, this letter good, that one no good, and so on, but pointing out where this "misconception" or "mismapping" lies, which I believe is not a difficult task for those knowledgeable about the language, at least intuitively.

Of course you could say that the OP should ask in more narrowed-down way, but I think showing all hiragana and all katakana is not only harmless but helpful to see overall tendencies (it's a valid question how you do this with kanji though). Note that, as I observe, they are not asking simple questions that textbook would tell you, but are likely to be too faithful to textbook or overgeneralizing it that result in their errors, so correction will help they learn how to write Japanese.

It's arguable that writing is not a part of language..., but practically we read and write in daily communication, in Japan and most other parts of the world, you know.

It may be still problematic that the question wording is always too vague or broad such as "good", "legible", "understandable" etc. I'd appreciate it very much if someone would think up more precise (or recommended) expressions that can indicate where they actually want to ask about. I can't imagine an average learner would form a question like "Are my characters well kerned?" or "Do my glyph X, Y, Z have enough counter?"

  • 1
    I've reopened them for now because it seems like there isn't much community support for closing them at the moment. If anyone feels they should be closed again, they can cast a close vote (like on any other question).
    – user1478
    Commented May 30, 2016 at 4:18

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