Interpreting/deciphering of older texts/manuscripts handwritten in a language other than one's mother tongue can be particularly difficult. In (e.g.) Norway and Denmark one can get help from "the internet community" to decipher scanned difficult handwritten texts on various special sites dedicated to this purpose.

I and many others have tried to get help to decipher German handwritings at https://german.stackexchange.com/questions/ask . Sometimes good and friendly help is given, but other times a self-appointed "policeman" very quickly comes along and votes to close the question "because it does not belong in this forum"/"your question is not of general interest"/"you are not skilled enough yourself to burden others" etc.

I have two questions in this regard:

Is it really the case that https://german.stackexchange.com/questions/ask cannot be used for transcription assistance questions? Are there other German web forums that can be used for this purpose? Suggestions would be appreciated!


1 Answer 1


The question whether this community accepts questions about deciphering old handwriting was first brought up in 2013 and community consensus was that as long as certain quality standards are upheld and the asker put some reasonable effort into the question first, this kind of question is within our scope.

There was a second Q/A in 2017, where the community confirmed that this kind of question is within our scope.

I see no reason why this community consensus should no longer be valid. Any change to the existing policy would require a new discussion about the site’s scope and a different decision.

One or two errant close votes are not going to affect the question’s state. If a question gets closed by a group of users that are unfamiliar with the current policy, feel free to flag for reopening, pointing towards the two Meta Q/As listed above, letting either the community or the mods deal with the error. If users are violating the CoC in comments, let moderators handle this. Just keep calm and tread lightly when talking to or about them. Apply Hanlon’s razor and assume ignorance over malice.

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