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The question Leerzeichen vor Einheiten made me think whether typographical questions are welcome. To me they feel slightly off topic because they don't deal with the language itself but how it is expressed. On the other hand every country makes up its own rules.

I'm interested in this topic very much so I really wouldn't mind if they are allowed. I'm just interested what others think about that.

Some examples could be:

  • proper spacing in situation X
  • what dashes to use when
  • should you use indentation when beginning a new paragraph

A related area is:

  • how should letters be written (header, subject line, footer)
  • how would I write a job application, a CV (e.g. do I have to provide a picture, my sex, my religion, the names of my parents, their jobs... I admit this one's rather fuzzy)
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(I’m going to answer here since my answer fits better to this question… :P)

I think asking typography questions is completely fine and valid. After all those typography rules are part of the German language and its grammar. To me, your examples would work just fine, except for the last one which is rather a matter of style preference and neither typography nor language related.

And in regards to your related areas, in fact there is a German standard on how to write letters correctly (the DIN 5008), so I would say it is definitely part of the language too.

  • I'll make the last example more concrete. I too think that style questions should not be asked. It's more a thing of local customs. – musiKk May 26 '11 at 9:52
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    I think style is an important part of mastering a language, and definitely comes under the remit of "German Language & Usage" in my mind. – misterben May 26 '11 at 12:32
  • Replaced “style” with “preference” in my answer to make clear, that this kind of “style” is not bound to any ruling or something. – poke May 26 '11 at 14:39
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I think "household typography" is fine - that is, rules or style guides regarding punctuation, date formatting, correct quotation, etc.

I would draw the line at typography as a language-agnostic art form, regarding shapes of letters (except for German specialties, such as the ß or sharp s), beauty of certain typefaces, gray values of specific line heights with specific fonts (but, again, asking if there is a standard line-height convention in German mail letters would be OK).

A reasonable rule of thumb would be typography is OK as long as it is used as a tool for writing in the German language; typography as an art form deserves its own SE site.

  • With graphicdesign.se it already has (currently beta). There is a proposal for a dedicated font site on area 51 but I don't think it will be successful. – musiKk May 26 '11 at 18:04
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    My rule of thumb would be, that the question is valid, when answers can differ from language to language. I was surprised to learn, that french people plenk regularly. -- Ich würde als Faustformel formulieren, dass Typographiefragen erwünscht sind, wenn die Antwort in anderen Sprachen anders ausfallen könnte. So war ich überrascht, dass die Franzosen regelgerecht plenken, also Leerzeichen vor Satzzeichen setzen. – user unknown Feb 3 '12 at 19:05

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