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In the FAQ, under What is reputation?, there are some privileges summed up. The reputation to be able to comment everywhere has a 'strange' character behind it (†).

At first glance it looks like the rule isn't in effect any more (hence the RIP symbol). Only you will discover it is used as a footnote symbol.

† you can always comment on your questions and answers, and any answers to questions you’ve asked, even with 1 rep.

Can that be changed to an asterisk (*) perhaps (or something less scary ;) )?


From Wikipedia:

The dagger is usually used to indicate a footnote, in the same way an asterisk is. However, the dagger is only used for a second footnote when an asterisk is already used


To further (and better) explain my issue with the dagger symbol:

  1. It shouldn't be used in the first place (without a preceding asterisk footnote)
  2. When people just see that symbol it looks the 'function' is obsolete (the other common meaning of the dagger symbol)
share|improve this question
Though, note that the Wikipedia article says, "[T]he dagger is only used for a second footnote when an asterisk is already used." I don't see an asterisk already in use, so this request does have merit... – David Jan 4 '12 at 19:49
Perhaps you should modify the question to say that the confusion comes from that fact (about the dagger being secondary to the asterisk). – jadarnel27 Jan 4 '12 at 19:51
Not sure why Pekka deleted his answer; it was fine, and this is silly. As he correctly noted, the dagger is a recognized typographical symbol with a long history. There's nothing scary or offensive about it. I've seen the dagger and even double dagger used ahead of the asterisk, and in conjunction with numbered footnotes. The fact that one book exists that says the asterisk should be used first doesn't make it an inviolable universal law. – Pops Jan 4 '12 at 19:56
@PopularDemand That rule isn't about the book anymore it's about how you are suppose to use it IMHO. Like you should always start your sentence with a capital. – PeeHaa Jan 4 '12 at 19:57
Interesting note about the dagger only being used after an asterisk has. I'm not sure that is how I've observed it being used, though. I can't say I recall ever seeing it used only after an asterisk was. – Andrew Barber Jan 4 '12 at 19:58
In fact, I seem to recall that when seeing an asterisk used for the first note, multiple asterisks are used for subsequent notes. – Andrew Barber Jan 4 '12 at 19:59
For more info for people interested: – PeeHaa Jan 4 '12 at 20:06
I wonder if typographical questions are considered on-topic for the English Language & Usage or Writers SE sites. The FAQs don't explicitly mention it as on- or off-topic. – David Jan 4 '12 at 20:21
I'd think yes for EL&U, @David. I was planning on asking myself, but I'm unable to log in. – Pops Jan 4 '12 at 20:24
@David if you do post the question there please share it here would you? Thanks – PeeHaa Jan 4 '12 at 20:30
Is this a dagger I see before me? – Rosinante Jan 4 '12 at 21:47
Asked on English SE here. – Pops Jan 5 '12 at 0:01
Okay, apparently this is a real rule and I just wasn't aware of it. Changing my downvote to an upvote. I still think it's silly to call the symbol "strange" or "scary," though. – Pops Jan 5 '12 at 0:21
Just noticed that the "disputed" item in the sidebar of the "Flagging history" page is also dagger-footnoted. – Shawn Chin Jan 5 '12 at 13:04
up vote 6 down vote accepted

Honestly, I'm not really sure this specific example even warrants a footnote, as it only consists in a single sentence that's not overly long.

Putting it next to the text it elaborates on, maybe in smaller type, would avoid the context switch and look just as good IMHO:

15 Flag for moderator attention

50 Leave comments

(you can always comment on your questions and answers, and any answers to questions you’ve asked, even with 1 rep)

100 Edit community wiki posts

share|improve this answer
Agreed. It also threw me for a second that the "footnote" isn't in the footer of the document (page). It's at the bottom of an arbitrary section of a larger section of the overall document. Additionally, when directly linked and quotes at the top of the page for convenience, it creates a duplicate "dagger" on the page, which likely further obfuscates proper use of the symbol. – David Jan 4 '12 at 20:41

I disagree with the Wikipedia article here: the footnote symbol order *, , , … is common but it is not an absolute rule. In particular, in scientific or technical works, it's common to avoid symbols that are used as mathematical notations for typography, which means not using digits or * in footnotes.

as an indication that a function is obsolete is highly specialized usage; even on Stack Overflow (which is only one of many sites in the Stack Exchange network, this isn't 2009 any more) I expect a minority of the readers to interpret it in that manner. A raised symbol which is repeated at the beginning of a line towards the bottom is a common way to mark footnotes, and as you note is commonly used as a footnote symbol anyway.

share|improve this answer
is common but it is not an absolute rule Actually it is :) – PeeHaa Jan 7 '12 at 14:14

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