Tooltips seem to be pretty important on Stack Exchange. And it seems a lot of them get missed.

For example, the new mark your own question as dupe 'thing' lead to 2 questions being asked about that (here and here) - these wouldn't have been asked had it been clear there was a tooltip on the 'Community' user's link under the question. We know about this 'new' feature, but do new users know that? Probably not. (In case you have no idea what tooltip I'm talking about, rollover Community here):

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Now, I'm not saying asking questions is a bad thing, but it does waste time for the asker and the dupe-marker, when all they really have to do is roll-over some text to get a pretty clear explanation.

Another example: all dates on SE have a tooltip saying their exact date and time that action happened - we know that, but do new users know that? Probably not.

Another example: Do you know how to see when a post you flagged was marked helpful? Did you find out by accident or did you think it was obvious? If it was the former, then this proposal will really help!

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Another example: How do you find out the exact number of badges earned for a specific badge from the Badges page? Did you find out by accident or did you think it was obvious? If it was the former, then this proposal will really help!

Another example: How do you find out when a post was made community wiki without having to go to the posts' revisions?

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What I propose

I recently asked a question on UX SE about how to tell people there is a tooltip somewhere for use on one of my websites, but I think the answers there are completely useable in SE!

Can we add a dotted underline under (important) text where there is a tooltip? This is pretty standard thing - sites use it to indicate rollover text on places. What's the point of having tooltips if their existence is unknown?

I think it will really help new users and existing users to find out things really easily and quickly. We could also change the cursor to a ? on hover (along with the dotted line) if you wanted to stretch it!

Here's what it would look like:

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  • 1
    It'd look less ugly! :D But you forgot to mention all the per site meta questions about community's dupe vote. – M.A.R. Apr 21 '15 at 19:44
  • This looks too much like ad words, people would expect advertisement to pop up when hovering thus won't do it. – Shadow The Princess Wizard May 27 '15 at 13:27
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    @ShadowWizard but ad words are generally fully underlined right? this is dotted!! Anyway - this is simple the option I thought was the best - there are many more options (see my linked UX question) – ᔕᖺᘎᕊ May 27 '15 at 13:27
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    @ᔕᖺᘎᕊ not sure, but many won't notice the difference. :/ – Shadow The Princess Wizard May 27 '15 at 13:30
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    @ᔕᖺᘎᕊ some ad words are underlined with dotted too... (or worse, dotted + double underline). Underline is also usually related to a link (no matter if it's dotted or not). Not saying that the feature request itself is bad, but still not sure how to make it appear clear but non-obstructing. I was just thinking of having a <sup>?</sup> that can be hovered at the end of the phrase (concept from Wikipedia's footnote), but is it clear enough? – Meta Andrew T. May 28 '15 at 4:05
  • @AndrewT. Yeah - like this? Not a bad option either (I got the screenshot from the linked UX.SE question) – ᔕᖺᘎᕊ May 28 '15 at 8:17
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    @ShadowWizard: Depends on your browser; Gecko browsers use dotted underlines for <abbr> elements by default, so that would easily get the message across to those users. And I suspect most users are well aware already that SE is far above the sort of atrocious scumsuckery that in-text adwords represent. – Nathan Tuggy Jul 27 '15 at 21:42
  • Thanks @cat! Hope this gets seen! :D – ᔕᖺᘎᕊ Apr 20 '16 at 15:09
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    @ᔕᖺᘎᕊ I didn't know about a lot of the tooltips you mentioned in this question, which makes me want this even more. :D – cat Apr 20 '16 at 15:10
  • @cat hmmmm guess what I'm thinking now ;) – ᔕᖺᘎᕊ Apr 20 '16 at 15:12
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    @ᔕᖺᘎᕊ It's like you have nothing better to do all day than write handy little userscripts to fix SE's majorly annoying UX issues :P – cat Apr 20 '16 at 15:25

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