A discussion of more interesting question content

I enjoy the deep, difficult questions in Graphic Design. As is obvious in the question lists, Graphic Design is largely used as "Adobe Help Center", and this is a necessary part of the site's traffic right now, and probably always will be.

But it's not the kind of questions that many of us are here to see and answer. Lots of the design enthusiasts here want to see more of those rich design questions, and I'd like to know how deep those of you who agree with me are willing to go with question answers.

To the point

My goal is to reach an understanding of exactly what kind of question we want to see more of.

Please respond with an example (possibly an existing GD question) to accompany your opinion of the kind of question that we should promote on the site.

Here are some questions that I've either posted, answered, contributed to, or chanced upon that might be used as examples in this discussion.

  1. How to reinforce intuitive design decisions

  2. Why do some logos look.. old? How does design age?

  3. Designing around an awful logo

  4. Do interfaces really need to look good?

  5. How do you break out of current creative mind sets?

All of these questions involve the topic of design, rather than being software-subjects, and they're subjective/broad to some extent.

Your opinion

Users will not always ask the perfect question, especially on this site. It's hard to be objective in the presentation of a design question often times.

I'd like to see the community come to a consensus on how broad we're willing to allow questions to be.

  • Provide an example of a question that pushes the limit, but still strikes you as an answerable request.

  • Give your opinion on the idea of answering/up-voting big, broad questions like these on this site.

Great example of the kind of issues that arise by our lack of this consensus

In this recently popular question, the OP asks a broad question, but does point out some specific points / areas that he is looking for.

Now, I'm not saying I agree that this question was entirely too broad, or that it wasn't. My focus here is on the point that if we want to promote this kind of question in the right way, we need to determine exactly what is and isn't expected from the question, and what's expected in return from the answer.

If we choose to accept and up-vote somewhat broad questions here, as we clearly have chosen to do, we also need to be prepared to accept answers that are broad to the same extent.

A question should not be up-voted if the very best answer that can be given is "read a book".

Two good answers were given negative votes on this question. If we're going to not close broad questions, we can't down-vote the broad answers that ensue.

So I think a very specific policy on question and answer expectation needs to be put into effect to handle this kind of question that we seem to want to promote and up-vote on the site.

Here is a meta question that sheds some light on the issue in relation to the example question given.


We up-voted a broad question 6 times rather than closing it, and then down-voted the answers that came as a result.

  • 4
    I feel I need to point out what may be obvious... You've been here 13 days and haven't really helped this community grow. Why not jump in, answer some questions, post some questions of your own as related to theory and see where they go? You seem dead set on some sort of "control" over the community which, at this point, you haven't really participated in.
    – Scott
    Commented Apr 28, 2014 at 8:09
  • 1
    @Scott In my opinion, that's a childish remark. Commented Apr 28, 2014 at 8:22
  • 1
    Err.. so now you resort to insults? I was merely pointing out facts. You ARE new here. You ARE seeking to make changes to the site if not a separate SE site, which is fine. But you are NOT really participating in the site itself. I'm all for change. All I'm saying is why not participate in the direction you want rather than trying to change things from outside? Change from within always happens faster.
    – Scott
    Commented Apr 28, 2014 at 8:26
  • .. and in fact.. you'll notice I've tried to take steps to allow more broad theory based questions... I'm absolutely in favor of that direction. But asking how.. doesn't help as much as actually posting those questions.
    – Scott
    Commented Apr 28, 2014 at 8:28
  • 4
    @Scott I have posted two or three such questions, for this very purpose. Number four, on the list here, is one of them. I've been trying to contribute to the site in the best ways that I can think of. This is one of them. I don't see the problem? Why are you commenting on my question pointing out that I haven't helped the community grow. - I'm trying to do that in the best ways that I can think of man. Relax. Commented Apr 28, 2014 at 8:31
  • I do realize you've posted a few questions and a couple answers. And I am completely relaxed. My point was.... participate in the direction you'd like and don't over think how you can change things. If your participation is seen as valuable by the community, surely the site will move in that direction. Honestly theory questions seem to thrive here... but they are rare. So the more of them we get, the better off the site will be in my opinion.
    – Scott
    Commented Apr 28, 2014 at 8:35
  • @JonathanTodd you make some very interesting points, I think you're onto something with your idea of the "intuitive decisions" question being an example of where to draw the line. It's a very difficult one to call... I'm not sure which side of the line it lands but the line is definitely near there! Commented Apr 28, 2014 at 23:19

1 Answer 1


I just posted what I would consider to be an incredibly broad question; and without the almost explicit definition of what I'm hoping to see in answers, along with the example answer I posted with the question, I think it would be closed as too broad quite fast. It still might. :)

If this isn't closed as too broad or a duplicate, I think it's success will be the attention I focused on defining what kind of answer I'm hoping for, and that answer being realistically deliverable.

  • That's a good one in my opinion. Commented Apr 28, 2014 at 19:46
  • 2
    Well...*I* think it's too broad. Now bear in mind, my experience with this format comes from StackOverflow processing of Q&A and knowing (pretty well) what will go over well there and what won't. So a new site trying to form its "mission" may not be lining up with my experience. At the same time, I've been working in the medium for some time...and I think one has to consider "what scales" as well as "what is creating value not just now, but as a searchable archive of institutional knowledge"... if each person's profile pointed to their design manifesto, maybe that's better? Commented Apr 28, 2014 at 23:21
  • @HostileFork I don't understand what you mean. Is this all related to this post?
    – Dom
    Commented Apr 28, 2014 at 23:35
  • 1
    I don't understand what you don't understand. You said: "I just posted what I would consider to be an incredibly broad question" I said: "Yes, your post is incredibly broad, and too broad to be a good fit for the Q&A format. In fact, I have been active on a much older SE site for some time, and we consider questions like this bad. Let me explain some of why that is." Commented Apr 28, 2014 at 23:40
  • @Dominic Fork makes some good points. His insight is basically, questions that aren't completely objectively answered should go into chat, not Q&A. I can't disagree with him there, but than again, every SE community defines what kind of content it wants, and it looks like the community is defining right now that they want the broad questions, based on the up-votes on many of these broad questions that have been asked lately. Commented Apr 28, 2014 at 23:43
  • People are saying "We want to see the interesting topics come up." And since its impossible for an answer to be less broad than the question, we've got a problem. The community seems to be holding answers to different standards than the questions. Fork is kind of saying: Solve the problem by eliminating broad questions. Commented Apr 28, 2014 at 23:46
  • @HostileFork I don't know what you mean by 'if each person's profile pointed to their design manifesto, maybe that's better?' I don't see how that question doesn't 'scale well' or how it wouldn't be easily classified as creating future value. Whether it's on topic is for you and the rest of the community to decide. If you don't think it fits, vote or flag to close.
    – Dom
    Commented Apr 29, 2014 at 1:29
  • @Dominic Only people with X rep can vote, I don't have that on GD SE. I mean that I do think that there is certainly value on a personal perspective on "what are the N most important principles of graphic design"... but I think that's more a blog post, vs. a community wiki on the Q&A. If you like the SE format, then it's kind of like it becomes a hammer in search of a nail. I know people have reacted against the hated "Adobe Help Center" but that really is the better Q&A, and I've demonstrated the site's lack of ability to process focused design feedback... there's work to be done. Commented Apr 29, 2014 at 1:34
  • @HostileFork I think there are a finite number of questions surrounding the basic principles of design. If we can cover the main ones, they can also be the go-to questions for new users. Depending on whether this question receives some good answers, there could be 10 more questions posed directly from information gleaned here and that could cover our bases almost forever with respect to design fundamentals. Then anyone asking for a 100,000-pixel-long-answer can be referred to our neatly pruned mass collection of design knowledge.
    – Dom
    Commented Apr 29, 2014 at 1:47
  • 1
    For it to be worth pointing users to, it has to be useful, referenceable, actionable information; not opinion with sprinkles of wisdom. Experience goes a very long way, but some things need to be answered with theory as well.
    – Dom
    Commented Apr 29, 2014 at 1:47

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