The fact that my answer to this question was down-voted twice really confuses me about the type of answer that is expected on GD.

The Answer

I did my very best to give the best answer that I could here, and I'd really like to know how it can be improved, and how I could have better answered the OP's question.

  • 2
    I hope I was clear in my comments, but in case I wasn't, I didn't down vote due the type of answer you provided, but rather that I felt it wasn't actually addressing the question that was being asked.
    – DA01
    Apr 29, 2014 at 5:41
  • Ok, could possibly post an answer with some examples of how I could have actually addressed the question that was being asked? Apr 29, 2014 at 7:06
  • I don't have an answer for that question as I don't know of anything like they are looking for (quizes/games designed to teach design fundamentals).
    – DA01
    Apr 29, 2014 at 7:11
  • The website tells me whether I'm correct. Like a game maybe. -- The website tells me the reason why it's correct and offers a link to read the theoretical background. (Beginner mode) -- In the next step I have to give the reason as well. (next level) He points out these features, suggesting a game or website that does these things. My first thought, "Oh my, he's already found it. It's called Graphic Design SE. Let's start him out on level 1, by explaining the question that he asked in the title. @DA01 Apr 29, 2014 at 7:17
  • @DA01 Can you agree with that perspective for answering the question? It's how I saw it. Apr 29, 2014 at 7:18
  • I guess you could make a case for it. I think it's a stretch, but sure.
    – DA01
    Apr 29, 2014 at 7:20

2 Answers 2


I've given a bit of feedback in chat. For instance, I proposed that starting an answer to that question with this image suggests you're going off on a wild internal psychedelic journey (vs. about to give great advice about design):

enter image description here

I mentioned that if you're going to start in the teaching realm, you might start with something a bit more classically "designed".

enter image description here

But on a bigger point, you getting downvoted (and more importantly, ME getting downvoted!) shows guidance problems on this site, in light of the fully unjustified 8 upvotes on a question that should have been put on hold as way, way, way too broad. Too much scrutiny is being given on answers that deign to give advice, and too little on overly-broad questions seeking it!

A question like this simply winds up as an invitation to write-a-random-essay-about-what-design-concepts-are-on-your-mind, or whatever stream of consciousness someone replying chooses to tangent on. I go with just responding to the subject line, and then get told I "didn't answer the question", but to "answer that question" requires a minimum of 14 sections... one for each bullet point, as well as some kind of survey introduction and conclusion.

The question should have been put on hold and feedback given to narrow it, not upvoted a whole bunch.

  • I thought the question was good enough in the light of being answerable with just the right perspective, but that's of course the subject of my other Meta post asking where we should draw the line on how broad these more interesting questions should be. We both answered the question in a manner acceptable for the broad nature of the question. If you ask a broad question, and provide detail on what areas you want the answer to focus on (which the OP did, somewhat, in a list), then the way the answers are judged should be based on those points in relation to that topic. Apr 28, 2014 at 22:53
  • We can't answer questions that ask the secrets of the universe, but if we want interesting, deep questions, we need to determine a proper format and condition for them, and most importantly, the expectation for their answers. Apr 28, 2014 at 22:54
  • In the meta post on the subject, Dominic shows a decent example of what he thinks a good format and limit is on this type of question and the scope of focus required by its answer. meta.graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/questions/1010/… Apr 28, 2014 at 22:57
  • @JonathanTodd I'm not an authority here, I can often be wrong. I'm just another community member with ideas. I should also point out that my ideas have changed a lot since my first day here, after getting to know a little bit.
    – Dom
    Apr 29, 2014 at 2:07
  • @Dominic me too man Apr 29, 2014 at 2:20
  • I did change that dang "adventure" image example. Apr 29, 2014 at 7:25

I'll start by saying I'm not the one that downvoted your question. However, now that I've read it I don't like it. I'm not sure I'd go as far as downvoting but I wouldn't upvote it either.

First off everything you've written and commented on since coming here is very long-winded without saying anything. The answer in question is no different.

The question is:

What would be the best way for people like me to learn the reasons behind the intuitive decisions I make?

You didn't answer that. You instead give some very abstract commentary about a variety of things. For example:

In the same way that you "intuitively" use a specific font, or icon, or section, or line width in an area of your design, I'm using spacing and font weight/size to present your eyes with a balanced set of visual content that you will feel comfortable with interpreting as I want you to, rather than skimming past it.

Looking past the assumption that anyone finds your visual scheme appealing (I for one do not), the OP has already stated he understands balance and spacing. He wants to know more about the underlying principles of how these things work. You didn't say

"Formal balance occurs when equal, or very similar, elements are placed on opposite sides of a central axis. The axis can be vertical or horizontal. It may be a real part of the design or it may be an imaginary line."

All you said was, "HERE LOOK AT ME I DID BALANCE."

It's not useful at all, and being so long to read means its also a waste of time.

  • 1
    At first I thought this is a bit strongly-worded, now after reading a few times I'd say it's mostly blunt. I agree with you, but two small parts are less than neutral (an almost imperative component for moderator responses). I think I want to vote for you, but I'm a little worried that difficult users may unbalance your temperament.
    – Dom
    Apr 29, 2014 at 2:14
  • Which two parts do you find less than neutral? And I appreciate any consideration you've given towards voting for me, I'd be happy to discuss your concerns if you want but lets do it in the Election chat to not derail this.
    – Ryan
    Apr 29, 2014 at 2:25
  • I'll start by saying I'm not the one that downvoted your question. However, now that I've read it I don't like it. [...] everything you've written and commented on since coming here is very long-winded without saying anything. The answer in question is no different. Now it's my turn to be blunt. I didn't ask you if you liked my answer Ryan, I asked how I could improve it. Apr 29, 2014 at 7:01
  • All you said was, "HERE LOOK AT ME I DID BALANCE." Your example that you provide: "Formal balance occurs when equal, or very similar, elements are placed on opposite sides of a central axis. The axis can be vertical or horizontal. is something that might, just maybe, be useful in either a dictionary or a 200+ page book. I had to summarize the answer to a very broad question, and I do not appreciate your negative, insulting criticism. Apr 29, 2014 at 7:11
  • 1
    I answered your question. Nothing I see in my answer is insulting. I didn't call you names, call your question names, or dismiss your answer. Not having everyone agree with you all the time is part of life, being insulted is something else entirely. Additionally, you mention "had to summarize the answer to a very broad question," which isn't correct. If the question is too broad for a thorough and complete answer then you could've voted to close the question and/or suggest edits to it until it is more answerable.
    – Ryan
    Apr 29, 2014 at 9:43
  • @JonathanTodd I would consider Ryan's example of a good explanation to be.. well.. good. That is a useful snippet of information that I can take direct action from or incorporate into my thought process. It looks like theory, and it makes enlightening sense immediately.
    – Dom
    Apr 29, 2014 at 15:19
  • 2
    Also, you just made our original point. A good answer to the question cannot be covered in this format and 'read a GD book' is the only truly helpful answer to the OPs question.
    – Dom
    Apr 29, 2014 at 15:23
  • @Dominic That's all a part of how we choose to handle these questions. According to the community's choice to give 7 up-votes to a question that would normally be closed, people want this kind of question. I'm pointing out that if that's the case, then the community also must be prepared to accept a broad answer. Apr 29, 2014 at 20:58
  • If we are deciding as a community that the question is a "good question" then certainly we are not saying: "yes, yes, a book answer!" - Certainly the best answer possible is expected in the same scope as the question. No less broad, but certainly as helpful as possible. Apr 29, 2014 at 21:02
  • Why are we still debating this? It was a good question, one I'd like to see answers to, but not the answers that were posted as they didn't answer the question. If people find something useful or interesting, they will upvote, regardless of how many down votes there are. If the down voters, (myself one of them) are incorrect, it will naturally rectify itself through the community.
    – Dom
    Apr 29, 2014 at 21:02
  • @Dominic you continuously assert that the ONLY good answer to the question is "Read a book", so HOW are you claiming that it was a good question that you'd like to see an answer to, and IF that's the case, then let's see yours. Apr 29, 2014 at 21:05
  • I didn't post an answer because I'm not capable of answering that question effectively. Perhaps with a week to prepare my essay, I would have something that I would be confident to post. I once tried to answer a question that was out of my league here, and essentially did the same as you, I shared what I thought might be a teeny bit useful. In hindsight I know I was only answering to try and get in on a good question, but I had nothing of real value to add. I eventually deleted it.
    – Dom
    Apr 29, 2014 at 21:11

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