9

This question is an exact duplicate of:

This question has at the time of posting this 2 close votes for Tech Support:

How to OTF export the font I created in Indyfont?

Here's an assortment of similar questions regarding Export:

https://graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/questions/tagged/export

My concern is that people see IndyFont and Export and are immediately voting to close. While at the same time we're trying to encourage questions that aren't just about Adobe Products.


Another question that currently has 2 close votes as Tech Support:

Photoshop copy css for transformed text that respects aspect ratio

Here's a very rough approximate of similar questions though:

https://graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/search?q=feature

My concern here is that people again see something they're unfamiliar with (the new CSS feature) and are voting to close.


Discussion:

When should we be voting to close as Tech Support? How do we draw this line?

marked as duplicate by Wrzlprmft Sep 1 '17 at 16:58

This question was marked as an exact duplicate of an existing question.

12

I'm likely a lone voice, but I don't actually like the idea of all tech support questions for all SE sites being directed to SuperUser.

The reason is that a lot of these questions can only really be answered by the niche industry the software is used in...and unless everyone also subscribes to SU and tries to find industry-related questions to answer, it's not that useful.

GD has allowed tech-support questions provided they were related to GD software. I don't mind that.

In contrast, UX has banned all tech-support questions. So, what can be frustrating is having a question regarding something like Axure--which is a product pretty much used only by UX professionals--and then be told to post it over on SuperUser, where few (if any) UX people are actually hanging out to answer.

Yes, the argument is sometime to just go use the vendor's own support forums. That's a legitimate argument, but alas, few vendor forums are as well designes for Q&A as much as SE is.

If I were king...

...I'd actually like to see a 'tech support' sub-site ala "Meta" for each SE site. That way tech-support questions are easily segregated for those that don't want to deal with them, but also right there as a part of that topic's resources for those that do.

  • 1
    That's actually a great idea DA -- GD.TS – Scott May 12 '14 at 22:45
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    I was thinking of making a tag "Non-software Question" but maybe you're onto something. We can't segregate it out, I don't think. But we can promote a tag "Software Support" this way its easier to filter out the Software Help questions from the rest of it. – Ryan May 12 '14 at 22:52
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    Yeah re the "sub-site" idea, isn't that what tags are for? People can "favourite" tags to see more like this and "ignore" tags to see less. I suggested something like a technical workarounds tag which I think captures the flavour of the difference between "How can I make X do Y" (us) and "Help X crashed and now my keyboard is on fire" (superuser). – user56reinstatemonica8 May 13 '14 at 10:07
  • @user568458 assuming people take the time to set up their tag preferences, yes. :) – DA01 May 13 '14 at 14:18
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    ...and if they don't take the time to set up their tag preferences, they shouldn't complain about what content they get :) – user56reinstatemonica8 May 13 '14 at 15:47
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    Removed the Answered mark because in light of some events today it seems this topic needs more discussion. – Ryan May 15 '15 at 18:53
  • I like the idea of using tags to cover 'Tech-support' questions, but I'm afraid new users who are just posting a question won't bother actually tagging their question (correctly). Which leaves it up to moderation to add it. Which leads us right back to where we started... – PieBie May 18 '15 at 12:20
  • @PieBie true, though note that anyone can add tags, so at least in theory, it wouldn't be entirely admin's role. – DA01 May 18 '15 at 14:44
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    Yes, but the same goes for thinking before posting your question. And decent grammar and spelling. Unfortunately, a lot of people just don't bother. So while it's a good idea in theory, I'm ambivalent as to whether it's going to change anything. EDIT after rereading my comment: just to make things clear, I'm not trying to undermine the idea, it's still a valid thought. – PieBie May 18 '15 at 15:56
11

It's an over-simplification, but I generally draw the line based on the following:

  • Are they trying to fix something that was previously functional, or get something to work that should work? → Tech support
  • Are they trying to create something related to graphic design? → On-topic

Of course, it's not always that easy. The close text suggests that the question instead be asked on Super User, so the mind-set I try to approach a borderline question is "Would this be appropriate on SU?"

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    Agree. If the question is asking how to use, alter, or change the behavior of an application it's tech support. I'd go one step further and if the question asks how to use an application in basic terms "How to save", "How to export" etc, that's tech support as well. But I will generally answer these, then vote to close. – Scott May 9 '14 at 15:31
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    A lot of the on-the-line questions that get voted-to-close but probably shouldn't (e.g. the examples above) seem to be people looking for workarounds - "I want to do X to Y specification but Z feature doesn't meet Y criteria". They're a bit technical and look a bit like "getting something to work that should work", but they're more about stretching design tools beyond basic features using designers' expertise of making things to exact specifications (whereas tech support is routine installation, maintenance etc). – user56reinstatemonica8 May 13 '14 at 11:02
8

Things like this should be led by who is best to ask.

Imagine you're in an open plan office. To your left there's a design team (us). To your right there's a tech support team (superuser/adobe.com). Which team do you ask?

You'd ask the designers if you want answers based on experience with design tool advanced features and finding workarounds to create something to certain specifications. A tech support person would say "the software is working correctly but this is not in the list of supported features", which wouldn't help.

You'd ask tech support if it's about routine computer use or maintenance: installation, crashes, memory issues, hardware compatibility, "Help my motherboard is on fire", etc etc, because that's in their professional expertise and not in the designers' professional expertise.

So for the examples listed:

  • Exporting OTF: It's about using a design plugin to create a design file to certain specifications: advanced use of font file formats. I'd ask the designers because getting the most out of font file formats is something that some designers do, whereas I'd only expect tech support people to deal with fonts from an installation and licensing point of view.
  • Photoshop copy CSS: It's about working around an issue with a design program to create output to certain specifications. I'd ask the designers because we come up with workarounds for issues like this every day, whereas tech support would simply say "Photoshop is installed correctly but does not support this feature the way you want".

Examples of off topic questions would be things like "I installed Creative Cloud and it keeps endlessly asking me to log in" (Adobe forums) or "I installed a font and it isn't showing up in my list of fonts" (superuser for Windows, Apple.SE for Mac).


As for some people liking these questions and some not: that's what tags are for. If we think this is a real issue, give them a consistent tag like technical workarounds or something, and technical-minded designers who like them can add them to "Favorite Tags" and people who dislike them can add them to "Ignored Tags".

  • This is actually a great answer that encompasses lots my own thoughts and opinions on the matter. Thanks, user#! – Vincent May 19 '15 at 11:49
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    This is actually a great answer. I would only ask.. at what point does turning to the design team mean your position may be in jeopardy due to inability to perform rudimentary tasks? Or, in other words, at what stage, if any, does a question become too basic? – Scott May 21 '15 at 9:07
  • Tough one because there have been many times where a seemingly easy question has yielded surprisingly interesting answers (little-known features, scripts, tricks). I'd say, if it looks boringly easy to you, ignore it and let junior designers answer it. If it looks boringly easy AND lazy, downvote it, ideally with a comment; then let junior designers answer it. I'm not a fan of the 'don't duplicate existing tutorials' argument because we're almost always better than existing tutorials - we rank alternate approaches, we get to the point faster, and we stay up to date via edits and comments. – user56reinstatemonica8 May 21 '15 at 10:09
  • In extremes where answering would require explaining the whole way the software works, it's "too broad", give them a link to something like lynda. But only in extremes. Maybe we should agree a favoured resource for complete beginners? If the junior:senior routine:interesting balance gets skewed, I'm a firm believer that the solution is a) ask more interesting questions and b) the elephant in the room, make sure we're not closing and driving away interesting questions! – user56reinstatemonica8 May 21 '15 at 10:13
5

I think much of the problem lies with Lazy or bad questions being referred to as "tech support"

The "tech support" close reason is an easy go-to if someone lazily asks how to do something in an app. Perhaps adjusting the close reason to the not be strictly tech support but also reflect that the question shows little effort and help files may answer it, may help...

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    Questions with little effort shouldn't be closed, provided they are on-topic. They should get a downvote or two and a comment that urges the Akser to put more effort in it. – Vincent May 19 '15 at 11:51
  • And that's how I handle them, with a down vote. I don't comment because I'm tired of the backlash most of the time. Point is... I down vote then see it a day later in the review queue as having close votes. – Scott May 19 '15 at 16:42
1

First off, I'm not opposed to these questions. Just trying to clarify where we as a community draw the line.

I'm honestly not sure for myself but believe its along the lines of ---

  • If Operating System is involved, then Tech Support
  • If printing issue is involved but looks fine in software, then Tech Support
  • If hardware including RAM is involved, then Tech Support

I certainly am not opposed to any software questions about Graphic Design. If anything I'm in favor of them. I'm also in favor of ones that aren't Adobe but still software related. Processing, Anime Studio, Flash, and yes this IndyFont question which for some reason was put on hold:

How to OTF export the font I created in Indyfont?

It seems entirely on topic to me. Not all that different from this question also about bringing things into InDesign... except this one has received no close votes, and two answers: OpenOffice table data merge into Indesign table (single page)

-1

If the number of questions about software is large enough, should we propose another site in Area 51? Another Super User for graphic design?

Self experience: I'm not a designer, I work in science industry. I use Linux and I love to contribute to FOSS, so the tools I mostly use are Scribus, Inkscape and ImageMagick. As you can see, there are not much people can help me in this site. I ask a lot of question in the support forum, but I don't like forum because it's very hard for you to extract information even when you have googled be for asking, and it depends on the authors mostly. I wish there is a site for graphic FOSS.

Stack Exchange Q&A site proposal: Graphic Design Software Support

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