19

I've stopped contributing to the site as much as I was previously as I could have found myself writing incredibly specific tutorials for individual people. I'm not sure that's right. If I wanted to contribute tutorials, there are countless website I'm sure would take them off my hands.

I came onto the meta site as I saw a large number of closed questions, and a question about this was at the top. However, in writing about that, I've found myself with more questions than answers.

There are a lot of 'What's the font?' questions - why not go to MyFont's 'WhatTheFont' service? There are a lot of 'How do I do [this effect] in [software package]' questions. Why not look for an already existing tutorial on it? There's bound to be one, or, better still, play about the the software and learn by experimentation, that way you'll remember it.

Closing questions is probably correct, but perhaps the descriptions as to why they've been closed need to be improved. It puts users off and a site is nothing without users, no matter how 'beginner' they are.

There needs to be more of an emphasis on 'I want to achieve good results in [blah], how have you done this' questions, so people can benefit from more experienced users' experiences.

Sorry if I've been a bit rambling in this, perhaps my question is lacking direction as well! I hope you understand my points and frustrations, though.

To finish on a clear, answerable, question though. Where is this site going? Is it a tutorial request site? A font identification site? A place where graphic designers who, when faced with a practical question as to how to achieve a result when designing an advertising flayer, for example, can turn to ask other people how they went about it and why the results were good/disappointing or so on?

  • 5
    "a site is nothing without users, no matter how 'beginner' they are" this isn't really true per graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/questions/how-to-ask-beta -- a slew of tedious, do-my-work-for-me questions from beginners is the quickest way to destroy a community, too.. if you ask questions but nobody is around to answer them because they were bored out of their minds long ago, what was accomplished? There is a balance to be struck here, not all questions can be categorically allowed all the time. – Jeff Atwood Aug 12 '11 at 3:59
  • Right. So we should all just Google it. After all, Almost all answers can be found there. – Jawad Apr 2 '12 at 16:39
  • 2
    More theory less practice? – naught101 Aug 9 '12 at 0:59
7

I'll just run down the specific points...

There are a lot of 'What's the font?' questions - why not go to MyFont's 'WhatTheFont' service? There are a lot of 'How do I do [this effect] in [software package]' questions. Why not look for an already existing tutorial on it? There's bound to be one, or, better still, play about the the software and learn by experimentation, that way you'll remember it.

A fair number of users have raised the exact same concerns, as you will see in the other questions on the meta.

Closing questions is probably correct, but perhaps the descriptions as to why they've been closed need to be improved. It puts users off and a site is nothing without users, no matter how 'beginner' they are.

I completely agree that the reasons for closure need to be better explained. I would prefer to see them migrated to a site where they have a chance of getting answered.

There needs to be more of an emphasis on 'I want to achieve good results in [blah], how have you done this' questions, so people can benefit from more experienced users' experiences.

Agreed.

To finish on a clear, answerable, question though. Where is this site going? Is it a tutorial request site? A font identification site? A place where graphic designers who, when faced with a practical question as to how to achieve a result when designing an advertising flayer, for example, can turn to ask other people how they went about it and why the results were good/disappointing or so on?

My conclusions based on user feedback comes down to the simple principle of focusing graphic arts theory and history. Specifically, "why" we do what we do and not necessarily the "how" in logo design, fonts & typography, visual communication. The FAQ on the main has been updated just this morning to reflect this change in content from being simply all-inclusive.

Beyond that...

  • Specific design reviews have been allowed, those looking for feedback about specific characteristics of a design rather than a simple "What do you think?", and they should continue to be allowed.
  • Font identification question really ought to be on the way out lest we becoming a living catalog of fonts, and that goes away from the Stack Exchange mission.
  • "when faced with a practical question as to how to achieve a result when designing" can go both ways—how vs. why—but I think quickly leans more towards the "how" and goes against the currently growing consensus.
  • Some great points, and a positive read, too. My 'how to achieve a result' was more of a why, really. Why did this work for that project, kind of thing. Like putting calls to action at the top and bottom of e-mails and flyers. Many thanks for such a thoughtful answer. – Scott Brown Aug 11 '11 at 19:37
5

Most of the people, and I am one of them, are programmers and web-developers, directed here from SO etc. We want to get better in designing, but do now have a good starting point. Most of the time, we do not know the names of certain designs we want to create, or are overwhelmed by the large amount of resources there are online. When I do a google search on photoshop tutorials, I get websites with 80+ effects, and none of them are what I have in mind. Good designers and developers can easily identify what is asked, and can redirect the person.

I never heard of WhatTheFont, it's a nice website. Without actually asking the question I learned a new thing here, I think that's what it is about.

But I think while the website grows, the content will get better. When all the basic question are answered, the question and answers will get better and better. Closing the question or down voting will not really help you, or the person asking.

On a side note, what kind of question are you designers looking for. I do not really understand what the problem is. I do not know a lot about designing, I was just redirected here, and I get attacked for asking questions. If anyone can explain the type of questions that can be asked, than more people know what graphic design is about.

  • Glad you like WhatTheFont, comes in very useful. Although this kind of makes my point as if you search for 'font identification' in Google, it's number two on the list. Glad I've helped though! – Scott Brown Aug 11 '11 at 19:39
  • 1
    see the three guidelines here graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/questions/how-to-ask-beta specifically "Think like an expert" – Jeff Atwood Aug 12 '11 at 3:55
  • "How can I automatically determine fonts used in an image or PDF?" is No 2 in the FAQ; the "font-identification" tag's description is "For use when automatic identification services such as "WhatTheFont.com" haven't provided the answer" – e100 Aug 19 '11 at 13:57
  • 2
    This is a great point. The site specifically invites design beginners. Many will be from other SE sites who are professionals in other fields being pushed willy-nilly into design, who have as many "how do I" as "why do I" questions that are sensible and valid. The ever-present problem is that what is a simple question to an expert may be baffle an intermediate user. Even in professional design circles, questions of "how" are more common than "why." We're swimming in theory. We need ways to realize ideas, and those are mostly in the realm of good technique and good resources. – Alan Gilbertson Sep 9 '11 at 8:55
5

I think the answer is within Saif Bechan's answer above: there is a high proportion of basic questions and a low proportion of great questions on burning issues in design, because there isn't yet a pathway for attracting great designers.

We've got a great pathway for attracting keen beginners with programming backgrounds, like Saif. These guys are and should be an important part of the community - they have complementary skills and insights, they often contribute awesomely useful scripts which can be like gold dust to busy designers, and I hope they learn a lot here.

They'll always ask basic questions here, just like designers who dabble in programming (like me) will always ask basic web development questions on Stack Overflow. They're definitely not the problem. The problem is, there's too few designers here to balance it out, and no particularly strong pathway for designers to discover this site.

Take me for example - a designer first and programmer second, and yet I discovered this site via the programming site Stack Overflow which I often use, not via a design site, after idly browsing a list of stack exchange sites. ("There's a stack exchange site on being Jewish? Oh, wow, Graphic Design!"). If I wasn't an occasional user of Stack Overflow, I wouldn't be here. This site has no visibilty or profile in the design world, which is a shame, because it has oddles of potential.

The key to getting great questions and great discussions won't be blocking the less great ones, it'll be finding a way to attract great people. Mediocre questions aren't the problem, they'll harmlessly sink to the bottom and occasionally they'll surprise us. It's the lack of great stuff floating to the top that is the problem.

Part of the issue is designers don't debug like programmers do. There's no direct equivalent of typing an error message into google then landing at Stack Overflow and learning something (beyond mundane stuff like "How to clear guides in InDesign" or core techniques). Designers instead follow things they identify as sources of inspiration and of tips and tricks they never knew they didn't know. If this site is going to succeed, it has to reach out to that mentality: promoting the good stuff, and offering up more quality relavent answers to people who follow the site alongside the unanswered questions.

Adobe CS6 is coming out soon. It'll be a great opportunity for a community like this with a valuable pool of technical-minded people and an excellent system for allowing ideas to build on ideas to prove its worth and win followers.

4

"why not go to "

Is a valid question for most any site. SE becoming more and more fragmented isn't helping with that, either.

The answer to the question "why not go to [x] to look for answers to questions" is all about the community. Do we have that community here in GD yet? Probably not. Should folks stick around to make it work? That'd be great...but certainly wouldn't blame anyone for throwing in the towel.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .