This is the reason for closing questions as "not constructive":

We expect answers to generally involve facts, references, or specific expertise; this question will likely solicit opinion, debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion.

I disagree in the context of GD.SE, let me explain why:

  • We expect answers to generally involve facts, references, or specific expertise: In SO this all boiled down to "show us where the code gives an error" and "ask for the fix"; but here on GD, what does it mean? Where's the "facts" in art as a whole? References are understandable (i.e., a link or image relative to something that shows graphically what you mean), but "specific expertise" is simply inconsistent with the concept of "beginners welcome".
  • this question will likely solicit opinion, That's the point of a question here IMO.
  • debate: Of course, I may not agree with art as much as I do agree about code documentation.
  • arguments: Yes please, the more arguments the more constructive it is for me.
  • polling: I agree polls are not a good format here, from a user's point of view.
  • extended discussion: So what, the servers should handle it, right?

I believe the term "not-constructive" does not fit verbatim here. For example, Writers now welcomes even critique questions.

  • 2
    You're conflating art with graphic design. They are not the same thing. Study up a little on what GD is (as a technical discipline) and you won't find the FAQ so confusing. Jan 18, 2012 at 19:02
  • Definition aside, you agree that polls are not a good format, yet your closed question is pretty much a poll...?
    – Farray
    Jan 18, 2012 at 21:22
  • @Farray It is not strictly a poll. If somebody said something that was not part of my considered options, it would be good input too. I think of a poll more as "multiple answers", that's what I think is not a good format for the users (as I believe the more open discussions are, the better). There are 4 links to questions similar to mine but not closed, here and it makes me feel I was treated differently because the rules are more ambiguous here. They also look "not constructive" as per the definition. Jan 19, 2012 at 3:00
  • 1
    @AlanGilbertson I don't think you can design graphics in strictly technical ways, without the subjectiveness of a little art. Some of the questions not closed are quite argumentative, debatable and subjective, for example this one, and I have nothing against it, I just want this site to be more open to such discussion - I don't think there's much use in strictly technical design questions. I would support the site by answering many. I also want the site to be fair. Jan 19, 2012 at 3:12

1 Answer 1


I appreciate that you want to probe the definition of "not constructive". Here are my thoughts to your points:

"specific expertise" is simply inconsistent with the concept of "beginners welcome".

Not true. Beginners who ask "how do I fix specific problem X?" are generally welcome. Beginners who ask simply "how do I make a good design?" are not as well received. This is a good distinction.

opinion ... That's the point of a question here IMO.

Not really. As Alan mentions, Art is different from Graphic Design. If a well-crafted design catches your eye and "just looks right", it probably isn't because the creator just got lucky. There are reasons why each element is positioned where it is, the size, the color, etc. This isn't simply based on opinion, there are studies suggesting the proper treatment for each element of the composition.

This applies to the other bullet points about debate, arguments, and extended discussion. A long list of answers with unsubstantiated opinions does not provide value is not constructive.

On to the comments...

I hear what you're saying about inconsistent moderation. It's been brought up before.. The inescapable truth is that mods are human and there will always be some variation. This is further compounded by this site still seeming to be "finding itself". This isn't unique to GD - people complain about this on MSO as well.

It is unfortunate you feel that you were treated "differently". The other questions aren't really like yours. They were soliciting suggestions without a hard answer, but they provoked discussion about communication. Likewise, your question may have remained open if it had been more along the lines of "how can I effectively communicate SVG in a file icon?" However...

"So my question is, if you use/used SVG, would you associate Inkscape to SVG?"

That was the crux of your question. That is a poll. You acknowledge that poll questions aren't good. This should be fairly cut and dried...

  • Ah, I see. I understand now (I think), in order for a question here to be on the subjective end of things but not in the poll territory it must not ask anything like "is this or that better?", but instead, "what is better for this?", is that correct? Jan 19, 2012 at 11:14
  • @CamiloMartin Give this guy a read: blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/09/good-subjective-bad-subjective
    – Farray
    Jan 19, 2012 at 17:08
  • Very informative read, I think I understand now why some subjective questions are allowed and why some are not (and hopefully how to ask one). Jan 20, 2012 at 0:15

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