Okay this question: Critique: How can I make the imagery used for these Dessert e-book covers more appetizing?

Clearly I think the question should be closed and it should not have been reopened. But don't think I'm gathering villagers with pitchforks or anything. I'm not.

Originally placed on hold because it asked no specific questions. It just wanted to know "Which looks more appetizing" -- purely first person opinion-based and unanswerable.

After a few editing attempts the question got no more targeted, no more defined and simply got more "wordy". He/she essentially kept asking the same opinion-based, broad, question which just isn't a good question and does not meet the critique guidelines.

A user asked in chat that the question be reopened because "she wanted to answer it."

So, okay... but should it have been reopened?

The answers provided are really just opinion as well.

Now, there's a lot to be said for an educated, experienced opinion. But is it helpful for this question?

The user completely reworked the entire design which indicates to me... they aren't settled on anything and are seeking users to essentially "design by proxy".

I'd caution against allowing this to happen too often. It sends a poor message that these types of "hey, how's this look" questions are acceptable and simply need to be very, very wordy to slip by.

I just don't think it's right for mods to reopen a question just because a user asks them to when the community has already decided it should be closed.

Not faulting anyone. Just voicing concern.

  • 1
    I voted to keep it closed.. Shows that in the history.
    – user9447
    Commented Sep 18, 2015 at 19:33
  • yeah I didn't name any names.. but they know who they are :)
    – Scott
    Commented Sep 18, 2015 at 19:34
  • @Darth_Vader The porridge is too hot, no the porridge is too cold.
    – Ryan
    Commented Sep 18, 2015 at 19:39
  • I wanted rice krispies...
    – user9447
    Commented Sep 18, 2015 at 19:40
  • 2
    Everyone knows there's no other dessert except cheesecake.
    – Scott
    Commented Sep 18, 2015 at 19:53
  • Hmm keylime pie and creme brulee might disagree with your cheesecake assertion.
    – Ryan
    Commented Sep 18, 2015 at 20:05
  • 1
    I've rearranged it a lot, but it's really too long winded. If the update were in a new question it would be a decent length.
    – Dom
    Commented Sep 19, 2015 at 1:21
  • I agree @Dom and shut it down as a result. There's only 3 current questions and of those only 1 is a critique question.
    – Ryan
    Commented Sep 19, 2015 at 3:08
  • 1
    I asked for it to be reopened because it had other reopen votes and "feedback on the good and bad points of the cover" is a valid critique question (I read it as "I know something is missing but I don't know what yet"). It then got quite broad, but I don't think a question with 7 votes should be On Hold.
    – Yisela
    Commented Sep 22, 2015 at 8:33
  • It got the 7 votes after it was reopened @Yisela :) And admittedly I don't watch vote counts. If an off-topic question gets 150 upvotes.. it's still off-topic. And really. the question had only one, really vague, purely opinion-based, answer in several days before it was originally closed. And after being reopened it only got an answer from you, then from Dom after I posted this meta question... so it's not like there was a flood of users waiting to answer.
    – Scott
    Commented Sep 23, 2015 at 3:33

2 Answers 2


I don't see how the 2 first questions from the guideline "on-topic" are better than the one you mention in your post.

Seeking advice to improve the design of my minimalist calculator

("Was told it's doesn't look good. What do you suggest?")

How should ascenders and descenders that share the same space be handled?

("I don't like X, suggestions?")

There's 4 precise points the OP asked advice on; questions in the guidelines are in fact more vague than the low carb one.

Is there anything I can do make them stand out more or when viewed at thumbnail size?

Is there anything I can do make them more appealing to someone who is in the market for buying a dessert book?

Do I need to add anything to make the benefits of the book clearer, or will doing this distract from the appeal of the images?

Is there anything I need to add to make the book feel like a trustworthy resource on its topic?

I voted to re-open it, there's good answers and designing food related products isn't always easy; it has some specific requirements. The answers are very practical for anyone doing food covers. I don't see any problem in the question and the fact it was re-opened.

And as for the covers that were changed a lot on the second batch of proofs, well the OP used good advice, applied them and the covers are beautiful. That means everybody did a great job to help on that one. The designer did an awesome job as well.

  • 1
    Those new covers are as far from showing "low carb desserts' as can be. :) And I disagree there are not "good" answers.. there are opinions posted as answers. The only useful tidbit was Yisela pointing out that good photos are more about staging that the actual "food".
    – Scott
    Commented Sep 18, 2015 at 23:24
  • 3
    I'd also point out that the questions you linked to were prior to the critique guidelines being implemented and are the exact reason that discussion took place. Those two questions are equally bad questions asking for opinion, not answers. This just furthers my point.. the more bad questions are permitted the more users will link to them saying "see.. this one stayed open." This is not a forum... purely opinion-based questions are off topic, the same as at any stack exchange site.
    – Scott
    Commented Sep 18, 2015 at 23:26
  • Also.... as was mentioned in chat today.. the examples in the guidelines could use updating.
    – Scott
    Commented Sep 19, 2015 at 5:02
  • 1
    @Scott Then don't give bad examples of questions as guidelines and change them, it's very confusing. You seem to have enough knowledge about good critique questions to do that update. Yes the deserts shown are way more low carb; low carb doesn't mean no carb at all. I've looked at all the critiques questions, they are all... questionable. Maybe the critiques questions don't belong at all to this stack actually, the moderation of these questions is often based on opinion. That tag is full of irony. One thing: Question that interest people have more views, and this one does in a short time.
    – go-junta
    Commented Sep 19, 2015 at 10:25
  • 1
    Or maybe we haven't found a perfect example of critique to present yet @go-meek.
    – Dom
    Commented Sep 19, 2015 at 13:44
  • 1
    @Dom Yeah, that's possible. I suspect it's because it's very controversial to have a category "critique" on a site that rejects opinions! Not an easy task, not sure it's worth the efforts from all sides (mods, users, OP who must feel a bit confused heh.) That's an opinion, of course. Just my 2 cents, I think it's more interesting and useful to read general critiques questions like "what colors & images to use for food projects" than "is my title too low on the layout." The last one is totally useless and too specific, and can never be used a good "duplicate" example. The first one can.
    – go-junta
    Commented Sep 19, 2015 at 17:18

Given these 3 current questions

  1. Do pumpkins carry an intrinsic association with Halloween, or is there a way to avoid the Halloween theme while using them?

In these new covers, I have stripped back the design to allow the photo to have more impact.

  1. Are the images shining through the design more now?

I have gone for images that have rich textures to trigger an emotional response.

  1. Do these images work for conveying low-carb recipes, or are they lacking in another area?

I have closed the Question as Primarily Opinion Based.

Do Pumpkins carry an intrinsic association with Halloween.

For one that's opinion based for the very same reason Go-Meek joked about waffles as dessert foods. Its completely dependent on culture. But even looking past that it could be an interesting question on its own and really has no place in the critique.

Are the images shining through the design more now?

Entirely opinion based and subjective. If anything I'd say the originals "shined through more" they just also looked less decadent as far as desserts go.

Do these images work for conveying low-carb recipes

This is the only part of the question that in my opinion meets our critique guidelines. If he or someone else wants to edit it to be the only question there than I'd say we could reopen it.

  • 1
    I didn't want to chop away too much off it autocratically, but I do agree with all of this. I was thinking the pumpkin one would be good as a standalone question when I was editing. I also think the first question from the original question is on topic, while the other two are very difficult to answer and we can only really speculate on them. I would prefer if the update was a new question linking to this one as it's more tidy and easier to follow. Also just realised the title question should be asked explicitly. It's quite a bit of work to fix, and only a mod could separate it into two(?).
    – Dom
    Commented Sep 19, 2015 at 11:00
  • 1
    ^Totally agree with @Dom. Maybe critique questions shouldn't be updated in that way. It ends up looking like a teamwork hand-holding kind of questions and it feels like mentoring. After the first set of answers, the designer should already have enough info to finish his/her project, or post a new question. These updates could even be asked in the Ink Spot chat actually. I think most critiques questions should be asked in the chat; maybe create a chat room for this? That would be one thing you don't really need to manage and it would be more lead back.
    – go-junta
    Commented Sep 19, 2015 at 17:25
  • @go-meek we tried a critique chatroom. Could be worth looking at again. I do agree the edits shouldn't be in the question anymore but that gets tricky because if memory serves we get people trying to close as duplicate when that happens. I've things sure a meta discussion is needed
    – Ryan
    Commented Sep 19, 2015 at 17:28
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    Maybe a voluntary critique sandbox on meta where people pre-post their critiques for help with formulating an on topic question would have some value.
    – Dom
    Commented Sep 19, 2015 at 22:24

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