As a sequel to my earlier question Changing how we handle low-effort and tutorial-on-demand questions, I'd like to ask some opinions on the current state of the site.

In my humble opinion, low-effort tutorial-on-demand questions are swamping the site. Personally, I am very much demotivated by these lazy and hastily written requests usually coming down to 'how do I make this effect in Program X'.

In response to the question linked above, there was a consensus to downvote and comment on questions like these. Seemed like a good idea at the time, but right now, I see a few problems.

  • Most of these questions are posted by first-time users. Downvoting might not be the most welcoming action to a new user. That is regardless of whether these might be 'hit-and-run' requests (the user gets their answer and never returns to the site).
  • There are lots of users, some of them of moderate to (very) high reputation, who insist on answering as much of these questions as possible, no matter how vague or badly worded they are. I understand the spirit of wanting to help people, but to me, it doesn't seem like a good idea to keep on enabling help vampires. As it has been formulated in chat recently, it is as if 'one parent forbids a kid from eating candy and the other keeps on giving said candy every day'.
  • Downvotes are not enough an incentive to stop these kinds of questions. They still get asked, they still get answered, and people even still reap a lot of reputation from the answers.

What I want to know now is, again: do we want tutorial-on-demand questions on this site?

  • 6
    Sometimes they don't even say "in program x"
    – Welz
    Commented Feb 15, 2018 at 12:50
  • 4
    Your third point is a problem all over the entire Stack. On the programmers' section Stack Overflow it is known as "gimme teh codez" – and it remains popular because people do exactly that.
    – Jongware
    Commented Feb 15, 2018 at 15:27
  • 1
    Vincent, there people downvoting the YES and NO options. I'm trying really hard not to laugh.
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Feb 16, 2018 at 15:49
  • 2
    @BillyKerr better laugh about it than anything else. They were meant to elicit discussion, and I think that succeeded.
    – Vincent
    Commented Feb 16, 2018 at 16:12

17 Answers 17


Yes, allow them.

If you think it's a bad question, downvote it. If you think it's off-topic, vote to close it. If you don't like them, ignore them. I'm not going to defend low-effort questions, but I do not think they should be deemed off-topic. Here's why:

High effort answers have much greater value than high effort questions.

I don't have the time to participate in the moderating, asking, or answering of questions in this community anymore, but when I did, I didn't really care how much effort someone put into the question.

The value of Stack Exchange sites is owed in greater part to the answers than the questions.

If I'm trying to search for the solution to a problem myself and come across an SE post that helps me, I don't care how much effort has been put in to the question. As long as it clearly and concisely describes the problem (so I can identify that it's the same thing I'm trying to solve), I just gloss over it and look for the answer that helps me.

Forbidding a question from being asked is a lot "meaner" than a downvote

You say that "downvoting might not be the most welcoming action to a new user", but I'm I don't follow the logic of completely abolishing the question instead. How is that more welcoming?

They drive traffic to the site

Like it or not, these types of questions are a necessary evil to bring new users to the site. New users are not going to understand how the Stack Exchange model works. They're going to ask low effort questions because they don't know any better. Forgive them and help them learn.

It's too much to moderate

"Low effort" is subjective. People are always going to disagree on what qualifies as "enough" effort. The review queue numbers will grow even higher than they already are.

They help the community grow

LateralTerminal makes a very good point - they give newer members an opportunity to gain some rep and feel a part of the community. There is a sense of pride and accomplishment when you're new and you get upvotes on an answer you posted. This inevitably encourages people to stick around and become a part of the community. Discouraging these questions will hinder that growth.

  • 2
    If I could upvote this a few more times I would. The only answer here I agree with.
    – Ryan
    Commented Feb 17, 2018 at 0:32
  • 2
    While I agree with the reasoning, looking at how things actually work I still think the main issue is one of audience. The price for being an Adobe forum is that users who want to discuss actual design topics eventually leave, which is fine, but needs to be recognized.
    – Yisela
    Commented Feb 18, 2018 at 15:23
  • @Yisela I'd be interested in your answer (and everyone's answer) to my meta question.
    – Ryan
    Commented Feb 19, 2018 at 1:16

I'm really glad this question has opened up the discussion and to see so many participating. I've intentionally waited a long time to answer because the longer I think about this, the more ambivalent I get. At first I was as annoyed as @Vincent by these lazy questions. If I saw one I could not help but roll my eyes and sigh. But after spending some time thinking about this, I think I've changed my POV. So below are my arguments for YES and NO. I'm aware that some of these arguments have been given before by other members.


1. There's no such thing as a bad question.

A question can seem like stupid/irrelevant/basic/lazy/... to you. To the poster, it might be an insurmountable problem. Every answer is a chance to teach, even if it is basic things. And in the future, this question and answer can be used to dupe-hammer similars.

2. It's a rep source for a reason.

This site, and the SE Network as a whole, is based on a single currency: reputation. It rewards desired behaviour and punishes undesired behaviour. If I'm rewarded for giving answers, why is it a bad thing to do?

3. Good answers can make a bad question irrelevant.

A good, substantiated, well-written, well-researched and clear answer may become a reference in itself, regardless of the quality of the question.

4. If I know how to help, why shouldn't I?

If someone has a problem, and I know how to help, and I'm willing to help, why shouldn't I? Wouldn't I be a real dick if I didn't?

5. Very little 'Help Vampires' come here meaning harm.

Most are well-intentioned people that just don't know any better. Either they don't know our policy, or they are really just clueless on how to even start a certain thing they want to accomplish. They had an idea or they saw something somewhere and they want to Do The Thing™. Maybe they didn't use Google or their search didn't yield results because they don't know the right terms. Coming down on them with downvotes and close votes just makes this community seem toxic and defensive, and may be harmful in the long run.

6. They are the vast majority.

Simple how-to and style-ID questions are the vast majority on this site, and always have been. If we could somehow create a super-fast delete system or a gated system and prevent these questions from appearing on the site, I'm afraid there won't be much left. And what's attractive about a Q&A community that doesn't have a steady Q&A supply?

7. There is no solution to this "problem".

I think this question from 2012, and this one from 2011, and this SO Blog post from 2011 and this Meta from 2009 are proof enough that lazy questions and help vampires are a constant on every forum and help community, and we are no exception. No matter how much we board up the windows, they'll still find a way to get in.


1. They bring us down.

They are harmful to the overall quality of the site. This site is meant as a resource for graphic design professionals, not for easy-to-google, click-this-button tutorials.

2. It turns away regulars.

Regular contributors can get really sick of answering the same question asked slightly different or asking people for more information on what hey want exactly. This can cause a drain of high-quality members and leave a self-serving community of easy rep hunters and tutorial seekers.

3. If we allow one, we allow them all.

New users can use already answered tutorial-on-demand questions to justify their asking a similar question. This in turn might just trigger even more TOD questions until there is nothing else left. They will become the noise that drowns out the signal.

4. Why should we do what others are already doing?

There are plenty of tutorial sites and Adobe help centers out there. Those mostly do a pretty good job. So why should we be just another one of those. Why can't we be the place for the Hard Questions?

5. They clog up the queues.

A lot of these questions are getting flagged as low quality, low effort, tech support, font-id, etc. The close and open queues are getting longer and longer, and fewer people are motivated to go through them. Eventually, the whole system will break down.

All in all I must say I'm leaning more towards the Yes side of things. I think reacting to a perceived threat by boarding up the windows is the wrong thing to do. I appreciate the sentiment of wanting to become The Reference for the Hardened Professional, but I think that's just not realistic given the SE model. You can spend hours and hours on SO Meta and SE Meta reading about help vampires, lazy questions, dupes, enablers, newbies, rewards and punishments (I know I did).

Fact of the matter is: you cannot solve this problem, it's impossible to draw the line between questions that are of too low a quality and questions that aren't. Which in turn makes it impossible to reward good behaviour and/or punish bad behaviour safe from on a case-by-case basis. And that's exactly how the system works now.

  • 6
    Really great post, definitely changing my view a bit!
    – Welz
    Commented Feb 19, 2018 at 13:10
  • 1
    Thank you. I've been working on it for four days :D
    – PieBie Mod
    Commented Feb 19, 2018 at 13:12
  • You might consider posting this as two separate answers...
    – Jongware
    Commented Feb 23, 2018 at 14:45

I think the main point that was missed, is that the real problem (IMHO) doesn't lie in the asker, but rather in those who answer.

Obviously the low quality questions are, well, low quality and annoying, but there really isn't anything that we can do about it.

I think that when a new user asks a question who isn't familiar with our site structure and a bunch of high rep users posts answers right away, it makes them think that this sort of behavior is ok, when in fact it isn't.

As I mentioned in chat:

It's like a parent telling their child not to eat candy (because it's bad for their teeth), and then the other parent giving them candy every day.

In our case, we are trying to increase the quality of posts on our site, but (active) users are enabling these people and almost encouraging them to post more LQ questions

I've seen this first hand with users who have about 10 posts all with a score of <0 and a bunch of answers. the reason they have so many? they get answered, so they don't care if it's a quality question or not.

  • 1
    Thanks for drawing more attention to this point. It's in my third bullet, but I think it is an important part of the problem, if not its centre.
    – Vincent
    Commented Feb 15, 2018 at 13:10
  • The fact that we've come to a consensus on Meta does not mean every user is aware of this consensus/stance/policy. Can you blame the parent giving the child candy if the parent in question does not know candy is bad for children and nobody told them? (OK, maybe I'm taking the analogy a bit far here, but I think the point is made.)
    – PieBie Mod
    Commented Feb 15, 2018 at 14:35
  • 1
    @PieBie The point of this discussion is to draw attention to that--provided the answer to the question I'm asking now turns out to be 'No'.
    – Vincent
    Commented Feb 15, 2018 at 15:33

Thanks for directing me to this conversation Vincent, I think this is a very important topic.

In general - Yes.

My opinion is we definitely shouldn't be giving full on-demand tutorials on this site UNLESS the user has shown a concentrated effort to achieve what they are asking. I'm not opposed to helping a user out with getting over specific hurdles they may be encountering in their process - which I believe is within the scope of the site guidelines. A couple of thoughts on this:

There is a wide range of skill levels present on GD.SE

A perceived "lazy" question might very well just be an inexperienced question. My thought is, if we answer some of the low hanging fruit it might filter out duplicate questions in the future and save us the headache later, assuming that someone with the same issue will find it before asking a question of their own. Personally, I put a lot of trust in the moderators on this site so if I see a comment asking a user to refine an question, I'll typically leave it until it's revised. That being said, a truly "lazy" question is obviously one that's not getting the effort from the original poster to improve the post. These questions most definitely do not warrant an answer.

Only answer what the question is asking

No need to elaborate here. Vincent kindly directed me to this conversation via this post which asks for a style identification and a program to achieve this. You'll see that I answer the question and direct the user to a tutorial and a program as requested. I am aware that I threw an extra, unnecessary, link in the answer - thus breaking my own rule - but I feel like there are many opportunities on this site to give a little historical context of graphic design concepts. This is a question I don't consider "lazy", but rather the user didn't have the proper knowledge or vocabulary necessary to find the answer on their own. Now, hopefully they do and they in turn can share what they've learned on GD.SE with their peers.

Sometimes a full, on-demand tutorial is necessary

Best practices just exist. If a user is flat-out going down the wrong path from the start, it's not a bad idea to set them in the right direction by starting from scratch. There are many "tricks-of-the-trade" I've learned over the years specifically this way.

Beginners should be welcome here

To address the question from Billy Kerr's answer, we should be helping true beginners if they're struggling. It takes a certain amount of courage to ask for help and getting shut down will only discourage these beginners from seeking help to improve. I think back to when I was a beginner and feel fortunate that I had a strong community of fellow designers and mentors who were honest, patient, and encouraging enough to cultivate an environment to grow as an illustrator and designer. I'd feel remiss if I didn't pay it forward. As stated earlier, we just need to decide if a true effort has been given on a case by case basis.

  • 3
    You have some very good points there. You are absolutely correct, sometimes the beginner or novice is totally clueless and wouldn't even know where to begin/what to try. Sometimes they are embarrassed to ask. Punishing them for not knowing stuff is unfair. However there should be a balance I think, and OPs should be encouraged to improve their questions, but as for discouraging others from helping/answering even if it does end up being a tutorial, I think that's a step too far.
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Feb 16, 2018 at 15:24
  • A careful upvote for this careful answer. Yes but It Depends – if only on the actual wording of a question: "How would I do this?" vs. "Do this for me and send me teh filez" (which, alas, is not unheard of). But I am afraid that as soon as we adopt that as a rule, people will add "the required magic words", just as they do now with "I tried all font identification tools".
    – Jongware
    Commented Feb 16, 2018 at 15:25
  • 1
    @usr2564301 - but of course. There is no room for being rude, or demanding things.
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Feb 16, 2018 at 15:28
  • Great points, tutorials I have no problem with. "Do this for me and send me teh filez" is a whole separate issue, not to mention extremely unethical. Questions that infer this should be closed immediately. I didn't think these were the type of questions we were talking about here. Commented Feb 16, 2018 at 15:30
  • @BillyKerr: there are also non-rude ways of asking someone to do work for free. That does not mean it's on topic. But the On Topic guide also mentions not to ask for "extended tutorials – instead focus on a single aspect that you are struggling with", which is IMO exactly the wording we are looking for here, and questions which do ask (literally or implied) can be safely closed as "Too broad".
    – Jongware
    Commented Feb 16, 2018 at 15:31
  • 3
    @usr2564301 - yes, but that's another issue. Asking for free work is still somewhat rude regardless of how nicely they ask for it. I'm more concerned that we might chase away beginners/novices altogether. I think that GDSE has been welcoming to such people, and I want to see that continue.
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Feb 16, 2018 at 15:41
  • 2
    Beginners should be welcome however we also shouldn't be offering free work to individuals that are too lazy to show what they've tried. We should be proud of the site and offering spec work is a slap in the face to the design community
    – user9447
    Commented Feb 16, 2018 at 20:18
  • 1
    There seems to be a lot of concern regarding spec work that has spawned from this conversation. Can't say I've run into this being a problem on this site but it seems like there might be a valid conversation that needs to be had based on the responses in this thread. Needless to say, people asking for free work is unethical and would be a much larger problem if this site was known as a place where one could get it. My thought is there's a pretty clear line between asking for help on a technique vs. asking for someone to complete their assignment. Commented Feb 19, 2018 at 13:49

I know that some of these questions are annoying, and yes I think requiring some effort would be best.

However, sometimes these come from absolute raw beginners (who may be genuine or not).

Do we want to be welcoming to beginners? Is it OK to answer with a shove in the right direction, short of a full-blown tutorial? Is there no middle ground perhaps, or do we just not answer at all?

I'm torn between the choices to be honest. I don't mind helping beginners if I can work out what they are actually asking (which is often virtually impossible). But if I can push them in the right direction, then I think such answers are valid.

I try to not answer with full-blown tutorials, but I admit sometimes I can get a little carried away in that direction. I think that most of us are probably on GDSE out of a desire to be helpful, or to learn new things ourselves. Getting additional rep from being a little overly altruistic surely isn't quite a sin.

EDIT: Having thought about this for a while, I've now decided to vote YES to the above. However, I agree there is an issue with lazy questions, but I feel actively discouraging people from answering them is perhaps a bit too extreme. After all, no one is being forced to answer questions.

  • So you say a user has two equally valid options: try something first and then post, or post straight away and go sit on his hands. Guess which will be the most popular.
    – Jongware
    Commented Feb 16, 2018 at 15:02
  • @usr2564301 - hmm, well that's up to the person posting the question. But yes, they will probably post a crappy question at first, and they may indeed sit on their hands, not improve it, and not add more details, or reply to comments asking for clarity. However, as beginners/novices, they might not have a clue how do do that, or even where to begin. Do we just stop answering beginner questions, because the beginner is generally clueless? Is that really fair?
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Feb 16, 2018 at 15:14

Based on the views of this question as well as Why do how-to requests bother you? as well as countless older meta discussions and conversations there seems to be one specific problem that some have:

The quantity of "Tutorial on Demand" questions appears to be outweighing the quantity of theory and conceptual questions.

There are really only two ways to fix this:

  • Reduction of the tutorial on demand questions
  • Increase of the theory questions

This question is largely my view and will continue to be: I'm struggling to figure out why people vote the way they do regarding Opinion / Too Broad as well as the slightly dated but also relevant A Critique, a Dupe and a Tech Support walk into a bar

My own conclusions:

Every so often we get an influx of crap questions. Specifically, "How do I make this? ((Picture))" and they should be hammered shut.

However, some seem to be complaining over reasons that make no sense to me. I don't consider these spec work, most of the time the person doesn't get a working file or even an answer that uses their exact requirements.

I don't consider an existence of other tutorial sites to be reason for us to not allow them either.

And finally, I don't consider quantity of them to be problematic. Let's imagine for an instance those crazy programmers on StackExchange:

All of a sudden StackExchange gets an influx of relatively basic Javascript questions. Should they change their policy to no longer allow questions about Javascript? I don't think anyone here would say so.

Moral of the story: A race to the bottom isn't the answer. If you want the ratio of low quality to high quality questions to change then arbitrarily trying to moderate the low quality is far less efficient than increasing the number of high quality questions.

Also moral of the story: Vote to close as "Too Broad" if you think someone's request is too demanding.

  • 1
    Agreed. People should vote to close as "too broad" more often Commented Feb 26, 2018 at 14:13


There is no problem with answering these kinds of questions, they should be upvoted when useful and answered as usual.


I'm going to say guidance is necessary.

First, I agree with the points made by Billy Kerr and zeethreepio.

The answer shouldn't be a flat No, but we do need to know where to draw the line.

I want to make a specific point to add on to what these guys have said.

Tutorial questions give new users a chance to gain rep.

  • As a new user here myself (5 months as of this post) I want to express how difficult it is to even gain a small amount of rep when you're first starting here. It's hard enough to just get enough rep to join a chat room or make a comment.
  • I believe basic tutorial questions will be ignored by the pros but give new users a chance to answer questions that the high rep users don't have time for/care about.
  • What is interesting is some of these simple tutorials often get answered with multiple approaches and it's great to see different ways to tackle a simple problem. Maybe in a way you would never expect and even an experienced person can learn something to speedup their workflow.

I love the policy of this site that prevents normies from joining and spamming the **** out of this site. That's what makes us better than Reddit.

In conclusion:

We should have a warning for new users before they make they're questions. Maybe a popup before you are allowed to push the submit question button because the tour button and help buttons are hard to find for new users.



We should require a minimum effort for a request for help and should find a way to reduce the amount of these questions and discourage them from being answered.


No, unless the answer is a software-independent solution.

There are other sites in the network that deal with how-to questions, and plenty of other online resources.

One of the main reasons I stopped checking the front page of GDSE was because 90% of Qs were grayed-out based on my ignored tags (software ones). Could I have done more to create higher quality Qs? For sure. But we had been trying that strategy for years, and it never worked. I'm aware of how grumpy I sound, but I still believe these kinds of Qs don't do anything for the site. You won't see them in the top network list, and they are usually too specific to serve anyone else (especially after duplicate number 50). There are forums for how-tos, and plenty of them. I just don't think GDSE is or should be one.

I actually agree more with UXSE's policy:

"Questions about Implementation are off-topic because this site is for User Experience design questions, not questions around how to implement these designs. Therefore, questions around the use of programs like Photoshop or languages such as CSS or JavaScript are off topic." – JonW

  • 1
    Welcome back with a meta post!
    – Welz
    Commented Feb 16, 2018 at 19:20

I think there are some issues with these questions. I haven't said what I think those issues are because I want others to respond first at Why do how-to requests bother you?

I think that only once we come to a community consensus on WHY particular aspects bother some can we start to define guidelines for closure/editing. Simply asking, "Should we close these questions?" doesn't address what the problem is.


Possible Solution (#2)

Again speaking as a new user as of 5 months from this post.

The tour:

  1. Is not helpful.
  2. Should be reformatted to be helpful to new users.
  3. Should explain what is on topic and what is not on topic.
  4. Should have a section in large bold obvious letters stating *the required amount of effort necessary to post a tutorial on demand question
  5. Should be a mandatory completion requirement before being allowed to post your first question.

PS. The tour is just not helpful to new users. Pretend for a moment you've never been to a website like this and go through the tour. You see some fancy animations and cute stuff but you didn't actual learn anything about what's on topic here or what you should post or how you should post. It's just cute fluff and that's all.

  • 4
    Excellent suggestion. I am very disappointed to tell you that we are not in control of the tour, it's been created for the entire network. The only things we mods can change, are the question displayed and the on- and off-topic lines. Imho, we should have a separate Meta discussion about what question to put up front on the tour as the current one is a software-oriented one. If we want to change the tour fundamentallu, we will have to take it to Meta SE because it will affect the whole network.
    – Vincent
    Commented Feb 21, 2018 at 10:01

I've been talking about this for years. Frankly the way the site has progressed it saddens me and makes me feel like at times we are just providing spec work.

If a user can whole heartily provide some sort of "what they did" or "what they tried" I'm all for providing an answer. As it's already been mentioned we are getting to the point not even software is mentioned. When that occurs I think this site is just becoming spec and gives a bad name to other designers in our field. I think we should be happy with what a lot of us have built and babied here throughout the years but lately . . .

Granted our site primarily exists to support Adobe I wonder whose fault that really is? For years supporting Adobe questions we've had other members provide software alternatives but the site chose not to support or rep them. Frequent members can easily go back and answer questions that are even tagged adobe and provide an alternative, its encouraged by SE.

When it comes to users that answer these poor questions and then flag them I think it's unethical. You're essentially forcing the question closed and then forcing the OP to accept your answer as the only solution. Some may not do this but you can clearly see it with others and I think that's rep hogging. A solution I propose when that occurs is if you voted to close that question and you leave an answer your answer should be deleted, simple as that. If people want to go that route I'm happy to enforce it.

Another solution is people dont explain to new users the way this site runs and I only see this occur from a handful of users and the mods. Why must the mods continue to run this site? After I realized how many questions I was closing a day I refused to go into the close Q, when I come on this site and glance at the main questions I read them, make edits accordingly (love me some tags) and close the most obvious questions after I read them and can develop immediately five possible solutions.

The community is going to need to change, too many people keep complaining and complaining but you never see them be pro-active, why is that? I see some new users that leave excellent answers and then others that leave a fraction but with their high rep get the most votes, why is that also?

Call it a vent or not but this has been becoming an epidemic of this site. If we don't change things we could eventually be removed, we already see a large portion of excellent users come and go because of the way the site is. The mods have tried several alternative to remedy the tutorial mentality:

  • contests
  • group projects
  • group planned events in chat
  • generate questions that are exspecially non-adobe related

and per memory all we ever received were complaints from members who didn't even attend.

My solution overall is users other then the mods should comment more, dont answer questions that they vote to close and stop feeding these issues. If the community is ok with it these answerers should have their answers removed, too. To the comments, SE does allow a flag for questions, for example if you tag a question with then a special prompt will appear:

enter image description here

We could ask SE to implement a condition when an Adobe tag is added it must detect X word count and Y images.

  • 2
    I think another problem is that new users aren't allowed to post images, which almost always decreases the quality of their post (they kinda get turned away)
    – Welz
    Commented Feb 16, 2018 at 20:21
  • That might need to fall into a special request by SE Staff to modify the site. I haven't seen issues from this but then I havent looked at what the code was when the posted the image.
    – user9447
    Commented Feb 16, 2018 at 20:23
  • @WELZ Are you sure?? Non-registered users can. I just tested it. Commented Feb 19, 2018 at 22:09

Possible Solution (#1)

As @Billy Kerr said "sometimes the beginner or novice is totally clueless and wouldn't even know where to begin/what to try."

  • Does anyone want to help organize and compile a large list of the most common "Tutorial on Demand" questions and answers that already exist?
  • We can direct new and inexperienced users to this collection so that they realize what "How do I do" questions are off topic and already answered.

  • Your first bullet point has had some attention just before the previous elections as an effort to have more 'canonical questions & answers'--so we have good Q&A sets to close a lot of low-effort TODs as dupes.
    – Vincent
    Commented Feb 19, 2018 at 14:31
  • 1
    After some deliberation, I have to conclude that you are getting at a core of the problem here. Yes, beginners are totally clueless. They want to run before they can walk. What do we actually do with TODs is give them a fish while what they need is a rod and some bait. See also my updated answer to Ryan's other ask about TODs.
    – Vincent
    Commented Feb 21, 2018 at 10:14

I selected YES. Lifting this site to too high quality level would render it less interesting for me and for those out there who plan to post so called low quality questions. But if the owner (or his delegates) of the site wants to effectively reduce those low quality questions, there would be a few practical ways to do it. One is to increase radically the closure and wipe off power by selectively giving it downwards in the ranking list:

  1. The questions go by default to the trashcan. To lift the question out of the trashcan a)force the questioner to fill a form where he must add the minimum wanted things. One missig or wrong detail => the question stays in the trashcan. OR b) the questioner should have high enough non-junk reputation (see 2)

  2. make a difference between junk reputation and reputation got from accredited members i.e. from people with trusted care of the quality of the questions and answers. The reputation can be a 2-dimensional (amount, the mean accredition level of the source) or accredited members could have bigger weight. Perhaps any voting should be possible only for accredited members.

The site owner (or his delegates) selects the first accredited members. They can call more or disaccredite existing ones. The total number of the accredited members is limited. To get disaccredition needs only few downvotes from the other accredited members.

Accredited members have tools for easy monitoring of all actions in the site, including the actions of the accredited members. They can wipe off anything that a non-accredited member have written.

ADD: I personally do not support the birth of "The Accrediteds" It's quite powerful group compared to those who today can close and wipe off content + fire other members. But I am afraid that the idea of keeping the site clean by founding The Accrediteds is not my invention. It has been reinvented as a general solution to all in other circumstances as long as the history has been written.

I have seen many of the how-to questions interesting and I admit that I have written plenty of answers by guessing, what the questioner actually wants. In addition I have answered without worrying that the question shows low or 0 own effort and definitely no higher ambitions than replicating something already existing. Shortly: I am one of those who have been seen inviting more junk to flood in.

So, we have a contradiction. I invite more "junk" to flood in and many of us want to reduce it radically, leaving only those which fulfill their quality specs.

One solution without increasing the general closure and cleansing power or stamping the junk inviters harmful is to force the questioner classify his question by filling a form which is checked automatically. The question will not become visible before there's content for all slots the questioner has crossed in the starting form.

Those who do not want to see software usage technical how-tos with low shown own effort can keep invisible the questions which are in the beginning classified as software usage tech how-tos with low shown own effort.

  • 4
    Isn't this by and by what the current system already does? High reputation members can vote to close and delete questions; they can also upvote questions, moving low-rep users into 'their' ranks. And, as on all Stack Exchange sites, users who post too many badly received questions will automatically get banned by the system.
    – Jongware
    Commented Feb 16, 2018 at 15:35
  • 3
    This site isn't about collecting rep points. Yes, it's a nice motivator and validation, but the idea is to make the graphic design community stronger. Commented Feb 16, 2018 at 15:58
  • @zeethreepio: but acquiring rep points enables one to participate more – viz. commenting, voting, editing, closing, deleting, all the way up to almost moderator privileges. It's a metric of how good a user's participation is.
    – Jongware
    Commented Feb 16, 2018 at 16:01
  • @zeethreepio 1)low enough rep would stop automatically rep collectors to write, they would go elsewhere.. 2) People who like their own writings would not to stop writing before someone prevents them.
    – user82991
    Commented Feb 16, 2018 at 16:03
  • 3
    I downvoted you answer. I'm sorry if I sound oversensitive, but I really don't appreciate you talking about an 'in-group'. To me, it suggests that you feel that 'we' (who?) are arrogant elite and you aren't. This is simply not true. As zeethreepio says, we are all here, together to improve everyone's design skill.
    – Vincent
    Commented Feb 16, 2018 at 16:10
  • 1
    @Vincent I think that you called me to this conversation just because I have given quite many on-demand technical receipes. to people who have asked "how do I do this". Right? I have done it for fun, to help the beginners and often also to get it clear for myself. I admit that if some deeper artistic insight was a must, I would have written much less.
    – user82991
    Commented Feb 16, 2018 at 16:41
  • 2
    I have asked for your opinion here because, yes, I have seen you regularly answer questions that I see as lazy TOD. I honestly wanted your opinion on the matter because you seem to enjoy giving those answers and I don't want to take away that pleasure or deny honest beginners your answers. Your opinion is clear, but I also feel a lot of hostility coming from you that I don't know where it originates. No 'artistic insight' is required, and I read another accusation of elitism in that remark, which I really don't understand nor appreciate if it is indeed that.
    – Vincent
    Commented Feb 16, 2018 at 16:51
  • @Vincent About hostility: That's not personal. As you wrote, I regularly answer to questions. This is nothing new. I gave too receipes how to stop low quality questions and how to effectively stop those answers which are given to those low quality questions. and inspire more low quality questions to flow in. That was technical guidance.. We can change "in-group" to "accrediteds" and "artistic insight" to "care of quality" .
    – user82991
    Commented Feb 16, 2018 at 17:40
  • 1
    There is no owner of this site, the site is run by the community.
    – Welz
    Commented Feb 16, 2018 at 19:20
  • 1
    But the issue with this user continuing to offer TOD is it gives other askers the incentive to say "so-so did it" and "I saw that qa there that did it".
    – user9447
    Commented Feb 16, 2018 at 20:16
  • Maybe there is no hostility towards me personally, but there certainly is against this 'in-group' you mention. Me being both a mod and a high-rep member, it's pretty hard not to feel included in that group.
    – Vincent
    Commented Feb 17, 2018 at 22:55
  • 1
    @Vincent I cleaned the text. BTW. How can you feel you are included to so called in-group? That group do not exist and at least I am the opponent of its birth.
    – user82991
    Commented Feb 17, 2018 at 23:35
  • 1
    Regarding your suggestion in chat: That would require a new SE community all-together but you can make a new A51 proposal.
    – Welz
    Commented Feb 21, 2018 at 12:47

Remember that to play a great football game, you need to know how to control the ball first. So we should encourage both the askers and answerers to explain the importance of the technique if possible. At how I see the dominant portion of Stack Overflow is just technical, tutorial questions.


Design conception (that process of determining what to create) is subjective, instinctive & intuitive and involves (and requires) understanding the experiences and results of testing opinions and influence. From what I've seen of the works of heavy handed, heavy users of SO, an absence of these talents (plus a deliberate and belligerent absence of belief in the innate nature of these talents) is instrumental in their becoming heavy handed, heavy users of SO.

If the above paragraph causes you to rage, it is describing you. And you are low in empathy for all but your self. Which is not empathy, it's the opposite.

To those of you lacking empathy, step back. You're also not good at communicating with new users and, generally speaking, ill-suited to engagement in fields of design and public relations.

On computers, graphic design is the digital (re)articulation of the conceived and/or seen. It is, therefore, all about processes and steps, operations and actions.

When a question lacks common terminology yet is requesting information about processes and steps, operations and actions, empathy with those new to design and design software is required.

Given that SO promotes its heavy handed and heavy users, gamifying them by progressively empowering them to belittle and demean new users, you don't have to worry. Eventually the internet's users will realise SO is not a friendly, considerate, caring, aware, sensitive and assistive space for new users of anything. Then it's free to become the circle jerk it is designed to be.

  • "Graphic Design Stack Exchange is a question-and-answer site for graphic-design professionals, students, and enthusiasts." For caring and sensitive questions and answers, there are other sites.
    – Jongware
    Commented Mar 2, 2018 at 11:40
  • "how to do XYZ?" is a question. It has answers.
    – Confused
    Commented Mar 2, 2018 at 12:24
  • Not all possible answerable questions are considered on topic on Graphic Design SE.
    – Jongware
    Commented Mar 2, 2018 at 12:31
  • "illustration and image manipulation" is on topic. And is the backbone of most (all?) questions on matters of processes, steps, operations and actions.
    – Confused
    Commented Mar 2, 2018 at 13:26

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