I'd like to supplement the current discussion a bit with one of my own:

For those that are bothered by how-to requests: Why do they bother you?

Please try to be honest and specific. It doesn't need to be lengthy and I'm not asking for solutions. I'm asking only what aspect of them bothers you.

7 Answers 7


I think the other answers cover my feelings, but Ryan, since you asked ;)

While I do agree with practically all the pros that have been mentioned in the main thread, I honestly feel I have next to nothing to contribute any more when it comes to the site (accompanied by the question, "shouldn't it be the other way around since I'm a design grandma now?")

I joined GDSE when I was a Junior, and it accompanied me through every step of my career. I learned tons by answering questions that challenged what I thought I knew, and my mod time was absolutely amazing (kudos to the current mod team who do a fantastic job, btw, this has nothing to do with that and I hope that's more than clear). As some might know, I made true friends and even met my partner on this site O.O

What I'm trying to say is that I grew personal and professionally thanks to GDSE, but at some point I felt the site had stagnated - not saying this is not a network-wide issue, or even a plain human one.

These questions don't bother me, I just find it terribly discouraging that the front page is filled almost exclusively with them. If you look at it today, only 6 have no software tags. I don't want to discuss how to draw a dashed line, I want to discuss why a dash line is a better choice than a solid or dotted one. I don't even use Adobe anymore, but even if I did implementation would be secondary.

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    You have outgrown what was once useful to you. Congrats. Well done. Now that you're a great designer, how about partnering with programmers to design and build the space and place you want to discuss the theories and ideas of design?
    – Confused
    Commented Mar 2, 2018 at 13:51

Good question. I regularly wonder myself, because I also teach Adobe software and design to live students. Their noob questions don't bother me at all, so why do tutorial-on-demand (TOD) questions on here bother me that much?

  1. A lot of them are very lazy. I don't want to know how often I've added a comment with the approximate meaning 'I don't mean to be rude, but your exact question title yields at least a thousand good tutorials on Google'. I do not want this site to become a Let Me Google That For You site, nor do I want to be a LMGTFY bot. In addition to not possessing any Google-fu, I get the impression that most TOD askers also never use the search field on the site, asking TODs that have been asked and answered multiple times over.
  2. Tying in with that last statement, TODs are a bother to moderate correctly. They easily get flagged or voted as low-quality or for closure, clogging up the close votes queue. I know that I have spent way less time reviewing the last year than I used to, partially due to the influx of TODs.
  3. They demand me to make a really bad choice: do I downvote or vote to close them, often giving a new user a bad feeling about this site; or do I leave them be, leaving behind a collection of questions I personally think are bad for the site?
  4. Another big chunk of TOD questions ask 'How do I create this effect?', and then post an image of a work of art that took hours if not days to complete. I don't really care whether it's due to ignorance or not, but the reigning impression that everything is an 'effect' feels to me really demoralising and condescending towards the time I myself put into my work and art. Why make something beautiful if the noobs and laypeople will just think it is a three-click Adobe effect anyway?
  5. There is a huge disconnect between the amount of time that gets put into asking a TOD and into answering it. 'How do I make this in Illustator', adding a screenshot is maybe five minutes' worth of work. Writing a good answer to such a query might easily take an hour, especially if it involves multiple steps and needs clarification with multiple images. That doesn't feel fair, as we are all volunteers writing here. I notice that TOD questions become way less annoying if the asker makes clear that they have tried a lot of approaches, but haven't succeeded yet.
  6. They give beginners a fish, while what they ultimately need is a rod and some bait. Beginners are clueless, and they want to run before they can even crawl. What TODs do, is help those users make the effect they desire, in steps they most probably do not understand because the knowledge involved is beyond their reach. Yes, they can follow steps. But they will not understand the underlying logic, and they will come back tomorrow for another fish. If we want to do TODs and how-tos well, we need to point at and explain the underlying knowledge. Give them the fish today, but also point out the rod and the jar of bait.
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    cant agree more with points four and five
    – user9447
    Commented Feb 19, 2018 at 14:26
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    Very good points here especially 6 Commented Feb 21, 2018 at 14:25
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    I have to disagree with @LateralTerminal and think point 6 is the weakest you've mentioned. That seems like the results of a mediocre Answer.
    – Ryan
    Commented Feb 22, 2018 at 23:53
  • @Ryan Good point. Not all TOD answerers see that, nor the people who upvote their 'fish' posts.
    – Vincent
    Commented Feb 23, 2018 at 7:06

TL;DR I feel that it cheapens our forum and more importantly, it cheapens the world of Graphic Design.

But that's just my opinion, nothing more.

Do we want to encourage these kinds of questions?

JohnB brought out some great points: They drive traffic to the site, The good answers trump the LQ questions etc.

And I agree with all that, but a lot of times the questions are unclear / overly broad, and sometimes rarely they are very specific about what the problem is, what they've tried, where they're stuck. (and I'm 100% for supporting that kind of question - with all the information)

When I see a question like

How do I make this effect?

[insert image with effect]

I need to make this effect, plz help!

To me it feels like this:

They saw this really cool picture, and they want to create it. they've never (or barely) used any editing.design program and are looking for one of those Youtube tutorials like these -ai or these - ps

I flag it, and in my head I'm sure that nobody is going to answer it.... but then I see 1, 2, 3 answers with full-length tutorials on how to do it.

When they get their response they're happy and either come back within a week with another tod question or never return.

I think that we need to draw a line at questions that are on-topic and questions that are off-topic.

There should be a minimum requirement of effort for these kinds of request if we are going to keep/answer them.

Ok, you want to make a tutorial for them to teach them. FINE, but isn't our goal to make these useful for others in a month, a year, 5 years etc.

Questions on this site should be potentially useful to future visitors... From the flagging page

How is anybody going to find "How to make this effect" without any information in the post?!

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    I also always wondered why we have so many big users who just aren't involved in the site anymore, and after reading Lauren and Yisela's answer I totally see why. (I'm not blaming anyone, I'm just saying I see where they're coming from)
    – Welz
    Commented Feb 19, 2018 at 20:26
  • It's a bit stream of consciousness, but you make some nice points.
    – Vincent
    Commented Feb 19, 2018 at 21:26
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    I am here almost every single morning. I load the site, I see 6 "How do I TKTK?" questions, 2 "what font is this?" questions, 1 absolute noob question like "what's the difference between CMYK and RBG?" and the occasional "How do I violate copyright?" for spice, and I close the tab and go on to my other Stacks. I'm absolutely around, but I just don't have the interest in answering these. Commented Feb 20, 2018 at 19:23
  • meta.stackexchange.com/questions/223454/… -- if a question is too broad its an opinion based on an individual answerer's knowledge of the topic as much as the person asking. Questions of these types can certainly be useful to others in the future.
    – Ryan
    Commented Feb 23, 2018 at 0:05

Honestly. People that don't show any effort but ask for a how-to I think it's just providing spec work. We already have plenty of tutorial based sites throughout the web, why do we have to fall in that same boat too?

Why can't we discuss more design related questions instead of "What resource do I need for flat design?" or "How do I create this fad?" when there are already five other sites posting tutorials.

I feel better helping an individual that is truly trying to help themselves by becoming a better designer instead of helping joe blow develop a design because he thinks any jo-yo can do it and is too cheap to hire a professional.

There's a difference to providing a tutorial VS providing an answer to a question when someone is working on it.

  • So if I understand correctly you don't like them for two reasons: (1) You think its the equivalent to spec work. (2) You think there's enough sites out there for tutorials. --- is this accurate?
    – Ryan
    Commented Feb 16, 2018 at 20:37
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    That is indeed correct. I wanted to be a better source for graphic design out there on this world wide web.
    – user9447
    Commented Feb 16, 2018 at 20:45
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    I agree. First, it can be quite long to write a tutorial, for free, especially for someone who clearly did no research. Most people asking such general questions have no rep at all, so chances are you won't even get a thank you. Second, I find that by asking people to try on their own first the discussion is a lot more educational and interesting than a step by step tutorial. Commented Feb 17, 2018 at 23:05
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    "Most people asking such general questions have no rep at all, so chances are you won't even get a thank you." > I don't see what rep has to do with politeness.
    – PieBie Mod
    Commented Feb 19, 2018 at 13:40
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    "I don't see what rep has to do with politeness." > Nothing. What I meant by that is that those types of questions usually don't get votes and no answer is marked as accepted. "Not even a thank you" could also be read as "Not even a minimum of gratitude". Commented Feb 19, 2018 at 16:26
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    @PieBie: with the implied added insult-to-injury that Community just keeps on pushing these same questions back to the front page, month after month.
    – Jongware
    Commented Feb 23, 2018 at 14:42
  • @BenoitLussier: I think most times that has more to do with askers not being familiar with the SE system more than not being appreciative of your effort.
    – PieBie Mod
    Commented Feb 23, 2018 at 14:59

Now that some others have answered I'd like to leave my own view:

  1. Title issues -- This much like Font requests is the biggest problem I have. They're often lacking in descriptive text, title, and tags making it very difficult to "spot check" what might be inside and relocate later.

  2. Too Broad -- we've discussed this already and agreed that if they don't ask about something somewhat specific it's likely too broad and should be closed as such. Here's a good meta on the discussion, Do "too broad" questions become less broad after an acceptable answer is given?

These are the only issues I have with them and both are easy to fix and address.

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    "How to..." is the nature of graphic design on a computer, and the fastest way to learn the paradigms and processes of each different digital means of graphic design. Plus, it's a question. So there's that. Anyone beset by rage against a "how to...?" question has reached the "get off my lawn" stage of SO usage and needs to check themselves.
    – Confused
    Commented Mar 2, 2018 at 13:54

I posted a proposal for a Graphic Design Software Support stack back in 2013. It failed. You can see pro and con arguments in that question.

I rarely answer anything on this stack any more because that's what it's become: 95% "Help me do this basic thing" or "My Adobe Be Broke" questions.

  • Great idea but not a very intuitive name. I think if you would have called it "Beginner Graphic Design" then it might be more successful. That would help bring push some of the "noob" questions off this site. Commented Feb 21, 2018 at 14:32
  • @LateralTerminal If you'd like to tweak and resurrect the proposal, go for it. I will happily support the idea. Commented Feb 21, 2018 at 14:39
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    Join us in Ink Spot Chat maybe we could get this rolling asap. Commented Feb 21, 2018 at 14:49
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    We've begun discussion on it Commented Feb 21, 2018 at 14:49
  • @LateralTerminal I threw in a few penn'orth of opinions. Commented Feb 21, 2018 at 15:59

The biggest problem that I have seen is the lack of persistence.

I am writing an answer to one. Before I press "Submit" there pops up a text "This question is closed and my answer evaporates.

I have partially solved the problem by writing faster or by saving the answer as a skeleton, but recently the saved answers have started to vanish at the same time when the question is closed.

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