I would like to challenge my peers on this board to maybe consider asking questions that are not Adobe software related but rather design or artistic related in nature. I would love to see some more typography questions (NOT whats this font), theory on design, contrast in color selection VS clash in medium, etc. etc. The goal is hopefully to add more content other than software. I love coming to this site but frankly I am getting a little disappointed with the feeling this is a "how to do X" software board and not design related.

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    It definitely has felt like the how to do X questions have led to a lot of people with 0 experience in design, or even the software they're asking about are winding up here. At a certain point, going to great lengths to answer them is just turning this site into a "Free custom tutorials" website, where you ask, and we waste five or ten minutes of our lives writing a step by step tutorial on it.
    – Eric
    Sep 4, 2013 at 17:42
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    @Eric that's an anti-Stack Exchange statement, that five or ten minutes you 'waste' writing a step-by-step could help thousands of people get better in the long term. Experts don't need much support, so if this site is for expert questions, it's not going to do very well. As it stands this site thrives with 17k+ visitors per day, no doubt thanks to the how to's and step by steps.
    – Dom
    Sep 4, 2013 at 20:27
  • Couple things: 1) What type of questions are you thinking about? 2) While it may seem a bit frustrating that you're not getting more substance, Dominic does bring up a good point that it is keeping the site healthy with visitors. I personally believe helping others with how to questions helps sharpen my skills.
    – ckpepper02
    Sep 4, 2013 at 20:54
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    I think we need to target the creative nature in general. Software questions can only entertain so long but if we had more design questions they could widen our visitor spectrum and we could also get more responses from it.
    – user9447
    Sep 4, 2013 at 21:06
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    This general problem comes up on every site like this - not just design, not just stackexchange. Beginners get stuck more often than experts, so they look for help more. Expert questions tend to be more "I've been wondering..." and less urgent - so it's a good idea to actively encourage people to get on and ask them! e.g. some sites highlight top questions. A ratio like 1 expert question per 10-15 "help I'm stuck" questions is probably achievable and desirable - keeps the experts interested while helping the majority. Sep 5, 2013 at 11:30
  • (also, nothing discourages interesting questions like seeing them always get hit by a constant barrage of close votes and arguments about if it's even allowed... We're better at not standing in the way of good content than most SE sites, and we've improved a lot here - just something to keep in mind) Sep 5, 2013 at 11:33
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    When I clicked the headline I thought this was going to be a "shun Adobe and try other software" challenge...
    – Brendan
    Sep 9, 2013 at 21:12
  • That was a January challenge idea ;)
    – user9447
    Sep 10, 2013 at 2:28
  • Agreed. With some quick search you can answer 95% of technical "how-to" photoshop questions. But something like figuring out how to create a more harmonious layout, or solving a troubling color problem - can not simply be searched on google.
    – user12985
    Sep 11, 2013 at 11:25

3 Answers 3


I think it'd be interesting to discuss the merits of consolidating answers so that it's not software specific.

Let's say you had two questions like "How do I create bokeh in GIMP" and "How do I create bokeh in Photoshop" - do they need to be different questions? Can the question be "How do I create bokeh" and people can answer with different software? Then it's less about "how do to X in Y" and more about just "how to do X", which makes it more about technique than tech support.

There are plenty of cons to this approach, but I think it'd be an interesting discussion anyways.

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    I love this idea, and have considered it before. The biggest roadblock I could think of was tagging. Tags are an ultra-powerful tool for searching, but how would we handle tags for this? If there's an answer for GIMP and PS, we could add both of those tags. BUT, we only get 5 tags per question, and we could quickly run out. If only we could tag answers!
    – JohnB
    Sep 11, 2013 at 13:57
  • @JohnB Yeah, and it bucks against the conventions here. Plus, sometimes I really do just want to know how something in Illustrator works. But every once in while, if someone can do it in Processing instead of Photoshop, that's worth sharing. I guess my biggest issue is not that someone asks how to do something in GIMP, it's that there are potentially three or four questions out there that could be one question with three or four answers.
    – Brendan
    Sep 11, 2013 at 15:03
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    Perhaps what we should be doing is not giving step by step instructions in a particular software app, but describing the process in general terms. That takes a little longer, but is likely to be more widely useful. And edit the question to remove the software reference. Sep 11, 2013 at 23:01

Since I asked a question on Adobe I believe my Adobe challenge would be considered over and some questions I created for the challenge are:


I would definitely like to see some variability in our questions. And not only about technologies, or typography, or color theory. I would like to see more questions about being a designer, and about tools that you need to use in certain areas, about theory...

I, for example, work mainly with desktop applications (reason I posted this self-answering WPF question a while ago, just in case it helped someone). I have to resort to SO for code obstacles, but there's a lot I would like to know about recommended practices, and I guess about working in perhaps not so 'traditional' graphic designer positions. And desktop dev is quite traditional, there is more interesting stuff out there.

In any case, my point is, it would be good to have more questions about Gimp and Inkscape. And about equipment, and about typography. But I'd be more interested in questions about theory, about experience. Questions that hook you into reading them, and that make you want to participate in the site as well. And ideally, questions that blow your mind and send you flying to your software of choice to try out something new.

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