As per the title. It appears the moderators of this forum are detached from the reality of the nature of the questions being brought, the kinds of people discovering this outpost and the very reality of graphic design as practices, pursuit and profession.

You might well have ideals for what this forum is, but they may very well be in direct conflict with the public perception of the title and subsequent implications of its existence and technology.

What are you trying to make? Who decided you're qualified to do that? Have you dealt with humans before?

EDIT: Upon a very vague look around, it is clear Stack Exchange Graphic Design has failed to grab even a tenth of a percent of the graphic designers in the world. The answer to the question of "why is that so" is probably very similar to the answer to "how can Stack Exchange Graphic Design be more accepting of new users that are designers, new to design or simply curious about it".

In other words, "how can Stack Exchange Graphic Design be less like StackOverflow?"

  • 8
    I appreciate and welcome feedback both positive and negative. It might be more helpful if you address specific issues you've seen; a blanket statement of the moderators being detached from reality won't help us very much. I suggest you update your post to pinpoint exactly what it is you find frustrating
    – JohnB
    Feb 20, 2014 at 16:03
  • 3
    Also posting smart remarks tends not to make the community a happy place. Please be professional and edit your question in a professional manner with the removal of "Have you dealt with humans before?".. But to answer that no, I deal with computers all day.. You do seem confused,,,,, Feb 20, 2014 at 16:10
  • Moderators are people too! People just like me and you! They're there to help us through, so for SE GDs sake please, don't be rude.
    – Dom
    Feb 20, 2014 at 16:13
  • I suppose there's absolutely no irony in the wealth of answers to this question.
    – Confused
    Feb 20, 2014 at 17:10
  • Gramps, the word you should be focusing on is "DEALT", not humans, that's just the construct of the question, not the question itself. Have you DEALT with them? Do you know what it is to deal with others? Or are you only engaging with them from a psychotic or sociopathic abstraction of self?
    – Confused
    Feb 20, 2014 at 17:13
  • 8
    This site consists of a bunch of people trying to help other people; nobody gets paid and nobody expects anything in return. You clearly can't state your case without attacking others and personally I don't think you're very much of a team player. What is your objective here? Do you want everyone to bow down and say 'we were all wrong mighty one'. Why not try to first define the problem you're having, discuss it in a civil manner, and work with the community to find a solution if necessary. At the moment it just looks like you want to have a heated debate that goes nowhere.
    – Dom
    Feb 20, 2014 at 20:26
  • Who is attacking who? You seem needlessly defensive to me. Everything is just a matter of perspective. I'd consider myself the ultimate team player, the one defending the team of all those that have nobody else to defend them... those new to the site and its ways. You're just defending the entrenched. Yippee.
    – Confused
    Feb 21, 2014 at 18:59
  • 1
    "How can Stack Exchange Graphic Design be less like StackOverflow?" seems like a decent question to me. SO can be very harsh on new users, and that's not the sort of modus operandi that I support. Since this post is already filled with answers about moderation, I would recommend making that a new question so that we can identify the problems and work towards some effective solutions.
    – JohnB
    Feb 21, 2014 at 19:54
  • @JohnB I agree, unfortunately the OP shortly after this made a social suicide. Personally i upvoted this post. The question shoul probably be asked again in a different context?
    – joojaa
    Apr 13, 2014 at 21:58

8 Answers 8


Summary: Most things in the community are regulated by members, via discussions on Meta and using their own powers, but moderators step in when there's a more serious issue. Moderators are appointed by Stack Exchange employees until the site is big enough to elect their own.


The moderators of this site were appointed by the Stack Exchange employees, after carefully looking at active members of the site who seemed to have a level head, among other traits. For a complete list of such traits, see the Stack Exchange Blog article. I'll give a few tidbits that it mentions, but read the entire thing if you are interested in really learning how this goes.

About a week into the public beta, we will seek out members who are deeply engaged in the community’s development; members who:

  • Have a reasonably high reputation score to indicate active, consistent participation.
  • Show an interest in their meta’s community-building activities.
  • Lead by example, showing patience and respect for their fellow community members in everything they write.
  • Exhibit those intangible traits discussed in A Theory of Moderation.

A Moderator is the site’s representative to the Network.

  • On a local level, they make sure their members have the means to work through local issues where they can.
  • They elicit help from us, and their moderator peers on the same site and within the network, as necessary.
  • If there’s a feature request for a specific site, it’s up to that community to vet the idea in their own meta. If the idea has merit, the Moderator would bring it to the Stack Exchange team.

If you have an issue, the best thing is to bring it up on the meta site, and ask specific questions. If you do, then the community forms a consensus, which the moderators will help to enforce. If you have a problem with a specific moderator, and have otherwise tried to resolve it, then feel free to contact Stack Exchange directly using the link below. Warning, they will want you to try and resolve most issues via Meta.

Eventually, moderators will be elected, when this site "graduates" from beta. This is expected to happen sometime relatively soon.

  • 2
    Side note, good luck on Stack mod election and voted for ya ;) Feb 20, 2014 at 16:12
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    This is the best answer. And indicates the source of all the problems in graphic detail. Unfortunately I think most will fail to see it.
    – Confused
    Feb 21, 2014 at 18:57
  • That's what the accepted button is for, to make sure the best answer by the OP shines:-) Thanks, and good luck. Feb 21, 2014 at 18:58
  • Care to have a crack at part two of the question?
    – Confused
    Feb 22, 2014 at 15:44

Stackexhange sites are frequently misunderstood at first. It happens a lot.

Fairly conmonly people think stackexhanges as forums. Even most questions reflect this. The idea that building a database of good questions and answers is a bit unnatural. This is why many occupations are not represented and cartered for. Especially areas where information scarcity is the key to profitability.

It is quite natural to get agravated when there is mismatch between what you think how things should be and how they are.

Then there is the possibility that the goals of the graphics design exhange mismatch with yours. Thats fine, it happens. Some other resource night be better for you. Ultimately choosing something that makes you happy is recommended.

PS I dont like the word professional. Its far too easy to get that title and it can exclude true masters just because they have chosen a different profession.

  • That first line, said without a trace of irony, is exactly what I'm pointing out as a problem. Your second line, about "forums" completely misunderstands my use of the word FORUM. SE is vastly more similar to a real forum (look it up) than any of the message board systems that became known as "online forums".
    – Confused
    Feb 21, 2014 at 18:49
  • It is incredibly aggravating that you think things that are community moderated shouldn't adapt to the changing expectations of those coming to it. That you can't see the impossible loop that exists between expectations and the distortion that community moderation brings. "we were here first, this is how it's going to be" and the provision of tools to enforce that ever narrowing scope is the point, the ridiculousness and the problem. That you're thinking I'm making this point about me is even more infuriating. I'm speaking for others, this is the ONLY questioned I've asked on GDSE. GET IT?
    – Confused
    Feb 21, 2014 at 18:51

This whole site is community moderated. So, to answer your question, everyone is a moderator. We work together to establish a productive question and answer site. In order to do that, we must enforce rules established by the community in order to maintain a respectable level of quality.

I'm one of the pro tempore moderators that Pearson mentioned. For more information about their specific duties, check out this section of the help center. If you have an issue with any action I've taken, bring it up on meta and I'll be more than happy to discuss it with you.

..."Who decided on the moderators and what are their goals?" seems to have been misinterpreted, wholesale. The second part of the question - What are the goals of those that started and initially appointed moderators? If those goals have flex built in, and take consideration of the differences between those that design vs those that develop, then there's at least some room to consider what the possibilities are for adaptation to the realities of graphic design as hobby & profession.

I cannot speak on behalf of the goals of those that appointed me, started it, host it, or develop it. Nor was I even around when the first moderators were chosen for this site. I'm the newest moderator here, Pearson is the only remaining "first round draft picks". I fit none of those categories, but I can tell identify who they are.

Who appointed me?

I was chosen by the Stack Exchange community managers team. I don't know the specific details of the decision, but I can tell you it was Abby that made the announcement. She contacted me privately asking if I was interested and I accepted.

Who started this site?

You could say that Jeff and Joel started this site seeing as they're the co-founders of Stack Exchange, but that wouldn't be accurate. They merely provided the tools and the venue. This site was proposed as a potential site for Stack Exchange by existing users on other sites. The proposal required a group of interested individuals to come up with example questions and agree to commit their participation to the site. The list of 37 people that actively participated in the private beta can be found here, but those individuals don't have any special privileges.

Who hosts it?

Stack Exchange

Who develops it?

You can find the developers for Stack Exchange here

Is any of this relevant?

Not particularly. The founders and developers for the most part maintain a hands-off approach to our community. Internal periodical reviews are done by the community managers (employees of Stack Exchange) to make sure our site is doing alright. We are limited only by the technical aspects of the Stack Exchange platform.

So, who runs this community? The community runs this community. I cannot stress that enough. We aren't required to abide by any mystical "goals" of Stack Exchange. We are able to decide as a community what sort of questions should be on-topic at our site and which should not be. The scope of our site is not set in stone and is open to discussion and modification.

There are many aspects of our site that are against the rules at other Stack Exchange sites. I can give you a specific example: we allow . That is explicitly off-topic at Stack Overflow (and it's even one of the pre-cooked off topic close reasons).

If there's something specific that you think should be changed, bring it up. I will not dismiss anyone's opinion just because they are new to the site. All the same, I won't ignore the opinions of users that have been participating on the site for three years.

The goal of this community is to produce a high quality question and answer site. In order to maintain the level of quality that we expect, we cannot give carte blanche and allow any and all questions that are remotely related to graphic design. Our democratically chosen scope is focused on questions that are not too subjective or opinionated. Yes, that can be difficult when dealing with a subject like graphic design, but I feel we've done an alright job so far. If that restriction is too limiting for you, I suggest moving elsewhere.

  • No. This is patently wrong. Anyone new to the site has no voice. So it's a community of peers, and sub-peers. Those new to the site are essentially blocked and bullied by the mods (those with the authority to close off questions) before they're sufficiently familiar with it to understand its nature. They're forced to adapt to a landscape that has been and continues to be determined by those in that authority. Even if that goes against the very nature of graphic design's basis in being an artistic endeavour.
    – Confused
    Feb 21, 2014 at 19:02
  • @Confused Anyone who has some reputation can cast On Hold (and re-open or de-hold) votes. Once a question gets 5 On Hold votes, it chances status. Once it gets 5 re-open, it gets open again. So technically everyone has the authority to do it.
    – Yisela
    Feb 21, 2014 at 19:11
  • Right... so someone with a new account has no votes. And the peer review is such that the entrenched (to a new user are invisible and unknown, their motives unclear) exercise a set of unwritten agendas. Oftentimes at the expense of a relationship with the newbies. Well, almost always. There is a distinct lack of empathy for new users.
    – Confused
    Feb 21, 2014 at 19:14
  • @Confused before I try and address your comment (that I edited in), please clarify "What are the goals of those that started and initially appointed moderators?". Are you asking what my goals as a moderator are? Or are you asking what the goals are of those that appointed me?
    – JohnB
    Feb 22, 2014 at 15:39
  • Those that appointed you. Those that started this site, host it, develop it and own it. What are their goals?
    – Confused
    Feb 22, 2014 at 15:41
  • That's assuming you were one of the first round draft picks for moderation duties.
    – Confused
    Feb 22, 2014 at 15:42
  • @Confused then I can't speak for them. I tried to flesh my answer out somewhat, but it's probably not the answer you're looking for. If you'd like to speak with the "powers that be", use the contact form.
    – JohnB
    Feb 22, 2014 at 16:18

A) Stack Exchange sites are not "forums". To this end, they are not places for debates, rants, personal diatribes, or arguments about an answer. If you disagree with an answer, provide your own answer.

B) Stack Exchange sites are community driven and while moderators have more editing power than community members, moderators are not the "judge" of most things. The community is. You may want to familiarize yourself with the FAQ a bit.

C) You've been here 5 days and simply complain about everything. Frankly, you should actually get to know the community a bit before just ranting. If you don't like the way people here assist others, then supply your own answers and stop worrying so much about what other people do. Honestly, your'e coming across as a child throwing a tantrum. That is not to say you are --- but that's the impression I'm getting.

  • 5 Days in THIS forum. I've been using SOF for much much longer. And you're one day going to realise that "community driven" and "oppressive" are pretty much the same thing.
    – Confused
    Feb 21, 2014 at 18:53
  • As per my comment below, SE sites are vastly closer to embodying the term and word that is FORUM than any message board ever did. As you've rightly pointed out with your "quotes". My disagreement is with mods locking down questions that are very valid and appropriate to anything that purports to have anything to do with Graphic Design. It's inappropriate behaviour and nonsensical to new users. All problems of the entrenchment implicit in something so utterly bereft of sense as "community driven" in something that's still got ENORMOUS room for growth. What is it? 1% of Graphic Designers here?
    – Confused
    Feb 21, 2014 at 18:56
  • 3
    Stack Exchange sites are NOT forums. Forums, by definition, are for discussion. That is NOT what SE sites are about. Your choice of a username seems highly appropriate. Again, you appear to only be here to argue and spread dissent. Good luck with that.
    – Scott
    Feb 21, 2014 at 19:44

My Good Sir,

As per your question the community selected the moderators. The community votes up or down. The community closes or reopens. You're welcome to join the community and discuss the way things are done by using https://graphicdesign.meta.stackexchange.com/ (where this was migrated to) which has many existing questions about what we, as a community, want in questions and what we do not want.

  • ANYONE new cannot close or open. So this is wrong.
    – Confused
    Feb 21, 2014 at 19:03
  • 2
    I never said anyone can. I said the community. It requires more than one person to close or open a question. Would you want someone you just met to have a key to your house? Probably not, you let that person build your trust and then you offer it.
    – Ryan
    Feb 21, 2014 at 19:18
  • 1
    Well here if you answer a question then the community votes it up and you get reputation, earning that trust. Earning enough trust and we give you more and more keys. You would also note that 4 people upvoted this answer to you indicating that more believe it is correct then incorrect. Again community driven. You should really read this graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/about if you haven't done so already.
    – Ryan
    Feb 21, 2014 at 19:19
  • Ryan: If you can't see how that is a problem, I can't help your myopia and stigmata.
    – Confused
    Feb 21, 2014 at 19:19
  • 1
    @Confused How what is a problem? Protecting the community from a random person coming in and ahem causing mayhem, like you?
    – Ryan
    Feb 21, 2014 at 19:21
  • Is the community so vulnerable, so weak, so fragile that it can't be flexibly in favour of newer users and their understanding of and needs from the forum? This entire site is topsided, in the extreme.
    – Confused
    Feb 21, 2014 at 19:29
  • 4
    I think you have a fair argument there but putting down nearly every person with more rep, that's been coming here for a year or more, and telling us we've all been doing it wrong, are narrow minded, and often using ALL CAPS TO MAKE EMPHASIS. Is not going to make change. Learn the ropes about how to use the site, the meta site, the chat rooms, and then you create change and people will listen.
    – Ryan
    Feb 21, 2014 at 19:37
  • 1
    I'd also point out that the bulk of reputation is by answering questions, questions that are generally not posted by established members. Its someone that comes ask a question, marks the right answer (hopefully), and sadly may never return. But we answer those questions anyways and that's how we built up our reputations. Not from each other but by helping new members. You can do the same, you've made a few good answers already. I believe I upvoted one of them.
    – Ryan
    Feb 21, 2014 at 19:39

There are a few full-access moderators; you will recognise them by the little diamond next to their name. But for the most part, the forum is moderated by its users. As you gain reputation, you can vote for closing, reopening, low quality, first posts etc etc.

I can assure you that there is often disagreement from people wether a post should be altered in some way. Personally, I tend to err on the side of caution.

I have not been here very long, and are still working out what "my" rationale and where I would like to draw lines, as per my personal opinion (that I feel I can stand for).


Well the mods are decided by the community. We have what is called an "election" in stages:

  • First stage of the election is called the Nomination where people can cast their vote on why the would make a good mod.
  • Second stage is called the primary where we up or downvote for the mod.
  • Third is called the election where we vote on the top to deside who is a mod.

Example from AskUbuntu:

enter image description here

To vote in an election requires a certain amount of rep. If this site is in beta at the birth of the site Stack nominates, after some discussion, on who the mods are going to be.

Now to answer the other issues here:

You may not understand but Stack is a professional board, not a forum where anything goes. We request people to post educated, quality, and effort questions. Just because the site says Graphic Design doesn't mean we allow anything under the moon that may be design related and the community has a right to vote on the quality of the questions they like. We require a structure. That said everything is done as a community in regards to voting to close, editing, etc. etc. Our qualifications that decide what we can do are by the amount of rep we have because at certain rep levels unlocks certain rights.

  • Elections only happen for sites not in beta. All of the moderators here were appointed by Stack Exchange employees. Feb 20, 2014 at 15:59
  • yes Im editing my answer for that as well with other things. Feb 20, 2014 at 16:01
  • "This question came from our site for professional graphic designers and non-designers trying to do their own graphic design." Do I need to underline the part about those that are non-professional, or do I need to question your understanding of the word "professional"?
    – Confused
    Feb 20, 2014 at 17:23
  • I beleive you are confused with the word professional by the rant I have seen lately. Also, there is a fine line between effort and requests for tutorials. I do agree some questions challenge the realm between should it stay or should it go but the route you are taking on this site is not a good one from what I have seen today.. Feb 20, 2014 at 17:32

I have to point out something you're missing @Confused, and I have to say @Yisela you used an incorrect phrase. Questions are no longer closed. They are put on hold to be improved if possible through communication between the OP and community members/mods.

It would be very interesting to see stats on how many questions have been put on hold, edited and reopened. Not to mention all the posts that were edited through communication that would have otherwise been closed.

Finally, if you were a higher rep member you would see all the spam, flags and subsequent editing that everyone happily deals with daily. Who do you think built this site up to the quality of content you can now enjoy? Who continues its upkeep? If you knew how much these people do, you'd have no basis for argument.

  • I'm certainly missing the quality of content you're referring, and getting joy from it. And it seems the rest of the graphic design world is, too. The stats point you make is valid. There should be public stats.
    – Confused
    Feb 22, 2014 at 0:30
  • 1
    So you're implying you've had time to read >6000 questions in 5 days? If you spent more time reading here than trying to spread dissent (well put Scott) then you might have a more informed opinion that can be taken seriously. As it is, you continue to be a moaning myrtle and it's starting to get old.
    – Dom
    Feb 22, 2014 at 0:40
  • Oh, the past. Yes... well, that's an entirely different issue. I'm looking FORWARDS. Try it sometime.
    – Confused
    Feb 22, 2014 at 0:48
  • Good comeback, I look FORWARD to your next one. :D
    – Dom
    Feb 22, 2014 at 0:53
  • How's this for a reality check. I've been using SO for more than 3 years. And during that time have kept an eye on this joint. And its demise.
    – Confused
    Feb 22, 2014 at 0:56
  • Toma-y-to/Toma-h-to; Demise/Flourish; your opinion means zilch backed by no real examples. Back to you, over.
    – Dom
    Feb 22, 2014 at 1:02
  • Divide the number of graphic designers (and those starting out and those interested in it) by the number that use this forum. Real enough for you?
    – Confused
    Feb 22, 2014 at 1:13
  • 2
    1. Do the math, tell me wise one. 2. That's a joke, you're citing a top level category, how is it hard to find? Get answering if you're so knowledgeable about graphic design that you have the right to judge the whole community here, and apparently everyone on SO, to.
    – Dom
    Feb 22, 2014 at 1:20
  • Assess, not judge. Understand not divert and mitigate. Direct critique not oblique attacks. Take a look around, expand beyond what you know. A change of perspective will serve you well.
    – Confused
    Feb 22, 2014 at 1:28
  • 1
    Conversing with you is akin to running on a hamster wheel. You choose one word and create a response around it. And round and round and round it goes.. So here it stops. I will not reply here anymore. Over and out.
    – Dom
    Feb 22, 2014 at 1:49
  • 2
    @Dominic You are correct! Because it still says "Close" in the question itself (where you cast the vote) I tend to use both terms equally and it can get confusing. Thinking of it, we should probably request to have that "Close" link changed to something else!
    – Yisela
    Feb 22, 2014 at 20:15

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