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Obviously questions not about Blender would be off-topic but what should be the general yardstick for off-topicness?

Update:

Since the site has moderators now and we can better address on/off-topicness, we feel it is time to start rolling out some of these to our help page where needed. This is so we can have one definite place to point new users to.. etc.

It is also worth noting that none of these were thought up by any one person. These were decided to be the norm and are only here because of them being agreed upon by the majority. Poke around meta or browse through the tag to find these.

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    $\begingroup$ Shouldn't this have been determined while still in definition phase? $\endgroup$ – Daniel Pendergast May 22 '13 at 22:02
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    $\begingroup$ It's still useful to have a place on Meta that you can point to. $\endgroup$ – El'endia Starman May 22 '13 at 22:06
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    $\begingroup$ @DantheMan You can still change/fix/improve the scope as you go. :) $\endgroup$ – Alenanno May 23 '13 at 15:20
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Per suggestions and discussions, those that should definitely be off-topic are:

1. Requests for tutorials and lengthy HOW-TO's1

  • Can anyone make a tutorial on doing X?
  • How can I animate a short film in Blender?
  • Please recommend links to tutorials.

2. Package or software comparison questions

  • Which is better for doing X, Max or Blender?
  • Which is better for animating for games, Maya or Blender?

3. Hardware specifications, recommendations, reviews or faults

  • What is the best processor to run Blender on?
  • Why does my new graphics card run Cycles 10% slower then my old card?
  • How can I prevent my system overheating while rendering?
  • Should I buy $X$ or $Y$ GPU, what do you recomend?

4. Developing Blender (in C/C++/C#), Python scripting is fine

  • How can I add a new editor type like Tracking to Blender using C?
  • How do I code with C++ in Blender?

5. Feature requests or localized technical questions

  • When will Blender get brushes like those in zBrush?
  • How can I port Blender from OpenGL to DirectX?

6. Critique and Showcasing

  • Does my model look OK?
  • How can I model this object better?
  • Has anyone used blender to 3D print? I would love to see examples!

7. General 3D resources (aka not blender specific)

  • What is a good place to buy 3D models?
  • What is the most common file type?

8. Questions about other Blender websites excluding the wiki & manual.

  • How do I submit an article to BlenderNation?
  • Where do I find X on the main Blender website?

9. Support requests

  • If a blend file's required to answer the question, it's generally not a valid question and belongs in a support forum like blenderartists.

10. Bugs

11. Job Offers of Requests

  • Can someone do ____ for me? (Paid or Unpaid).

  • I'm looking for work (Paid or unpaid).

    This kind of requests can be done on blenderartists.org. There are forums for paid and volunteer work.

12. Licensing and copyright issues

1This has caused quite some commotion, I clarify what I mean in Regarding questions and answers as tutorials

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    $\begingroup$ I'd add Hardware to that list as well. $\endgroup$ – World Engineer May 22 '13 at 21:17
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    $\begingroup$ Could you add: Developing Blender (the application - C,C++), this doesn't include python scripting. $\endgroup$ – ideasman42 May 22 '13 at 23:00
  • $\begingroup$ Does changing the question to How can I add a new editor type like Tracking to Blender using python? make it ok? $\endgroup$ – greatwolf May 22 '13 at 23:20
  • $\begingroup$ @greatwolf technically as stated above, yes, since python can be used to add gui elements it could be a valid one even though it would not be plausible and would be accordingly dealt with $\endgroup$ – iKlsR May 22 '13 at 23:23
  • $\begingroup$ I guess the question I'm trying to raise is what makes python any more appropriate to ask than C or C++ because technically writing python scripts is a form of blender development. $\endgroup$ – greatwolf May 22 '13 at 23:31
  • $\begingroup$ @greatwolf see my last response, python is used in the development of Blender, it can be used for several purposes such as adding GUI elements and as such could be valid. Another reason is C/C++ would stray too far from actual Blender and more into low level stuff and os related complexities. Python is used extensively in Blender and is a main part of it. So as I initially said, depending on how it is worded, it could be valid but would not be plausible or at least get a definitive response if used as it is in the example above. $\endgroup$ – iKlsR May 22 '13 at 23:36
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    $\begingroup$ Questions like "Does this render look cool?" or any sort of "Rate my model"-type questions. $\endgroup$ – Leathe May 23 '13 at 9:00
  • $\begingroup$ I suggest we take some more time before we begin jumping on questions that appear to fit this criteria. We need time to define, though we must be relatively stringent of course. $\endgroup$ – A Wild RolandiXor May 23 '13 at 17:07
  • $\begingroup$ Questions regarding hotkeys. These are easily available by a quick google search, or can be simply asked in the chat. $\endgroup$ – Leathe May 25 '13 at 0:37
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    $\begingroup$ Should questions about building development builds be off topic?: Eg, How can I build Branch foo on github url bar, I tried but I got error message baz. .... closely related, should questions about running development branches be off topic? (GSOC work in progress branches for example). $\endgroup$ – ideasman42 Jun 5 '13 at 23:38
  • $\begingroup$ @ideasman42 GSOC yes and building to some extent but we can't take any error messages (or at least any overly complicated ones like pasteall dumps), remember there can only be so much wrong on a users end and the site is not really a debugging/error-finding service per say.. if a question is deemed too technical it can and will be addressed accordingly. $\endgroup$ – iKlsR Jun 6 '13 at 0:53
  • $\begingroup$ I don't want to be too strict about hotkey questions, because I worry that we'll become newbie-bashers. There are already a lot of good questions about "the best way to do X" where there is more than one "hotkey" answer. The rest of this list seems fine. nod $\endgroup$ – Wray Bowling Jun 25 '13 at 7:47
  • $\begingroup$ Back to building blender being off-topic, This is a question about building an experimental feature. Check the comments under the question and you can probably see why we might be best off considetring these questions off topic - blender.stackexchange.com/questions/1574/… $\endgroup$ – ideasman42 Jul 3 '13 at 22:00
  • $\begingroup$ Requests for tutorials and Lengthy or ridiculous how to requests could be merged into one item IMHO, maybe Requests for tutorials or lengtht HOW-TO's ? $\endgroup$ – ideasman42 Jul 3 '13 at 22:04
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    $\begingroup$ So, if questions about hot keys are off topic, why is there a "hotkeys" tag? Or should the issue of questions about hot keys be reconsidered? $\endgroup$ – brasshat Dec 29 '15 at 5:46
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In my opinion, a concrete question about Blender whose answer is not immediate to everyone who cares and which can be answered objectively by a post of reasonable length should be accepted here. If a post is too vague, not a question, not about Blender, immediately answerable by everyone who cares, cannot be answered objectively, or cannot be answered in a reasonable length, then it is off-topic.

I do not agree with the list. (A question about software comparison is bad only if it is vague or subjective. “Why does my new graphics card run Cycles 10% slower than my old card?” is not a question about hardware specifications or reviews, but a question about Blender which requires knowledge about hardware. A question about development of Blender is a question about Blender. A question about hotkeys is bad only if the answer is immediate to everyone who cares. And I fail to see what is lengthy about this question or its answer.)

More importantly, I fail to understand why we need a list like this at this early stage. Let’s solve the problems we face instead of the problems we imagine.

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    $\begingroup$ With regard to the last point, I think it is important to establish the boundaries of the site early. $\endgroup$ – grc Jun 2 '13 at 14:06
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    $\begingroup$ @grc: It is fine to ask “Is a question like this [something concrete] on-topic or off-topic?” as long as you can reasonably expect someone will ask it. Asking for a list of “definitely off-topic” questions is different from that. $\endgroup$ – Yu Asakusa Jun 2 '13 at 14:11
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    $\begingroup$ A list of off-topic questions needs to be created for the FAQ. Discussion usually begins as early as the definition phase of Area 51. I don't see why we should wait for bad questions to be asked. $\endgroup$ – grc Jun 2 '13 at 14:26
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    $\begingroup$ @grc: Because we cannot imagine what will be asked. If you want to ask something and wonder whether it is on-topic or off-topic, it is useful to discuss it. But if you just imagine someone might ask it, leave the decision until the problem becomes real, because whether it is on-topic or off-topic depends on the details of the actual question which we cannot imagine now. $\endgroup$ – Yu Asakusa Jun 2 '13 at 14:34
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    $\begingroup$ @grc: FAQ stands for frequently asked questions. If the site does not receive any off-topic questions during the public beta, we do not need the list of off-topic questions as FAQ. But that will not happen in reality, so do not worry. $\endgroup$ – Yu Asakusa Jun 2 '13 at 14:35
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    $\begingroup$ @YuAsakusa its been nearly 3 weeks already, much of this list was contributed to by several users based on actual questions we saw that didn't fit in the scope of what this site is or should be about. If we don't lay the foundation from now, what will happen when new users start running amok asking about scifi films and making games? This is not a forum per say and since most people are used to forum style discussions, it is a good idea to get this information out as quickly as possible and as grc points out, we will need a FAQ eventually. $\endgroup$ – iKlsR Jun 9 '13 at 12:46

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