# Are questions about the 2.8 branch on topic?

So far we only have a few questions that are directly about Blender 2.8, from a quick search on the site, there are these that come up:

What's the purpose of eevee engine?

Game development for 2.8

blender 2.8 eevee & cycles viewport display modes gone

The first two were fairly well recieved, yet the third was put on hold as off topic.

As development continues, and with builds being updated daily on the Buildbot I think it is safe to say that it is inevitable that the site will see more and more questions regarding the branch. Is it useful in any way for the community to have these questions answered here now, even if the answer may include "this is subject to change.." ?

Personally, as long as an official build is available, is being actively developed, and shows potential benefit to the community as a whole, then I don't see a problem with questions about the branch.

Until 2.8 is released, or is at least much closer to being released, how should we handle these questions?

• Late here but from a quick glance the first two are more or so general questions as to what will be coming or what the 2.8 workflow will be like. The third is a question about using the experimental branch itself. These questions are likely to not be useful later on as the branch is under heavy development, a button can be here today and gone tomorrow. As the page itself says with 3 different warnings These builds are not as stable as releases, use at your own risk. These questions should not count as valid until the branch has seen an official stable release. – iKlsR May 21 '17 at 5:40

I'm going to disagree with Duarte here, and argue they should be off topic.

At its core Blender.SE is a database of blender knowledge, in Q&A format. As a result posts long-term value should be considered as the top priority. At the same time, Blender 2.8 is rapidly evolving software, and questions about how to use its features could quickly become outdated as the Devs change the requirements and feature are modified. Any answer based on it could quickly become irrelevant, within a few weeks/months. Irrelevant answers will clutter search results, hindering the usefulness of this site.

I think in most cases it would be best to wait until 2.8 is much nearer to release, and its requirements have been locked.

I don't think Blender 2.8 related question should be automatically considered offtopic. It will eventually become the official latest release, so it should be encouraging to have early answers and clarifications about it.

That is as long as they are not about trouble shooting technical problems with the builds themselves, along the lines of "Why isn't this working?" or "Why is behavior X unexpected?", or "Where is < favorite missing feature >?" and the typical "When will it be ready?".

As iklsr politely mentioned, the currently available builds are highly experimental, still broken in fundamental ways, and not at all ready for prime time. They are not Beta builds, nor Alpha, not even ready for public testing. Expecting them to work at this point is unrealistic at best.

Generally speaking those may even be considered bug reports of sorts, which are a widely known type of off-topic here. Once released I'd expect all kinks to be ironed out, making such questions validity and relevance questionable for the long run too.

One other concern I'd personally have is that encouraging end users (especially beginners) to use these as production software, which may lead to an increase in unwanted bug reports in the bug tracker, which already is managing hell for the scarce developer manpower.

At this point I fear end user bug reports are more of a hassle then helpful. Quoting Sergey Sharybin from the bf-committers Blender 2.8 meeting of August 15 2017 mailing list

Note for everyone: Blender 2.8 tracker is currently for developers to coordinate core development. We can not spend time on fixing users reports yet: lots of them are requiring core parts to be finished redesigning first.

Besides the obvious dangers of potential data loss while using untested pre-alpha software.

Questions along the lines of general usability, or theoretical questions about officially known features and roadmap, should be OK, I guess.

EDIT: And here it is, the official statement of what I have been trying to convey, The message at the official 2.8 snapshots download page has been changed to request bug reports exclusively from developers. My point being we should prevent random users from reporting bugs at all costs, even at the expense of testing 2.8 nightly builds by not encouraging end users to test them at all.

# Yes, absolutely.

Yes, 2.8 is rapidly changing. Yes, questions asked about it today might not apply tomorrow. The thing is, the developers are hoping to get people using and testing the branch as much as possible, because that's how volatile, experimental features (especially when it comes to UI/UX) turn into solid, well designed features which last years without major changes.

Why would we want to discourage that?

Answers which are valid in the long-term sound nice, but really. Is there anyone looking at 2.4x documentation now and saying "this is perfect, no need to update this?" I don't think so. Blender is changing all the time. We want answers which are valid now. If tomorrow answers aren't valid — but the questions are — they'll get answered again.

To differentiate between questions about the current release and 2.8, I propose we have a tag. This tag would only apply to questions about the 2.8 branch, meaning once it has been released (merged into master), the tag would not apply to new questions about 2.8.

• Having 2.8-branch or any variation of that still seems like a band-aid fix to my larger concern which is fragmentation. I dislike the notion of having versioned tags of Blender (that will cease to be specifically relevant) in a few months when we could just wait and apply everything to the current stable thing that everyone has. However, I do agree that this should be the place to come when in doubt about new features etc. I'm not sure the best way to quite go about this and I could be wrong but hoping for some more input. – iKlsR Jun 14 '17 at 20:31
• @iKlsR Yes, the tag will cease to be relevant for new questions. It'll remain relevant on existing questions where it serves as an identifier of what branch the question was asking about. – gandalf3 Jun 14 '17 at 21:06
• My main concern is that I am not so sure devs do want "people using and testing the branch as much as possible" yet. I've read them complain more than once that they don't have the manpower nor should they be spending the time to triage reports they already know full well are broken ATM. It also opens the floodages for the too many curious beginners posting the usual "this doesn't work correctly!" reports in the bugtracker – Duarte Farrajota Ramos Jun 16 '17 at 2:14
• Same applies here, though it is not so much trouble for us triaging the occasional 2.8 random post, I imagine most questions (as we've already seen) will be along the lines of "this doesn't work as expected!" or "where is missing feature X!". Not only are those of low future (and immediate) value, most of the time we won't be able to answer them anyway or provide a proper solution. Trouble shooting the problem is a waste because most of them would probably classify as bugs and be fixed eventually anyway. – Duarte Farrajota Ramos Jun 16 '17 at 2:19
• @DuarteFarrajotaRamos All the more reason to let them post here instead ;) As for troubleshooting questions, I think it'll depend on how obscure the particular problem is. If it's an easy fix/something a lot of people run into, then I don't see why it shouldn't be answered. If it's not, I wouldn't say that makes it off-topic per se. Perhaps just unlikely to receive an answer (but you never know), or, if anything, closed as too localized. – gandalf3 Jun 16 '17 at 4:41
• @DuarteFarrajotaRamos echoing gandalf3's answer bug reports are what is needed to have a proper release. The Release notes for 2.79 clearly ask for user's feedback. wiki.blender.org/index.php/Dev:Ref/Release_Notes/2.79 – cegaton Aug 8 '17 at 1:09
• Yes 2.79 I agree, but not 2.8, not yet at least. Correct me if I'm wrong, but if I interpreted developer's comments well, I fear at this point it would be pretty much feel like a painter having the public constantly commenting over his shoulder on the unfinished artwork "It's not finished", "You missed that spot" "That is not done". It's annoying and not helpful – Duarte Farrajota Ramos Aug 8 '17 at 1:27
• @DuarteFarrajotaRamos Which I think is all the more reason to promote asking those questions here. That way we act as a buffer between the devs and the curious onlookers. Continuing your painting analogy: we certainly don't want to discourage the public commenting and discussing the painting amongst themselves ("don't you think that house would look better with a door?" "Yes, I heard they are adding doors soon." "If the doors have doorknobs they'll be easier to use!"). All this discussion can be browsed by developers, and maybe useful insights will be integrated (or give devs more ideas). – gandalf3 Aug 8 '17 at 1:43
• I concur, fair enough. "That way we act as a buffer between the devs and the curious onlookers" That I can get behind :) – Duarte Farrajota Ramos Aug 8 '17 at 1:57
• Added a few more examples of unwanted user bug reports I collected in recent times to my answer above. Sergey Sharibyn Mentioned himself that 2.8 tracker is to be used for developer project coordination, which I feel confirms we should act as buffer and not encourage 2.8 user reports just yet – Duarte Farrajota Ramos Aug 15 '17 at 23:58
• @gandalf3 although it seems the consensus has ultimately been that 2.8 is off topic, will a tag be created at some point? As development continues, particularly with greasepencil-object branch and the new open movie on blender cloud, interest will only increase I'd expect. – Timaroberts Jan 22 '18 at 21:09
• @Timaroberts I don't know that there has really been a consensus in that direction. I haven't actually seen very many 2.8 questions yet, so I think we're still handling them on a case-by-case basis. – gandalf3 Jan 23 '18 at 2:28

No

Instead there better be a meta tag for "Blender Beta version" since there is constant development on Blender, things might endup in Blender, or might not endup in blender. Not every GSOC project went into Blender, so if people like to discus beta stuf or bleeding edge builds better give them a proper tag.