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As I said before, some (many) points in the Help Center are quite vague and were probably written for Stack Exchange in general.

With all the new users pouring in due to Blender 2.80 Beta and the imminent release of the first RC, it's getting quite tedious to repeat the same comments over and over and over again, so I'd like to propose a little brush-up of the Help Center's most important points.

How do I ask a good question?

(in addition to the already existing points)

Give us something to work with. One sentence makes rarely a good question.

Blender is a complex software with many different options and it can be used for many different tasks. In order to give a good answer, we need to have as much information as possible.

  • Tell us about the purpose of your model. Creating a Model for render purpose is quite different from creating a model for animation, 3D printing or creating assets for a game.

  • Show, and tell. Add meaningful images to your question, so we can see what you see. Think about which mode (Edit, Object, Render,...) could be possibly useful to underline the main points of your question. Please host your images only on imgur by using the provided tools and not anywhere else. Your questions and our answers might become useless, once the link to the image breaks.

  • Sometimes screenshots don't tell the full story. If you want to upload files for us to check, please use blend-exchange (30 MB max.) and not dropbox or other random file sharing sites. Your questions and our answers might become useless, once the link to the file breaks. If your file exceeds the file size limit, please try to reduce the size.

  • If you have problems running Blender on your computer, we need to know as much as possible about your system.

    • Computer or Laptop?
    • How much RAM do you have?
    • Exact model of your graphics card?
    • Your GPU driver version?
    • Which operating system do you use?
    • Which Blender version do you use?
  • Leave out unnecessary text (especially any form of internet slang like lol, idk, jk and so on, but also "Please help", "Thanks in advance", "sorry for my English"...) or other unnecessary information. We don't see Memes, Pokémon, Minecraft, FNAF, Roblox or Anime characters, we see scene setups, models, materials and topology.

  • Try to ask coherently without repeating yourself. Also, "I tried everything" is not specific enough. Instead, write down exactly what you have tried so far.

  • Please try to write your question as if you would write an essay and not a post on social media or any random forum. Blender StackExchange is neither the first nor is it the second. It's a Q&A site. If you put effort into your question, people are more likely putting effort into their answers.

  • Making use of the built-in tools creates structure. Paragraphs and punctuation create basic structure, headlines, numbered or bulleted lists help drastically to improve step-by-step guides.

  • Don't use the comments to expand your question. Instead, use the edit link below your question and add the information right where it belongs.

  • Don't write link-only questions. Leaving Blender StackExchange and reading an extensive document or watching a video for 10 minutes is time-consuming. Besides, links can go down, web pages, documents and videos might vanish over time. In all cases, your question and possible answers might be useless, if this happens. Instead, try to explain to your best effort, what you want to do.

How do I write a good answer?

(in addition to the already existing points)

Answer well-asked questions...

  • ...are already flagged as duplicate or off-topic.

  • Show, and tell. Add meaningful images to your answer, so people can see what you see. Please host your images only on imgur by using the provided tools and not anywhere else. Your answers might become useless, once the link to the image breaks.

  • A single sentence rarely makes a good answer. Even if the immediate problem would be solved by just a single sentence, try to explain what exactly went wrong and how to avoid the problem in the future.

  • Making use of the built-in tools creates structure. Paragraphs and punctuation create basic structure, headlines, numbered or bulleted lists help drastically to improve step-by-step guides.

  • Don't write link-only answers. Links can go down, web pages, documents and videos might vanish over time. In all cases, your answers might be useless, if this happens. Instead, try to explain to your best effort, what you found in those external resources. (Good read: Your answer is in another castle: when is an answer not an answer? )

Of course this proposal is far from being complete. I am probably missing some points. But it would be a start.

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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The /how-to-ask help article is generic and can't be changed. Mods can change /on-topic though. $\endgroup$ – Andrew T. Apr 27 at 16:17
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    $\begingroup$ Good proposal, mostly agree. A few suggestions: "Show, don't tell" should be "Show, and tell", so we don't get the typical "How do I fix this" questions with a vague screenshot and no text. Those can't be searched for or indexed. To the extraneous text I'd also add the way too common "Please Help" and "Thanks in advance" $\endgroup$ – Duarte Farrajota Ramos Apr 28 at 4:09
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    $\begingroup$ @Duarte - good point, needs to be changed. Thanks for the input $\endgroup$ – metaphor_set Apr 28 at 10:49
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    $\begingroup$ YES! the "help" pages have been sorely lacking for far too long. $\endgroup$ – David Apr 29 at 13:39
  • $\begingroup$ So what should be the course of action for this? This seems like a really comprehensive and well written post, would be a shame if it went to waste. I didn't find a way to add new pages to help, did I miss something? Help Main page does have an edit button though, where you seem to be able to write some introductory text. Would you deem this "canonical enough" to be written in such prime space? $\endgroup$ – Duarte Farrajota Ramos May 2 at 23:18
  • $\begingroup$ @DuarteFarrajotaRamos - according to AndrewT. many of these pages cannot be changed, which is really quite an oversight, because not every site has the same requirements. I for my part have nothing against the Help Main page. Most new members won't read it anyway until we redirect them there. It would be great if a native speaker could take a look at it, though... $\endgroup$ – metaphor_set May 2 at 23:30
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, shame help center can't be more customized once size doesn't always fit all. Probably to avoid loss of main points or editing beyond recognition. It has my vote for going into the main page, lets see what others think. A proof read from a native speaker would be welcome indeed. $\endgroup$ – Duarte Farrajota Ramos May 2 at 23:46
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    $\begingroup$ the "If you have problems running Blender on your computer" section shouldn't be there. Whenever someone posts a question where they dump their computer specs and say Blender isn't working, it is either too localized, or off topic because it is about hardware, or a bug. Extremely rarely are hardware-dependent questions good. (The whole point of a good question is to not only be useful to the person asking it, but to anyone who might have the same problem in the future. In a case where the OP dumps their hardware specs, It is unlikely that multiple people will have that identical setup.) $\endgroup$ – X-27 the fluffy unicorn May 4 at 4:07
  • $\begingroup$ @X-27thefluffyunicorn - I agree on "hardware is OT", when it comes to recommendations and very specific topics like "Why won't my random graphics tablet work?". The initial question is "Why won't Blender start?" and that's not entirely a hardware question. What if it turns out that Windows 10's UAC is responsible for the problem? Combine that with the fact that many people try to use the Steam version of Blender, which tends to break easily. Where would you draw the line? $\endgroup$ – metaphor_set May 4 at 16:26
  • $\begingroup$ @X-27thefluffyunicorn - Besides - hardware configurations aren't really that unique (I have 25 years of experience in the IT industry, 10 of which I spent in hardware design), when it comes to Blender. It's almost always a problem with either the GPU (wrong OpenGL version), the driver (too old) or a dual GPU setup in a Laptop. $\endgroup$ – metaphor_set May 4 at 16:28
  • $\begingroup$ We have a couple "how to ask a good question" guides written here on meta. It'd be nice if they were better known and linked more often (instead of the un-editable help center page) $\endgroup$ – gandalf3 May 5 at 19:39
  • $\begingroup$ @metaphor_set Related: blender.meta.stackexchange.com/q/2621/599 $\endgroup$ – gandalf3 May 5 at 19:43
  • $\begingroup$ @gandalf3 - I agree with you on the point that there are already (partially) useful guides on meta, the only point is that many new people tend to ignore them even if we link them. Why? Because they are not "official". Recently I had two "discussions" with new users within two weeks and they all ended with "That's your opinion how things should run here". It's not only a trend on the internet, I experienced those things in the past IRL especially with young people and thankfully that part of my working life is over. $\endgroup$ – metaphor_set May 6 at 12:12
  • $\begingroup$ @metaphor_set Sorry, the notification slipped past me somehow.. Anyway, partly that's on us moderators to use "the diamond" to lend some official weight to our opinions as a site, but also I think presentation can help. I don't know what your discussions looked like, but I suspect more people are likely to heed the guides on meta when it's "Welcome to the site, here's a guide on the best ways to attract good answers" than something akin to "Please follow the rules". Don't get me wrong, I wish we could edit the "how to ask" page, but that's currently impossible. $\endgroup$ – gandalf3 May 11 at 19:15

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