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Mighty admins of Blender Meta,

Would it be possible to add a short text, suggesting to include a .blend file in a new question?
It could make answers more relevant and specific.

Just something simple like
enter image description here

Many questions are way easier to answer when a .blend file is provided. But only a small percentage of users actually does it.

So.
Would it be possible to add such a suggestion, or is it going against SE purpose?

Thank you

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    $\begingroup$ This is mostly a duplicate of this. My opinion is that ideally I would rather answer a well-worded, illustrated question without having to download a file, save for the cases where they really are required. Suggesting a user should upload a file may encourage them to be lazy in their question writing. This would make it harder for other users to tell whether this question is the same as theirs and whether the answers are therefore relevant to their own problem. $\endgroup$ Nov 19 '19 at 17:54
  • $\begingroup$ @RayMairlot Thanks for the link, I missed it. And also thanks for your opinion, I didn't think of that. Well I guess I'll just stick to asking for .blends on each question individually :). $\endgroup$ Nov 19 '19 at 18:04
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    $\begingroup$ I'd even dare say that if a question requires a file to be answered it is most likely a bad sign. It is either too localized or a "do it for me" job that is unlikely to be helpful to anyone else in the future. $\endgroup$ Nov 19 '19 at 20:10
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    $\begingroup$ @DuarteFarrajotaRamos You make a good point, sir. I still think it's a good idea to have a .blend available, but I can see the possible problems. Thanks everyone for sharing your experience :). $\endgroup$ Nov 19 '19 at 20:39
  • $\begingroup$ @RayMairlot Please, consider posting your comment as an answer, like `@Leander suggested. The comment section is a bit hard to navigate :). $\endgroup$ Nov 23 '19 at 16:58
  • $\begingroup$ @Leander Done. You're right, I should have done this. $\endgroup$ Nov 23 '19 at 19:49
  • $\begingroup$ Possible duplicate of Should all "Ask A Question" pages encourage the poster to upload their blend? $\endgroup$
    – Luciano
    Nov 29 '19 at 13:21
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We do, as much as we can anyway. Unfortunately as far as I know we don't have any way to edit the ask a question page.

I disagree with some of the opinions expressed in the comments, I'd say a .blend is nearly always better than no .blend (there are of course times where it's not necessary, but it doesn't really hurt either). To mitigate "here's my project pls fix it" questions, ideally we want to encourage users to upload a stripped-down "minimal example" of their problem. Doing that

  • helps them, as often the process of isolating the problem leads to the solution (or at least helps with writing a clearer question)
  • helps us, as we don't need to dig through large .blends and try and reverse-engineer what the OP is attempting to do
  • helps blend-exchange by saving bytes
  • plus it alleviates some concerns users occasionally have over IP rights.

Unfortunately the only way we have to consistently communicate this to new users is by commenting and linking meta where relevant.

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  • $\begingroup$ Good points over the pros of, especially the part about narrowing down the issue. My concern is that it all relies on actually getting users to strip the file down, which most newcomers never actually do. $\endgroup$ Nov 19 '19 at 23:42
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for your thoughts, I couldn't agree more. This seems to be a situation where the Blender SE community can really shine :). $\endgroup$ Nov 20 '19 at 8:34
  • $\begingroup$ i totally agree with you gandalf3. And i wonder why Duarte is agreeing with u although he is the first to pin point on me when i am asking for blend files....! ..and not just one time. $\endgroup$
    – Chris
    Mar 30 at 12:25
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My opinion is that ideally I would rather answer a well-worded, illustrated question without having to download a file, save for the cases where they really are required.

Suggesting a user should upload a file may encourage them to be lazy in their question writing. This would make it harder for other users to tell whether this question is the same as theirs and whether the answers are therefore relevant to their own problem.

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Creating a totally Useless build up

Further to answer of @RayMairlot, another thing to consider is the hosting provider.

Policy for linking to blend files

Should all "Ask A Question" pages encourage the poster to upload their blend?

Often see a comment request to add a blend file to a question. The suggested host is often http://blend-exchange.giantcowfilms.com ie permanent blend file hosting for bse provided by user @GiantCowFilms. Similarly with those attached to answers.

Often the answer is change this setting, or plug this node in here, not here ,, As far as the Q&A is concerned there is no need for anyone else to DL the blend. From this point in time the blend file does nothing more than take up space. As we are aware from our download, pictures, desktop and other folders that grow and grow and grow some maintenance is required, or provide more and more storage space. (HD's have grown from Mega to Terra in 20 years, doesn't take 20yrs to fill them)

IMO In many cases using a temporary service like https://pasteall.org/blend/ would be much more suitable. The blend file is kept for around 5 months. Generally if the question is answerable and someone has requested the blend it is answered in less time than 5 months.

Could add a zillion links to questions / answers where I feel a permanently hosted blend file is totally unnecessary. (Sure you have seen plenty) Does it matter if the link to blend is broken. How many answers over 5mths old even get looked at?

To sum up, consider requesting user upload blend to a temporary hosting site

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  • $\begingroup$ Hello, bat :). I completely agree on this with you. While it's always better to have a file available, most of the files are only downloaded once/twice, so a temporary hosting seems a better idea. I'd reserve Blend-Exchange for answers only, it makes more sense there :). $\endgroup$ Dec 13 '20 at 18:58
  • $\begingroup$ Or build expiry into GCFs. ... then assign "immortality or execution date" via a new review queue? $\endgroup$
    – batFINGER
    Dec 14 '20 at 11:27
  • $\begingroup$ That's a good point that we should be considerate of the Blend-Exchange server capacity. I try to keep the blends I post minimal in content, but I'm sure this does not occur to most new users. I also think it's case by case, and we should weigh the cost of the size against the benefit of keeping the content available. $\endgroup$
    – Mentalist
    Dec 17 '20 at 17:25
  • $\begingroup$ I beg to disagree. I've downloaded quite a few files to further explore the answers, or play with the proposed settings (or the models or shaders) for my own needs. In the perfect world, a well documented answer would make downloading a file irrelevant, but in the imperfect reality of users that is not the case. Vanishing answers help no one once they are gone. Permanent answers might help some. Pasteall is of limited use... On top of that there are questions that are pretty much impossible to answer without the specifics of a file. Rigging or motion tracking are examples that come to mind. $\endgroup$
    – susu
    Jan 7 at 23:04
  • $\begingroup$ Would concur re "imperfect reality of users" that for the sake of argument you have totally missed the point. Are you going to download the blend here blender.stackexchange.com/questions/209481/deleting-a-hook now.... in 5 months ... in 5 years time. Need I post 100s more similar links to make the case? $\endgroup$
    – batFINGER
    Jan 27 at 7:25

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