First bullet point in What questions should be definitely off-topic? is :

  1. Requests for tutorials

    Can anyone show me how to model/rig/animate X?

    Can anyone make a tutorial on doing X?

although I strongly agree with all other points, this one causes me headache. As a beginner I guess that I would most benefit from tutorial-style Q/A.

Would this question What is the simplest way to generate a dodecahedron? considered as asking for a tutorial and therefore be off-topic?

What would be the benefit for beginners if typical beginners questions are banned as off-topic?


5 Answers 5


Stack Exchange is a network of Q&A sites. From meta stackoverflow:

Tutorials are neither questions nor answers. If a question needs a full-blown tutorial to answer, it is likely too broad and therefore "not a real question" or "not constructive". Your proposal of creating a format that greatly detracts from Q&A doesn't sit too well with Stack Exchange, whose very building blocks are questions and answers.

If something needs a canonical answer in our site, it should be an answer to a question, not a tutorial.

Generally speaking, tutorial requests are broad and show a lack of effort on the asker's behalf. The site would probably become flooded with these kinds of requests if we were to accept them.

I would describe What is the simplest way to generate a dodecahedron? as a question rather than a tutorial request. It addresses a specific problem and has a short, definitive answer.


What is the whole point of asking questions if not asking for help?

However... it is good to give at least some try to achieve what you want, and when you fail... well that you ask questions why.

Maybe we should tag beginner questions so everyone will know... it might be a basic question.

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ The tag beginner is a meta-tag, I think. $\endgroup$
    – Alenanno
    Commented May 23, 2013 at 15:27
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Meta-tags are generally frowned-upon on other sites. $\endgroup$
    – nanofarad
    Commented May 23, 2013 at 16:16
  • $\begingroup$ I agree except for the last line. $\endgroup$ Commented May 23, 2013 at 17:23
  • $\begingroup$ Well, beginners have right to ask questions too. There are just lazy people too... but sometimes one just do not know where to put his hand in to begin - and this is my point here. $\endgroup$
    – user92
    Commented May 23, 2013 at 22:25

As an example from another site, Ask Ubuntu, sometimes we have simple questions that cover wide areas and have long answers:

These are not similar to tutorials in their scope, but some may appear so in their length or in that they may have different answers for the same question (as in more than one way to do a single action).

Such questions are not off-topic to the site in question, they are just a a bit atypical in nature. They should not be discouraged, because the point is ultimately to become a place where people can swiftly get concise answers to their questions.

Of course, we would not allow questions asking things like:

  • "How do I do xyz for my homework?" (We don't do homework for people, though we can assist with specific issues encountered in the process (depends on the situation presented)).
  • "How do I model a star ship?" (What star ship?)
  • "How do I make a sky dome?" (Overly broad; because a sky dome can be done in different ways).

Questions similar to those above might work though. For example:

  • "How do I create a transparent sky dome with opaque clouds?" (There are only so many ways to skin a cat).
  • "How do I create a laser beam for my starship?" (The question could be answered with a method that works in cycles, and another that works in Blender internal. In fact these could be included in one answer).

See these questions as examples.

They are small and concise and can quickly be answered with a few images and a couple lines of text. What the post above clearly says should be off-topic is requests for tutorials or what we in the Blender community know to merit an actual full length tutorial.

For eg. How do I model a car in Blender?

This is not an ideal question for several reasons as it can be done many different ways and it wouldn't be ideal if one were to attempt to fully answer it and not just give tips and pointers. There would be several things to consider too such as best practices etc.

So in short, you can ask for help on small matters, how to quickly model folds in cloth etc, just not full blown things as asking how to rig, model or animate an entire character or object.

Update: Regarding questions and answers as tutorials


I think tutorials, and the culture of tutorials for everything, has lowered the bar for a lot of people, and I have mixed feelings about whether that is good or not. But at the moment there are so many tutorials, they start to duplicate effort. And at present most non text based tutorials aren't searchable without a transcript, and if you have timestamped-transcript you are in luck.

As seasoned users how often do we look for information only to find that the bit we wanted to know was a paragraph or word or a 10 second bit of video of a tutorial. Often we are only looking for the missing information that allows us to investigate further on our own.

For newcomers with no 3d experience it helps to have a narrative, initially. But this need diminishes proportionally to the amount of self-directed effort put into learning Blender (searching and reading the docs, the wiki, the various tutorials sites) until newcomers become intermediate and start to push away the hand holding of tutorials. And they too will start to favour narrow questions and answers.

Newcomers with prior 3d experience tend to be more exact with searches and questions, and generally progress to intermediate or advanced rather fast because they already have the vocabulary or have learned how to learn.


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