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Should we expand the scope of this site to allow some simple "how to" questions?
This question was a recent example of the kind of question that could be allowed.

To give another example of this on stackexchange, GD seems to allow these sorts of questions, they even have a tag.

I've noticed that a lot of questions which get asked now tend to be duplicates, as most of the comment problem questions like "what are these dark spots on my model" have been answered already.

Allowing these kinds of questions would potentially:

  • Increase the number of "possible questions", giving the site purpose even after most problem questions have been answered.

  • Likely attract more answers per question, as there would most likely be many possible ways of answered such a question. This would help our answer ratio.

We already have some questions of a similar scope which have attracted many answers, such as How would I go about creating a spiralled dome?.


If we do decide to expand our scope, some further questions:

  • Should we do this retroactively? (reopening and answering closed questions, such as the one mentioned at the beginning of this post?)

  • Should we have a tag for this kind of question (GD style)?

  • What should the new scope be?

    How do we go about defining the fine line of what is still off-topic? E.g. if simple howtos are okay, but full blown tutorials are not, how do we differentiate between a howto and a tutorial?

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    $\begingroup$ I believe it's a good idea to do so, because we tend to not have many new questions anyway; And those we do have, most times, have only one answer. $\endgroup$ – someonewithpc Oct 8 '14 at 18:14
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, this would make the site more valuable and could attract more users. Finally our poor answer ratio would be improved. $\endgroup$ – stacker Oct 9 '14 at 21:25
  • $\begingroup$ As someone who has seen almost all the questions that get asked daily, I would think this is implicitly allowed and done even though we wanted to keep the site tutorial free. Also these questions can be easily answered as opposed to how do I model a car or more complicated things. $\endgroup$ – iKlsR Oct 10 '14 at 19:49
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    $\begingroup$ @iKlsR I've seen it as more mixed, for example the spiraled dome question and the zipper question seem pretty much the same scope to me. $\endgroup$ – gandalf3 Oct 10 '14 at 20:18
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    $\begingroup$ So does this mean we should reopen the zipper question? $\endgroup$ – David Oct 18 '14 at 13:32
  • $\begingroup$ Before we make we make a "go ahead" decision, shouldn't we also weigh the cons? $\endgroup$ – A Wild RolandiXor Dec 1 '14 at 19:02
  • $\begingroup$ @RolandiXor By all means, write an answer listing the cons :) $\endgroup$ – gandalf3 Dec 1 '14 at 20:06
  • $\begingroup$ @gandalf3 honestly I'd rather let others weigh in (not that I'm lazy, but I've been away for a little while). $\endgroup$ – A Wild RolandiXor Dec 4 '14 at 17:11
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Yes!

I think letting people ask about how to make/do simple things is a good idea for several reasons.

1. These kinds of questions can be incredibly valuable. Take this question for example, even though I may never make a city (then again, I might want to sometime and I am sure there are lots of people who do) I have learned about a ton of features and addons from it, and evidently lots of other people found it helpful as well considering the 18 votes and 19 favorites it has received. The spiral dome is another good example of a very helpful, super well received question.

2. That's what CG is about. When we restrict how-tos we basically just get, as iKlsR said in the comments, a bunch of duplicates of the same few questions, and bug reports (which are off topic as well for good reason). Plus, most questions really are how-tos anyhow. What is the difference between asking how to make a zipper and how to create diffraction, or how to make a hologram (or, for that matter, any other question on the site). The last two are just how-tos for materials as opposed to modeling. So if we really don't want how-tos we should really be closing most questions.

3. It is beneficial to the site. These kinds of questions get lots of good answers and, as stacker mentioned in the comments, our answers-per-question ratio is pretty pathetic. The very fact that SE expects many answers per question signifies that they want more than straight questions with a single cut-and-dried answer. These types of questions are also often asked by new users, so being too zealous with the close option just for asking how to get started on a project can scare people, not only away from the SE, but away from Blender as well.

A note on broadness. Now, I think we definitely should make a distinction between “how to make a zipper” and “how to model, sculpt, rig, and material a dragon” (the second example is hypothetical). I think a good deal of this should be left to the asker's discretion, say something like “one question at a time, nothing overly complex or super specific”. Keep in mind, for more complex questions we don't necessarily need to provide a full step-by-step process, in many cases I think the asker would be happy with a few (well constructed) pointers. This would definitely have to be debated and discussed further though.

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