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Our site is wonderful, and I love it, but I'm sure we all realize that it could be improved greatly! Now that SE is going to develop a custom design for us (Which will be soon, they have $40 million) they are probably going to be as willing as ever to make the changes that we need.

What are changes or other things you think need to be addressed by Stack Exchange during graduation?

Please separate them into multiple answers, it makes it easier to see what the community agrees with

PS This is not a feature wishlist... please put changes you've felt a strong need for.

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  • $\begingroup$ Does this mean we are close to graduation? $\endgroup$ – PGmath Feb 16 '15 at 21:36
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    $\begingroup$ @PGmath, We are in the queue, according to a comment from Abby Hairboat, a community manager for Stack Exchange. In the post a about the 40 million, they said some was going towards completing the queue, so I bet it will be within the year $\endgroup$ – GiantCowFilms Feb 16 '15 at 22:45
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.Blend upload and storage

Although many downsides could be seen, the number one most common comment on a question is a variant of "Could you upload your .blend, thanks!" Often it is the easiest way to trouble shoot issues, since images can only tell so much, and it takes a lot of time to reconstruct situations. Blend files are also valuable to answers as they can help demonstrate concepts.

Advantages:

  • Removes the need to comment about further detail in many cases
  • Makes it easier for users to comply to queries about more information
  • Many .blend hosting sites in use delete the files after use, this would make it Future Proof
  • Other sites pack viruses along with the .blend (Yikes!)

Requirements

  • .Blend upload should be permanent
  • There should be a notification asking users, if relevant, to pack the textures.

Disadvantages: I think it is fit to note some possible issues to dispel any fears.

  • Poorly written questions, using a .blend as a crutch

Solution: Down votes. If the community has a problem with a question, they down vote it and the user learns.

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    $\begingroup$ I agree that this is a most needed feature for this site. There are so many questions with linked files that do not work anymore, so the question becomes less accessible for future users or just useless. There isn't a standard way way to link files now. Most used are Google drive or dropbox and the links vanish once the user is satisfied with his or her answer. The most recommended site, www.pasteall.org/blend only stores the files for up to 5 months. Having a permanent home for files would make the knowledge base of blender.stackexchange more future proof. $\endgroup$ – cegaton Feb 16 '15 at 16:44
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    $\begingroup$ I definitely do not agree with your " A poorly written question with a .blend can be better then a well written question without a .blend in some cases" statement. A well written and clear question is always better then a poor question. Would a blend file really make a question like this better? $\endgroup$ – David Feb 16 '15 at 17:55
  • $\begingroup$ One problem with this that you didn't mention is that blend files can get rather large. From a hosting perspective this can become pretty cumbersome. SE is unlikely to allow us this feature unless a third party can be used for the job. I would suggest Sketchfab... though it would still take some negotiation on that end. $\endgroup$ – A Wild RolandiXor Feb 16 '15 at 18:17
  • $\begingroup$ @AWildRolandiXor Usually when a .blend is needed, just uploading a model won't do, the actually FILE is needed to understand some issues, as well as to demonstrate cycles materials etc. $\endgroup$ – GiantCowFilms Feb 17 '15 at 1:16
  • $\begingroup$ @David Yes & No, Some questions are beyond hope :/ Some cases though, a user is more likely to include a highly useful .blend instead of being willing to write paragraphs of details that someone trying to help would have to read and replicate. Both sides win with a .blend. The some cases qualifier was there for a reason as well, your example would fall outside the some cases $\endgroup$ – GiantCowFilms Feb 17 '15 at 1:17
  • $\begingroup$ @GiantCowFilms I haven't downloaded anything from SF, but wouldn't they offer to download the original file? $\endgroup$ – A Wild RolandiXor Feb 18 '15 at 16:09
  • $\begingroup$ permanent (or short/limited time) storage could be an option. I'm not sure about this but i think some people don't want to share their files forever. This could limit hosting problems too. $\endgroup$ – Bithur Mar 15 '15 at 21:16
  • $\begingroup$ @Bithur The problem is the fact that StackExchange is a knowledge base, not a support forum. The information should be permanent, that is the hole point. I under stand many here are not familiar with SE culture, but the reason why this is suggested, and I wrote a permanent storage system for the interim is that this information is valuable to future users.... $\endgroup$ – GiantCowFilms Mar 15 '15 at 21:50
  • $\begingroup$ @GiantCowFilms You're absolutely right, making things permanent is the best choice. I just wonder if it's needed all the time. $\endgroup$ – Bithur Mar 15 '15 at 22:04
  • $\begingroup$ @Bithur Yes it is.... if people don't want to contribute long term they can go elsewhere, I tend to thing of .blend files in this instance as images... $\endgroup$ – GiantCowFilms Mar 16 '15 at 0:22
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< KBD > button

There was a discussion on this, which largely panned off into a user-scripts party :D! But in all seriousness, I think we need this. Without user scripts, which I dislike for various reasons. Typing out <kbd></kbd> is a really big pain, and makes me flinch every time I'm in Firefox or another chrome user without the script.

Obviously some of you are worried about possible abuse of the kbd tags, since they are kept away from new users through a veil of ignorance.

But other forms of formatting like ALL CAPS, ALL CAPS AND ALL BOLD and others could easily be abused, but aren't, so why would the KBD be different? Even if it were, there are plenty of power users to fix the issue. There is also the option to remove it, I just think its worth a shot.

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I think it might be useful to implement a Featured Artwork header decided by a weekly or monthly competition. We could have an artwork gallery that the header is randomly chosen from every day. This would accelerate learning, promote participation, and make people more interested in general. There are some downsides to it, but I think in light of the benefits it might pay off.

I know we already tried contests here on Blender.SE, and it fell flat, with the last one only attracting one entry. I think this is largely due to the fact that there is no real incentive to participate, and although fun, people didn't want to pause their projects long enough to make an entry.

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  • $\begingroup$ ...I think this might fall under design suggestions. $\endgroup$ – GiantCowFilms Feb 21 '15 at 17:49
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    $\begingroup$ This would be cool if it was more than a showcase for artwork, and was notable artwork where the creator has explained how to reproduce some important technique he or she used in its creation. Alternatively, perhaps it could just highlight great answers/questions or maybe it could be art that was finished as a result of someone getting their question answered? $\endgroup$ – MrFlamey Mar 12 '15 at 4:19
  • $\begingroup$ That is an interesting idea! I like it! $\endgroup$ – VRM Mar 12 '15 at 11:22
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Apply design suggestions

There is a thread on our design here on meta It would be great if you could apply some of the popular suggestions, and take a look at what the community wants.

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I feel strong need to promote accepting answers more, too many good answers are left without the accepted checkmark.

This could be due to new users not knowing to do this or how to do this (but many don't accept even when reminded in comments).

Or there are not enough rewards for accepting answer.

The actual solution I propose is for high enough* reputation users to be able to accept or change accepted answer (no reward here). This would help in situations when a new Blender release has better solution, there is an answer for it, it has more upvotes, but the OP is now inactive and the old answer is ticked and on top.

*) the amount is in question

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    $\begingroup$ I know the feeling +10 if I could. But @Jerryno, this would be a change in Network policy not just our site, so would be more appropriate on meta.stackexchange.com $\endgroup$ – GiantCowFilms Feb 21 '15 at 14:54
  • $\begingroup$ I see @GiantCowFilms, didn't know about network policies. I wonder what is the reason for this to not be implemented long time ago, it looks like a clear thing to me. Other networks have to have same problem. $\endgroup$ – Jaroslav Jerryno Novotny Feb 21 '15 at 17:42
  • $\begingroup$ Sometimes, I find if difficult to choose an answer worth accepting and even insulting to other, equally valid answers that obviously took a lot of time to write... I've never seen a solution so much as proposed to this concern. $\endgroup$ – user1833028 Mar 20 '15 at 18:24
  • $\begingroup$ When you think of some sort of policy change, chances are someone on the network-wide meta already asked about it ;) $\endgroup$ – gandalf3 Jul 10 '15 at 0:27
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    $\begingroup$ Maybe a solution to this might be a mechanism by which other members of the community besides the poster of the original question could accept the answer. This might be implemented in a means that is similar to flagging a question for closure, that is, people with enough reputation could vote to accept an answer.. $\endgroup$ – brasshat Jul 24 '15 at 7:56
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It would be nice to have a special code, similar to kbd for buttons.

This would be useful because it would allow us to bring more visual distinction to a button in a set of instructions, without having to resort to a screen shot. (Images increase load time even when they are small).

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p3d.in embedding

This would make asking questions (and maybe answering) quite a bit easier. Users would be able to share their geometry and textures directly into the web browser without having to upload and download blend file, provide multiple angle screenshots or animated gifs.

I think it would make some questions way simpler. It is not, however, a replacement for blend uploads… that is still necessary.

another options is https://sketchfab.com/

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  • $\begingroup$ p3d could be useful for modeling questions.... hopefully people don't think it is a replacement for other forms. $\endgroup$ – GiantCowFilms Feb 16 '15 at 17:19
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    $\begingroup$ Sketchfab is better though. $\endgroup$ – A Wild RolandiXor Feb 16 '15 at 18:17
  • $\begingroup$ @AWildRolandiXor define "better". $\endgroup$ – Daniel Pendergast Feb 16 '15 at 18:22
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    $\begingroup$ Well for starters, free users have unlimited storage. $\endgroup$ – A Wild RolandiXor Feb 16 '15 at 18:25
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    $\begingroup$ This would be a heavy dependency, unlikely to happen unless the files weren't shown readily but upon request as this would no doubt slow page load times. $\endgroup$ – iKlsR Feb 18 '15 at 15:03

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