Since I proposed the list of possible topics that should be off-topic, it seems it has been well received and people are working with it. However, there have been several discussions in chat, numerous comments and several other posts about #1.

1. Requests for tutorials

  • Can anyone show me how to model/rig/animate X?
  • Can anyone make a tutorial on doing X?

This post is to clarify what is meant by asking for a tutorial and answering a question in that manner.

First off.

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.

A tutorial request can be said to be one that would take considerable text or visual aid to properly explain and or clarify (we want concise, clear and interesting questions). These are also quickly identified as they are usually started 'How to'.. and are usually very general, see #3 on the proposed off-topic list.

A tutorial in the form of an answer would also be one that would also take considerable text or visual aid to properly explain and are overly broad or have several different ways of starting and doing. Some generic examples are:

  • How can I model car X in Blender?
  • How should I start modeling object X in Blender?1
  • How can I rig this character?
  • Ways I make a walk animation?
  • How does the VSE work?

1Also questions that only ask for half of a solution to a problem should be out too, we want to have complete and concise answers where possible, not discussions, argumentative opinions and or suggestions and then leaving the rest to choice or interpretation.

Here is a question that has been asked as a tutorial or interpreted as such by the community.

If you look at it you can immediately see that to answer it, one would have to go into depth to explain various settings and options as we don't simply want to throw information out there without properly explaining it. This question is especially vague.

Here is a not so ideal question but valid example for an ideal example question that merits some explaining. How do I take a flat model and wrap around an axis like a wheel?

At first the title is vague but the OP explicitly says in the question he is using modifiers, the scope was immediately set and this eliminated any other lengthy answers that could have been posted such as modeling the object manually, using splines or spinning/lathing etc.

Also see What would be wrong with tutorials as long as they describe a reusable workflow?

Proposal for questions that merit or require a detailed answer.

  • Try to be as explicit as possible or limit your question to specific areas you don't understand or have problems with. The closer your problem is to whatever you want, the easier it is for someone to give a nice indepth reply. Some examples.

Proposal for answers to questions that merit or require a detailed answer.

  • In answering a question that merits some explanation:

    If it is on-topic and limited to set way(s) of doing so, I propose that we answer but only with a maximum of three (5) or thereabout steps, each of about 5 lines (inclusive of visual aids). See my answer as an example, I do not need to go much into detail as the controls for the modifiers are extremely clear and simple.

All this being said, there has been a post started that will be a reference for users, new or experienced looking for tutorials or introduction to topics in Blender.

NB. Again, this is all off the top of my head and as per suggestions and comments picked up around the site. I can be completely wrong or off in some cases, feel free to leave suggestions and I will improve upon this, but we need a post to draw the line between definitive answers and tutorials.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Wow, I was expecting to have to add something to this, but you nailed it. $\endgroup$ May 24, 2013 at 16:49
  • $\begingroup$ very good write up, but I have one question. Are you discouraging long and or detailed answers? It seams to me, that there is still no clear different between, a good but long answer, and a full tutorial. $\endgroup$
    – David
    Mar 27, 2014 at 21:30
  • $\begingroup$ @David Definitely not, most of this post is now obsolete but having written a few of the long answers here. What I mean is to word the answer in a general way that anyone can interpret rather than step by step instructions (a tutorial essentially). A good long answer IMO would be one with credible links, some visuals (gif or several images), perhaps a demo .blend and links to other relevant questions. The line is thin yes but here is a perfect example. $\endgroup$
    – iKlsR
    Mar 27, 2014 at 23:32
  • $\begingroup$ @David Also worth noting that this was targeted at the "How do I model or animate X" questions that we had popping up when we were in closed beta. $\endgroup$
    – iKlsR
    Mar 27, 2014 at 23:34
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks, I did not think you were discouraging good answers (that would be crazy). Here is another example. A great answer, but both this and your example could be called a tutorial. I guess my question came from the last part of your "question" the NB. Definitely agreed that the "How do I model or animate X" questions are off topic for this site. $\endgroup$
    – David
    Mar 28, 2014 at 0:26
  • $\begingroup$ This is really counterproductive. You're actively preventing the community from helping itself. It depends on the abillity of the mod to be able to interpret a question correctly which I highly doubt since I've been browsing for 5 minutes and found 2 topics I could have answered already. Sometimes "how do I X" CAN be answered with a tutorial but sometimes it's also a lot easier, if the question is interpreted AS THEORETICAL. "How would I, in theory, do X" should be a fair question. $\endgroup$
    – B Newmark
    Apr 25, 2014 at 7:42
  • $\begingroup$ For example this For example this blender.stackexchange.com/questions/8810/… is a question that needs to be answered with the description of the concept of tweening. But you locked it because "hurr durr he's lazy". So stop locking topics and question you don't understand. $\endgroup$
    – B Newmark
    Apr 25, 2014 at 7:46
  • $\begingroup$ @BNewmark I assume you are talking to me. Firstly, I had no action on that post. Secondly, if you actually read the close reason you will see why it's closed. Questions asked must demonstrate minimal understanding of the problem at least. This is practised across all SE sites, please take some time and browse the help pages and site rules. $\endgroup$
    – iKlsR
    Apr 25, 2014 at 7:53
  • $\begingroup$ @iKlsR "Questions asked must demonstrate minimal understanding of the problem at least." and you decide whether that understanding is there or not? All problems are trivial if you understand what's going on and have read the manual. I found answers to mathematical questions on other SEs all the time and they are limited by nature to "tutorial answers" as you put it. Also "because it requires step-by-step instructions for a process that is specific to a particular project" No it doesn't and no it isn't. $\endgroup$
    – B Newmark
    Apr 25, 2014 at 8:03
  • $\begingroup$ @BNewmark You are making me out to be a bad guy here. This site is community driven, no one person decides what is the norm around here. Regarding your statement, there are exceptions all the time, not everything can be caught. Kindly refer to this list put together by the community. $\endgroup$
    – iKlsR
    Apr 25, 2014 at 8:08
  • $\begingroup$ @BNewmark You have 3 accounts across SE and you've been around here for a few months at least with hardly any activity. As "harsh" as it may seem, these are the rules. SE is a Q&A site, not a discussion forum, homework site, or do this for me because I need it but have no idea how to do it. You should visit some more sites such as SO where on-topicness is enforced even more. And as I said, it is run by the community. I hardly think 5 people can be wrong about deciding to close something. $\endgroup$
    – iKlsR
    Apr 25, 2014 at 8:12
  • $\begingroup$ @iKlsR alright just be aware that this could be a major problem if questions are locked too easily. I totally understand why this policy is in place but the examples I've seen don't really fit the spirit. Also thanks for your quick replies. $\endgroup$
    – B Newmark
    Apr 25, 2014 at 8:13
  • $\begingroup$ @BNewmark Glad we reached a mutual understanding. Of course, if you see something that seems off, flag it! Nobody is perfect and we all make mistakes (even 5 people). $\endgroup$
    – iKlsR
    Apr 25, 2014 at 8:16
  • $\begingroup$ Heh . . . Gandalf3's black hole post . . . $\endgroup$
    – VRM
    Jun 19, 2015 at 15:26
  • $\begingroup$ @NoviceInDisguise We've let down our guard a bit over time.. ;), this was primarily to prevent people from turning the newly launched site into a tutorial ground. That being said, we are looking at a redefined scope soon. $\endgroup$
    – iKlsR
    Jun 19, 2015 at 15:28


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