So far, we have some questions asking about specific arts or crafts. We may ultimately find that this is the best way to deal with what is or isn't on topic. Having said that, there may be some basic criteria for inclusion/exclusion that we can agree upon to help us make these decisions. I don't expect any definition for an art or craft to be a replacement for a basic list of "known" on-topic items (and known off-topic items).

I personally haven't been able to come up with a good definition, but I can think of some criteria that one should include.

A good definition should:

  • Be easy to understand
  • Include everything that we "know" to be arts or crafts

A poor definition will:

  • Exclude areas that "feel" on-topic and that new users will expect to be on topic
  • Be simple or complicated enough that we can easily bend it turn any number of subjects into arts or crafts

Test questions:

I can also think of some test questions/topics from across the network; feel free to disagree or suggest better ones:

I can't think of any great criteria that will handle all of these the way that I think they should be handled, so we may find that we can't come up with a good definition.

Down votes on this question are great, but I said quite a few things here, so please leave a comment or answer about why you think this might not be worth the effort or where you disagree. That way, you have a chance of convincing me that you are right.


I don't think we can have an exact definition. The Area 51 proposal for this stack says we are about

questions about traditional artwork and handmade items.

and the tour defines us as:

Arts & Crafts Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for artists and crafters.

I think that's as good as it's going to get, in one place.

Rather than coming up with a list or a definition regarding what qualifies as an art or craft, which can be pretty subjective, we should instead be using meta to discuss those areas we're unsure about. We've been doing that already, and I believe it's been a successful way to tackle this.

The community will define what's considered arts and crafts, for this stack, through self-moderation. This means that an expanded, hard definition so early in our stack's history isn't feasible, or even necessarily a good thing.

  • 2
    With the amount of meta questions about scope in the private beta this is too early to tell for sure.
    – Matt
    May 9 '16 at 2:29
  • I agree. I think there will be obvious ones, and it's a pretty vast field anyways, but for those that are less so (like the one today on appliances), then we handle through meta discussion. Pinning down a firm definition is probably not what we need right now.
    – Joanne C
    May 10 '16 at 1:29

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