This wording was suggested in a draft of the Arts & Crafts FAQ page:

Discussion or critique of works, whether your own another artist's

This is a condensed version of a proposed off-topic subject area:


Art/Project Critique

Questions seeking validation of work and not actually seeking improvement or guidance in how the work was created. Obviously opinionated with no value to other beyond the asker. Take it into chat where that is welcomed.

It was pointed out that the much shorter version seems overly restrictive.

What's a better way to phrase this?

  • Erica, is critiquing other people's arts in any way is probihited? Jun 4, 2016 at 2:08
  • That's one of the things we would need to establish. That part was inspired by a question we closed as off topic that asked what Picasso might have been trying to do in a certain work.
    – Erica
    Jun 4, 2016 at 2:09
  • I think critiquing even with a specific question about someone else's work without his permission may be offending to that person. @Erica your reason of considering this to be off topic is same? Jun 4, 2016 at 3:25
  • @theindependantaquarius I don't see how critiquing of any kind should be on topic
    – Matt
    Jun 4, 2016 at 13:26
  • 2
    @Matt a question about improving my art is a kind of critique yet it would be on topic because I would have to explain what I do not like , exactly, and why. But the similar question if asked about someone else's work may be considered offending. Jun 4, 2016 at 17:14
  • My Example questions on photo.se @matt I will ask similar questions here : photo.stackexchange.com/questions/64966/… ....... photo.stackexchange.com/questions/77726/… but asking such questions about someone else's work may be offensive. Jun 4, 2016 at 17:22
  • It seems this is still a valid point; even though this thread is more than 3.5 years old, the verbiage is still the same. Is it good to make this matter a little more urgent, or wait for the hibernating discussion on scope renewal to settle?
    – Joachim Mod
    Mar 10, 2020 at 11:52

5 Answers 5


On topic:

  • Improving an aspect of your arts or crafts project.

Off topic:

  • Open ended critique requests for your arts or crafts project.

These statements have been stolen from faq of photo.se.

Both these statements can be links to dedicated threads/thread explaining what kind of critique asking questions are off and on topic, exactly, with examples.

  • The off topic portion is phrased OK but we also need to be explicit about critiques of other people's work as well.
    – Matt
    Jun 3, 2016 at 18:20
  • @Matt do you mean that critiquing other people's arts in any way is probihited? Jun 4, 2016 at 1:53
  • 2
    Open ended requests to discuss any work in general and without focus yes. We are not an art forum in that regard. Arts & Crafts Chat would be a fine place for that type of discussion but not in a Q&A where there is no one right answer. If you have a specific question about a work such as "What technique was used to create [part]" then that is fine as it is not a critique.
    – Matt
    Jun 4, 2016 at 2:32
  • @Matt read my comment on the first post. Jun 4, 2016 at 4:30

Requests for general feedback or critique about an entire work.

This is stuff like "What do you think about this?" and "Why does my drawing look wrong?" Including "feedback" & "critique" covers both criticism and compliments.

  • Use of the word entire also sets the scope for this.
    – Matt
    Jun 3, 2016 at 16:19

Although this is apparently still in discussion, I'm assuming here it is only on-topic to ask for feedback on technical aspects of the work, to keep the answers constructive and objectively verifiable.

Alternative phrasings could be:

Discussion or critique of non-technical aspects of works, whether your own or someone else's

This, though sounding a bit too technical, covers the crafting and identifying aspects of artworks.


Evaluation of works, whether your own or someone else's

Evaluation, though concise and technically correct within the scope of 'on-topicness' as set out in the first paragraph, might still require further explanation, so could be causing more problems than it solves. An alternative could be 'appraisal', but I think that could be even more vague.

Additionally, I replaced the "another artist's" with "or someone else's", to lower the qualification of the creator.


It occurred to me that the problem in selecting wording is that people are trying to put wording for two different purposes into one phrase. I thought the uncondensed version shown in the question was pretty good (could benefit from a little tweaking, but better than the condensed version), but then I looked at the source linked in the question, and the purpose for the condensed version.

The purpose of the shortened form is to serve as a brief summary phrase in a list of similar items. A multi-line explanation would be inconsistent with the other entries. In the Help section, you need things brief or nobody who needs to read it will do so. It isn't intended as comprehensive guidance, just an overview.

As a brief summary phrase, the condensed version is pretty good. There's only so much precision possible in a few words for a complex point, and the condensed version seems accurate. To me, the current phrase, as listed in the question, is the best wording for that of what's been suggested.

For the Help article, it's appropriate to have the brief bullet list summarizing the gist of all the kinds of things that apply. I think the solution is to have a link to more complete explanations of each bullet that needs it. There, the wording can be as complete and precise as necessary. That could be done as another page in the Help section or a FAQ page on A&C Meta.


In math.SE there is the following closing reason which seems to match pretty well the purpose of explaining the closing reason:

primarily opinion-based

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.

  • 1
    That's actually one of the default close reasons that exists on every SE site. :) This is definitely what a question would likely be closed as if it fits this but I think that, here, we're attempting to come up with wording that is specific to this situation rather than broadly "opinion-based".
    – Catija
    Jun 10, 2016 at 15:36
  • @Catija Ok, I did not know (this is the second community I'm really trying to participate to, so it's kind of an adventure in many ways :). So, we would basically have both?
    – Surb
    Jun 10, 2016 at 15:40
  • 1
    These won't end up as custom close reasons, generally unless they become a major issue. Most questions that fit this type and were closed would probably be closed as opinion-based in general. We would likely put a note about it on our help pages, though... So, in a sense, we would have both.
    – Catija
    Jun 10, 2016 at 18:01

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