I just saw this question: How to make retail-friendly adhesive hang tab packaging and I have to admit, I'm seriously mystified as to how this is arts and crafts. We now support retail packaging sourcing questions?

I was starting to feel this way with Can you recognize the exact color bottles? out there, which I think is also a terrible fit for the site. After all, who else is this going to help? Is there anyone else in the world that is going to search on that criteria or image? If we want to build a compendium of arts & crafts information, then the information really needs to have value above and beyond the asker.

I guess I'm missing it and I'm also missing how the first one could be responded to by two moderators without challenge to the arts/crafts connection. Please, I understand that the site is slow growing, but not every question where the user includes "make it" is art.


I'll start with some transparency regarding my thought process in handling these questions.

For How to make retail-friendly adhesive hang tab packaging:

I personally answered the question because I didn't want to presume what they're going to do with the packages once they acquire them. I prefer to give them the benefit of the doubt that it's for a purpose related to an art or craft, or is itself the art or craft. So, I didn't see any definitive reason to discount a pre-made package as a craft supply.

I saw similarities between the not knowing the name of the container and our questions, which all have some sort of visual component we're identifying.

For Can you recognize the exact color bottles?:

I also do not think this question is a good fit. There are certain brands that I could recognize from a fuzzy photo, though, so I thought it might be possible for an experience painter. And, somewhat surprisingly, it's not our first blurry-photo identification question.

I initially abstained from voting to close, because I wanted community response. I also wanted to see if the user would respond to the clarification questions in the comment. There's enough of a community response now, and the response from the OP wasn't helpful, so I've closed it.

So are we becoming a "help me find this thing" site? I don't think so.

Of our 460 open questions, we have 11 with one or both & , and a couple oddballs such as:

which don't have ID tags, but are about trying to find where to source an unusual supply (as opposed to the closed & deleted Where can a specific diameter steel rod be found? which was about shopping for an easily-searchable supply)

Most of those questions have been received well-enough, and so they don't seem to be part of a negative trend.

The two questions you brought up are problematic, but for much different reasons that would have to be addressed separately.

For the first, we may need to discuss our requirements on how explicitly a task is related to a specific art or craft, or what constitutes an allowable "sourcing" question.

We've had a discussion about "unconventional canvases", Are unconventional canvases generally on-topic?, which may need more attention/answers, but it doesn't talk about supplies.

Some discussion started regarding the extent of background information we need when determining whether or not something is enough of an art or craft, but didn't really resolve into any type of guideline.

For the second, we need review our identification question guidelines. ID questions have a history of being problematic for stacks, and so those stacks have established strict guidelines for allowing ID question. We have guidelines, but we can amend them to require "clear" images, for instance.

  • 1
    Thanks for the detailed response! The kicker for me in the first question was the "en masse" side of it and the need to print on it, that said industrial purpose to me. The other ID questions are not all that generally helpful, but did have a stated, clear, connection to Arts & Crafts, so I think that gave them a positive reaction. I run into these problems on Photography.SE a lot, there are people that assume video questions are on topic because cameras offer the function or that any Photoshop question is on topic because it is used in photography.
    – Joanne C
    Jan 27 '17 at 11:33

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