The question https://crafts.stackexchange.com/questions/2672/system-for-documenting-ideas was just migrated to the Software Recommendations community, but I think this misinterprets the focus of the question. The user didn't ask for a specific piece of software, but for a technique for storing arts and crafts related ideas.

When reviewing the question yesterday, I noticed some comments stating that they believed the question didn't belong on this site. I have read the post on "On-Topic FAQ" but I am still struggling with what makes a question like that one inappropriate.

And...if questions like this don't belong in the Arts & Crafts community, is there another community where they could be asked? As an example, if the original poster had asked about a system for documenting the yarn they own and fiber-related projects, I would assume that a number of people in this community would be familiar with and able to refer the questioner to a website like Ravelry. But if this question was migrated to a different community (maybe Personal Productivity, or Software Solutions) the likelihood that someone in those communities know about Ravelry significantly decreases.

As you can see, I am a real newbie to this community and a fairly new member of SE altogether, so I don't mean this as a criticism, more a "how does this site work" kind of question.


2 Answers 2


Welcome to A&C! I'm glad you've found us.

A lot of the answer to your questions is - we don't necessarily know.

Our site is in beta and it's pretty new - less than a year - and part of the beta process (and to some degree over the course of the site's entire existence) is determining the scope of what's on topic for the site.

In general it is our goal to focus on the application of arts and crafts.

Things that are tangentially related like cleaning up clothing after you've spilled some of your arts or crafts medium on them or questions about specific artists or their work are considered off topic, despite being related to A&C more broadly. Additionally, because we focus on hand-made art, we exclude questions about digital arts like graphic design/painting and photography.

The question you link to was a bit unclear what they were asking for. As you can see in the comments, that was what people were trying to clarify:

Are you looking for digital or physical solutions? Are your notes typically text, or do they include photos or other media? – whrrgarbl

The user's comment response to this made it pretty clear that what they want is help with organizing their ideas.

@whrrgarbi - digital. They are a mix of text, photos, videos - bascially everything. I am using Notes for Mac at the moment and it's great. The difficulty I am having is in ordering the ideas. I am not looking for software per se, more a way of cataloguing the ideas efficiently so I can have access to them. – user23475

Personally I feel that this falls into the tangential category of "not really about arts or crafts". This is why I pointed out that a site like Software Recommendations would be good for them if they wanted a piece of software to help them out. Though, with the caveat that they need to add more detail to their question.

Other questions like this might do well on another one of our newer sites, Personal Productivity. In fact, this might really be the ideal target for this question.

I'm not sure why but, if someone was looking for help keeping track of their yarn or their embroidery floss, I'd be more likely to keep it here because it's about the physical tools/equipment/media of arts and crafts.

While other sites may not be knowledgeable of ravelry, we are less likely to be aware of a full variety of idea-logging practices. What your ideas are is sort of irrelevant to tracking them. The OP of that question may find that a computer issue-tracking program or even a wedding-planning app or something like that that suits their needs and that's not within our knowledge base.

I'd love to see what other users think about this, though. Where do we draw the line between tangential but on-topic (cleaning up brushes) vs tangential but off-topic (cleaning clothing that got paint spilled on it)?

  • That makes a lot of sense, and I appreciate the explanation. I am glad to have found this site...it is fun to read about what other people are doing
    – magerber
    Feb 4, 2017 at 19:49
  • I agree this was a bit tangential, but see my answer about the use of migration in general. Feb 6, 2017 at 15:13

Please do not migrate new or largely-unanswered questions unless there is a very compelling reason to do so (e.g. trying to save otherwise long-standing great content).

If the question is off topic, simply ask the author to ask their question in the context of the correct site.

Migrations have too many side effects to be used routinely as in this case. The content has now been orphaned because the author(s) don't have an account on the other site (see what a mess this thread is now). As is often the case, the authors wont receive any requests for clarification, the comments are often misplaced, the voting is typically off (typically from folks objecting to the original question), the question itself may not meet the guidelines of the new site, and it never went through dupe checks to see if it was already asked on the site before.

Long story short, it is better to simply redirect the author to ask their question in the context of the correct site. This is often expressed tritely as "don't migrate junk", but you get the idea.

  • Do you mean checks to see if it's a dupe on the target site? Also, by "in the context of the correct site" do you mean have them edit so that it's good enough to migrate, or simply encourage them to re-ask completely on the new site?
    – user24
    Feb 7, 2017 at 7:47
  • @CreationEdge Do not migrate new question. Simply direct them to re-ask the question in the context of the new site. Feb 7, 2017 at 14:30
  • Can you share these migration rules with all the other sites? No one seems to be listening.
    – Catija
    Feb 8, 2017 at 3:25
  • 1
    @Catija Migrations are a mess and way overused. There's been more discussion around either getting rid of them or setting up a more-targeted use case than trying to weave some convoluted guidance around when (not) to use them at all. Feb 8, 2017 at 14:46
  • I generally avoid them on the sites I moderate now and prefer to close off topic when it doesn't match. Can't say I'd miss the migrate to other sites except the ability to migrate between a main site and it's meta as this still crops up from time to time (just happened the other day on Photography).
    – Joanne C
    Feb 12, 2017 at 1:44

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