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I was just asked to review this question, in which user 'Johannes' is attempting to make a canonical question on beginner's knitting mistakes.

In its current state I think it's too broad, and have VTC'd as such, but the idea itself is a good one, and since we don't seem to have anything on Meta about the topic I thought it would be good to discuss it.

Should we do canonical questions on Arts & Crafts?

I feel like some well chosen canonical questions would help deal with the large number of fairly basic questions we receive.

There's room for discussion on the exact form they could take, but the 'standard steps towards a canonical question' over on MSO seem like a good starting point.

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I'd really rather not have this specific example of a canonical question. The ones I'm used to are much more narrowly scoped and there's generally only one answer.

For example, the "can I eat this food that I left out for x hours on the counter" question on Cooking.SE. For safety reasons, there's only one answer to that question and it doesn't really matter much what you're talking about, even though there are a variety of foods that do/do not need to follow the rules, it's possible to concisely address it.

In the case of common beginner mistakes for X craft/art... those really each should be their own question with a collection of answers - there may not be only one way to solve that problem and defining what a "beginner mistake" is - is really, really complicated on its own. We'd spend tons of time just arguing what qualifies.

So, you're correct, this question should be closed as too broad (and I've done that now).


I'm not generally against canonical questions at all, though. In fact, I've written two posts I'd consider "canonical".

In both cases, these questions are designed to save users from asking very narrow questions like "What is the equivalent of X hook size?" or "What does X term mean in crochet?" There's no reason to have (potentially) dozens of such questions and answers.

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From being active on other sites I'd say you need canonicals when you repeatedly want to close questions as almost duplicates.
One canonical that is a bit broad as a normal question will cover many almost duplicates.

I am not familiar enough with this site to know whether you need them here.

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