To aid in the discussion, I want to give an overview about Arts & Crafts within the StackExchange universe.
Where do we stand?
The current scope is "about a variety of arts and crafts". Whether these are considered "art" or "craft", "professional" or "hobbyist" is subjective.
The site partially overlaps with Anime & Manga SE if the question is about drawing Manga style
The site partially overlaps with Graphic Design SE if the question is about art theory, color theory or layouting
The site partially overlaps with Home Improvement SE if the question is about furniture or wall decoration
The site partially overlaps with History SE if the question is about a historical artwork
The site partially overlaps with Woodworking SE if the question is about tool selection or woodworking as an artistic expression
The site is currently not clearly separated from Music SE, Writing SE, Computer Graphics SE, Photo SE, Video Production SE and other sites about artworks that are no tangible objects. I haven't seen many questions related to those sites here and it seems users find the correct site to ask their question intuitively. There is a note in the on-topic help page that states that some forms of art are off-topic, but this is just a non exhaustive list of examples without an objective rule:
Some arts, such as photography, graphic arts, and performing arts such as dance and the dramatic arts are not on topic.
The current definition of our scope
The help page currently states:
Please look around to see if your question has been asked before. It’s also OK to ask and answer your own question.
We welcome specific questions about a variety of arts and crafts. These topics are welcome on our site:
- Tool usage, upkeep and selection
- Material selection and usage
- Asking for clarification of a specific tutorial step ("why isn't this working?" or "what do these instructions mean?")
- Attributes of different media and how they interact
- Proper media storage and final product preservation
The following subjects are considered off-topic for our site:
- Asking for inspiration ("What craft can I do with ...?")
- Broad questions like "where do I start", or requesting a tutorial for a larger project
- Discussion or critique of works, whether your own or another artist's
- Product and service recommendations ("Where can I get [product]?" or "Where can I find someone who does [service] in [area]?")
- Art history and art appreciation related questions
The problem is that we don't define our scope objectively. We ask the user to look at examples and existing questions and figure it out on their own.
The questions we currently accept
The tags with the most questions include (non exhaustive):
- drawing, painting, water coloring
- material selection, paper, paint, fabric, plastic, wood, metal, acryllic paint, colored pencils
- tool selection, medium selection
- sewing, knitting, crocheting, clothing, sewing machine
Some tags that do have several question and stand out from the above list include (non exhaustive):
- preservation, restoration, maintenance, storage
- safety, allergy
- style identification
- chain mail
StackExchange has very strict rules compared to other internet sources like forums. On one hand, this creates high quality content, on the other hand, it means that people seeking help are disappointed. There are several scenarios for questions to be closed:
- Someone is not willing or able to find the information on Google and asks here instead. This includes "do my homework for me" questions.
- Someone has encountered a problem and doesn't have the vocabulary to find answers on the internet.
- Someone doesn't know on which Stack they should ask ther question.
- Someone wants feedback on their work.
- Someone has no idea where to start and asks too many or too broad questions. This includes people who see a picture somewhere and want to recreate the object without any knowledge about the object or technique.
When redefining our scope, we should agree on a common goal. Whom do we want to help here? If we define our scope too narrow, we might have to close good questions that fall outside this scope and don't seem to fit anywhere else on StackExchange. If we define it too wide, we might not have objective reasons to close poor quality questions.
I observed on other Stacks like IPS how a too narrow scope leads to masses of closed questions and frustrated users. My impression is that half of all submitted questions there are closed, often because they weren't phrased in a certain way. That creates a very negative first impression and deters new users from returning to StackExchange and using it in a constructive way.