I think what has gone wrong since our last attempts to improve our site's traffic by reevaluating the scope of our site is that it has too many aspects to consider. Instead of reassessing our scope as a whole, discussing specific aspects as they present themselves might be preferable. One step at a time and all that.

A new question just popped up, asking a theoretical question about art ("What do 'object' and 'subject' mean in the arts and especially in abstract expressionism?"*). My proposal (as before): let's allow these.

  • It does not fall under art history (specifically), so History is off limits.
  • There is no other SE site where this type of question would be topical, let alone on-topic.
  • This topic can be relevant to the creation of works, or at least conceptualizing and discussing (art) projects.
  • It's not evaluation. There is no subjectivity here.
  • We have similar existing topics, like (now synonymous with ). I realize this has a much more practical and direct relation to practical matters, but it has gotten very theoretical at times.
  • General benefits:
    • It will slightly broaden our audience.
    • It will bring in a few more questions (or, well, leave a few more questions open, probably).

Another thing to consider, if allowed, is how we would define 'art theory questions'. Would aesthetics fall under art theory, and, if so, how can we minimize subjectivity? Where does art theory end and art history begin? &c.

* Slightly edited for readability's sake.

  • I realize this needs more nuance, in the sense that art theory entails a vast variety of questions, but I'd like to see the preliminary reception.
    – Joachim Mod
    Oct 9, 2022 at 17:11
  • 1
    Good question. "Art theory" is kind of nebulous. Operationally, would that entail making art interpretation or appreciation on-topic? Might this attract questions that are more subjective? Expanding the scope would increase the number of active questions. I'm not sure it would increase traffic (we get the questions, they just get closed; but I suppose that affects repeat visits). This is kind of outside my area, so I don't have an informed opinion. But it would be good to get community input.
    – fixer1234 Mod
    Oct 9, 2022 at 18:14
  • Both art interpretation and appreciation do not fall under art theory (although both are naturally very much influenced and mostly dictated by it). I was going to look up a definition, but Wikipedia, for example, simply equates it with aesthetics. Maybe my concept of it is slightly warped, as I was thinking of the literal Dutch translation and associate it with lectures I've had under that term. I was thinking of questions along the line of the one linked, asking to define specific words within the context of art.
    – Joachim Mod
    Oct 9, 2022 at 18:21
  • Maybe the German term, Kunsttheorie, comes closer to my initial understanding of it. A quick Google translation of the first two paragraphs of the Wikipedia article reads as follows: "All discursive treatises that attempt to theoretically determine the essence, the prerequisites and possible factual laws of art can be understood as art theory. Art theory is a comprehensive term that deals with the genesis, nature and function of art, primarily the fine arts, in history and society."
    – Joachim Mod
    Oct 9, 2022 at 18:24
  • 1
    On the new question, I recognized that it isn't currently on-topic, but how one would classify the question--that seemed to relate to art interpretation/appreciation (which reflects my limited understanding). I have trouble relating that specific question to the art theory definitions in the comments. But I don't really know enough. However, it seems like the issue would be coming up with a good operational definition that would be clear both for posters and users curating site content. It might be helpful to suggest examples of questions you think should and should not be on-topic.
    – fixer1234 Mod
    Oct 9, 2022 at 18:37
  • Yes, @fixer1234, very good point. It won't be for now, because my tiredness has apparently already proven detrimental to my argument :)
    – Joachim Mod
    Oct 9, 2022 at 18:48


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