Quite possibly one of the largest things with arts and crafts is discovery. Lots and lots of discovery. Drawing from personal experience, I've loved to learn new crafts, and showcase things with friends and students.

Therefore, should we allow how to questions?

Points for:

  • Allows us to share in-depth knowledge on advanced crafting techniques, and sharing steps to an end product

Points against:

  • May receive some broad or ridiculously open ended questions. Perhaps we can create guidelines - and close questions that don't follow them?

3 Answers 3


"How to" questions cover a very broad range of examples, many of which should absolutely be on topic here.

I think the criteria that we should apply for "how to" questions should be no different than the criteria we apply for any other types of questions: they must be clear, specific, and reasonably scoped.

"How do I paint like Bob Ross?" is too broad. "I watched Bob Ross paint this rock --insert image or video clip here--. But when I try to use the knife like he does to foo the bar, it winds up looking like this --insert image of what the OP painted--. What am I doing wrong? How do I paint rocks like that?" is perfectly fine.

Generally speaking, if the "how to" question is asking about a specific technique (e.g. making cones out of paper mache, or getting the pour correct for lost mold casting), it's probably fine. If it's asking about a general activity, though (e.g. "oil painting", "making a ceramic vase on a spinning wheel", etc.), it's probably too broad.


I think a similar approach to what we have over at GD.SE would go a long way to improving any issues with how-to questions. The policy at GD.SE, put simply, is show some effort.

"How do I do this???" with no more info will get closed. "I want to achieve X, I have tried Y but am getting stuck on Z" is fine.

The close reason at GD.SE is:

If you're asking for help with implementation, please include what you've tried and why it didn't work with screenshots. Please edit your post with what your desired results are, what resources you referenced and why those didn't work

That obviously doesn't translate exactly to Arts & Crafts but I think the general idea fits.


I wonder if it's a good idea to allow these so early on?

As you said, this type of question could well end up attracting ridiculously broad questions that should be closed. Defining standards for them isn't going to be easy (which is probably the reason the network has just two recommendations sites, as those requirements are similarly difficult), and we may not have the resources to dedicate to getting it right just yet.

We should, however, consider allowing these when the community has matured a little and our scope is a little firmer, because then our collective attention isn't going to be getting pulled in 12 different ways at once.

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