There has been a lot of questions and confusion about what is acceptable here on 3D Printing SE. Let's go ahead and discuss what types of questions should be acceptable on the site.

We're going to do this based on votes. I'll leave it up to debate in the comments below, but we'll emulate Area51 question requirements. Here are the guidelines:

  • 10 positive votes, passes.
  • One answer per topic. The focus is voting on topics, and votes pertain to the validity of the topic.
  • Similar topics that can be merged should explicitly mention the deprecated topic.
  • Appropriately passed topics should have closed questions re-opened (as appropriate).
  • $\begingroup$ As discussed below, I am redirecting this broad scope discussion so that specific concerns can be raised and discussed through individual meta posts as needed. $\endgroup$ May 4, 2016 at 14:58

3 Answers 3


Bio Printing

As previously brought up in Meta, questions related to Bio Printing should be within scope.

Appropriate questions related to Bio Printing include (but aren't limited to):

  • Questions about the technology processes. Specified by the printing method (ie FDM).
  • Questions about material specifications.
  • Questions regarding troubleshooting of Bio Printable materials or Bio Printing machines.


More specifically, question relating to electronics, mechanics and control theory which is set in a 3D printing context.

Why include:

There are multiple questions about 3D printing that also could be asked in the electrical and mechanical engineering sites, as well as the robotics site. However, since most 3D printers basically are desktop robots, all of these topics will eventually be relevant.

Examples: one and two.

Why exclude:

In some cases, questions within these topics might simply receive much better answers by people at the other sites, such as this seemingly simple question.

  • $\begingroup$ +1 I agree, but with extreme emphasis on set in a 3D printing context. Can you possibly elaborate on what constitutes as in a 3D printing context and visa-versa $\endgroup$
    – tbm0115
    May 3, 2016 at 19:34
  • $\begingroup$ @tbm0115, I very much agree. There are some questions within electronics, mechanics and robotics that should be answered at other sites. I guess figuring out exactly what a "3D printing context" is, is the difficult part. I, for one, cannot give a clear definition of this at the moment. $\endgroup$ May 3, 2016 at 20:09
  • $\begingroup$ Maybe we could specify that related SE sites are electrical engineering, robotics, stack overflow, etc. As far as examples, perhaps appropriate material usage (ie. ABS, Nylon, Stainless), use of robotics in 3d printing (automation), multi-tool printers (ie combination machines that 3D print, mill, solder, etc.). Just a start? $\endgroup$
    – tbm0115
    May 3, 2016 at 20:14
  • $\begingroup$ @tbm0115, mentioning other sites from the help page sounds like a good idea! $\endgroup$ May 3, 2016 at 20:42

I am going to strenuously advise against using this format for resolving what should be considered on topic for this site.

I can appreciate the desire for decisive action and expediency, but it would seem untenable to tell someone their question is off topic because only the top {x}-voted subjects were deemed on topic, while {x-1} didn't make the cut. You are essentially looking to exclude large areas of interest by polling a relatively modest portion of an upstart, growing community. Polling is not a good substitute for discussion; this is not how you build a functional site.

You have a good site here. You started with a community that was very welcoming of questions about 3D printing in general. If you later discover that a particular subject poses a problem, then the community can decide if you should forgo those questions entirely. But that comes through thoughtful discussion in an open format — a conversation about why a particular subject poses a problem — not by a popularity contest where only the most-voted subjects get in.

Users can raise concerns about any topic they have here — that is what meta is for — but please resist the temptation for excluding content before it demonstrates a wide-spread problem in actual practice. It's a recipe for a very exclusionary site; one where everything is looked at through a lens of suspicion where everything is off-topic until proven otherwise. This is not the way to build a healthy, growing site.

  • $\begingroup$ I understand the concern and thank you for your input. I've gone ahead and attempted to update the On-Topic help page (it was still in its default state). Is this a more appropriate approach? What else can we do to help minimize these types of concerns? Also, should this question be closed now? $\endgroup$
    – tbm0115
    May 4, 2016 at 3:40
  • $\begingroup$ @Robert, would you say that a better approach would be to handle individual cases through meta-questions, and rather update the On Topic help page as we go? $\endgroup$ May 4, 2016 at 5:34
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, individual concerns can be raised if a problem becomes ongoing. But don't feel you should resolve every passing concern with another entry in your help center. Sometimes that odd-ball post doesn't become an ongoing issue at all. Resolving every meta post with another rule will turn your help center into a bulleted list from hell. Meta posts may start a conversation, but sometimes broader issues should be allowed to work themselves out organically over time. Don't rush it. You might be interested in this conversation with Retrocomputing. $\endgroup$ May 4, 2016 at 14:51

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