Mod Post: Community Posting Guidelines!
1.) Please use the default font size, style, and color.
Everyone who reads icon_tutorial has a different friends page layout. There's also the community layout to consider. If you specify a miniature font size or a strange color, we can't read your post, which means you won't get help, and your problem won't be archived to help someone else down the line. It's easier all around if, for a community like this, you stick to the standard, and keep your favorite font for your own journal.
2.) This community should be friendly for people of all ages and beliefs.
This is a basic way of asking that you please excercise some restraint in your choice of language and your choice of icon when you post. No post is going to be deleted for the occasional swear of frustration, but if your question reads like a David Mamet play then we're going to remove it and ask you to rephrase. We're also going to delete your post and ask you to repost if the icon with which you are posting is overly explicit; there are plenty of places for porn on LJ but this isn't one of them.
3.) "I know this isn't allowed, so feel free to delete it..."
No! Bad! If you've read the rules and the posting guidelines, and you know something is against the rules, don't post it. Simple. Easy. It's the pet peeve of hundreds of people; make hundreds of lives just that little bit better by not doing it.
4.) "I'm so stupid / dumb / blonde / redarded / such an idiot lol"
I don't know what happened that an entire generation of girls and women feels the need to preface every question with, "I'm so dumb; I never get it," but knock it off. Learning to make computer graphics can be a complex and daunting process, but we all had to start somewhere -- and as we all know, this dangerous self-deprecation happens in every community on LJ that attracts this demographic, not just the tutorial communities. If you think everyone else has probably had the same problem before you, then double-check the FAQ to see if you're right and, if others have had the problem, what they did about it. If you think you're having a new problem, then make a concise and thorough post about it. In the meantime, demonstrate a little bit of self-confidence here and elsewhere or you'll never get anywhere in life.
5.) I know a tutorial about this has already been posted, so...
Stop worrying. If there were only one good way on earth to explain something, there wouldn't be nine million competing textbooks on a single subject. If you think you've got a good way to explain something you did, then by all means, share it! Different learners respond to different styles of teaching. Don't let an already existing tutorial stop you.
6.) I read the (rules, memories, FAQ) but didn't see anything about (thing clearly listed in rules, memories, FAQ)...
Don't lie. Really. We'll know. There are thousands of things not covered in the archive or FAQ, but hundreds of things are. If you don't understand the instruction given in the archive or FAQ that's fine, and we the community are happy to clarify, but really, don't try to tell us that the question about text appearing too small isn't there.
7.) OMG you guys which one of these icons do you want me to make a tutorial for?
Sorry, but this falls off-topic as self-promotion and icon discussion. Keep the polls in your own journal and just give us the tips and tutorials.
8.) I'm too lazy.
Then we're too lazy to help you. If you find a task daunting or difficult, that's one thing. Think the memories are overwhelming and have too much information? We've been there. And we're happy to help. But if your problem is laziness, at least have the decency to lie to us about it. It's disrespectful to the thousands of people taking the time to read your question and to help you to say that you can't be bothered to help yourself.
And although this post is excruciatingly long, there are a few more things that bear mentioning.
A recipe is not the same as a tutorial.
We the staff here are not arbiters of taste, nor of content, so long as none of the community rules are broken. No tutorial is "against the rules," and we will not delete them unless they break our rules or the LJ TOS. However, it does bear mentioning that a detailed tutorial that actually TEACHES a theory or process is a lot more useful than a screenshot of the curves settings you used on one particular image.
If you simply write a laundry list of actions, you are not creating a tutorial. A true tutorial will not just list the what of your image, but will touch on and hopefully explain the how and the why. You are not helping very many people when you say "Put this color layer on soft light at 60%," because every image is slightly different. You are helping people when you say, "I used this color on this blending mode BECAUSE of how the color in this layer interacts with the color here and here in the base. I chose this blending mode BECAUSE it works in this way, and will cause this effect."
As a general rule of thumb: if you're writing about a concept, your tutorial should always be translatable between programs. If you are writing about the use of a specific program, your tutorial should focus on the what, why, and how of the tool(s) in question.
The point of this community is to teach the use of tools and the theories behind their use. We do this in two ways: by answering the questions users post, and by creating tutorials for users to follow. Either is a valid way of learning, as the comment threads in a question post can often be quite informative.
It is not "time to write a tutorial" in the community when your icons are popular, or when someone says that color is really pretty. It is time to write a tutorial when you decide you want to teach, and take all the responsibilities that come with it. This community has over 20,000 members, and with a population that size each and every one of us needs to exercise some personal responsibility and quality control. Before you post a question, look for the answer in the memories. Before you post a tutorial, think: "Am I really adding to anyone's body of knowledge with this?"
You do not need to post or request a separate tutorial to answer every question.
If someone posts asking how to do a specific thing -- say, removing blue tones from screen captures -- then you can answer the question in the comments of the original post. You don't need to go create a full tutorial and share it unless you particularly want to. Similarly, if you are asking for help, you don't necessarily need to be directed to a pre-existing tutorial; someone can answer your question in the comments if you articulate your problem(s) well.
Please feel free to ask for any clarifications or amendments in the comments to this post, or e-mail icon.tutorial [at] gmail.com at any time.
v1 posted March 2005
v2 posted July 2007
edit May 2008