This was a question and answer that was posted on Chem SE today.

The answer was concise. However the lack of formatting hurts. The main issue stems from the fact that new users aren't intimated to the software that can be used to draw compounds which acts as a huge obstacle.

Is there some way, new users can be intimated about a usable software on introduction?

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  • $\begingroup$ @Tyberius i was asking if we could add it into the end of the tour page so people would know. $\endgroup$ – Safdar Faisal Jul 16 '20 at 16:12
  • $\begingroup$ I usually see some ads of drawing software in right-side bar on the desktop website $\endgroup$ – Rahul Verma Jul 16 '20 at 16:33
  • $\begingroup$ @RahulVerma Community Promotion Ads — 2020 $\endgroup$ – andselisk Jul 16 '20 at 18:15
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    $\begingroup$ Something to keep in mind: Many students in many countries don't have a decent computer or uncapped data at home. They have access to "computer labs" or library computers on campus, but often sit around late at night reading text books at home or trying to work out problems by hand. Most do, however, have a phone and a bit of data, so can photograph their work and ask when they run into an issue. Penalising them for not using a drawing program for chemical structures seems a bit extreme, not to mention unfair. $\endgroup$ – Gwyn Jul 22 '20 at 17:08
  • $\begingroup$ @Gwyn i'm not talking about punishing them. If they don't have access, there are others who format.. I am talking about the people who do have access and do not do so because they do not know. For people who wish to find out it is simpler than it was before (or so I heard) but it is still hard to find. I was just asking about whether the formatting tips could be easier to find. Maybe, a small intimation along with the tour. or something like that. $\endgroup$ – Safdar Faisal Jul 22 '20 at 17:17
  • $\begingroup$ Sorry. Valid point. I certainly like playing with new drawing packages when I have time, so I'm sure it will be appreciated by at least some newbies. $\endgroup$ – Gwyn Jul 22 '20 at 17:42

In general, I wouldn't say a hand-drawn scheme is the end of the world. A literate and clear sketch done by a hand is perfectly fine, and if the person doesn't know how to draw properly, no software would help.

On the other hand, a user can definitely be offered with a variety of programs, and the community already has the list: Resources for learning Chemistry::Software. I wouldn't force a single program (especially not ChemDoodle [Web] which I personally think is just not that good, but many love it for its primitivity and accessibility). If I did an edit including redrawing the reaction scheme with a computer program, I sometimes leave a program's name in edit's description.

Similar topics have been raised before, e.g. How to draw structures of compounds while writing questions? A good point mentioned there: a user should not be punished solely for providing a hand-drawn image (given it is literate, relevant and readable), and also one should keep in mind that redrawing such illustrations is often a time-consuming process, and isn't always considered as helpful as, for instance, typing text from a screenshot. The latter not only prettifies the post, but also makes it searchable, whereas the redrawn image still remains an image.

Finally, I would like to encourage the community members who know the drawing guidelines (those by IUPAC, by the way, are available for free), are in posession of good software and are familiar with ACS style to participate in editing or improving existing posts.

  • $\begingroup$ Your answer seemed to say people should not be punished which makes people take the wrong view on the post. Do we have no autonomy on what to add to the tour? Or is it fixed after Beta? $\endgroup$ – Safdar Faisal Jul 24 '20 at 10:15

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