Continuing the discussion in the comments on the question Are there any good video editing apps for photographers?, I will briefly summarize the points to the best of my ability before stating my case in an answer.

  • The questioner is looking for a photographer-friendly video editing program for occasional projects.
  • Specifically, he mentions a familiarity with Lightroom and wants a video editor that can handle adjustments (i.e., white balance) in an easy and familiar way.
  • The main objection to the question that that it is clearly all about video editing, not a crossover topic like lighting for video, DSLR lenses for video, etc., as we have accepted in the past, and so should be asked on a video site.
  • The counter argument is that the question is about approaching video editing coming from a background in photography, and as such can be best addressed only by other photographers.
  • 1
    This question was a really difficult one, not because it was about videography from a photographers perspective, but because it was speculating about software that does not really exist. Why would an application even exist for video editing that is similar to Lightroom? I don't want to burn the original poster, but in my opinion they don't understand video editing if they are looking for a "Lightroom like" experience to do it.
    – dpollitt
    Jan 3, 2012 at 1:50
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    If you don't want to "burn" me, then why do you? If you think I don't understand video editing then why don't you write an answer to teach me what you think I don't know? Wouldn't that be the proper SE way to do this? I don't claim to know everything, you know, that's why I asked the question. Maybe you need to tolerate people that think differently than you a little better.
    – Miguel
    Jan 3, 2012 at 2:29
  • An application like this could exist, written by someone who understands programming and photo editing but not common practices in video editing :) Aug 15, 2018 at 21:23

3 Answers 3


Although I am sympathetic to the counter-argument, in holding it up to examination it appears lacking. Suppose, for example, someone else shows up next week asking for a criticism of Heidegger's philosophy from the point of view of a photographer. Is that on topic, too? According to the counter-argument it is, but according to the site guidelines, migration to philosophy@SE is a no-brainer.

  • This is why I am only tentative in my support. I agree that it is ripe for the slippery slope argument, just as you have presented. My only counter would be that basic video editing would be of much greater general interest and usefulness to the average photographer than a criticism of Heidegger. Clearly, if we were to allow the video editor question, we would need to require a strong litmus test for what future questions qualified under this exemption.
    – Sean
    Dec 31, 2011 at 22:52
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    The question ultimately boiled down to video processing/editing workflow. While the asker mentioned a tangential relationship to "photographers", I don't see any way that question could be on-topic here at PhotoSE. Photographers are people, and while they may do photography as well as video, how to process video is most definitely NOT within scope here. Photo processing and video processing are entirely different things. I agree with Whuber here...this one is a no-brainer.
    – jrista
    Jan 1, 2012 at 0:47

I'm the guy who wrote the question referenced above. Sorry to have brought such a controversy to the site. Please note that this is a real question that came to me yesterday after getting frustrated trying to edit a simple video I shot with my DSLR.

Since you guys are making such a big deal of what I thought was a simple question, I thought I'd share the impression I get from my side.

It seems a small group of people here have taken it upon themselves to decide what is or is not a proper question for this SE site. I see you guys discuss it here on the meta site, and each time a one of "those" questions shows up the votes to close from these same people quickly start to pile up. The person who asked the question gets a "go to insert other SE site here" comment and that's the end of it. If I look at past closed questions in this site I see that almost every single time 4 out of the 5 votes to close came from the same people.

Now, in particular for my own question, the meta discussion referenced as "proof" that my question is off-topic got 13 votes on the best answer, which would consider the question off-topic. There are 7 votes on another answer that would consider my question on-topic (my vote would make it 8, by the way). For a community of 6,277 people don't you think 13 over 8 is an awfully small sample set to be able to tell what we as a community want or like to see on this site?

I'm a constructive person. I up-vote what is most relevant to me. I don't down-vote, and I don't ever vote to close. I think up-voting is enough to sort things up in a community oriented way. I think down-voting is rude, voting to close is even worse. I wish you guys were a little less quick to hit the close button and just stepped aside when you have nothing to contribute to a question, even if you believe it to be borderline on/off-topic. The question isn't going anywhere, let it be for a couple of days, and if the whole community decides to ignore it then you can act and do your thing.

As I side note, what I see is that closing a question does not really change things much. It just prevents answers from being added, but the question remains on the site, continues to show up in the list of questions, and more importantly it will continue to show up in search results. So how does that help the site? Why don't you guys migrate the questions you don't like here to the SE site that you consider appropriate? Please correct me if my analysis is wrong, I'm not an expert in the inner workings of SE.

My $0.02. I don't want to start a war or anything, just trying to be constructive with my criticism. I'm not mad or angry at anyone, and I will continue to contribute to Photo.SE no matter the outcome of this discussion or of what ends up happening to my question or other similar ones by others.

Happy 2012 to everyone!

  • 2
    While perhaps not a 100% accurate description of the way things are, I think this is a very valuable perspective on how things look. Its hard to say much in 600 characters, so I will just make a couple of points. First of all, discussion is a good thing for this site so don't feed like you have stirred up a terrible controversy. Secondly, I think we who are active on meta would love to see greater member participation from the community at large. Thirdly, some of the discussion here comes from when the site was in beta and it was critical to define the scope of questions we would cover.
    – Sean
    Jan 1, 2012 at 1:43
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    @Miguel: The heart of your question was about video processing workflow. Regardless of whether you mention photographers in the question, the nature of the question is pretty cut and dry, and its a no-brainer for those of us who know of the options to see that the question belongs on AVP (the audio/VIDEO processing SE site). Just because we are the photography site does not mean that AVP doesn't have photographers answering questions there. Also, even though you WANT to post your question here, I think you will get BETTER answers at AVP than you could ever hope for here.
    – jrista
    Jan 1, 2012 at 5:58
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    The ultimate end goal of the moderators and core membership here (those few people you said you usually see closing questions) is to keep questions here on our site on-topic, to migrate GOOD off-topic questions to BETTER sites where they will most likely get better answers, maintain the purity of the purpose of PhotoSE, and keep questions within the StackExchange Network that are viable and could be helpful to many other people besides the original asker. Just because a question gets closed as off-topic does not mean we think you asked a terrible question...on the contrary...
    – jrista
    Jan 1, 2012 at 6:00
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    ...we think its a great question that can be better-served by a more suitable SEN site. There has been no wrong-doing here, neither intentionally nor accidentally. The people who are usually involved in closures and migrations are simply following the guidelines set forth by the people who created StackExchange in the first place in an effort to IMPROVE the chances of questions getting great answers. I hope you take the action of closure and migration as supporting you, not undermining you, in the future...even if you may disagree on some tangential perspective.
    – jrista
    Jan 1, 2012 at 6:04
  • @jrista: I appreciate you taking the time to explain your point of view, but really, this was all said already. I do understand what you think your work as moderators is, I just disagree with it. After spending a couple of minutes looking around it seems I'm not the only one, all meta sites have discussions like this one. Unfortunately there is no way for the community to provide feedback or up/down votes to the mods, until that happens I think saying that SE is "community driven" is really not accurate.
    – Miguel
    Jan 1, 2012 at 7:53
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    @Miguel: My approach to moderation is the approach strongly recommended by the StackExchange administration themselves. If you are inclined to "look around", you should look at the StackExchange blog. There are plenty of articles there that explain the StachExchange philosophy, which is the same philosophy the core membership and moderators try to follow here at PhotoSE and most other SE sites. While there may be a few consistent complaints amongst SE sites, it doesn't change the fact that most moderators and core members try to follow the STANDARD SEN approach to moderation.
    – jrista
    Jan 1, 2012 at 7:58
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    We are community moderated but an important and sometimes overlooked point is that Photo.SE is only one piece of the larger Stack Exchange community. Often we tend to perceive Photo.SE as having its own members and culture, and to an extent that is true, but despite our unique qualities we still need to respect the policies and subject areas of our cousin sites in the network. Our mods have to work within that framework. As a note to @Miguel the mods are appointed by democratic election on a regular basis. A good way you can contribute to the community is by staying active in Meta discussions.
    – Sean
    Jan 1, 2012 at 22:36
  • @Sean: A better way to contribute to the community in my opinion is to ask and answer questions on the main site. I feel that is a much better use of my time, and it benefits more people (myself among them!). It takes a special kind of person to enjoy participating in these meta discussions, not the kind I am. That's why I have been very careful to only provide respectful and constructive criticism in my post, and you guys may take it or ignore it, I'm fine either way.
    – Miguel
    Jan 2, 2012 at 0:05
  • (continued) I think there are a lot of things that could be improved on this and other SE sites, but I believe I have no right to be a pest and complain too much, since you guys are willing to make the effort and be active in deciding how to steer these sites and I'm not. I do appreciate you guys for that.
    – Miguel
    Jan 2, 2012 at 0:06
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    I was on board to hear your point of view till I read "I think down-voting is rude, voting to close is even worse.". I don't think you understand how stack exchange works, or how much time the people who run this site"the community" spend on trying to keep the site relevant, on topic, and constructive. We are all photographers here, and many of us also dip into videography. Just because you want the question asked, and answered here, does not mean it is a fit for this site. I also don't appreciate the derogatory statements that you made towards us who do use the meta site.
    – dpollitt
    Jan 3, 2012 at 1:46
  • "I don't think you understand how stack exchange works". Well, that's because you like the way it works. I, on the other side, commented on how I behave in general, inside and outside of SE. Like it or not, it is my opinion. I never tell anyone that something is wrong or bad, what I don't like I just ignore.
    – Miguel
    Jan 3, 2012 at 2:33
  • "or how much time the people who run this site"the community" spend on trying to keep the site relevant, on topic, and constructive". I do understand that. But that does not mean I need to agree with everything you guys do. I agree with most of the work you do, but not everything.
    – Miguel
    Jan 3, 2012 at 2:36
  • "I also don't appreciate the derogatory statements that you made towards us who do use the meta site". You must be reading between the lines, as I have never said anything derogatory to anyone. I believe you are making this bigger than it really is. Don't forget that it wasn't me who started this discussion, one of you guys started this topic, I just came to share my opinion. I have moved on already, why didn't you?
    – Miguel
    Jan 3, 2012 at 2:39

I tend to agree with the counter argument. It is a video question, but it has special and increasing applicability to still photographers looking to make easy use of their cameras' video features.

As a contrived example for illustration, consider a draftsman and a sketch artist. They both make use of pencils in their respective professions and could probably each tell you all you need to know about the subject: the different types and their uses, their hardness grading systems, etc. But now consider two characters who wish to learn a little about pencils. One is an engineer, the other a painter. Now, given the relative simplicity of the subject, each could probably manage to learn well enough from either teacher. Even so, the terms and examples that one uses will be different than the terms and examples of the other.

While it may be worth learning the culture and jargon of the arts if you wish to begin a career in pencil drawing, or learning the blend of art and science that comprises old-school drafting if you plan to make that your new profession, it would otherwise be easier and faster to pick up the new material when it is explained by someone with the same or similar background and core commonalties as you have.

In the a similar way, Photo.SE and AVP.SE have different cultures, different languages, and different approaches to what are otherwise very closely related fields of knowledge. There will certainly be an overlap in technical content, but traditions and backgrounds will differ enough to an extent that on some occasions like the one in the linked question it will make a difference in how a question is asked and the type of answer it receives.

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