Recently I answered a question by asking a question about the seriousness of the original question. So, my comment got moderated into bitheaven. Reading the faq it´s correct, since my comment did not supply an answer.

On the other hand... When someone on a serious photographers forum basically asks how he can avoid to forget to change his settings... What does that have to do with photography?

The amount of - imo - silly questions is astonishing and lowers the value of the site. Pointing that out is not done?

  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ Two thoughts... First, the comment system is the means to note that a question may be silly and the community may choose to react to that if it is done politely. Second, please moderate the use of your language, it's not really appropriate and it's kind of unnecessary. \$\endgroup\$
    – Joanne C
    Apr 19, 2013 at 13:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ "... if it is done politely" ... so "is this a serious question?" was not polite? Alright, I´ll take mattdm´s 5th advice and move on. Cheers and sorry for disturbing the quiet waters. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 20, 2013 at 7:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ Well, if you're going to take offense at everything that's posted, then I guess that's up to you, but you read what you wanted to read into that. At any rate, I'd be happy to discuss this in a private chat if you'd like, that too is up to you. \$\endgroup\$
    – Joanne C
    Apr 20, 2013 at 22:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ To a degree I agree with you, this site should be for expert questions and answers. But the example you provided is very weak. If you have a better example, that might help here. The answers for how to reset settings were actually very expert based knowledge and I learned some useful bits. \$\endgroup\$
    – dpollitt
    Apr 21, 2013 at 4:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ Why does this have 4 downvotes? The user came to meta to ask a real question about the site. I wish more users would do this! The foul language was not necessary but I think we are all adults anyways. Anyways, I welcome this discussion! \$\endgroup\$
    – dpollitt
    Apr 21, 2013 at 4:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ Joanne... Where does it say I take offense at everything? It is very easy to point out that I read what I want to read, but doesn´t that go for your comment just the same? @dpollitt: thanks for pointing out something valuable here and I am glad that you took away something useful from the answers to the question I was wondering about. For a moment, look at it from a meta perspective and you´ll see that tips on how to reset certain settings are not answers on how to not forget that certain settings were set.. (sorry for that awkward sentence) \$\endgroup\$ Apr 21, 2013 at 6:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Ron, like I said, I'd be happy to chat about it if you want. This is a poor communication medium in that respect and it's easy to misinterpret. This site, I think, is about expert answers, but why would we expect expert questions? It's supposed to help people and a lot of these people are going to ask very green questions and they'll feel intimidated by their gear. I don't think we should turn them away because they ask what we see is a silly question. It isn't silly to them! Read the FAQ on the main site, I think that answers this. \$\endgroup\$
    – Joanne C
    Apr 21, 2013 at 12:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ Also, @dpollitt is correct, there's no need to vote down (I suspect triggered by initial profanity use, it does get flagged). The essential question here is perfectly fine, so I'll give it an up. At any rate, the "polite" comment above was in respect to this question, as originally posted, not the comment as an answer. In terms of that, I deleted for the reason that it was not an answer. I didn't convert it for the reason I just mentioned in my last comment, in that I don't see discouraging newbies as valuable. \$\endgroup\$
    – Joanne C
    Apr 21, 2013 at 12:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ On meta.stackoverflow.com, a downvote generally means simply "I disagree with the premise of this question", not that it's a bad discussion. I expect people are following that here. \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Apr 21, 2013 at 18:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ @mattdm - I've heard that before, but the hover-over on the vote down still says "This question does not show any research effort; it is unclear or not useful". So one of the two should be updated(either the downvote hover-over or the source of your note). \$\endgroup\$
    – dpollitt
    Apr 22, 2013 at 14:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ @dpollitt Yeah, I think it's weird. But it is the convention on the main meta site and it's likely to spill over to here whether we like it or not. \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Apr 22, 2013 at 14:14

3 Answers 3


If you think a question is silly, you can:

  • comment on how it might be improved
  • vote it down (requires 125 reputation; not much!)
  • flag it for moderator attention
  • vote to close the question (requires 3000 reputation; a decent investment in the site)
  • don't worry about it and just move on — we have a lot of non-silly questions which could use your expertise
  • provide a serious answer anyway, because sometimes there's something to be learned from what seem like silly questions.

Typically answers that are really comments are converted to comments.

Also, it's worth noting that anyone can flag a question as not belonging on the site, which shows up to the high-reputations users and moderators, who can review, and vote to close accordingly.


Sorry, the first down vote was me. I thought the wording was particularly abrasive and combative thanks to the foul language, although that has apparently been edited out now.

I was flying through the site, and did not have much time on my hands. I think people believe you take offense at everything because the way you write makes it "seem" that way. Ironically, you end up coming across offensive to everyone else at the same time, and thus the cycle is born.

Your goal of keeping a clean site is certainly an admirable one. The goal is not what is at fault...the approach is. You just need to take a better, less abrasive approach. Instead of asking "Is this a serious question?", which is pretty much bound to be taken offensively most of the time because you are questioning the askers motives, would it not be better to offer advice as to how the question could be improved to become a better fit? In that case, there is little to take offense at, and quite probably something to be thanked for.

Here at PhotoSE, we have tried very hard to take a different tack than most of the rest of the StackExchange sites. Instead of approaching community moderation with the mindset "Your question sucks! Your mucking up the site! GTFO!", we prefer to be welcoming and helpful in helping our members, particularly the newer ones (Evan has only been a member for five months), learn how to integrate into the site and our way of doing things. We aren't the largest photography site on the net, so we do not have the benefit of simply relying on our size and base of knowledge to attract and maintain a membership. As one of the smallest sites, we need to be cordial, helpful, and attentive to the needs of those asking questions.

In regards to questions themselves...they will not always be worded perfectly and will rarely be structured according to the rules of StackExchange. Our base of questions more often than not these days comes from "outside" rather than "inside", as the general internet populace interested in photography comes here to have their questions answered, not necessarily participate in the community as an active, contributing member. We need to be a bit more forgiving of less than perfect "StackExchange-esque" behavior or conformance to the rules and guidelines as a result. After all, that is pretty much what we are here for...to help those who come here to ask a question, regardless of whether they have particularly notable skill in terms of how they ask it.

I should note that there are caveats to the above. We recently had a user come through who demonstrated an explicitly rude attitude, demonstrating a very strong sense of entitlement. They acted as though we were their rightful slaves, and that it was our duty to answer their question, as they worded it, without complaint, in a timely manner. They were apparently quite fine berating, degrading, and deriding of our membership. Just as much as it is unhelpful or wrong for us to be abrasive to new members, a new member is most certainly not innately entitled to anything from us.

Rude behavior is rude behavior, and if someone is being outwardly rude, demanding, inconsiderate, belligerent, derisive, antagonistic or anything else of that nature, it is simply unacceptable.

Regarding the specific question here, the problem of remembering to change your settings is not an uncommon one in photography. I often have the same problem, as to thousands of other photographers. It, quite simply, the REASON for the existence of Canon's "Custom 1-3" camera modes on the main dial. People forget to reset their settings all the time. There are ways of dealing with the problem. For some, the answer is simply "Get a higher-end Canon with user-configurable custom camera modes. For others, the answer is to train themselves to reset their camera to some known baseline (such as EV 0 on the exposure scale in the viewfinder) whenever they chance composition or scenes.

Suffice to say, questions about how to deal with remembering your camera settings ARE related to photography, and as such ARE on topic for the site. Just because it does not have to do with the photographs themselves does not mean a question is off topic. There is more to photography than just the photographs themselves.

If it helps, my M.O. here is to try and find a way to answer a question first, before I start thinking about why it should be closed. (There may be a few obvious exceptions to this rule, such as when a question is more than clearly off topic and needs migration to another site, total spam, etc.) Even if a question does eventually get closed, or migrated, I believe it is better to invest the time offering your help...which is supposedly what we are all here for...than to try and find a way NOT to offer your help. Your answer may still be valid even if the question is closed, and could be useful to viewers of that question, or merged into a duplicate, or even accepted on another SE site.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I am pretty much done with this discussion, I did not use any foul language in my comment. Period. The question in meta contained `the f-word´ and that was too harsh. A mistake for which I apologize. If I stepped on anybodies toes or hurt some feelings, I apologize for that too. And now? I´ll go back to my camera. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 22, 2013 at 7:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ Well, Ron, to be frank...I don't think anyone here will be sorry to see you go. The last few days you've taken offense at pretty much everything we've said, ignored every offer of help, and generally remained pissed off about a MINOR thing. We have enough aggravation in our lives without having to deal with more of it from people on the internet. I was sincerely trying to offer some useful advice for your continued membership here, and you just threw it all back in my face...so please, just go back to your camera. \$\endgroup\$
    – jrista
    Apr 22, 2013 at 15:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ Well jrista, if two apologies are not enough for you... and pissed off? I´m not, you seem the one that´s pissed. Can we get on with our lives now? \$\endgroup\$ Apr 22, 2013 at 23:29

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