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Michael Clark and I disagree about an edit to How does automatic sensor cleaning work?. I think it's a good question, but that the end bit about the most effective and safe way overall is already well covered by What is the best way to clean the sensor on a digital SLR?, so I took that out.

I think that aspect is:

  1. Big enough of a topic
  2. Distinct enough from the rest of the question
  3. Well convered by the other question
  4. and likely to attract future answers just covering that bit and not the meat of the question

so I thought it best removed.

Michael disagrees. :) Rather than reverting back and forth, does anyone else have an opinion?

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All of the other questions seem to be related, dealing with what the self clean is, how it works, and if there are risks of using it. The final question about the "best" way to clean a sensor is a very different question from both the title and the rest of the questions being asked. It is also a question that is specifically answered in another question.

I agree that it is beneficial to have the related information for the other questions gathered in one place, but I do think that the best way to clean is a separate question since it doesn't fit in the group of related questions. I don't think it's likely to cause a problem with answers that only address that portion, but I would want someone searching for the best way to clean a sensor to find the previously existing question rather than one that focuses on how the self clean works.

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All of those questions are large enough to be their own topic. That doesn't mean it isn't helpful to have a summary of the overall topic in one place instead of spread out over multiple questions. I think I looked over at least five other questions here in addition to the Wikipedia article when writing my answer. My original intent was to find an already existing question that this one duplicated. I discovered there wasn't a single catch-all sensor cleaning question that includes the relationship between auto cleaning and other methods. Some of the pertinent information was buried in questions that didn't indicate by their title that sensor cleaning was the issue. The primary emphasis of the original question, in my view, was on the comparative safety of automatic sensor cleaning versus other methods. Additionally, the logical extension of questions about automatic dust removal is, "What happens when there's dust or other material left that the automatic system didn't get?" The portion of the question that mattdm removed and I restored was included by the original poster to address that.

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  • I have to agree with Matt here, I think it would be better to edit the question and link to existing questions that answer derivative questions like "What is the safest way to clean a sensor?". That can be done with "Related: link to other question" in comments. The reason for this is so we don't start duplicating answers to existing questions as afterthoughts to other questions. The additional question IS an afterthought, and it will be an afterthought in answers, overall reducing the quality and explicitness of each answer. – jrista May 1 '13 at 15:29
  • I think the rest of the question is a prelude to what the asker is really wanting to know: Which is the safest way to keep his sensor the cleanest. Maybe that's not an acceptable question, but I think it was entirely the point of the whole question. – Michael C May 1 '13 at 15:45
  • If you read the entire question photo.stackexchange.com/questions/12/… you see that it is implicit in that question that auto cleaning and other methods have been tried without success. – Michael C May 1 '13 at 15:47
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    I also agree with Matt, I think it makes sense to keep the response more concise and then use mechanisms such as tags and links to relate other questions and answers along a similar line. – John Cavan May 1 '13 at 18:42

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