Are questions about presentation of panoramic photos off topic?

I am asking because the closure of my question, plus down-vote, caught me by surprise. While panoramic photos can be viewed statically, viewing them in a software such as Google Street View or Microsoft Photosynth gives - from my point of view - a much better impression of the photographed space. It's a bit like watching stereoscopic images. It's more fun with a good viewer.

What possibly caused irritation: Google Street View runs on the web. It's nothing you install on your computer, but that's true for an increasing number of photography applications.

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    I agree with @dpollitt, which is why I cast the final vote. Having said that, it's closed, not deleted, and so is still present on the site. If there are changes to make it less of something for Stack Overflow and more for Photography.SE, then I think a reopen is something the community would be open to. – John Cavan May 7 '13 at 16:52
  • @JohnCavan No changes planned. Only in the future there may be a simpler solution, without the need to copy&paste (i.e. download) HTML/CSS/JS. I was looking forward to the day when someone posts such a solution as an answer, but seems like this is not possible anymore. Therefore, my suggestion to migrate the question to another platform. – feklee May 7 '13 at 17:01
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    With regards to photos that can only be viewed on a computer, i'd say that interactive photos such as 'lytro' or 'gigapixel' pictures would fall in the same vein as interactive panoramic shots. – NULLZ May 7 '13 at 23:38
  • Okay, I think a good case has been made, so I reopened it. – John Cavan May 8 '13 at 0:14
  • @JohnCavan - Where is this "good case"? – dpollitt May 16 '13 at 2:05
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    @dpollitt - He made the case that it wasn't a programming one, I think, and that it was really judged by his initial answer and he followed your suggestion. So along with AJ, I too voted re-open. I realize that means it gets automatically re-opened, so I usually hesitate a fair bit with that, but I think this is reasonable in this particular case and it's a vote I would have made in any event. – John Cavan May 16 '13 at 2:28

I was only one of five people that voted to close this. Obviously my opinion can differ from others and I don't speak for the community(although up votes on this answer does).

Historical and Background Info

Questions about how to create a panoramic photo are certainly on topic. Here are such examples:

Question on programming for cropping images:

From the FAQ:

What kind of questions can I ask here?

and it is not about ...


Web Site Development


Initially I was confused about your question. I couldn't figure out if you wanted to know. Based on this excerpt "What is the simplest way to create a custom Google Streetview panorama?", I thought the actual slicing of images to prepare them for the presentation was the key question, so I didn't vote to close initially.

But then when you answered the question yourself, it was clearly not about just the preparation of the images, but also the specific web development needed to display those images. That is the part that really struck me as off topic. The portion of your answer with GraphicsMagick and its corresponding UNIX commands to create the tiles I would agree is on topic. But once you dove into the HTML, JavaScript, and CSS - that is clearly off topic to me on this website.


So to answer your question, are questions about the presentation of images on topic? They can be. But they also may not be. What if this question was about what type of nail to use to hang a panoramic frame weighing 22lbs on the wall in your home? I see this as a similarly off topic vein. That would be appropriate on the diy stack exchange site. Similarly I see the details beyond image preparation on this question being on topic on something like stackoverflow(or some other SE site, or no SE site, just not this one).

Further, as a future suggestion, if you want additional answers, marking your own answer as "accepted" seems like a poor choice. Based on your comments you were hoping for more answers to this currently closed question. If you wanted more answers, not marking your own as accepted would be advised by me.

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  • My question definitely is off topic on Stackoverflow. It is not about software development. The code that I posted is just a small web app, for copy and paste. It runs locally, by the way. I could have hosted the app's code on another site with a link for download, but I was worried about link rot. Why I marked my answer as accepted: It answers the question, in that it shows what currently seems to be the simplest way to get a panoramic image displayed in Streetview. Naturally, I am always interested in better, possibly future, solutions. – feklee May 7 '13 at 16:58
  • The crop question also doesn't belong on Stackoverflow. Perhaps we need a StackExchange site for digital image/photo manipulation? There are a lot of tools and techniques that need or allow some programming, including many of the Adobe tools. – feklee May 7 '13 at 17:10
  • Just because a question isn't on topic here, doesn't make it on topic on other sites. It might not currently fit on any stack exchange site.I am not an expert on what is on/off topic at those sites either. Also, this site does cover many many aspects of image manipulation, but in the context of photography and not the context of web development. – dpollitt May 7 '13 at 17:23
  • Please clarify: What specifically makes my question a question in the context of web development? Note that only as part of my answer I posted a tool that runs in the web browser. Possibly in the future Google will offer - for example - a direct upload facility for photographic panoramas (which Streetview is designed for). – feklee May 7 '13 at 17:34
  • I don't even know what you are talking about anymore but it has nothing to do with Photography. – dpollitt May 7 '13 at 17:38
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    You are judging the question by the answer. – feklee May 7 '13 at 17:39

I originally voted to close, but switched to vote to re-open. The way the answer currently makes it look isn't all that good of a fit, but it's still a way to accomplish something that could be done more easily, and the thing it is trying to do is on topic.

Just because the current and accepted answer isn't really a good fit doesn't mean that there may not be a good answer to the question in the future that is not highly programming related.

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  • I now unmarked the answer as accepted, hoping that this increases motivation to find and post simpler solutions (in case the question is ever reopened). It's true that the current solution may look scary (thus not easy) for less technical people, although it is straight forward. – feklee May 7 '13 at 22:00
  • @feklee - It isn't that it is scary or not easy, it is that javascript has nothing to do with photography. – dpollitt May 16 '13 at 2:05
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    @dpollitt - This is true, but the JavaScript was an answer, not the question. I don't know that I think that question is off topic simply because the answer he initially gave was programmatic. – John Cavan May 16 '13 at 2:32

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