Something that really gets me down with SE is the fact that a lot of people just don't read the body text.

I posted this question: How is the number of stops of benefit provided by VR determined?

and three people have since voted to close it because they believe it is a duplicate of this question:

What is one "stop"?

The question I posted had an original title of of 'How to work out extra stop' which in my mind suggests that the stop value has been worked out already and if anyone had read the text they would had realised that I am specifically asking about people calculating extra stop when turning on VR etc. I hear it all the time in lens reviews.

I have been working as a professional photographer for three years and am confident in my understand of a stop but I can never work out how people accurately work out how stop is increased by using something external. I now realise that they don't, in fact it seems they just hold the camera steady and take pictures adjusting the shutter speed until it is sharp. This does answer my question.

I'm sure what I posted is a valid new question but because people haven't read the text, it is about to be closed which is a shame because it really hasn't done any harm in my opinion.

  • \$\begingroup\$ There are ways for moderators to deal with situations like that... \$\endgroup\$
    – Joanne C
    Commented Oct 3, 2014 at 10:21
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ In the help section it suggests that when writing a question that could be a duplicate you should explain why it isn't the same as the existing one. I don't see why when voting it as a duplicate you shouldn't have to do the same and explain why you believe it is a duplicate. Just saying so, doesn't mean so. \$\endgroup\$
    – connersz
    Commented Oct 3, 2014 at 15:43
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ There's no way to enforce that, but the whole idea of a user curated site is that consensus determines the outcome. \$\endgroup\$
    – Joanne C
    Commented Oct 3, 2014 at 15:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ How does that deal with the fact that, when a mistake is easy to make, almost everyone will make it? Consensus can be wrong. If everyone is missing a critical part of his question, the fact that everybody is missing it doesn't really mean it's right to ignore that part of the question. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jasmine
    Commented Oct 14, 2014 at 0:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Jasmine Easy. That generally means the question should be edited to highlight the critical part, and possibly reopened. \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Commented Oct 17, 2014 at 7:38

3 Answers 3


Often, this is because the question has a horrible title. If the question is different from an existing one, that should be readily apparent in order for the title to be useful on the site. That's not just because people in the review queue might be over-hasty — it also helps answerers focus on what really needs to be answered (so you get better results), and it helps future visitors who have the same question find it easily.

Other times, it is because the question might not be an exact duplicate but in fact is covered in full by a good answer to another question.

Other times, the question is a mess with multiple sub-questions and rather than being closed as too broad, gets closed as a duplicate of one of those sub-questions that is already answered. There may be unanswered questions left behind. In that case, edit the question so it asks just one thing (or delete it, and ask a new, focused question).

Other times, it's a mistake. But it's never a fatal mistake. Clarify the difference, improve the wording, maybe include the links, and it'll probably get reopened.

An important point to consider is that we do get many questions which are unclear on the meaning of basic camera terminology, and have a false premise based on that misunderstanding. So, when questions are unclear, it's very, very easy to read them in that way.


I didn't vote to close, but I would say others did because the wording of the question led them to believe you didn't really understand what a stop is.

Firstly, you've used what I would call scare quotes around the term stop. That implies you are uncertain about the term, whether it's used correctly etc. To me, quoting it e.g. - giving you extra 'stops' - implies you are uncertain about using that term. Or unfamiliar with what it means. Or wish to highlight the term in some way. If you are an experienced photographer, who is well aware of what a stop is, you probably would just use the term without quoting it.

Your question starts off saying that VR gives you extra shutter speed to play with. If you had asked how they work out how much extra shutter speed, then it would be more obvious you were questioning how they work out something so subjective (see Nir's answer). But by then asking about how they work out 'stops', it suggests another possibility: that you don't know how to convert shutter speed differences into stops. So some may have voted to close thinking that "What is one stop?" might help.

So while your question isn't a duplicate, if someone thought you just didn't understand the term "stop", then they might well suggest that other answer, figuring if you understood the term, you could answer your own question.

Maybe you could reword your question: "manufacturers state VR gives you 3 extra stops, which means for example you can shoot at 1/30 instead of 1/250. How do they work out what shutter speeds you can safely use, with and without VR? Isn't that subjective and hard to measure?" Or whatever the exact thrust of your question is.


Often, after the first vote, people don't even read the question at all. This is called robo-reviewing and is a common problem on many of the SE sites. It can be particularly bad when the initial close is from a respected user and the question is hard to follow and takes too much effort to figure out. Both of these are true in this case. The original person who voted to close it as a duplicate did seem to figure it out later and suggest an alternate question that would hit on what you were asking, but may not have fully realized that was what you were actually asking since he didn't edit it.

I went and edited the question a bit to make use of his suggested and personally voted to leave it open. Hopefully this will help stop the robo-reviewers from clicking close automatically.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I have seen this a lot also, I use a lot of sites on here and have done for years and usually as soon as the first vote to close has happened it is just doomed from then on and closed shortly afterwards. It is the same with downvotes. It may take a while to get less than zero but after that they will come flooding in. \$\endgroup\$
    – connersz
    Commented Oct 3, 2014 at 9:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ Interestingly, my experience is that down votes are the opposite. People don't read an answer close enough to see it worth down voting, but after a down vote they pay attention and start taking action. \$\endgroup\$
    – AJ Henderson Mod
    Commented Oct 3, 2014 at 9:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ Can you see who has marked to close it before it has closed? (as a user with low score) \$\endgroup\$
    – connersz
    Commented Oct 3, 2014 at 9:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ Don't recall, but sure if they comment on it. \$\endgroup\$
    – AJ Henderson Mod
    Commented Oct 3, 2014 at 16:04

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