I still don’t understand what types of members contribute to Photo SE.

I often find myself frustrated and tempted to just give up and move on to another forum.

My dilemma is that sometimes I see some info that indicate a pro or someone very knowledgeable, but other times, often amongst very highly ranked members, I see moronic answers or comments that show a lack of basic understanding about photography.

Well, more precisely a lack of practical understanding, like someone who has read the manuals, knows the theory, but has no empirical grasp.

I guess I could just restrain myself to just read, and not ask Q or give A. given the reception that my QA typically get, I am sure that many would like me to move on. Sorry but I call a cat a cat, and when I see tunnel vision mediocrity in what I read, or see...

I mean sometimes I see things that make me want to scream and swear, but if I am even mildly critical, or express an unpopular opinion, I get DVs and closed. I know that some of my views are controversial, and that I am long-winded and don’t always get the point across clearly.

I am also a bit unbalanced as I only recently made the move to digital, and still looking for some gear, though so far, contrary of what I read I see not much difference, I still produce much better results by doing everything manually at base Iso.

I am confused, I know that SE has a lot of programmers, engineers, academics; scientists…are they as photo hobbyists, the main contributors?

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    \$\begingroup\$ @Reed: I think the fundamental answer here is, you really need to self evaluate. Looking at your answers to questions...you are NOT a friendly person. To be quite frank, you come off like an asshole, and THAT is most likely the main reason you get downvotes. The problem here is definitely not the community, nor the level of skill or knowledge of the core members. However, there IS a problem here. \$\endgroup\$
    – jrista
    Nov 22, 2016 at 21:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ jrista, i guess part of the problem is that i am a lot on youtube where comments are wild. And, yes, sometimes, i do need to rant and vent; right now i am also spending most of my days on photo topics, so i get burned out sometimes.; Though i started doing "advanced amateur" photo over 20 years ago, i never formally studied it. i am now devoting these few months, to cram the equivalent of years of photo school to be the most competent i can be to go full time pro. and as a perfectionist, it sometimes leads me to be very critical of those who aren't trying to get the best IQ possible. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 24, 2016 at 1:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Reed 'it sometimes leads me to be very critical of those who aren't trying to get the best IQ possible'. Again the arrogance... Why do you think people aren't trying to get the best IQ they can and who the hell do you think you are to judge?! \$\endgroup\$
    – Crazy Dino
    Nov 24, 2016 at 10:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ Why arrogance? because i have good eyes?, i think my pictures are crap too, i am nowhere near where i want to be. i see mediocrity in most pictures, i think it is the way to improve, to try to get better..."Why do you think people aren't trying to get the best IQ" i see their pictures, they use kit zooms, small sensors....the few pros i know, and most wedding/portrait sites i saw, have given up and don't bother to try to do better than the minimum the clients will be happy with... \$\endgroup\$ Nov 24, 2016 at 22:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ this is starting to folow a familiar patern, i ask a Q, get a partial answer and end up having to defend the premises of the Q. i do wish i was an asshole who didn't care about people's opinions, but then i wouldn't be spending time trying to help them by sharing my knowledge, alternative as it might be \$\endgroup\$ Nov 25, 2016 at 0:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ Reed, you cannot impose your perfectionism on everyone around you. Your perfectionism is about you, not about everyone else. Stop wielding it as a club! Especially considering you seems to have a rather tenuous grasp of much of the subject matter yourself, making you FAR from an expert in anything here. You can either be cordial and friendly to the membership here, or you can continue to be downvoted into oblivion, and if you keep up the arrogant attitude, people will undoubtedly flag your behavior and things will escalate. \$\endgroup\$
    – jrista
    Dec 13, 2016 at 4:15

3 Answers 3


You probably aren't going to get a satisfactory answer to this question. It appears you have formed an opinion of the "voting base" of Photo.SE, judging from the premise of your question.

I know that SE has a lot of programmers, engineers, academics; scientists…are they as photo hobbyists, the main contributors?

Does it matter? Amateur, hobbyist, professional... what is the difference? Judge them by the quality of their contributions here. But therein lies the rub. It sounds like you're questioning the wisdom of the crowd (the reputation system). It's an anonymous system, so you can't be exactly sure who is downvoting/upvoting you.

But the crowd seems to have judged your average contributions here lower than other contributors with at least your level of participation. Do you let that play into confirmation bias, and deem "the crowd" as not worthy of your time/consideration/participation, or do you take that information on board, as an indicator that the only constant in your interactions with this site and its members is you?

I often find myself frustrated and tempted to just give up and move on to another forum.

That is understandable. Only you can judge if a community is right for you. Your frustration is palpable, and you seem genuine in your desire to be part of a community (although as you noted, this one might not be your home).

I offer this frank observation: your positive contributions are more or less offset by your dismissive or disdainful responses to individuals. Negative reactions here tend to be swift and harsh. That is necessary for a self-policing community. But in my opinion, this community is also forgiving, usually with a short memory, such that positive changes in contributions are rewarded.

As I noted in my answer to your other recent meta question, it's obvious you have lots of experience and knowledge to share. Where and with whom you share it is entirely up to you. I doubt you'll find people begging for you to stay. I hope you don't find people begging for you to leave. But if you do stay, please be prepared to expect more of the same response if you bring more of the same contributions.

Having said that, keep in mind that active and/or long-term participants here, as with all Stack Exchanges, maintain (or at least, should strive to maintain) a different standard than most other net communities. Stack Exchange sites are supposed be (quoting from the site's Tour page):

This site is all about getting answers. It's not a discussion forum. There's no chit-chat.

Just questions... ...and answers. Good answers are voted up and rise to the top.

The best answers show up first so that they are always easy to find. The person who asked can mark one answer as "accepted".

In essence, it's a community-moderated exercise in search engine optimization. That's it. It's designed to produce quick, high-quality answers (gold) to Google searches, without having to wade through the normal blather (dross) typical of most discussion forums.

That means that the community voters, editors, and moderators try to keep in mind the good of the site. Answers that are directly dismissive of or disrepectful to other users, that veer towards ad hominem, are quickly downvoted or removed. Questions that are argumentative, that will appear to generate more heat than light, are quickly downvoted or closed. They are not good for the site.

I think your questions and answers that have received the most negative attention tend to fall into the above categories.

  • \$\begingroup\$ thank you for taking the time to craft this very good and elaborate answer. i seem to get much beter answers here in meta than in the main area. i know how SE works as i participate a bit in other SE areas, i guess i have a bit of a harder time adapting here. i see good content, then ask a Q thinking that someone must know the answer, and end up with a partial or no answer, having instead to fight to defend my positions, which i know are not shared by the majority. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 21, 2016 at 1:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ My problem is not with the contributions, i can quickly judge their relevance, but typicaly i ask a Q, and get answers that try to argue with I know that there are no universal truth, and that my views are not necessarily right, but i guess i have a hard time understanding why someone doesn't see what seems obvious to me ike finding primes beter than zooms, old lenses better than new ones, lower pixel density more aestheticaly pleasing... \$\endgroup\$ Nov 21, 2016 at 2:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ i guess that makes me the narrow minded tunel vision one...though i came by it by trial and error, based on the evidence of my eyes, not as i suspect other views to be, formed by unquestioned rehashed info from books, sites like Dxo mark, forums or camera brand promotional material... \$\endgroup\$ Nov 21, 2016 at 2:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ Oh about the contributors, " It appears you have formed an opinion of the "voting base"[...]Does it matter? " yes as i am trying to understand the context of the contributions, in my experience scientific people have a very logical aproach, they will tend to be rational, if one camera model has 24MP it is therefore better than the one who has only 12MP, a less logical person will judge by the subjective IQ that the 12MP delivers a more pleasing image, and is therefore better (and btw i am using a real example the canon 5D classic, to my eyes produce nicer pictures than the 5D2 or 5D3) \$\endgroup\$ Nov 21, 2016 at 2:45

I don't think that some of your comments are mildly critical or even unpopular. They are rude.

...sorry, as of now they don't even rate as beginner's amateur photos

Your Q almost read as a joke

...earn me some downvotes, Canon Rebels are rubish, Sony is shit, Nikon Dx is for...

What could you have meant by "Nikon Dx is for..."? Why don't you fill in the blank here? What expletive did you want to lead us to? Are you trying to be funny?

This was all in a single thread to a brand new member of the community and many more examples exist.

In this thread you mentioned:

I am confused, I know that SE has a lot of programmers, engineers, academics; scientists…are they as photo hobbyists, the main contributors?

Yeah, so what if a lot of the members here are programmers, engineers, or academics? That gives you no more right to be rude or talk down to them. I don't see how that changes the conversation at all. The whole idea behind this site is that the community gets to vote on the best answers, if you don't agree with an answer, you get to downvote it and contribute your own answer.

Again, here I think that the bottom line is that you are being rude to new members, general members, and even went so far as to do so in this thread which is just mind boggling to me.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ in the Q you quoted, i started by being rude, though i was not the only one, i then spent OVER 4 hours of my time to give him a very detailed answer, for what? earning DVs? and yes the rhyming was an attempt at humour while illustrating that he beter go FF, and that sony's produces the worst IQ of the DSLR's world. The botom line is that there seems to be an almost "official"communly accepted truth, such as Sony A7 are great cameras, and any divergent view from the norm is quickly Dv, closed and dissmissed. i guess this "consensus bias" in a way it is an inherant flaw of a community group. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 24, 2016 at 0:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Reed Quite petty to say that others were rude (so you should be too?). Instead of blaming others, try taking responsibility for your own actions - and you know; being nice. The fact that you spent X hours on an answer does not justify being rude. End of discussion. \$\endgroup\$
    – dpollitt
    Nov 24, 2016 at 0:29

I'm going to bite.

I'm a FT software engineer. I used to be a FT pro-photographer, at one point running a pool of photographers for a magazine. Before the critcism comes in, about why I switched profession; 1. The money, 2. I'm now a hobbyist. I get to pick and shoot what I want/when I want. 3. I get to enjoy it again. But you name it, I've probably tried something similar at some point. I've taught and worked with people of all levels and now do a lot within my local photographic community. I don't know everything but I believe this gives me the experience/wisdom to provide some answers in some areas.

First off as scottbb perfectly described it, SE is a Q&A. It's not a forum. If you wish to have long extended discussions on topic. This is not the place.

Now to answer your hidden real question of 'why all the downvotes', and I'm going to be brutally honest.

  • Your answers are rude/offensive. You actually attack other answerers in your answers. I'm British. I have a very dry sense of wit and humour... there's neither in there.
  • You express opinion as fact. as an example you say a 50mm f1/.8 is better than a 24-70 f/2.8L II which creates grey uncontrastey images in comparison. Erm. What? If this was the least bit true.. With that logic Canon wouldn't be shifting any of their pro lenses, as they're just white elephants.. nothing to do with the quality of the optics actually costing more to produce.
  • You come across extremely arrogant, and your questions are more 'why do others do things differently to me' than genuine questions. Routinely you've attacked zoom lens users, users of AF and high ISO. This again is more your opinion, dislike and sometimes even misunderstanding then fact. You make it sound like people who don't do things the same way as you are not real photographers. In your early posts you said you had a camera years ago and it went in a drawer, had never touched a digital camera and wanting to get into the industry, so in some cases these views could very well be antiquated.
  • You go off topic and rant. Some of your answers are massive, coming across more as juvenile and an area to vent. Any good information is actually lost in noise.

I'm now going to answer what should have been your real question of 'how do I redeem myself and get some upvotes'

  • Don't write answers purely to attack other answers. That's the point of the voting system/comments. Be polite.
  • Keep on topic.
  • Don't express opinions as fact. Just because you think something's better; provide evidence to say why they shouldn't use high ISO or shouldn't go near a zoom lens. If it's wrong or the collective community disagree you will get downvotes.

Photography IS very subjective. But in many of the questions asked on here, there are more definitive answers.

  • \$\begingroup\$ for the AF and ISO i was genuinly asking because i had just made the move to digital, and i was unsure of myself and advice and people kept incisting i change the way i shoot. maybe that's why i was agressive, i did try, and for ISO just with the naked eye i can tell the differnce of IQ for each 100 increment. so yes we can now take pictures in conditions that are extreme, but deviating from base iso has a visible cost. For AF i conceded that it is more subjective and it is more of a preference thing, \$\endgroup\$ Nov 24, 2016 at 0:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ for zooms, well that is the stickly point, just 15 days ago i was offered a minty 24-70/2.8L at only 350 euros, but just one look through the viewfinder was enough... yes zooms are convenient and are much beter than 20 years ago, and is what the people are buying...but so are hamburgers \$\endgroup\$ Nov 24, 2016 at 0:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Reed at this point i'm going to ask why are you here? You evidently know best and the community is wrong. Your months of experience far outweighs some of the other members with years of experience. \$\endgroup\$
    – Crazy Dino
    Nov 24, 2016 at 10:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also just saying, I prefer burgers to steak, and my local butchers make decent 1/2lb burgers from steak. I also prefer my 70-200 to my full set of primes both in and out the studio... why? Its lovely to use and as sharp as any of them. \$\endgroup\$
    – Crazy Dino
    Nov 24, 2016 at 11:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ alright, i may be exagerating a bit, but that is to conterbalance all the opinions that zooms are as good as primes.....yes the 24-70/2.8L is arguably the best zoom ever, and it is as sharp or better than primes, but sharpness is not everything, and i conceed that the one zoom i do own, a 20 y.o. 70-200:4, is outdated compared to more modern zooms. i will probably end up buying that first gen 24-70:2.8L , if it is still unsold, because of the great price and because it is expected from a pro....and i will most likely use for versatility and ease of use and good enough, though not optimal, IQ \$\endgroup\$ Nov 24, 2016 at 23:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ "I'm British. I have a very dry sense of wit and humour..." Sorry... but this was quite funny actually n_n \$\endgroup\$
    – Rafael
    Jan 12, 2017 at 16:17
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Rafael that's me being dry, witty and british! \$\endgroup\$
    – Crazy Dino
    Jan 12, 2017 at 16:33

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