I've noticed these questions come up quite regularly.

9/10 they are a printscreen from Instagram, and the question is how can I achieve this in photoshop or on camera, usually with no information about what they're trying to achieve, and probably expecting 3 clicks in a menu and it will look the same.

As part of the service towards the community, what is the correct way to flag these as there's probably several different options it can come under ranging from most of should be closed or low quality.

3 Answers 3


usually with no information about what they're trying to achieve

These generally get closed, so you could flag it should be closed... and select the unclear or too broad reason, whichever you think suits the question. It's nice to add a comment directing the OP to this meta question: Important information for asking "What's this effect?" questions

Questions about how to achieve a particular effect aren't bad in themselves. Achieving a particular effect is a big part of what photography is all about! But questions that ask how to create something that's not clearly described don't help anyone, and they should be closed until the OP edits to better explain what they're attempting to do.


Here is the template comment I add:

Please read [Important information for asking "What's this effect?"
questions](http://meta.photo.stackexchange.com/questions/3881/) and
edit this post accordingly. Make sure to use a descriptive title, 
too. Thank you! 

and depending on how awful it is, I also vote to close as "Unclear what you are asking".


Personally, I would like to see these listed as off-topic in the help center, as one of the bullet items in "is not about..." in What topics can I ask about?.

To be clear, I like, and would like to see more good questions about recreating a well-described effect. But with Instagram, Facebook, etc., I'm afraid we're going to see increased rates of "What's this Instagram filter?" -type questions. They just can't be answered. Perhaps a really canonical answer to why they can't be answered can be written, and we can just point them to that one.

  • 2
    Is it worth opening a meta question of, 'i've seen this nice effect on social media, I really like, I want to duplicate this effect, what information do you need from me to answer this?'
    – Crazy Dino
    Dec 9, 2016 at 9:40
  • (Annoyingly most questions are about the colour, and could probably be answered quite easily)
    – Crazy Dino
    Dec 9, 2016 at 9:41

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