The best way to improve image quality?

Become a better photographer!

The best way to improve image quality is, in fact, to improve one's skill as a photographer. Even when quality of gear becomes an issue, the ability of the photographer to diagnose the issue and know what is needed to correct it is still the paramount consideration.

Apart from the fact that it is a basic truth, I see no rude or abusive language in the answer.

How is encouraging someone to improve their skill as a photographer rude or abusive?

There is no abusive language in the four original words of the answer. There is nothing "calling out" or identifying any particular individual.

I must admit that at times I just want to reply to a user who asks, "What gear can I spend money on to make my pictures better?" with the following, but this wasn't one of those times:

enter image description here

Someone please enlighten me.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Link to the original question or answer. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 10, 2017 at 12:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Olin Lathrop photo.stackexchange.com/questions/90717/… \$\endgroup\$
    – AJ Henderson Mod
    Jul 10, 2017 at 15:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ @OlinLathrop The entire answer is above the spacer line in the question above. The quote from the question and the bold print immediately below it. That was the total answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Jul 10, 2017 at 16:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ Since it has been deleted (by me, because by the time it was finally undeleted I had already written a more extensive duplicate answer), I don't think anyone with less than 20K rep can see it. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Jul 10, 2017 at 16:46

2 Answers 2


The OP was asking about Canon 700D vs full frame or other brands which he felt gave him better, sharper results. Sure it might have to do with technique, and you could have explained that, asked about how he was shooting, if he'd tested the lenses etc. "Become a better photographer" is a flippant comment, not an answer. You know a one liner like that isn't going to stand as an answer for long.

It probably wasn't the right choice of flags, "Low Quality" might have been a better choice. You weren't calling out or being abusive, but because you suggested the OP is a poor photographer and didn't really try to be helpful (with some specifics about what you meant), I guess you could consider it somewhat rude, or at least not very helpful without further explanation of why you think it's technique that's the problem, not the gear.

  • \$\begingroup\$ So how does one edit an answer to address these concerns when it has been deleted as rude/abusive rather than as "Low Quality" which you indicate might have been more appropriate? \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Jul 9, 2017 at 20:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ I was planning on coming back later to expand the answer but didn't have the time to do it when I submitted it. I then got tied up Saturday and wasn't on the site all day. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Jul 9, 2017 at 20:04
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ If it hadn't been flagged, it had attracted enough downvotes that it probably would have been gone anyway. I guess you could either wait to answer until you had time, or you can always post a new answer now. You don't have to edit the original answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – MikeW
    Jul 9, 2017 at 20:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think MikeW's answer is good. I removed the lock on it if you really want to edit it as that should allow further updating (though I left it deleted as it isn't yet a real answer), but it may be best to just do a new answer anyway since it had already been downvoted a few times. \$\endgroup\$
    – AJ Henderson Mod
    Jul 10, 2017 at 0:15

Sometimes straight and to the point answers can be good wakeups to people asking naïve questions. I don't know if this was the case here (no link provided to the original), but it seems possible from context.

We could use more answers like that when people obsess about gear to the point of missing the bigger picture. If I had seen that answer, I might have upvoted it.

Sometimes moderation here is a little too worried about whether someone might be offended. This is the real world. Sometimes you'll say stupid things, and others will point it out. Learn from it and get over it. Don't shoot the messenger.


It wasn't originally clear that only the bold text was your answer. I thought the line and the first paragraph under it were also part of your original answer.

Just saying "Become a better photographer!" really is not a good answer. Using it as a attention getting title, followed by at least some explanation would have been much better.

I agree with deleting just the one-line version of the answer.

The reason it's rude is because it's just mocking the OP without giving him anything useful. You can imagine the OP thinking "Well, duh, asshole. I'm here asking how to do that.".

How would you feel if you asked how to run a 4 minute mile, and I answered "Run faster!", implying it is supposed to be a revelation that hadn't occurred to you, and that it's something you can simply decide to do, and by extension, that you were just too dumb or lazy to do it.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I still question how the answer, as originally written, can be considered brutish and rude. I can see how it might be taken as flippant. But saying "Become a better photographer!" as an answer to a question that asks "... the best way to improve image quality?" doesn't seem to me to be at all either brutish or rude. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Jul 10, 2017 at 16:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ The original intent was to come back later and add some of the links I later did. I just didn't have time to chase them all down at that time. The problem was that it was originally deleted shortly after I posted it as being 'spam or rude or abusive' which meant it couldn't be edited at all. After I posed the question here, it was un-flagged as 'spam or rude or abusive' and re-deleted as 'low quality', which allowed me to edit the answer. After editing it was still only visible to users with a rep of 20K+, so I chose to post a duplicate answer that would be visible to all. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Jul 10, 2017 at 17:01
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ @Michael: Don't post answers that can't stand on their own. People can only judge what you did post, not what you might intend to post. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 10, 2017 at 17:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ @OlinLathrop Lesson learned! \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Jul 10, 2017 at 17:05
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ @MichaelClark I'd echo what Olin said, as originally stated, it comes off as very sarcastic and effectively saying "get good". I understand that wasn't your intent, but that is how it can reasonably be read. Either way, it certainly wasn't really an answer yet at that point anyway as it didn't provide any actual direction. For something like that where you don't want someone to go buy something before you can answer, a comment is probably a good option until you can provide a full answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – AJ Henderson Mod
    Jul 10, 2017 at 17:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ @AJHenderson Is there a way to save a rough draft of an unposted answer, so that we can remember to come back to it later, without leaving the browser open? My computer was insisting that it needed to immediately update to the new, wonderful <sarcasm>, latest and greatest version of Windows10 and I had to leave to go take care of something else. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Jul 10, 2017 at 18:09
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @MichaelClark The system auto-saves a draft answer of whatever the last answer you worked on was, but it isn't easily re-discoverable. For coming back to it, I find that either favoriting (click the star) or adding a comment or voting and then using my activity history works pretty well. It would be nice if there was a more concrete way to access the draft posts, but I'm not aware of one. \$\endgroup\$
    – AJ Henderson Mod
    Jul 10, 2017 at 18:38
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Michael: Flippant is not the same as rude. Flippant can be funny, for example. It depends on context and delivery. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 11, 2017 at 19:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ @drewbenn My comment above that you quote was in direct response to a since-deleted comment that made a distinction between the two. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Jul 11, 2017 at 22:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MichaelClark - I should probably clarify my previous comment wasn't directed directly at your original post. While I do believe that the post could have been taken as rude, I was just generally stating that how someone says something matters as much as the message they are trying to convey. I removed the comment since Olin's updated to his answer made it irrelevant. (It was specifically a response to Olin's original answer before edit.) I can clean up that whole sub-thread of discussion if you want. I just didn't want to nuke your comment on you as it may have still had value. \$\endgroup\$
    – AJ Henderson Mod
    Jul 12, 2017 at 14:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MichaelClark, there is a way of saving a draft answer, but it's a bit obnoxious: post it as an answer and immediately delete it yourself. You can then edit and undelete. However, this has the effect of bumping the question and possibly firing spurious notifications to the OP, which is why I say it's a bit obnoxious. Some stacks (e.g. math, where the typography involved means that writing an answer can be very time-consuming) have a CW "answer sandbox" in meta where people can work on drafts before posting them. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 24, 2017 at 10:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MichaelClark re: saving drafts: as AJ mentions, the system saves drafts. To be more specific, it saves once every 45 seconds. Incidentally, you can have one new question draft, and one answer draft per existing question. This is saved server-side. I just tested it by drafting an answer using Google Chrome, waiting a minute, closing Chrome, reopening, and verifying the draft was there. Then I checked by just going to the question using Safari browser, and lo and behold, my draft was there too! \$\endgroup\$
    – scottbb Mod
    Jul 28, 2017 at 1:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ @scottbb Thanks. That hasn't always worked for me. I have closed the browser and then the draft not be there when I reopened it and logged in. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Jul 28, 2017 at 8:50

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