This question was moderator closed as off topic. The help center does not state that computer vision and industrial imaging are off topic.

  • If in addition the question had included a statement about using someone's favorite camera brand/type/lens it would be much less likely to be closed. In other words part of the reason it is closed is because the question is boiled down to the essentials since the camera specifics don't really matter in terms of the problem (1/4-20 is 1/4-20).

  • If the context had been photographing items for sale on eBay (using a scale and dimensions and so forth), it would have been treated for what it is, setting up a studio for a narrow application.

  • Technical photography is a core area of applied photography. The apparatus described is no less relevant to photography than a copy stand (as mentioned in one of the comments).

Having an answer to the question is not harmful to the site. At worst it is neutral. If the site becomes over run with industrial vision and computer imaging questions, then perhaps the help center can be revised to solve it.

2 Answers 2


The help center doesn't mention computer vision questions as off-topic, but there does seem to be a consensus that they are not a fit for the site.

However later comments clarified that it wasn't really a question about computer vision or industrial imaging, more a matter of product photography, and there were one or more reopen votes, so I'll reopen it.

  • @mattdm You trolled me here.
    – user50888
    Dec 15, 2017 at 17:31
  • I'm not trying to troll. It seemed to me that you got suddenly aggressive and hostile. I don't think it's a good way to create positive change. I hope that was just internet misunderstanding. For whatever it's worth, I was just thinking that there are several of your answers (like this one) that I absolutely love and really exemplify what I'd like the site to be about.
    – mattdm
    Dec 15, 2017 at 17:35

Regardless of if it was properly applied to this question, this meta post is possibly the most relevant. Basically, photography in the sense of this site is generally considered to be making photographs, not making measurements. (Though that meta question itself could benefit from more attention overall.)

The fact it is for R&D software development purposes and is focused on taking measurements leads me to a very strong suspicion that this is not related to taking photos. It could be edited to remove those parts, but I believe we have other questions that are pretty much a dupe of that simplified question. Something along the lines of What is a good stationary setup for taking pictures of small paper goods? would likely qualify. It becomes a bit too general when removed from the R&D programmed tool role to be meaningfully differentiated.

At a minimum the question should be edited to clarify how it is dealing with photography rather than a peripheral for custom software development.

  • 1
    The meta question has very low participation and is in an obscure corner of the website (as meta tends to be). It is a reasonable discussion with support for both views. It is very poor support for a policy that such questions are off topic. A policy putting such questions off-topic should be listed in the help center. If there is a problem, then downvoting by members is a reasonable first response...none of which is to suggest that I don't appreciate your work as moderator and recognize that my complaint makes more of it and feel a bit bad as a result.
    – user50888
    Nov 14, 2017 at 17:20
  • @benrudgers - yeah, in complete honesty I was a bit surprised how little attention the meta post had gotten when I was able to dig it up, though in general our meta is small. This was a much bigger deal at one point in the past and had a general consensus evidenced by close votes and commentary and chat discussions at the time without a whole lot of objection to computer vision related stuff being off topic, but it seems what managed to drift in to meta (atleast that I can find now) is less substantial than I thought. I didn't dig deeper before due to also being a likely dupe.
    – AJ Henderson Mod
    Nov 14, 2017 at 17:26
  • I should also point out that the help center is not an appropriate place to work out policy about something being off-topic. Meta is where the community makes decisions, then after it's figured out on meta, a change can be made to the help center to be more discoverable. As memory serves, the reasoning behind not needing a change to help center was that the thought process was that computer vision is not photography, it's imaging, but then again, this could be automated photography rather than computer vision, depending on what the OP is trying to accomplish.
    – AJ Henderson Mod
    Nov 14, 2017 at 17:42
  • I appreciate your thoughts. I think quick decision making via Meta works well on StackOverflow due to the volume of participants, questions, moderators, and eyes in general. Based on a recent experience in another Meta and here, I think it rarely establishes a consensus. Looking at StackOverflow as a model, On SO, technical topics at the margins are not "banned" until there is another home for them (ServerFault, SoftwareEngineering (was Programmers), CodeReview, Emacs, AskUbuntu, ThinkDifferent etc.) If overrun with machine vision, that's a possibility here.
    – user50888
    Nov 14, 2017 at 19:58

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