As I write this, my profile says "Visited 3361 days, 3353 consecutive". (I guess it took me a couple of weeks to get going.) Over those nine-plus years, that's an average per day of 1.1 helpful flags, 2.2 posts edited, and 5.5 votes. I've been the #2 user by reputation for a long time, and just look at all of these shiny badges.

I've met and collaborated with a lot of great people, and learned a lot, and Stack Exchange says that in doing all of this, I've helped around 8.5 million others. That's awesome and I'm proud of all this.

Over the past year, this site has not gone well. It's not even the whole mess you can read about over on the main meta — and I won't rehash, but Is the Photo-SE community effectively dead? and this change to promises of greater resourcing basically cover it.

Stack Exchange is not and has never been an open source or free software company, or a community-lead product. Instead, we, as the content creators, basically made a bargain: we'll produce and curate the content you need, and we trust you to be good stewards and support the community we are building.

As Stack Exchange shifts towards what its corporate leadership thinks it needs to do to grow in profitability, it's clear that they're no longer interested in that bargain. I don't say this in a pejorative way — there's just a clear shift from a contributor community focus to a user focus — you can see this spelled out in an official blog post called The Loop.

There's nothing wrong with that. Plenty of perfectly fine companies work in this user-focused model. They might even call those users "the community", but it's not the definition of community I'm interested in. I'm just not interested in the new bargain.

Consequently, I will be stepping back from my daily involvement here. I'll still be active elsewhere on the Internet, and please look for me in future community-driven projects around learning and teaching about photography.

4 Answers 4


Seneca said,

Every new beginning is some other beginning's end.

While I'm sad to see your active time here end, we can celebrate that your beginning here lasted nearly 10 years. And we can celebrate the indelible mark you have left here as a gentle voice guiding the community that you helped shape and build here, and stuck around to watch grow more than almost anybody else.

I look forward to seeing you in other photographic communities; I will certainly be keeping my eye out for you. Any community that welcomes you and that you embrace is certainly worth being part of.

Thanks for everything you've done here. Your absence will be felt precisely because of the impact your presence has brought here.

  • 2
    Thanks Scott! This is nice to hear.
    – mattdm
    May 3, 2020 at 21:08

Participating on this stack, these days, feels a lot like going to an amusement park and walking out of the bathroom, only to realize that they've closed up shop...the lights are still on but everyone is gone and the last bus is leaving.

I get to peruse around and see all the cool things that were; what questions helped make this place, the blog posts, the users...

What you've done here is awesome. You and a few others were my inspiration when I joined - the effort you put in was palpable and the care you showed this place contagious. Thank you for all you've done.

I have a little pang of two-fold regret: that my efforts didn't help to spin things around here (and that I didn't join sooner!). With the billions of people on the internet, and millions of photographers in the world, it is somewhat of a mystery that the community on this site seems to have always been very small.


  • 2
    I quite rather like that analogy!
    – FreeMan
    Jan 24, 2020 at 16:24
  • 2
    Thank you — I really appreciate the kind words.
    – mattdm
    May 3, 2020 at 21:07

I truly hate to see you go. You've contributed, perhaps more than any other, to the knowledge base at the true core of what this place could have been.

Personally, you've been more than gracious to me when pointing out where I've gotten off track a bit. Well, except for that whole red pixel, blue pixel, green pixel thing. ;-)

I'm not sure how much longer I'll be around here answering questions about how to turn this or that function on/off by quoting page 136 of the User Manual, but as long as I am around, I'll miss your participation here, my friend.

P.S. ... and that whole EV is a brightness level, rather than a set of Tv and Av combinations agnostic of how much light is in the scene thing... ;-)

  • 2
    Thank you Michael! I appreciate it. And on those disagreements, I don't think we're really that far off… it's just a matter of finding the right careful wording. :)
    – mattdm
    May 3, 2020 at 21:07

I just hope that you are ok at whatever you do.

It is interesting how online communities like this work for some people, they are important and it is because of the people.

You will be missed, but also, you can always take one minute to visit and put some knowledge around.


  • 1
    Thanks Rafael! I appreciate it!
    – mattdm
    May 3, 2020 at 21:07

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