I'd like to ask for opinions about a photography competition on this site, further to the discussion in comments in this post: Photo Competition 2020-01: Portraits by candlelight

I'm a keen SE supporter, and my job revolves around photography and video, hence I'm keen to encourage some sort of photo competition on this site. I'd like to support SE with my time and I've seen the occasional post asking for entries for a monthly competition, but reviewing these questions, I can see there are both good and bad points to the way it's been done. I'd like to critique the method currently, make some suggestions to get people thinking and then open this for input from the other users on this forum to get feedback.

  • Consistency: I think that the competition needs to be consistent, so that users can rely on there being a competition every month, and they know what it entails. Maybe the post needs to be created a week before the end of the previous month. Maybe also we should have a rolling 3 month list of topics, so that we know what the topics of competition are going to be for the next 3 months, and we can prepare and start thinking about it?
  • Reward: At the moment I think the reward is to have your image featured on this website. I think it's good as it gets a lot of visibility and promotes your profile. However, does everyone feel this is fair and enough? Maybe the image could be displayed more prominently or have more details about the creator?
  • Credibility: We want Photography SE to be credible and having a good competition promotes user interaction and gives us a good photo gallery that shows the users are active and joining in.

I'm keen to get everyone's thoughts:

  • How would be best to work the competition so that everyone feels comfortable and keen to join in?
  • Do we need some sort of copyright protection so that everyone feels at ease sharing their work?
  • I wondered about having an extra tab on the side menu where you have Home, Questions, Tags etc, and call it Competition - all competitions could be featured under this to make it more prominent?

I know I don't have tons of experience here but I'd be happy to put time into helping make this work if we're prepared to support it. What does everyone think? Suggestions welcome :)

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Most photographers have monetised websites. Maybe a link promoting their website would be part of the reward? \$\endgroup\$
    – AutoBaker
    Jul 6, 2020 at 6:21
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Uh? More like 0.00001%; given the number of cameras sold. \$\endgroup\$
    – xenoid
    Jul 6, 2020 at 7:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ The third point about the "extra tab" needs SE devs' time and resource, and customization only for 1 site will possibly be considered the lowest priority. Note that we, the users here, are only contributing through posting but not developing. \$\endgroup\$
    – Andrew T.
    Jul 6, 2020 at 18:25

2 Answers 2


Proposal: Rules for *New* Photo Contest on Main Site

Keep in mind that anything you post on a SE site should be CC-BY-SA or better, so I'm not sure people who do photography for the money want to post their best shots here.

Personally I don't like the idea of competition for the sake of it. There are good photos and bad photos, but I don't think there is an absolute ordering. Since this a Q&A site people should be able to comment on the picture, but this often rejected as "opinion-based" even if there is a consensus.



I just saw a photo competition at the top of HNQ. StackExchange is supposed to be a Q&A site, so exactly what question is a competition asking?

Many of the answers are just a photo with only the camera and parameters used to take the photo, with no commentary at all. If we are going to allow competitions, then they should provide some value, as opposed to being just some Reddit-like thread used for rep farming. Explain why you think a photo is a good photo.

Therefore I strongly disagree with Rule #5:

Do not use this as a forum for photo critique.

I think it would be very helpful for people to explain why they think a photo is a good photo, or how a photo could be improved. In that way, these competitions would provide value to people learning about photography. As it is right now, they provide zero value.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Strong -1. But thank you for your input. A little background: PSE has basically always had a photo contest, in order to generate new photos for the Photo of the Week sidebar on Main. Historically the contest was held here in meta-PSE, as a long-running thread. That wound up breaking down because the backlog of upvoted submissions grew, and when a user's submission finally percolated to the top, it was years later, and they were no longer around. Recognition of the meta-PSE Photo Contest "zombie" happened shortly before Monicagate, so both combined to kill the old contest... \$\endgroup\$
    – scottbb Mod
    Apr 3, 2021 at 18:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ Several Meta-PSE threads were opened about re-starting the photo contest, and the general consensus was to move it to Main, and make it more periodic. After all, this Stack is about photography, and we didn't have a functional photo contest / user-submitted highlighting feature. The Great Outdoors had a monthly photo contest that was functional and long running, but Photography didn't? Shame. So I took it upon myself to just do it and ask for forgiveness if I was wrong, in early 2020. March 2020 brought ...issues..., and it didn't get new attention until earlier this year. .... \$\endgroup\$
    – scottbb Mod
    Apr 3, 2021 at 18:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ I was elected moderator in Fall 2020, and I felt that for the good of the Photo-SE community, to hopefully revitalize it and attract users to post more better questions, I committed to ride or die on the Photo Competition on Main (as per any other Meta discussions. I can't easily find and link them because I'm posting on a phone at the moment). So from the standpoint of not being 100% according to Hoyle on the Stack Exchange Q&A model, well... I don't really care. There have been enough PSE regulars and casuals asking, nay begging, to get something moving regarding the photo contest \$\endgroup\$
    – scottbb Mod
    Apr 3, 2021 at 18:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ ... that as moderator, I'm committed to doing what I can for my community, hopefully doing what I can to give it breath and life. So for the time being, it will stay on main. And as far as HNQ, I have informally experimented with keeping the contests listed, or delisting them early, on HNQ. For the time being, I've been leaning on leveraging the traffic that HNQ generates. That should perhaps be its own Meta-PSE question. \$\endgroup\$
    – scottbb Mod
    Apr 3, 2021 at 18:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ Aside from that, on the specific point of allowing critiques of the submissions, No. There is a long story about poorly regulated photo critiques here on PSE, resulting in the leaving of valued community members. For awhile, critiques were basically banned. Now, we allow and encourage photo critiques, as long as they are well-formed standalone questions. But as individual entries-as-submissions in a contest submission? Where the only critique and response are through comments? Hell no, ain't gonna happen, I'm sorry. \$\endgroup\$
    – scottbb Mod
    Apr 3, 2021 at 18:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm sorry if it reads like I'm coming down harshly in my previous comment. Part of that is the limits of comments-as-responses, part of that is the difficulty of better editing and providing links to supporting Meta-PSE discussions while on a phone. I do value and appreciate input and discussion about the workings and betterment of PSE, really. There's just a lot of history and other Meta-PSE discussions that are involved in the Photo Contest subject. If I were a better mod, I'd go through and answer/close/consolidate/summarize. But it's scattered and mostly low-input. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ \$\endgroup\$
    – scottbb Mod
    Apr 3, 2021 at 18:55

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