Having run the photo competition for about a year I am stepping down. I am not sure if it is permanent or whether I will come back. But for now November will be the last one I will run.

This does not mean that the competition needs to stop, rather not.
If you are willing to take over, alone or with others, please leave a comment or answer here.

Also, if you want the competition to stop, please post that reason.

One of the reasons to stop is the ongoing downvoting of the questions and at least one of my answers, by two downvotes each month. (And never an explanation and never a visible reason for the photo to be downvoted.
I guess those people voting down will have a reason, please share that reason so it can be discussed and put to rest.

As usual, the You Are Here chat is a place to discuss the photo competition.

As Daniil is not available we are still/again looking for someone to take over. (If there is nobody I will let the competition take a break.)

  • And as usual the down voter is not giving an explanation. How can we improve or avoid the same mistake if they do not tell us what they think we do wrong?
    – Willeke Mod
    Commented Oct 26, 2019 at 17:45
  • 3
    This is disheartening you decided to step down, I've been really enjoying these topics even though I barely participated. As for the votes, do note how many upvotes these competitions have garnered—clearly lots of other folks were enjoying them as much as I did!
    – undercat
    Commented Oct 28, 2019 at 9:53
  • I'm happy to give it a go on occasion, but can't commit to doing it monthly. Perhaps we could have a rotation
    – Midavalo
    Commented Nov 15, 2019 at 1:48
  • @Midavalo Take it month by month, if you can do it, great. If not someone else (or me) can step in.
    – Willeke Mod
    Commented Nov 15, 2019 at 4:50
  • @Midavalo, in the chat ( chat.stackexchange.com/rooms/591/you-are-here ) it is asked whether you can/will take/run the December competition.
    – Willeke Mod
    Commented Nov 27, 2019 at 17:56

2 Answers 2


First of all, I would like to say thanks for all the work you put into running it. I get why you don’t want to run it anymore and I respect your decision.

I love the photo competition! Whilst I have only participated in it once I have been following it, both looking at suggested themes and looking at other people’s photos. I definitely think it should continue!

As to the downvotes, I’m not sure and I’m quite puzzled. I haven’t cast any downvotes anywhere on your posts or on anyone’s posts on meta. So I do open up to the people who downvoted to explain their reasons.

I am happy to take over and run the competition. I will have time every month to gather community consensus for the theme, post the competition post and update it with the winner.

  • Thanks Daniil, try it and see if how it works for you.
    – Willeke Mod
    Commented Nov 8, 2019 at 5:02

Willeke, thank you very much for running the competition. I would very much appreciate if it continues and if someone is found to take over after you.

When it comes to the 'how to treat downvotes' discussion you started a few months ago, I was not intending to participate, but here we go ... I found your decision really odd and from the votes on the discussion your new rule led to, I seem not to be the only one. The voting system works quite well with the same rules and interpretations throughout the entire Stackexchange network and I do not understand why you as a moderator think it is necessary or even appropriate to either redefine the meaning of a down-vote or prohibit them for personal reasons. Some of my contributions to the photo contests have also been downvoted without an explaining comment. Why should I care more about these downvotes than all the other downvotes I attract on other answers, which are also not explained? Honestly, I do not care.

To spin further on your expectations, I would not limit the possible actions in the SE voting system to up- and down-votes. In many cases, even not voting is a deliberate action, although difficult to quantify. If you always expect a comment with an explanation for a down-vote, one could just as well take that expectation a bit further and demand an explanation why someone decided to up-vote a photo from another contributor, but did not up-vote your photo.

When it comes to your assumption 'never a visible reason for the photo to be downvoted', I would humbly assume that you are mistaken. Have you ever talked about your photos with friends and received true, honest feedback? Perhaps you even know a photographer or two, with whom you can discuss your most apparent mistakes. I would suggest that you consider that.

I find it both difficult to summarize criticism in the 600 characters limit of an SE comment and I am also not very good at padding criticism in positively-phrased cotton balls. I can write a few words about the three pictures you contributed to this month's contest. If you are interested in hearing my 'unpadded' meaning, please continute, otherwise you should perhaps stop reading here.

If I remeber correctly, I checked the status of the competition a couple of days ago, and I believe that even when ignoring the two down-votes on your sax player photo, your three contributions were ranked on the last three places of the 13 participating photos. I would honestly urge you to consider that there actually is an issue with your photos and not that most users are either not voting for your photos or down-voting them to attack you personally. It sounds to me as if you interpret the reactions that way. Currently, your contributions for this month have received a few up-votes. I am not sure if they came today as a reaction to this post. As said, I do not believe they were there a few days ago. I mean, if you look at all your contributions to the photo contest, you have also posted a few very good pictures, which have been heavily up-voted, you even won the August competition, but to be honest, many of the photos you have contributed over the last months have, IMHO, been of inferior technical quality, boring and to some extent simply strange.

Back to specifics regarding your images from this month's competition:

The stroh violin player could perhaps have been the best of your three contributions. I generally find pictures of odd or uncommon things or events interesting, and this instrument definitely fulfills that requirement. When reading your description of the image, it seems however that you don't care about this oddity, which again leads me to consider why I should care about your photo, if it not even for you is worth spending half a minute on Google to find out what you have actually photographed. I had also never seen such a thing and had to look it up myself, Googling for 'violin with horn' solved the problem in an instant, and the instrument has a very interesting history. If you had written a few lines about the instrument instead of emphasizing your disinterest, that already would have improved the presentation, but still not fixed it. I understand the legal requirements and the reasoning behind you blurring the face of the player, but legal requirements back and forth, it ruins the photo to blur one of the main motifs in the picture. If that was my only option, I would simply have refrained from publishing it. There are also a few technical issues with the picture. As you can see on the railing in the background, the picture is slanting significantly to the left. I also consider the leaves and trees in the background 'fidgety' and distracting. Read and learn about 'depth of field' and how you can blur the background of your photos, so that it does not distract and takes away the attention from what you are trying to show in the picture.

The picture of the lute handover is unsharp and horribly lit. Reflections of light on a sweaty forehead are not very flattering and from the way he looks at you, I would question myself if you are threatening him with something horrible, or if there is a ghost or zombie standing behind you. Then there are two odd arms reaching into the frame from the left without obvious meaning or intention. If your intention was to document a hand-over of the instrument, I would of course also have included the giving person properly in the picture.

The sax player photo is also very unsharp and one of the photos I referred to further back with 'simply strange'. I would even consider it very obvious and not in need of a more detailed explanation that this is not a suitable perspective for photographing a person. I can't really explain why, but when looking at the photo, my attention is only drawn to the shoes and the player's curly hair. I doubt that your intention was to emphasize on those parts of the picture. When photographing people, it is in most cases important to focus on the face. Again, I recognize the legal issue here, but just as with the violin player, I would simply not publish the picture, if I couldn't show a person's face.

  • Thanks for your review. I never intended this competition to be a technical photo competition but a share the events, which is shown in the way I select my photos. But whatever look on the photos people who vote have, it does not explain the two, every month, never more, hardly ever fewer, downvotes on one of my photos. (And that is not about quality, most of the time these photos also get enough upvotes.)
    – Willeke Mod
    Commented Oct 26, 2019 at 19:33
  • 5
    If I look back at the March competition, the first I participated in, 16 of 35 participating photos have one or more down-votes. The down-votes are in no way restricted to your contributions. Commented Oct 26, 2019 at 19:40

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