Putting aside my questions regarding the original research policy, both answers to this question present a lot of original research. The only difference I can see is that one answer requires logical understanding whilst the other requires a slight technical understanding to comprehend the 'original research', but in the end they are both pure original research.

  • @Articuno: I am asking what difference there is between both answers. As far as I can see either both should be deleted as original research or none should be. I think the other answer is a really good answer and mine was just in addition to that answer using some of the research from that answer even and supporting it's conclusions with some IMO more objective/solid results (with which the community seemed to agree as it was gaining a lot of upvotes before it was deleted). Commented Aug 19, 2014 at 22:03
  • (Deleted my obsolete comments.)
    – user5582
    Commented Aug 19, 2014 at 22:10
  • @Articuno: Left that one comment as it might make clear some things up to other readers. Not sure how you interpreted the question originally then, if you are able to clear up the question itself any more please feel free to do so. Commented Aug 19, 2014 at 22:19
  • Can someone give a general gist of what approach the answer took towards evaluating the claim?
    – Golden Cuy
    Commented Aug 20, 2014 at 2:10
  • 1
    @AndrewGrimm: One researched types of sources, publication dates of similar potential original photograph, EXIF data, 'image quality', image crop and logistics. Second looked at the compression levels in both the image in the claim and the suggested potential original photograph which is a fairly standard way of evaluating potential photoshops. Commented Aug 20, 2014 at 2:15
  • @AndrewGrimm - I'd post the deleted answer in its entirety but I'm worried moderators may not be positive about that.
    – user5341
    Commented Aug 20, 2014 at 14:34

2 Answers 2


There is no difference between your answer and DVK's answer as regards original research.

Anyone can verify the correctness of the statements in your answer as easily as they can verify the correctness of the statements in DVK's answer.

Neither answer refers to third party analysis in order to establish that an expert has decided a particular analysis is appropriate.

Both answers follow lines of reasoning and analysis developed by the answerer alone.

This highlights a need for clarification of our no-original-research policy, as noted by Fabian:

Our policy on this could benefit from some clarifications.


The story so far, from my perspective:

  • DVK posts an answer.

    • It includes the key item - which is the original picture.
    • It also includes a number of claims about binders and EXIF and the like.
  • It gets wildly upvoted.

  • David Mulder posts an answer.

    • It consists of two murky pictures that have been post-processed until nominated tools.
    • It includes the following unsubstantiated claim:

Bright areas in a non bright picture (high contrast, different compression) will in general light up more, but it still seems more than clear that the second picture has gone through at least one more compression phase and that the whole of the sign differs from the surrounding image. Additionally the flag one is saved at a higher JPEG compression rate (80% vs 75%) and contains more metadata.

This relies a large number of prior assumptions about what the processing was, and what effect "photoshopping" has on the final processed image. In addition to that, it requires an expert call about what "still seems more than clear". We have no reason to trust the expertise of the poster.

Without a lot more substantiation, this is little better than the claims of This looks shopped.

With a comment, I invited the OP to provide more substantiation:

David, this appears to be original research. Please explain why we should trust your analysis.

The answer wasn't acceptable:

  • It used the "I could just post a blog article" line. That is covered here.

  • It used the "But what about the other answer?" line. That is covered here.

  • Most importantly, I interpreted the comments as declining to provide references, which, according to policy is a trigger for deletion:

If one week has passed and no-one has added references, or if the author explicitly declines to add references before then, that the moderator feels is necessary, then the moderator may add a comment and delete the post.

I did delete it. I hope it can be edited and reinstated.

In response to the informal complaint about the other question, I thought "fair point", and started the process again with the other question - asking DVK to justify the original research. That triggered even more response, which might be better dealt with in this closely related Meta question.

So the key difference: DVK's article had some content that didn't rely on DVK's expertise, and DVK's answer is still in the process of being discussed.

  • Your question in the comment was "Why we should trust your analysis". That is the question I addressed. Substantiating the logic presented in the final paragraph is an easy thing to do (one I will do as soon as I finish some work first), but was not what you were 'complaining' about: namely that it was original research, which was not the issue at hand here. Commented Aug 20, 2014 at 5:36
  • And just to be clear: I do agree that that last paragraph deserved better substantiation. The current version however should deserve downvotes, not deletion. It's fine in a beta site to force everything a bit more, but by this point you really should be past that. Commented Aug 20, 2014 at 5:47
  • And regarding the comparison to the other answer: You are forgetting that you played the "Original research"-card, whereas there already seems to be agreement that the same applies to both answers and that the other answer "did not pass by unnoticed", but fitted systematically into the nature of this site. Commented Aug 20, 2014 at 5:53
  • 4
    Either way: In conclusion, your answer seems to justify the deletion based on 'Original research' by slyly diverting the attention to a claim I presented which I referenced poorly. If you wish to justify your actions than you should point out why this original research (for that's what it is) is more worthy of deletion than all the other original research out there. In it's current form it's of poorer quality, sure, but suddenly deletion worthy level of different? Commented Aug 20, 2014 at 5:58
  • 1
    I must admit I'm with David Mulder. On one hand, your current explanation addresses why the answer was deleted (+1 for this answer & thanks). On the other hand, it seems to have very little to do with "Original research" and more to do with (1) presence of unverified claims and (2) what you viewed as refusal to cite those claims. Neither was obvious to me from your comments on the deleted answer - nor, clearly, to the OP. And IMHO neither rises to the level of "Original research", leaving aside whether on their own your objections are enough of a ground to delete an answer vs. downvoting.
    – user5341
    Commented Aug 20, 2014 at 10:20
  • @DVK: I have currently been presented with your comments, this question, the related question and now these comments, that I have a limited budget of time to address. I used this answer to address "Why my answer and not the other one." I expect to use the other answer to address "Why is OR a problem?" and hopefully "What about DVK's list of prior answers?", but I haven't even started on that yet.
    – Oddthinking Mod
    Commented Aug 20, 2014 at 12:59
  • @Oddthinking - fair enough. I'm just pointing out that there's a clear perception disconnect between what you expressed in comments on the original answer, and your motivations as expressed here. I agree that whether photo analysis constitures "original research" is a separate topic to be discussed.
    – user5341
    Commented Aug 20, 2014 at 14:33
  • @dvk original research an unreferenced answer are two faces of the same coin: the former is "I say so!" the latter "I measured so!". They both lack objective verifiability.
    – Sklivvz
    Commented Aug 20, 2014 at 19:44
  • @Sklivvz - Not quite, IMHO. The former means there IS no way to verify and there was no peer review. The latter may just mean the OP didn't add a proper reference (like your own answer we were discussing earlier today - based on your comment, there actually IS a proper reference but you failed to provide one at the time of posting) {it may also mean that there's no reference at all and the OP pulled the info out of thin air, of course}. In this case, it wasn't original research, but lack of references on why the methodology chosen is valid.
    – user5341
    Commented Aug 20, 2014 at 21:51
  • @dvk I don't see how my other answer is relevant here, or how it is original research.
    – Sklivvz
    Commented Aug 20, 2014 at 21:54
  • @Sklivvz - opposite. It was lack of references (reliable ones). Your references were already-containing-errors opinion news article (not containing any proof aside from trust level in the reporter), and statements by political figures not offering any proof (appeal to authority fallacy). Which is of course ironic since you noted in comments that you have a much more ironclad reference.
    – user5341
    Commented Aug 20, 2014 at 21:55
  • @dvk, weak references are ok (and you did right if you down voted based on that). That's your expert opinion, which is what we value, and that makes the answer acceptable, because our community has references to judge. No references means we can't vote.
    – Sklivvz
    Commented Aug 20, 2014 at 21:59
  • 2
    My opinion is that moderators are being aggressive with deletion. This needs to stop. Commented Aug 21, 2014 at 20:03
  • @georgechalhoub can you open a question in which you present a case by which certain answer should not be deleted, what the advantages or disadvantages are for the community, or are you simply upset in general?
    – Sklivvz
    Commented Aug 22, 2014 at 20:40

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