(Catchy title, eh?)

I am asking the following on the photo.SE site:

How do you change from portrait to landscape in Lightroom

DANGER! DANGER! This appears to be subjective and is likely to be closed.

If I ask the following radically different question:

How do I change from portrait to landscape in Lightroom

... there is no problem.

So, like the title says: Why is "you" subjective?

(And here's the post where Jeff spills the regex)

  • Why the hating against you? You was Time person of the year in 2006! Commented Mar 19, 2011 at 12:26
  • We also give Nobel peace prizes to terrorists. I don't put much stake in these things. Commented Oct 2, 2012 at 19:18

1 Answer 1


If you're asking someone "how do you do foo?" a common implication is "how do you, as opposed to other people, do foo?" Such a questions often have a large-to-infinite number of possible answers, with no single answer or group of answers being correct.

The kinds of questions that are asked in "how do I do foo?" format are more likely to be objective, although there are certainly cases of "you questions" being objective and "I questions" being subjective. The difference is just a quirk of how language is commonly used.

  • Well, I was going to answer saying pretty much the same thing, but you answered and summarized it much better.
    – Troggy
    Commented Nov 10, 2010 at 21:00
  • @Troggy, as always, I immediately regretted hitting "Post Your Answer" and went back to add more clarification. Sorry to ruin the "two sentences" part of your comment.
    – Pops
    Commented Nov 10, 2010 at 21:01
  • 1
    Only programmers would draw such a literal distinction. I think it's pretty normal for people to ask "How do you do [x]" instead of "How do I do [x]"?
    – user27414
    Commented Nov 10, 2010 at 21:10
  • If we really want to be literal... "How do I foo?" Simple. I don't. Because I don't know how. That's why I was asking.
    – user27414
    Commented Nov 10, 2010 at 21:14
  • @Popular Now my comment will work, unless you radically change your answer.
    – Troggy
    Commented Nov 10, 2010 at 21:14
  • @Jon On the same token, you're asking how to foo literally because you want to know how you can foo. So, you don't particularly care how I foo, because the whole point is for you to learn how to foo. Thus, you ask how you foo, in the form "How do I foo" as spoken by you.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Commented Nov 10, 2010 at 21:32
  • 5
    I pitty you foos.
    – user27414
    Commented Nov 10, 2010 at 21:34

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