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Old Jun 16, 2014, 8:38 AM   #1
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Default Foum atmosphere/attitude

I joined Steves Forum about 10 years ago.
Being a complete noob to the whole area of photography I had a lot of basic questions and posted a lot of rubbish photos.

But the forum seemed to be bursting with tons of people all willing to advise and critique in a constructive way, super helpful.

The last year I have found the number of people who frequent the forum has decreased dramatically, with perhaps a handful of members spending their time in each forum, and a fair bit of back scratching going on, i.e. "il say your post is awesome if you say mine is awesome".

Perhaps its just my attitude that has changed as I have gotten older, but I just don't find the forum as helpful or diverse as it used to be at all.

Anyone agree/disagree?
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Old Jun 16, 2014, 9:05 AM   #2
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I'd say that's a pretty fair statement. However, it's not just Steve's... it's forums across the board. There are a LOT of "guests" that pop in, look around, lurk for a while, and depart. Many registered members feel they "aren't qualified or experienced enough" to say anything beyond "That's nice". And, with today's culture of walking on eggshells in order "not to offend anyone" and political correctness, it's taken away the fun (not to mention free speech!) and fairly completes the stifling process. That doesn't leave much left other than, "That's nice".
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Old Jun 16, 2014, 9:18 AM   #3
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I think a lot of people have moved on to the social networking sites for the things they used to do on forums such as this. Gary's comments are right on target, too. Most of the questions regarding general photography have been hashed and rehashed enough times that when a discussion warms up, I don't feel it's worth the bother.

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Old Jun 16, 2014, 9:22 AM   #4
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its such a pitty, as it was an invaluable resource for me when I was starting off
(disclaimer, im in no way an expert, but age and experience have given me some level of knowledge!)

I myself pulled back from forum usage about 18 months ago when I gave some constructive critique on a photo and was told that if they wanted critique they would have asked for it, and I should mind my business.

Perhaps I shouldn't have let that get to me but on a public forum, where people post to learn and interact that was the last straw to me at the time, and I saw that as a real turning point (for me anyway) and eye opener on what the forum had become.
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Old Jun 16, 2014, 9:34 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schmintan View Post
its such a pitty, as it was an invaluable resource for me when I was starting off
(disclaimer, im in no way an expert, but age and experience have given me some level of knowledge!)

I myself pulled back from forum usage about 18 months ago when I gave some constructive critique on a photo and was told that if they wanted critique they would have asked for it, and I should mind my business.

Perhaps I shouldn't have let that get to me but on a public forum, where people post to learn and interact that was the last straw to me at the time, and I saw that as a real turning point (for me anyway) and eye opener on what the forum had become.
I recently had something similar happen to me where the person posted in the Critique forum and asked for a critique. I gave my critique in what I thought was constructive format, even showed how I would process the image. What I got for a response was, "Well, to each his own. I guess I'm a snapshot person." I don't understand. If you're a "snapshot person" and you KNOW it's snapshot quality, don't WANT to go to the next level... why bother?! I'm no McNally or Kelby, but I think, like you, have gathered my fair share of knowledge and have improved enough to at least offer to help someone when asked. Sooooo... I just post my stuff, take the occasional "That's nice" and move on. You can bet I won't be offering help anymore unless it's something I'm not going to regret - which is a rarity anymore.
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Old Jun 16, 2014, 10:23 AM   #6
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I'd say that, while there does seem to be more of a "Mutual Admiration Society" flavor to some of what goes on here lately, a good part of the problem is that people aren't spending as much time, effort and money on cameras as they used to. As the crowd thins, some of the hangers on assume a more prominent role, which is to be expected.

But the reason that many of us keep coming back is for the conversations we have with one another and the respect we have for members like Billy, JimC, JohnG and others, and I doubt that will change much.
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Old Jun 16, 2014, 11:00 AM   #7
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I think there are a couple parts to this. First, general questions about gear or photography - I think a lot of people start with google or other search engine. In the last 10 years of digital photography there aren't a tremendous amount of "new" questions. So, I think a lot of people find their answers now without actually joining a forum and posing a question.

Also, I think you have less and less people NEW to digital photography now. When I joined here I was moving from film to digital so needed lots of help. Not too many people going that route anymore

As for photographic endeavors - improving photographs and critique - I think a lot of that has diminished all across the internet. As has been commented here - lots of people on internet forums really don't want critique they want a mutual admiration society. I think a number of people honestly interested in pushing one another photographically move on to more specialized sites where enthusiasts interested in their particular photography genres congregate.

But, I also think this is a hobby that people get into and then drop out of as well. I think when digital came along, a ton of people that weren't interested in photography before got into it. But, I think a lot of them simply drop out of the hobby too.

So, I think there are multiple factors contributing.

Just my .02
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Old Jun 16, 2014, 11:33 AM   #8
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This is hitting bang on to what I have been thinking about forums in general.

I have dropped off pretty well all forums except making an occasional visit to Steve's and a music writing forum. When I do visit I try to not get involved in any threads anymore.

This seems to follow along with my magazine usage, I used to get a pile of them. Now I have one subscription left, waiting to run out. There is nothing in them but rehashes of the same old articles over and over. And I am not interested in new equipment reviews anymore. What I have now works very well and I have no plans to replace/upgrade anything again unless it breaks.

The social-media flip side.
I do regularly broadcast to twitter/google+/and facebook(ugh) but rarely actually log in to any of them. I use a social media manager service called hootsuite(there are others) to stack & broadcast my posts for the week and capture any interactions that may need attention.
Our primary purpose of using social media is to attract and engage clients.

Which is something all three of these social platforms encourage for business users, on the flip side most forums discourage or ban that.

One other feature of many forums that I really did not like is the flame-wars that occasionally erupted. Some musical instrument forums I used to be on were particularly bad for that, if you said something that did not fit the status quo.

Anyone remember the old BBS's (bulletin board systems) ?
They evolved into today's forums, maybe forums are now evolving into something completely different.
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Old Jun 16, 2014, 7:34 PM   #9
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Schmintan- I'd agree that maybe from a numbers perspective,participation here seems to have dropped slightly- though without actual stat's I'm only guessing.
Perhaps as more and more people shoot "snaps" on phones,they're less inclined to purchase a digital camera- thus visit sites such as Steve's for photograpic/gear advice.
Other seem to glut on so many forums they get fed up and actually end up going on none at all...!
I'm quite happy to stick here at "steve's" (the only photographic forum I use...)- whether to ask a question,answer another,critique(if asked for),post a pic or two or to give my 10 pence worth on one of the latest camera reviews...!
There are some very knowledgable peeps on here- and some discussions (even if I don't get involved..!) are fascinating- and occasionally entertaining...!

I ain't going nowhere...
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Old Jun 17, 2014, 5:07 AM   #10
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Some great views guys

-The idea that forums, which came from the BBS are now changing or perhaps even semi-obsolete is very interesting

-That people may be using camera phones more and not bothering to buy/research gear and expand their photographic knowledge is a double edged sword. Its great that more people than ever are exposed to photography and get a chance to take pictures. I also fully endorse using cameraphones now. any camera is better than none, and where i only have my SLR at weekends or evenigns, my cameraphone is always in my pocket. the best camera is the one in your hand at the critical moment.
The problem is its so easy to take an image and upload it straight to facebook/twitter that any job in time spent learning processing or more advanced techniques is gone from all but a minority who pursue the interest.


-Facabook/twitter/instagram and all the other social sites demand instant access to events as they are happening and spontaneity, again this has led to people not taking the time to explore forums, view other images, lean from them or pass on their own hard learned lessons. Basically the forum medium sounds like its a little antiquated.

This is a real pity. Ive certainly been sucked into checking my facebook purely for something to do with my hand when im at the train/bus stop etc, and i have had to consciously put a stop to it. I do believe its dumbing me down. not making me stupid, but it is reducing my concentration, and ability to see something through. Its such a quick fix, you get used to it, and anything that takes concentration or effort looks like its daunting or a waste of time.

So now I dont use twitter, and limit facebook to a quick scan once a day, usually after dinner. and im better for it, but thats just me.

-my interest/ability to participate goes through peaks and hollows, depending on the weather, work, and amount of free time to actually spend taking and processing images so although i may not frequent for a few weeks I generally come back and if i see an image worth commenting on, or enthusiasm, i will comment. I find it the best way to learn and i have been known to spend hours simply examining others photos to figure out why they chose a composition, or why it works and i believe this is why my learning has never massively plateaued.

-The fact that so many people have left/not bothered to spend the time on forums probably just makes the back scratching more evident, i.e there are less good posts to hide it/cancel it out. a real pity.


Overall its good to see others here keeping the object and constructive learning torch alive. Hopefully whenever facebook fades away (please god let it fade away!) forums will still be here for help, critique, learning and for some laughs.
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