ADMIN: A personal perspective on the move of the LF Forum to

Discussion in 'Large Format' started by qtluong, Jun 12, 2002.

  1. I, miss the old Lucenet forum. Don't like the sign with a secret password procedure on Seems like a lot fewer participants here. Where did the old gang go?
  2. Tuan, thanks for that update. I've been reading both locations and mostly posting here because you suggested we do so for now. I'll follow the forum wherever you decide to move it, and support it financially if necessary, if it is structured as a not-for-profit. Since you've got a downloaded version of the archives, along with a trio of software volunteers, it might not be too difficult to notify everyone about a new url via email. Thanks for all your efforts.
  3. Nearly everything I know about LF (which may not be all that much...) , I learned from this forum and its archives and experimenting with what I have found here. I do not feel that having the site housed under a commercial umbrella site is in the best interests of those who follow us. I would not be as forthcoming in that environment, and I believe others may be more reticent as well.
    I'd be happy to add some financial support for the site if needed, and I would imagine many others would rather make a small contribution than to have the site moved to<BR><BR>Cheers,
  4. One poin t on the ownership of the posts that is mentioned. It would be my understanding that ownership (copyright) of a post remains solely with the poster?

    BTW Tuan - if you find in the end you still need a server, I would go ahead and deal directly with Brian Reid as we discussed.

  5. Mr. Tuan Long, I feel you've dropped the baton, so to speak. Even before reading your post on the above link, I knew from present circumstances that it would say basically what you've been saying all along (between the lines), which is: "I like being the moderator, etc.,etc., but the work involved in developing our own site is too much for me. etc" This is basically how your present essay reads to me as well. Nothing has really changed from your standpoint. So unless one of the LF'ers with serious programming skills other than Brian steps up BIG TIME now, and someone/s willing to bulk out some seed money, we are going to stay here - believe me. So guys and gals, post your photos, your gear info and let's enjoy it here.

    I admit, I miss seeing the names of the ol' regulars, and hope we can get the feel back with our "independent site", but that's DREAMING. Our best chance was months ago when you brought the issue up, and got all that positive support and willingness to send in money, help, etc. As our leader, you failed to give the appearance that you were genuinely open to help from us. Probably busy enjoying 5x7 photography. Don't blame ya! :>)
  6. Tuan,

    While I have been involved with LF for a number of years, I have only been a regular on the forum since late 2000. This knowledge base and resource of LF practioners has greatly increased my enjoyment of all formats I shoot, literally saved me thousands of dollars with advice and input and has helped me greatly advance my craft and creativity.

    I would prefer to keep the premise of the old forum as you discussed in your post, a community of LF enthusiasts sharing knowledge and experience in a simple, straightforward interface. I don't really care for the sign in or the symbols denoting those who contribute services or money to

    So if the opportunity presents itself in the future to move to an independent server, I would support the move and be willing to make a small contribution to help it along.
  7. PS, Quang, I too am ready to submit a check. Perhaps next time you post, you'll go a step further, and give us a mailing address where to send money. Please let us ALL know what is and what is not going on...
  8. Dear Q.T.L.,
    Something about this new site is a little stagnant...not a lot of LF energy there right now.....but maybe in time.Your present clarity and intellegence is appreaciated in this matter and I feel exactly as you do in relation to the current situation. Whatever you think is best,do it! You have my affirmation.
    All the best!
  9. I posted a question at night and I was it posted later in about 3 hours; then It was there for 24+_ hours and disapeared after only one answer........Maybe I need to understand a wee bit better how this site works; and/ or shoot a roll On the Noctilux & M3 to clear the brain's cobwebs....regards to all Kelly
  10. Hi Tuan

    I now understand why I could not find the page for a while. I would give a chance. If we see it gets to much other traffic we still can change and move to a other solution.
    The most negativ point till now for me is the slowing down of the service. The former solution was faster.
    And a important point for me is that we not get all that 35mm staff in that forum.
    I can live with thad solution.
  11. We'll just have to see how it goes. Meanwhile, I would just like to express my thanks to you for the work you have done and for your tremendous contribution to LF.
  12. Ow, Andre, I think you're being WAY too harsh and unfair to QTL. Your
    interpretation seems like a misreading of his intent, but I'll let him
    respond as appropriate.

    Kelly Flanigan, the forums are all listed in the gray bar
    above under "Community" > "Forums." If you post to the "General
    (Archived)" forum, 99 out of 100 times the moderators will decide that
    for whatever reason the question need not be archived for the ages and
    will bump it to the "General (Not Archived)" forum, where all posts
    expire within a day or three.

    If you want your post to survive, post it somewhere other than either
    of the "General" forums; the Leica forum and this Large format forum,
    for example, archive ALL questions and answers.
  13. Kelly, probably you posted not to this forum but to the Archived forum. In that particular forum, the policy of the moderator is to screen all the posts and decide which ones go to the Archived forum. The rest are zapped to the Unarchived Forum, where they stay for a day or two before being automatically deleted.

    That is just the "General" forums and it is because they have so much traffic. The other forums, including this one, work the same way as on LUSENET: the post goes in immediately, and the moderator can delete it if he feels that is appropriate.
  14. Another somewhat off-topic point. Armin, regarding speed, if you turn off the Javascript-based pull down menus (which unfortunately are turned on by default if your browswer supports them), it will be a *LOT* faster to display the forums. To do this, go to "My workspace" and click the "Turn pull-down menus on or off". This will bring you to page where you can turn them off.
  15. If, as you suggest, the solution in the works will work on any vanilla ISP server, might be a good solution. I use them for my hosting, and the basic service with 50megs of space includes a cgi-bin and runs for $5/month. Assuming 50 megs is enough and it can support the software we need to use, it would prove to be an easier solution to pay for than one of the $20/month providers. Surely the users collectively can cough up just $60 a year to keep the site running...
  16. Many kudos to Q.-Tuan Luong for getting the forum set up in the first place. Must have been a big job. I agree with the non-profit idea. I don't mind the move here, but I applaud the search for other options. I hope other folks begin to contribute here in the meantime.

    Chris Jordan (the Boston one)
  17. Erik, you'll need a site that supports more efficient scripting than CGI and access to a database capable of supporting the nearly 60000 messages in the LF archives. You'll also need the ability to generate emails from the system, assuming that you want to keep email notifications. Don't forget bandwidth charges. The $5.00 per month at a place like provides very minimal bandwith, suitable for your personal home page with (not too many) baby pictures for your relatives.

    Just for comparison, consists of two front end boxes running web servers, a big back end box running Oracle, a load balancer, a firewall, and lots of RAID storage arrays. The ISP colocation and bandwidth charges for all this come to over $100,000 per year, not to mention the depreciation, etc, on the hardware. Of course, you don't need all of this because LF is just one forum. But you shouldn't underestimate the costs.

    The revenue, which consists of $25 per year from a few hundred members who have become "patrons", plus sponsorship from companies like Adorama, covers these costs, but with not a lot of room to spare. There are currently no paid employees; the site is run by many volunteers, who generously donate their time. If you move to another site, it is either going to be commercial like, only probably a *LOT* more so, or someone is going to have to pay for it, and probably more than you all imagine.

    Speaking of volunteers, I wish the people who are beavering away on the an alternative bulletin board system would consider volunteering to make the LF forum better here at We have many programming opportunities for volunteers.

    I'd like to hear some input from people about what they'd like to see in order to be happy at I guess some people are never going to like it because it is run by (yikes) a for-profit corporation. But apart from that, what do people want to see here (or not see here)?

    So far I've heard three specific problems mentioned in this thread: (a) I don't like the little icons next to (other) people's names; (b) I don't like having to log in; (c) I don't like the moderation policy and/or the postings in some of the *other* forums.
  18.'s not such a bad place. I'm quite active there.

    The non-profit, text-oriented, no-advertising, LUSENET forum, however, was a better place, with less ambiguity about the ownership of content, so I'd prefer that kind of environment.

    What would make better? Well, for starters, how about revising the copyright notice and implementing the technology to allow contributors to pull all their content at will.
  19. LUSENET didn't give you the ability to pull all your content at will.

    I don't actually agree with being able to do that. I'd like to make it easy to delete all of your photos at will, even though you may be taking insightful comments with them.

    However, when you make a discussion forum posting or a comment on someone else's photo, it becomes part of the thread, and other people are going to base their comments on points that have been previously made. Allowing people to delete their bulletin board postings would make a hash of the discussions. Even moderator's deletion of comments can do this, and that is one reason that being a moderator can be difficult.

    Your suggestion would also allow troublemakers to post an inflammatory comment, watch all the outraged reactions, and then delete the original comment leaving behind the wreckage of the discussion. The moderator would be left to clean it all up and might not get there in time even to see who posted the troublesome post.

    This is the primary reason why the Terms of Use say that is granted a non-exclusive but perpertual right to publish comments.

    When people voluntarily post a comment into a discussion they should realize that it is potentially going to be available in the archives indefinitely (as it was on LUSENET), unless the forum policy states differently.
  20. One other small point. LUSENET was actually a lot more ambiguous than about the status of the content. Nothing was specified about it on LUSENET, anywhere that I can find.

    You would have to research case law to know the status of your posts there, and I suspect that there aren't cases on a lot of the points.

    Were contributors putting their posts into the public domain? Did the copyright belong to Philip Greenspun because he ran the server? Did the copyright belong to Tuan because he established the forum, linked to it from his site, and moderated it? What did the terms of use posted on Tuan's site have to do, if anything, with the status of the posts on If they did have any relevance, did they apply differently to people who came to the forum through his link, through a search engine, or through the LUSENET home page? Did the copyright status of the postings change if you didn't use your real or name and email address, but rather a pseudonym or partial name, or a false email address? What usage rights were granted to Philip Greenspun? To Tuan, the forum moderator? To anyone else?

    The situation on LUSENET was incredibly more ambiguous than here.
  21. I have only been interested in LF for a few months and so have only been following the forum for that long, but the archives have been an enormously important part of my self education in this area, so I figure I have a vested interest, so here goes...

    No one (at least not many :)) are suggesting is hell-on-earth. For my own part, I appreciate its non-invasive advertising and some of its other useful features (having to log-in is however, *not* one of them...). However, as a commercial project there are noteworthy issues concerning privacy and copyright. Your privacy terms contain such gems as:

    "We may share User Information with our partners, affiliates and joint venturers that are committed to serving your need for the Services and improving your user experience"

    Come On! That is one of the sleaziest "we reserve the right to sell your email address to spammers FOR YOUR OWN BENEFIT!" conditions I have ever read. Now, I accept what you have written elsewhere, that you have never divulged email addresses and that you intend to change your policy soon - such terms being the result of over zealous lawyers, but really, how long does it take to type "We will never divulge any personal information you give us, to anyone, anytime"?

    Now, one other thing that has ruffled a few feathers is the way the switch to was done - while Quang-Tuan Luong was out of touch.... My understanding is that this forum was instigated by QTL and hosted on Philip Greenspun's server. At this point I think it should be said that the users of the forum owe a large round of thanks to Mr Greenspun for hosting the forum for so long. Mr Greenspun clearly has a perfect right to decide which, if any, forums he wishes to run on his server for whatever reason he may have and no one can complain if he no longer wishes to do so with this forum. However (there's that word again ;)) neither Mr Greenspun, nor OWN this forum and as such moving it elsewhere without the express OK from the community was a very dodgy action. To the extent that anyone can be said to own it, that honour lies with QTL as originator (although from his postings it is obvious that he considers it to belong to the LF community at large).

    There are other issues concerning copyright of content for example but this message is already too long...

    I think you really have to decide what is: is it a commercial operation or a non-commercial one? It has all the hallmarks of a non-commercial site (no profit to speak of, run by volunteers, low advertising footprint, good communications with users etc) but is an incorporated company which could, for example, be sold to others with a very different ethos to the current management.

    To summarise my view: the switch over was *very* badly handled from a human point of view (technically it was pretty painless from the user's viewpoint). Privacy remains an issue. is not at all bad - very good in fact - but a non-commercial site, or a major review of's legal position would be better. However (last one) it may be that the benefits of outweigh the downsides - it will, in any event, be up to the community here to decide long-term.

    Sorry this is so long... Cheers,
  22. Is there any way that the good folks at could provide a seperate set of html files that are as handheld-friendly as the old forum? All of the html junk at the top of the page now is somewhat annoying. I assume that this would be simple enough, as everything is generated.
  23. Brian, You say

    "Were contributors putting their posts into the public domain? Did the copyright belong to Philip Greenspun because he ran the server? Did the copyright belong to Tuan because he established the forum, linked to it from his site, and moderated it? What did the terms of use posted on Tuan's site have to do, if anything, with the status of the posts on If they did have any relevance, did they apply differently to people who came to the forum through his link, through a search engine, or through the LUSENET home page? Did the copyright status of the postings change if you didn't use your real or name and email address, but rather a pseudonym or partial name, or a false email address? What usage rights were granted to Philip Greenspun? To Tuan, the forum moderator? To anyone else?"

    Quite simple in most cases. ONLY the copyright holder can grant any of those rights. Just because something is placed in public (public domian is a technical term and missleading - none of this material is "Public Domain") doesn't mean someone else can somehow share copyright in that thing. The copyright status can not change unless the owner says so.

  24. Bob, I agree with you on the privacy statement. A lot of people feel the way you do. All the staff at feel that way (unless they don't care at all.) It is an example of letting the lawyers "reserve" everything they think they can get away with. In fact, doesn't "share" any information with partners and won't. I think there have been two promotions with partners where users were asked to fill in a form to get some free stuff and the form included an email address, and it was clear that the address was going to be sent to the partner. However, we have never sent the email address that is associated with anyone's account to a partner, and we aren't going to. The privacy policy will eventually be changed to reflect our actual policy and not what some lawyer thinks we ought to "reserve".

    As for the rest of your comments, Philip Greenspun apparently thought he was within his rights (and that it was his responsibility) to prevent the demise of the forum by moving it here. As a volunteer for, I was willing to do the work (which for all the forums was a week of long days) because I thought they would be a big asset to and because about 40% of the contributors were members already, possibly more considering all of the false and misspelled email addresses. As I've said elsewhere, the legal situation with LUSENET is so clouded that I don't know for sure that Philip had the right to do this. But if he didn't I don't think anyone else does either.

    As a practical matter, notwithstanding what our said above about making hash of discussions, if anyone insists on their forum content being deleted, and can demonstrate that they posted it, we will delete it, since we don't want to be in the position of hosting content over the objections of its original author when the legal status of the content is so clouded.
  25. Tim, of course. But when the terms were not specified, what rights were being granted implicitly when someone posted content on public forum? Or do you think that Philip, Tuan, etc, were violating every poster's copyright by operating or moderating the LUSENET forum?

    And I wouldn't be so sure that putting text up on such a forum, especially without identifying yourself clearly, didn't constitute putting it into the public domain.
  26. Brian - to clarify: I do not think anyone necessarily behaved improperly in moving the forum to, (if were not an incorporated company, I suspect there would be no issues at all) merely that the option was not given within sufficent time for the community itself to decide where to move.

    I know the possibility of a move has been in the air for some time, but a definitive "this forum will no longer be supported in 3 months (or whatever reasonable timespan) on LUSENET - where do you want to go?" would have been better - who knows, the majority decision may well have been ", please...".
  27. The LUSENET forum was not for profit and without advertising, so there was no need, for me at least, to think about pulling my content at will.

    If were to become more heavily commercialized, as it may, or were to extend its concept of "a perpetual non-exclusive world-wide royalty-free license to modify, publish and reproduce that material for the purpose of operating, displaying, distributing and promoting" to include types of promotion and distribution that I didn't approve of, I would want the option of pulling all my content off the site.

    That doesn't seem like a likely problem right now. The people here seem to be of good will, and the commercial content of the site is there mainly to support its continued existence. On the other hand, Tuan is correct to point out that as a for-profit corporation, is a commodity subject to sale, and I'm not comfortable with the idea of granting rights in perpetuity for anything to such an organization.
  28. Brian

    Damned if you do, damned if you don't, eh mate?
  29. David, I'm sorry I just don't get the huge distinction that people are drawing between "non-profit" and "profit" corporations. If were a "non-profit" (which has been discussed), this wouldnt stop it from doing things with your "content" (i.e. forum postings) that you wouldn't approve of; for example, it could merge with another non-profit that you don't like.

    I don't think you need to worry about merging with a media conglomerate that decides to use your "content" in supermarket tabloids.
  30. To refresh everyone on Philip's stated position, I've pasted below some posts from a thread which appeared last December. Note that, while no one else seemed to share my specific concerns back then, changes Philip incorporated didn't fully address them. All this took place long before he left for extended travel. Also, since these terms can be changed at will, what lasting value would they have to forum posters even if satisfactory wording were put in place now?

    "Sorry about that legalistic thing. Rajeev and Lisa went and hired a lawyer when they started managing This obviously wrong piece of verbiage was the result. I'm going to be editing it out myself this weekend. The users own the copyright to what they contribute but needs to have a license to publish it in perpetuity.

    As far as and ArsDigita are concerned (above), the companies are separate and always have been. ArsDigita sold a minority share of its stock to some venture capitalists in April 2000. This set off a tedious and uninteresting chain of events, among which the highlights were my withdrawal from involvement with day-to-day affairs of the company (summer 2000) and my retirement from the world of business in June 2001. A few months ago ArsDigita decided that it was no longer interested in maintaining the free collaboration services at So all of the burden falls now onto my shoulders. And frankly I'm not really interested in fielding daily cell phone calls from confused or upset users of, esp. given that I spend most of my time these days without Internet access, either in a Winnebago or a Diamond Katana (single-engine trainer airplane),
    and therefore couldn't deal with their problem even if I wanted to. (A typical phone call is from someone who is upset with a posting somewhere in LUSENET. I ask the person if he or she has contacted the owner/moderator of the forum to request removal of the offending item. The answer is sometimes "no", sometimes "what?", and oftentimes "it's your site, that's your job".)

    So the bottom line is that I'm trying to move the photo stuff onto the server where it can be maintained, backed up, and customer serviced by the existing staff (3 full time people). And I'm trying to arrange an orderly shutdown/transition of the rest of the services into a financially self- sustaining cooperative
    where the users and publishers pay the cost of hosting, sysadmin, dbadmin, programming enhancements, and customer service.

    -- Philip Greenspun , December 21, 2001; 05:52 P.M. Eastern

    Philip, thanks very much for all you've done for us and for taking the time to explain. Here's some input for your editing this weekend:

    I would be happy with the language you intend as long as it includes a commitment that, when using its publishing license, it will always give attribution to the author of a post. I would be *very* happy if, in addition to attribution, agrees that any posts it publishes will be reproduced in their entirety, thereby precluding out of context quotations.

    Thanks for listening.

    -- Sal Santamaura , December 21, 2001; 11:11 P.M. Eastern

    Well, here's what Philip came up with (i.e. what's currently on the "Terms of Use" page): "Ownership of Submitted Material. You retain the copyright to material that you submit to any of our forums, chat rooms, image critique areas, or photo sharing systems. However, by submitting the material you grant a perpetual non-exclusive world-wide royalty-free license to modify, publish and reproduce that material for the purpose of operating, displaying, distributing and promoting"

    The worrisome aspect of this is that retains a license to *modify* our material. I'd be more comfortable if the language included a promise to give attribution and not alter posts.

    -- Sal Santamaura , December 27, 2001; 12:24 A.M. Eastern"

  31. Sal, the reason that "modify" is in there is that sometimes a post is 95% fine, but there might be one sentence where the poster insults one of the other posters or says something else offensive. Some of the moderators will edit the post and put in an annotation that the post was edited. Other moderators just delete the whole thing, which is what all of them would be obliged to do if there weren't the right to edit a post.

    I don't know of any publication that doesn't have the right to edit
    material that is submitted.
  32. I would add that on LUSENET the moderators can edit posts.
  33. That's all well and good with the current moderator and server ownership, but what if someone else down the road ("in perpetuity") has a different idea. The types of modifications Sophia describes could be codified in the terms of use while still prohibiting non-attributed, out-of-context practices that I wrote of.
  34. I think is a good home. A very good home.

    This forum can always pack up and leave if conditions become
    hellish, but I haven't heard anyone complain about conditions
    here and now, only about how the transition was handled and
    about what "could" happen in the future.

    I also think we might be slightly overestimating the market value
    of our previous contributions to this site.

    (P.S. to one poster somewhere above: you don't *have* to sign in
    to access any of the thousands of pages on; you only
    have to sign in if you want to add to a thread. Think of it as raising
    your hand in a group setting before talking; those who wish to
    only listen and learn are free to sit on their hands.)
  35. I'm not worried about supermarket tabloids so much as Fuji or Canon or some company that could say "hey, this is a great idea. Let's buy it from Greenspun (he seems to like money), have the current people run it (they'll do it for free!), but put our logo on every page, add pop-up ads, and while we won't sell the subscriber list, we could use it ourselves to email special offers to subscribers."

    Maybe that's not likely to happen this year or for the next three years, but is continuing to grow and become more commercial, so why risk it? The old forum had one purpose. Profit was not part of it. There is a difference.
  36. The reason your Canon/Fuji scenario is very unlikely is that,
    being intelligent, they would realize that the
    audience would flee if they did what you describe. This means
    that is of no value to them for that purpose.
  37. That couldn't be sold to intelligent companies
    leaves out the possiblility that it be sold to a not-so good one.
    Andre, as I said in the essay, I accept the responsability
    for failing to move the forum earlier. Of course, if all I was
    interested is moderating the forum, the easiest for me
    would have been to say "Yes" to Philip in December, and
    save me a LOT of time. It's true that I did not act with a
    sufficient sense of urgency, but again there was deadline
    given to us at any point.

    If someone else wants
    to moderate or co-moderate the Forum, let me know.
    I prefer to avoid accepting monetary contributions if this is
    possible, and would rather have people contribute time.
  38. Biggest photography site on the net? Killer domain name?--It may not be big enough for Microsoft itself, but a company with the Microsoft business model should snap it up.
  39. If we stay here for any length of time and then decide we must leave, it will be too late. I think if we want a permanent home elsewhere (and I vote for that option, no offense to p-net but being seperate is better IMO) we have to find it ASAP, otherwise it will never ever happen. Or it wont happen in a good way, and we will lose the community and continuity that made this forum great. We will be a forum divided. So my vote goes to getting set up elsewhere ASAP, or forever holding our peace. I presume that moving back here from somewhere else will always be an option in the future if another site doesnt work out
  40. To follow up on Wayne's thoughts, what would a departure scenario be like? Although significantly reduced, traffic since June 2 has been (per Tuan's request) mainly at the venue. Would those new threads/postings be provided to Tuan for incorporation into the version he has downloaded, which could then be hosted somewhere other than Would continue to run its own duplicate LF forum with its own moderator, retaining everything migrated on June 2 plus additions since? Inquiring minds want to know!
  41. Sal, it is difficult to predict what will happen. I don't think anyone wants to see the forum "fork", as the open source community calls it.
    If the participants of this forum moved en masse to another site, and this forum became a ghost town, I don't think would have any particular interest in continuing to support it.
    If some members moved and others stayed here or the forum here was developing new membership when this scenario took place, then it would be more difficult to decide the proper thing to do, especially since our terms of use don't give us the right to do anything with postings other than to publish them on If someone tried to copy all the postings, I guess they would have to answer to the people who own the copyrights, namely the people who made the postings. Just as will have to answer to anyone who wants his LUSENET postings to be deleted from
    I can say one thing, however, if anyone else, besides Tuan, popped and said, I speak for the LF forum and I want to copy the postings someplace else, I know would not cooperate.
  42. Sal, this is an excellent question. Although most of the
    value resides in the community, in my mind there is no
    doubt that in the
    case of a departure,
    should at an absolute minimum remove from its archives the lusenet-area contents,
    but let's hear what Brian thinks about that.
  43. I think I answered that question already in several ways.
    First of all, I have said we will delete any LUSENET content
    whose contributor objects to its being here, provided the person
    making the request can establish that he is indeed the contributor.

    Second, I have said that in the case of a departure en masse
    where the forum here becomes dead or close to it, we would
    probably stop operating it.

    The only difficult case is where some people announce their
    "departure" but activity continues in the forum.
  44. Quang, step 1: 20 guys at $50 a pop or 50 guys at $20 a pop = $1,000, Step 2) get trusted volunteer to use said funds and select components to put together a server. Step 3) Get another volunteer living in or close to a large metro area to host server (electricity/modem wise). Step 4 get programmer to load server with software and program for our site.

    As LF photographers, we pride ourselves as "A through Z, seat of the pants capable" people. If we can help each other figure out how to get 8x10 film into a 5x7 camera, we can do this! I'm sorry I never was really interested enough to take up programming, so I can't offer any help right now in that area. But I can contribute $50, perhaps a little more, as others have offered.

    Quang, perhaps our best chance is to get a small group committed to meeting in New Mexico at the end of June at the LF conference, to get together for a discussion about this LF internet site issue. But before we do so, lay it out right here on the internet, what we will need, so people can come to conference prepared with REAL offers of help. If you continue to plan for our independent site, DO NOT WORK WITH ANYONE BEHIND THE SCENES. That was a mistake, and that's why we are here at photonet today, instead of on our own site by now.
  45. Andre, step 1 to 3 are taken care of (as stated in the
    conclusion of my article, I've accepted an offer for a
    server far better than what we would have gotten with those).
    Step 4 is much more than "loading the software", as Brian
    here would tell you, but again efforts are underway by
    the volunteers whose names I mentionned.
  46. Andre, I don't mean to be disrespectful, but posts like yours show that LF photography is one skill and running scalable, robust, database-backed web sites is another. As I said above, costs about $100,000 per year in ISP colocation and bandwidth charges alone. In addition to that is the cost of the hardware -- which has to be continuously upgraded. With support from partners and patrons, can afford to pay for this, provided it doesn't also have to pay any salaries. Accordingly, the site is now run entirely by volunteers, most of whom are PhD's from MIT, and Boston area software engineering types like me. That group of volunteers monitors the system around the clock.

    While the LF forum is not the size of, at 250 to 300 postings per day, it still requires a lot more than what you get for $1k, unless you all are planning to get together only when someone's kid isn't playing Quake on the LF machine in someone's house. A bare minimum box that you would need to run LF would probably cost you at least $2-3K, and this wouldn't give you any redundancy. Then you have to start paying ISP charges. Or are you planning on turning it into a modem bulletin board service like people ran out of their homes in the eighties? has been appealing for a while for people to subscribe at $25 per year and out of 150,000+ registered users, so far around 450 have subscribed. LF is a more cohesive community than as a whole, so you might get a higher percentage than that, but I wouldn't count on a lot more.

    You guys have been enjoying the largesse of Philip Greenspun (and Ars Digita) for a little too long, and need to get real about what this sort of thing costs.
  47. Brian,

    "You guys have been enjoying the largesse of Philip Greenspun (and Ars Digita) for a little too long, and need to get real about what this sort of thing costs".

    You really might want to start thinking about what you are saying and take your now, snarky, remarks elseswhere or moderating yourself a bit - the LF list has operated as a polite virtually self-moderated forum for a good number of years. Your comments seem to be taking it elsewhere. Not exactly the sort of thing that encourages people is a great place to be?

    "While the LF forum is not the size of, at 250 to 300 postings per day, it still requires a lot more than what you get for $1k, unless you all are planning to get together only when someone's kid isn't playing Quake on the LF machine in someone's house. A bare minimum box that you would need to run LF would probably cost you at least $2-3K, and this wouldn't give you any redundancy. Then you have to start paying ISP charges. Or are you planning on turning it into a modem bulletin board service like people ran out of their homes in the eighties?"

    there are already offers of server space and high bandwith connections if it is needed - for example from somone who already runs a number of groups that often run several hundred and more messages a day. As well as people who do know what they are doing. I happen to be involved in running a large online database of a few hundred gigabytes of information, contstnaly downloading and uploading large inmage files, as well as a government Oracle system - so I do know what is involved thanks. As do many others here.

    I've also been involved in the photo agency business for a number of years and can tell you, as develops, builds up it's content -visual, knowledge based and otherwise, it is exactly the sort of target to be snapped up by someone, swallowed up and the content spit out in many different forms. So people are right to be concerned about the commerical future of the site,

  48. I skimmed through all the postings, but fail to share the preoccupations of the posters. It is good to do things well but perfection is very often the enemy of the good.

    So if there is nothing SERIOUSLY wrong here why not just accept things as they are, sit back and enjoy, at the end of the day this forum is the best that there is. I am grateful for it.
  49. tim, I was responding to the notion that the LF forum should be operated with a $1k computer and modem out of someone's house. If another forum provider has volunteered his services, that is not the same, although since you don't identify this person/organization, I suppose it will have to remain a mystery why that site is preferrable to this one.
  50. what am I missing here? Brian does a remarkable job and ports the forum to, Philip and others lease their resources and services for essentially zero fees, and what has been contributed that isn't considered public domain or offered in the spirit of education and published without entanglements?

    I think there is a bloated sense of purpose and value here. when I post and my words travel down the pipe, I consider them a gift. the purpose is to assist others in their photographic journey. nothing more.
  51. While the debate over who owns the cow continues, let's not forget to continue feeding it in the meantime. Otherwise, it may die and the debate over its ownership will become moot...
  52. As QTL mentioned before, there is work in progress to port the forum software to another platform. Myself and a few others are more or less finished, read: "we're about to do the test prints", and we'll have a viable solution coming up soon. Whether we'll ever use that software for the Large Format Photography forum is another matter.<br>
    One person, whose name we will not disguise now, have offered space on his servers which are connected to the net with a T1 (i.e. a very fast and permanent connection). The hardware as such does have the power needed.<br>
    This doesn't mean that we are indeed going to move, but it will give us the opportunity to move if we (i.e. the community) decides to do so.<br>
    As for the work of the software team, the platform choosen is PHP/MySql, which is stable and easy to maintain. The "building blocks" that I use have formerly been used for building intranet applications with a company that have (or at least had) 100,000 employees. That application often had thousands of employees hitting the application every day without any downtime at all. Knowing that, I feel certain that the software platform choosen is indeed stable enough for our needs.<br>
    Finally, IMO, the forum works as well on as it did on LUSENET. So that is not the driving force for potentially moving the forum. One thing that bothers me though is the picture of a Canon xxx slightly below the textbox I'm currently filling in.
  53. Daniel, the question isn't whether when we post and our words travel down the pipe they are gifts for the purpose of assisting others in their photographic journeys. What seems to concern many is whether these gifts are being given to the community for that reason or to some as-yet unidentified commercial enterprise in the future. I certainly have no bloated sense of value; my contributions pale in comparison to those of other forum participants. All I've asked is that and any "successors or assigns" not quote me out of context or without attribution. That seems a reasonable request for donating writings to what might someday be a profit-making entity. And by the way, Brian *has* done a wonderful job; I've already thanked him publicly for his volunteer efforts.
  54. Sal, we've added the following to the relevant section of the Terms of Use.
    However, will not use Your materials without attributing them to You, unless You agree. If You object to any modification by of Your materials (except for minor edits), or, in the case of forum postings, comments on photos, or comments on the Site's static content, to the use of Your materials outside their original context, will either restore the original form and context, or delete the materials.​
  55. Sal, I am not pointing the finger at you. I am just struck by this odd notion that if I post my comments regarding my new Schneider 110XL that I should want to retain ownership. seems much easier to know that when I send it across the wires - the bonds are cut. if I can't agree to that then I shouldn't post. I certainly haven't uncovered anything here that was worthy of such protection.
  56. Brian, I am somewhat disappointed by your answer to my
    question. Of course if someone requests you to delete
    their Lusent posts you will because you have to. Copyright
    belongs by default to the writer, and they didn't agree explicitly
    to transfer anything to However you know that
    almost nobody is going to request such a thing. Your
    scenario seems like an invitation for a "fork" in which
    has still "acquired" 60000 messages.
  57. I'm being responsive to the concerns about the intellectual property rights of the original contributors. But, no, I don't expect many people to request it. For the record, I note that some of the most vehement advocates for the rights of the LUSENET contributors are silent when it is proposed to copy the forum to a machine of THEIR choosing.
  58. "For the record, I note that some of the most vehement advocates for the rights of the LUSENET contributors are silent when it is proposed to copy the forum to a machine of THEIR choosing."

    First, because the broad discussion on this has already taken place over a number of months

    and, secondly, they wouldn't be going to a commercial entity.
  59. Brian, thanks, that modification does address my personal concerns. However,'s terms of use are still subject to the problem I mentioned yesterday, repeated here:

    "Also, since these terms can be changed at will, what lasting value would they have to forum posters even if satisfactory wording were put in place now?"

    It seems there needs to be a revision record for the terms of use page along with a policy stating that those terms in effect at the time of posting apply to each post. For migrated LUSENET posts, I suggest the current (as you've just updated them) terms be applied.
  60. Daniel, you said: "I certainly haven't uncovered anything here that was worthy of such protection." Many of Kerry Thalmann's contributions come to mind.
  61. And Kerry has expressed his reluctance (see "Time to move
    to " in the Lusenet Forum) to contribute to
    the long and detailed posts he used to write for the LF Forum.
  62. Can't do that any longer Tuan. LUSENET now has a redirect to for the LF forum, and the posting by Kerry you refer to was made after June 2.
  63. Sal, the terms cover that. We have a record of each version of the terms.

    You are presumed to have read and agreed to the terms when you use the site, and like all web sites we have a log of when people took their various actions on the site. If you use the service after the terms change, you are presumed to have agreed to the new terms. Most sites work like this. In practice, most sites have a similar scheme. Most people don't bother to read the terms on a regular basis; they assume, correctly on an open forum site, that if the terms are onerous or changed to something onerous, they will hear of it, and that they will stop using the site. If they are going to do anything where they are concerned about their rights, they check the terms.
  64. Kerry's post will be moved here soon, and you can all read it.
  65. That's good Brian, except for the migrated LUSENET posts. Terms current at this moment should apply to everything in former LUSENET forums that was posted June 2, 2002 or before.
  66. Well, since you're now apparently also migrating the LUSENET posts that were made between June 2 and today, change my position to:

    "Terms current at this moment should apply to everything in former LUSENET forums that was posted June 14, 2002 or before."
  67. Tim, the copyright laws don't distinguish between individuals, corporations or non-profit entities. If an action is legal for an non-profit entity or an individual, it is legal for a corporation.

    If you think that Philip and violated the rights of the contributors in copying their "content" off Philip's system, then you should consider how it is not going to be a violation of those same rights when YOU do it.
  68. Brian, hang in there buddy. I don't know what the fuss is all about. Reading tea leaves has never been one of my favourite avocations.

    It is clear for many months now that Lusenet is going down any day now. It is either move now or perish guys. While you fellas navel contemplate and argue amongst yourselves, nothing, absolutely nothing was done to find it a new home. All talk, no action. News of Lusenet shutting down was disseminated in December 2001, if memory serves me. Six months is ample to find a new home.

    And now you claim you have been moved here forcibly. And all this talk about going crassly commercial and all that. Fine talk when the LF Forum was riding on the largesse of Dr Greenspun at Lusenet all this while.

    Ok, you have been forcibly moved but so what? What's the alternative? And when Lusenet shuts down, are you all going to pick up cudgels and whack Phillip and scream, "give us more time, give us more time". Don't blame for your inaction.

    The formerly active Philosophy of Photography Forum decided that it was not going to be part of and moved to a new home about six months ago. No problems there. They decided and did something about it.

    What do you guys want? Define the problem instead of talking around the bush like a bunch of old nags.

    If you decide to take the contents with you, then find a new home right now and give notice of when the move shall be. Or shall set you a deadline, say, three months from today, when you have to move. Otherwise, the contents disappear down into the netherworld. I hope that will allow the LF Forum to continue under its present guise with a new moderator. We can start with a clean slate.

    Decide now on staying or leaving. If you decide to stay, hold your peace forever.

    Gawd, I shudder to think what bad photographers you must be. Do you all stand around squabbling while the sun goes down?

    Damned if you do, damned if you don't. It isn't easy to be a volunteer.
  69. Eric, I took my own recent advice to someone on another thread and let your post sit for a while, rather than responding immediately in anger. It didn't work this time.

    Why couldn't you stick to your salient points? Neither making negative comments about other posters' photographic abilities nor suggesting that Tuan (who originated the forum and has moderated since its inception) be replaced adds anything to the interchange. This lack of civility, displayed occasionally by a few other LF participants, does much to diminish the sense of community mentioned earlier. Regardless what server we are on, please try not to make things so personal and negative.
  70. Brian,
    The tone of your overly zealous, "come-on-guys-give-us-a-chance" posts, now seems to echo - "we have it now, and you're not gonna get it from us, cause its ours!"

    I can't help but believe that was the intent all along.
  71. I apologize for spelling your name incorrectly Erik.
  72. Ref. to the hubub about copyrights - at the bottom of every page, including the LF page (just below the links to search the LF archive, BTW) -
    "© 2000, 2001, 2002, All Rights Reserved. "
  73. what am I missing here? Brian does a remarkable job and ports the forum to, Philip and others lease their resources and services for
    essentially zero fees, and what has been contributed that isn't considered public domain or offered in the spirit of education and published without
    entanglements? ........What you're missing and have missed is that other folks including myself want to make that contribution, and that's got nothing to do with how 'great I think I am', but a need to share.

    The LF forum has saved me thousands!, saved me hours, days, weeks, in wasted effort going down blind alleys because of the kindness to me of some beautiful folks and their willingness to help me when I didn't know which end of a view camera was the front. I have increase what I know from the efforst of others without expending that same effort myself, which is a true gift.

    Having said that, I have never liked how threads were deleted from the Lusenet LF forum which were in the way they were done to me arbitrary and biased; which included some offensive comments regarding a sensitive issue on one occasion which the moderator refused to delete.

    I really don't mind that there's a new mix with some new folks, and since Lusenet is no more, there is no going back, there was about six months to do something else and that was gone, and it's not coming back. Maybe this move is a good thing, I like the way Brian talks, as if this forum and the input is for everybody and by everybody regardless of anybodies likes or dislikes or whatever.

    I'd like to restate what I've said in an e-mail to the moderator of the old Lusenet LF, and to the new folks here, a forum accepts input and dialogue from everybody, then it belongs to everybody, it isn't owned by any one individual. I get a feeling already that this situation will be very conducive to that.
  74. No offence taken, Sal.

    It is not negative; it is sardonic. Have thrown a sense of sardonic humour too out of the window, together with the baby and the bath-water?
  75. Sal, you misread me. But anger does that to a person. I never did suggest the Tuan be replaced as moderator of this forum. I suggested that in the event that Dr Quang decide not to stay with and take the LF forum with him, that another be created in its place with a new moderator. I was not asking for Dr Quang's ouster. God forbid that. Sorry to offend the atheists.
  76. For the record, here is the state of the current software development effort at the time of this posting:

    -- Bjorn and I have independently written about 65% of the necessary software. We have yet to merge our branches, but that should be accomlpished within a few days. Those who wish to contribute may do so by joining the project at . Once you have joined SourceForge, email me and I will add you to the project. Again, we have built the software using PHP and MySQL.

    -- Bjorn and I both have archives (from several different dates, albeit) of the LF forum, which can be imported into the new software. It is not outlandish to assume that we can similarly spider the LUSENET forum again, and that we might obtain database dumps from of LF posts since the move.

    -- We have a perfectly robust server and ISP awaiting us, free of charge. Should that server ever evaporate, we can easily move to a new server, due to the universality of the LAMP (Linux Apache MySQL PHP) platform we have chosen. The messages would move with us; nightly database backups are planned.
  77. While I haven't been much of an active LF poster (as my LF time has shrank as my photo business has picked), I have kept an eye on the forum over the past few years. I have gotten lots of great info from both the posts and from QTL's pages. A big thank you to everyone for that.

    But, I have to say that I completely agree with Eric's comments. Yes, moving the forum to was an action worthy of debate. But everyone pissed away their time and now it's too late. The phil. of photography example is a great one. Everybody knew what was coming, even if they didn't know the EXACT date, and those who really wanted to, had a chance to move out of the way of the train. As an active Leica forum participant, I also have noticed a slowdown in postings as the old crew slowly makes it's way over here. But it's picking back up and in time will be close enough to what it was.

    The LUSENET forums were blessed by being somewhat insulated to all the growth and changes that drove many of the long time regulars from But the only constant is change, and if you don't want to come along, your time is rapidly running out (in my mind it should be too late).

    Even Eric's comment about what kind of photographers everyone is, was an on point one. I doubt that he was actually saying that we are all bad photographers, he was just trying to make an example. It's like: Those who can DO, those who can't just sit around and talk about it forever.
  78. Josh Wand: I just wanted to point out that spidering is not something we allow. Depending on how things go, there could be an agreement to move the content to another site, but don't plan on spidering it off the site without our knowledge and cooperation.
  79. Brian, I had actually proposed spidering Of course, after posting this I remembered that the LF forum isn't accessible on greenspun anymore. I would never spider; that would be unethical. Be assured, I have no plans to do so.
  80. Matt, we don't think the content of this forum or any other forum is "ours" at all, either before or after the LUSENET migration. However it came to be here, forum content belongs to the people who wrote it, even in the case where that person posted it under a pseudonym or with an unverifiable email address.

    As for the LUSENET content, it was submitted on without the terms being very clear. So, even though we believe that Philip had the right to move it from one system that he totally owns to another one in which he has an interest, we are not going to insist on maintaining any LUSENET material here if its author objects.

    Philip urged the LUSENET forum communities to move in December and did not object to people spidering the forum content off LUSENET to other places. If he thought about it, I imagine he assumed that any contributor who objected to this would be able to make those objections known to the people who copied the content. In this manner, Philosophy of Photography moved to usefilm and several other forums on LUSENET made other arrangements.

    After six months, 13 photography forums hadn't moved, and Philip wanted to take LUSENET down. Even if he just let the system run, there was no one watching it, and it had been down frequently over the past few months, on several occasions for days. He decided to move the forums to and the staff agreed.

    Now that they are here we don't think the forum communities are "ours" any more than the content is. The communties belong to themselves and we know that they can move en masse or evaporate if we don't provide them with an infrastructure that supports them properly.

    Upon Philip's initiative we moved the forum archives here and are attempting to move the community here. The corporate mission of is to provide an excellent infrastructure for on-line communities of photography enthusiasts and professionals. There is no doubt that having the LF community here furthers this mission. However, we can't force people to come here if they don't want to.

    Let me turn now to my attitude towards the effort to move it again, now that it is here. First I note that the people who are planning to copy the content someplace else are not too concerned about their own right to do so even though some of them are quick to accuse of violating contributors' copyrights. Apparently they cannot see the contradiction in this point of view, and seem to take the approval of the contributors to their own copying for granted, while not hesitating to speak for all the other contributors in objecting to the copying of the forum by Dr Greenspun and

    My own opinion is that no one had a better right to copy the forum archives, in an attempt to perpetuate the forum, than Philip Greenspun and that if he didn't have the right to copy it, nobody else does. Without exception, so far as I know, all of the other forum moderators are delighted to have been rescued from the sinking LUSENET ship.

    There is only one other person with even a claim to the right to copy the forum content, and that is Tuan, who initiated the forum on LUSENET, linked to it from his personal LF page, and moderated it for years. All of these moral claims to the forum content are sufficient that if Tuan had taken steps to perpetuate the forum elsewhere when Philip approached forum moderators last December, nobody would have objected. Least of all Philip, since that is what he was asking LUSENET forum moderators to do. There would have been no need for any action from Philip or and this forum would now be elsewhere, just like several other LUSENET forums. However this didn't happen, and Philip arrived at a point where it seemed necessary to take steps to preserve the forum.

    Now that it is here, having expended considerable effort to move it, we would like to see the forum thrive and we look with some alarm at the too-late efforts to move it somewhere else. If those efforts result in the forking of the forum, we will regret it, since it will mean that our migration effort might have been wasted. For that reason, it is our intention to resist these efforts and we point out that spidering content off is a prohibited use of our server and anyone doing it is violating the Terms of Use to which he has agreed. If the community members vote with their feet and the forum fails here, we may revisit this decision, but for the time being that is our position.

  81. Brian:
    • Bjorn, Jennifer, and I are working with Tuan's full knowledge and endorsement. It is only under his mandate that we would perform any future content migration.
    • I don't dispute Philip's right to move the content to a working server in order to preserve the forum. However, there seem to be a few main reasons as I see it why some of us are up in arms about this.
      • The forum was moved despite Tuan's reservations, and indeed, request that the move not be performed at this time.
      • While we may disagree about its magnitude, the addition of the LF forum to does increase its value to users, and therefore to advertisers and to the owners of I think some of us are uncomfortable with our contributions to our own community being used to forward a commercial venture.
      • Still others of us are concerned about the profit motive weighing against our interests in the long run, should the site come under new management or ownership.
      • Not everyone who participates in the forum has any or all of these preoccupations, and by no means do I impute them upon anyone. I only repeat them here because they are, in my mind, legitimate concerns that need to be addressed. We are not ungrateful; we are just looking our for what believe are the interests of our community.
  82. If an independent non-commercial server can be found, I would thoroughly support moving rather than staying, and I would participate in that forum and would request that my LUSENET posts be removed from this forum. Perhaps others would do the same.
  83. I sent a post to this thread yesterday but it's never shown up, so I'll try again:

    Erik asked someone to define the problem. Here's the problem, as I see it: we're trying to keep a large and wonderful community intact as we look around at where we find ourselves and decide whether we want to stay here or move on; and divisive and insulting statements at this crucial juncture do not show a respect for the community as a whole or further our goal of remaining a viable community.

    If parts of the community are not comfortable with, their reservations and concerns need to be aired and answered, not shouted down. And if they can't be answered to everyone's satisfaction, then this isn't the right place for our community.

    In December, I wrote that while I would prefer a standalone forum, was the least objectionable of the commercial sites suggested (yahoo, usefilm were some of the others) because of the similar Q&A software. I now feel less sanguine about, and it is the arguments offered here on behalf of that have changed my mind. I logged on only to contribute to this thread, and will not participate further on; I fervently hope another home can be found for the community.
  84. In my opinion, we already voted to NOT move to, unless there was no choice, so I dont understand any allusions above to "if we decide to leave". The fact that we suddenly find ourselves here does nothing to change that IMO. There were other choices that were being worked on but not enough time to implement them it seems. If I could have done anything more, I would (having no web skills other than shooting off my mouth). Its unfortunate that another site wasnt found before the move, but oh well. The effort was and is being made. I commend Josh and Bjorn and the others working on an alternate site, and hope its done soon! I dont see any reason to discuss whether or not we go there, thats all been done AFAIC. My only question is "whats the URL and when will it open"? Anyone can go back and tally the "votes" in pertinent threads over the past 1.5 years, but except for a few vocal proponents of I thought it was clearly and heavily in favor or remaining independant if a home could be found. After reading this thread it sounds like an even better idea ;-)
  85. Katherine, I hope you will reconsider that decision. While there is clearly a difference of views, this conversation has remained quite civil. With the exception of me, everyone who has contributed to this post would also be present on any new site. And, if you are objecting to me, I'm not planning on spending any time on the forum, except to answer the odd question about mechanics. I'm a digital man, myself. (Shock! Horror! Stampede for the exits...)
  86. Brian, I think you've missed my point entirely. This is about a fundamental difference in philosophy; you've convinced me by your arguments and comments, in which I assume you're speaking for, that is incompatible with my philosophy of internet participation and sharing and community. It's itself, as you have presented it, that has alienated me.

    But Wayne's right; this conversation is really unneccessary. Let's get that site up and running and let's go there as fast as possible. Just give me the URL and I'll be there.
  87. This is the irony that comes from Ms. Katharine Thayer's definition of the problem: while you look continue to look around to find yourselves a new home, it is now which is providing the server space to keep this community intact and this debate going. Toto, we aren't in Lusenet anymore.

    Face up to it: Lusenet is sinking and it may just disappear below the waterline any moment. Are we all being intentionally obtuse about it? And when it goes, all the contents disappear. Or are you suggesting that Dr Greenspun continue to pay for its maintenance just for you while you, uh, think about it? You have all been looking to find yourselves for the last six months and if you haven't found yourselves already, it is clear to me that you are lost out at sea. to the thankless rescue.

    It is still not clear from all the objections whether you have decided to stay or move. Are you all still deciding? And while you are at it, stay at the house/life-boat of and continue to throw stones at it? Can we come to a consensus? And until we do, can we keep our peace?

    All this talk about civility and manners have not been reflected in the way aspersions were cast at Brian and Philip. I do not have to apologise for my sardonic sense of humour. If you are all still dawdling, check your photographs. One's character is reflected in one's work. No, I won't pad it with an emoticon.

    I ask again: can we come to a consensus? Staying or going? Or are you gonna all dawdle again until gets sold to Ritz Camera for $50 million?

    The fact remains: LF Forum was given ample time to move and did not. reached out to rescue it from oblivion and members rise up in arms at the impudence and impropriety of it all.

    The debate was settled six months ago. You failed to act on your decision cf. Philosophy of Photography Forum which did.

    And now you are all unhappy accusing of force. Instead of bristling, let us be honest to ourselves and fair about it.

    The time to decide is NOW (this should have been said six months ago). If you're going to go, take the contents and go. I wish you all good luck. I don't think Brian and Philip and deserve all this flak no matter how it is worded.

    Jonathan Brewer said it well: this is a forum for the public good and it belongs to the public. Otherwise, it could have been made a private forum (there was that option on Lusenet).

    Yes, you can excoriate me for my comments. I am steeled against the want of reason and fairness.

    Are we in danger of cutting off our nose to spite our face?
  88. Before we decided to move this forum, I read the December discussion, and I didn't remember it as being a majority deciding against I went back again and tabulated votes. 29 voted for; 19 people voted for all the other options combined.

    There were some contributors that didn't vote but just put forward conditions such as "ACS interface", or "should work with my Palm" that would satisfy. I didn't count these as either "YES" or "NO" Several of the 19 "NO" votes mentioned that would be their second choice. The 19 "NO" votes, independent server, View Camera, usefilm, paying Philip to continue the server on, and various other "options".

    Just thought everyone might be interested in what the results of the December vote actually were.
  89. By the way, Erik, thanks for your support; I'm afraid your somewhat, uh, forceful style might not be winning converts to our side, though.
  90. I apologise to one and all who may take offence at my, uh, forceful and untempered style. I got emotional. Can't help it. Something to do with the moon. My psychiatrist thinks that I am a lycanthrope.
  91. Erik X......or maybe Brian can answer this, how many hours combined have been expended by the folks involved in making this move? I ask that question in the sense of if some folks have sacrificed time and effort to make a move, then why not give them a chance, especially since a lot of folks on the Lusenet LF forum were regulars on this and other forums anyway?

    When problems with Lusenet came up months ago, a lot of folks including me volunteered money, other folks volunteered expertise and equipment, and no one came forward with a plan, or made a decisive gesture toward delegating authority to implement any plan while there was still time, or a spelled out a reason as to why there was no plan that could work.

    Whatever was is GONE, there is no going back, and life ins't fair, and the main thing I have to remind myself of like everybody else, is that it isn't 'my way or the highway', so photo net is here.

    This debate reminds me of a guy who loses a beautiful girlfriend, later he meets a lady who is he is not crazy about who tells him she wants him and will treat him right, if he'll only give her a chance, to which he replies 'if I can't have here back, I don't want anybody'.

    These folks have asked for a chance, if they've expended some effort, give them one.
  92. Jonathan, I started working on this on Monday two weeks ago to help a volunteer who Philip had recruited to do the move, named Jesse. At that point Jesse had been working I think for a couple of days. He had taken a snapshot of the database on June 2. After working the whole night on Monday, he had to leave to make a plane. I picked up where he left off, with the forums at that point being down. I didn't pull any all-nighters, like Jesse, but I didn't do much else besides working on this during that week, finally bringing the forums up on the following Saturday. It is hard to separate out LF from the other forums but the LF forum messages represented about a third of the total, and there were some LF-specific issues. Since then, I've been fielding merge requests from LF members, and I still have to move across the messages from June 2 onwards, and the alerts. Merging in the extra messages is not going to be a trivial endevour. I won't count the time writing contributions to this thread and revising the Terms of Use to try to satisfy Sal. So, it has been quite a bit of time.
  93. this reminds me of when I was test flying a multi-engine airplane that had just had its right engine rebuilt. half-hour into the flight there was an incredible vibration and the right propeller separated from the engine. the mechanic who was riding in the co-pilot seat exclaims 'damnit, I forgot to tighten those bolts'. whining about that fact did me little good. in the spirit of and in the interest of Large Format photography, I simply cannot understand Katherine's concerns or any other objections to being hosted by enlighten me, or let's attempt to make the forum work, take advantage of's hosting services, and do our best to make large images and continue to hone our craft.
  94. i too find the elves at photonet to be more like gremlins. s'why i don't give them any of my money and why my participation in's forums fell off to nothing. once upon a time... used to be a free-for-all, quite fun and dynamic if buggy and old-world tech. then [edited Phillip Greenspun sold it] it's a hydra-headed beast now, staffed by computer geeks and not camera geeks. as kath alluded, there's a huge difference between the two geeky beasts. one creates to regulate, the other creates to share freely. well, unless yer a commercial photog that is ... but i digress. i enjoyed tuan's forum at lusenet because anything goes...'er rather, went. but watch this...
    p.s. one... two... three... four...
    p.p.s. he who moderates least, moderates best. All hail Emperor Luong!
    As Trib no doubt expected, some of his comments have been edited out. Normally, moderators on simply delete posts that insult other members, assuming they notice them. However, this post made valid points, and I have therefore taken the time simply to remove Trib's cruder insults. If Trib's point was that does not tolerate the type of posts that he is apt to make on occasion, he is right. -- BM
  95. There is no secret about the legal status of It has been discussed several times in the forums. was founded by Philip Greenspun as his personal web site in the early nineties. At the time, Greenspun was a graduate student at MIT, who was also involved (usually as founder) in several Boston software and Internet startups. One of these was ArsDigita, a company involved in developing, and providing services for, an open-source, web-based, "community system" that Philip had developed. Philip started to use as the showcase and testbed for the ArsDigita Community System (ACS). While it remained separate from ArsDigita, the servers were housed in the ArsDigita offices, as was, another showcase project for ACS, and I believe ArsDigita paid the telecommunications costs.

    By 1999, Philip was heavily involved in managing ArsDigita, which was growing rapidly, and did not have a great deal of time to invest in Rajeev and Lisa Surati, two friends of Philip's, were interested in making significant investments of their own funds and time to develop as a business. Accordingly, was set up as a corporation, which after a couple of name changes is now known as Luminal Path, Inc. Philip is the majority shareholder and one of the directors, but Rajeev and Lisa, along with angels, have invested significant sums, and they run the company. Philip was listed on the masthead as Editor-in-Chief, but made rare appearances on the site, mostly in the form of article contributions. Despite all of this, because Rajeev and Lisa were very modest about their roles, most people consider it to be Philip's site, but it has not been, in reality, for about three years.

    Until earlier this year, Rajeev and Lisa, as well as other people for periods of time, were employed by, but when ArsDigita and Philip parted ways, had to move and start paying colocation and bandwidth charges at an ISP. Fortunately, by that point had sufficient revenue to pay those ISP charges, but
    unfortunately, it couldn't do this and continue to pay salaries.
    Accordingly the company "laid off" all of its employees, who then continued to work almost as hard as before as "volunteers".

    As for me, I was only a member of until two months ago, but I am now volunteering full-time (meaning 50-60 hours per week) as Editor-in-Chief. I am trying, as Rajeev and Lisa still are, to make successful enough from a financial point of view to pay salaries. I am happy to discuss some of our plans for doing this another time, but I should mention that at this point there is no intention to sell the company, and even if there were, it seems very unlikely. The only things of value which the company has are its domain name and a growing audience. However, it does not own the latter, and audiences can only be converted to revenue in the short term through means that the audience would almost certainly reject.

    So, there you have the situation. Readers can decide for themselves whether this situation fits Trib's snide description of the state of affairs.

    One last point, for some reason, Trib would like people to perceive that the people running are "suits", or (perhaps worse) computer nerds, and not photographers. The truth is that while many of us are software engineers, which gives us the skills to run a site like, we are all intensely interested in photography. Photography has been my main interest, apart from work and my family, for nearly thirty years. My photographs are posted on the site and anyone interested can look at them.
  96. yup...

    homogenize it pally...

    that's what we want,

  97. Brian, perhaps you can answer a question for me--this may be a a little off-topic, but here goes...I have noticed that when I answer certain questions on photonet, should I mention a type of product--not even by name, just a type--that my posts disappear. They are flat out deleted, even though in all honesty, I was trying to help the person out. I was sincerely answering a question based upon my personal experiences (which have been less than stellar) with these types of products. I have noticed this several times, mostly on the unarchived forum--BUT these posts have been very recent--they still would have easily persisted for the majority of the day, if not longer. I return to them later and poof! They're gone...entire thread sometimes. It leads me to believe, that there is some legal work behind the scenes, perhaps...advising you all to delete these posts, lest a manufacturer get ticked off or an advertiser perhaps? It puzzles me, because here I am, trying to pass along some good advice....maybe you all think it's just me, but you can pick up several photo books & get the same advice, or better yet--access other websites and get it from there as well. So what's the moderation policy other than deleting messages that sound like they're personal attacks on a member...I find it hard to believe that with some of the posts bashing away at camera manufacturers or film & paper companies, that you can't say something slightly bad--not even by *name* about another type of product...even if it's the truth.....MY opinons on this only.
  98. DK, none of the moderators have any instructions such as you imagine, and I can't think of why they would spontaneously delete posts that were critical of certain products. does not receive revenue, so far as I know, from any equipment manufacturers. The partners are all (or almost all) photo retailers. If you go to the Neighbor to Neighbor section you will find criticisms of these partners, sometimes quite harsh -- all uncensored. The only thing that moderators are supposed to delete is extreme ad hominem attacks and obvious trolling.

    The General forum does have "bozo" filters (Philip Greenspun humor) that reject some postings for the presence of certain words. For example, if you misspell aperture as "aperature" it won't allow the post in. There is a comment in the code to the effect that anyone who can't spell aperture is generally an idiot. Perhaps you ran afoul of one of the bozo filters, but you would have seen an error message, rather than just seeing the message quietly disappear. By the way, there aren't any bozo filters, and I'd like to convince the moderators to remove them from the General forum, since I think they are a little obnoxious.
  99. It has happened to me enough times that I think they are being deleted or edited first I thought it was just me, that it was a fluke--the thread had run it's course and as an unarchived post just went away....then I noticed it happen twice with posts that were very new. Once I got wise, I began very obtusely referring to these products--for one thing, it's not wise for me personally to mention specific products because of the use agreement I have with my employers. It's why i have to sign off with that dang tagline about opinions. There's even more they'd like me to include, but it's pretty obnoxious actually....but this topic I'm referring to is in refernce to film storage which is part of my job. Unless you have a bozo filter for slip agents, I fail to see how this would explain it. The most frequent times have been when I've just suggested in a round-about way that some of those products may have problems in certain conditions...I'm not making it up, *we* had a problem in our museum and had to resleeve a couple of thousand rolls of film, and it took a good chunk of time & money to do so. I have spoken with others who have had this problem as well, and it's well documented in Henry Wilhelm's book among other references. Another time was when "company X's " little logo appeared at the bottom of your site...someone had a problem with one of their storage products that sounded like it couild have been a slip agent problem.... I gave a general answer about the nature of the beast--not naming *any* manufacturer and that thread was there for a while, I could check up on it, but later on it was gone, while the posts above it and below it, go figure...I just don't try to answer those questions anymore....y'know there are other places to get this info, or maybe someone will have the problem themselves and just learn the hard way....I'm just curious of the moderation policy that's all....oh yeah:Opinions expressed in this message may not represent the policy of my agency..
  100. DK, honestly, I would be astonished if your posts were being deleted for the reasons you think, or even being deleted by moderators at all. You must have hit some kind of bug. Are you sure they are going in? I mean, if you submit the message then immediately look at the forum message list, do you see the message at all?
  101. Sorry, I see you answered my question already. All I can say, it is either a bug, or the expiration time is coming up faster than you are supposing, or the moderators have deleted a thread by mistake. I can't see why the moderators would delete them as a matter of policy.

    The moderators don't work for, and I think if they had received orders to delete posts that subverted some "corporate" policy, you would have heard loud protests. I don't know what to say.
  102. No, I can post 'em, and they stay up for a couple of hours, and then mysteriously disappear...some quicker than others. It's been awhile since I've noticed it...I'm talking about posts in the past year or so...maybe only 5-6 times tops. But after a couple of times, I noticed...I thought it was me at first, but it only happened when I mentioned these products. I know that last year I made some disparaging remarks about this on the LF forum and had some exchanges with a manufacturer's rep over the issue..which I actually welcome. I would like to hear their side of the story....I am interested in the results of the tests and if they've submitted their materials for other tests, such as blocking (sticking to materials) and so on.... it's not like some smear campaign against them--heck, we used 'em for years and still have negs & slides stored in some of them ....but my stance is that you let people know their options, the pros & cons and let them decide. I would be a hypocrite to say I have never used these types of materials, yet I have seen the good & bad. I saw this problem in another institution ...on a neg that was about 40 years old and sorta valuable...after that, I began to resleeve all my own film as well. Yet, I think I sound like a nut or a conspiracy theorist here.....maybe the moderator thought I was baiting someone or pulling their leg....I wasn't going to say anything about this, because frankly I don't give a hoot...but after reading your post above about editing tribby's posts, I just wondered.

    Most definitely:Opinions expressed in this message may not represent the policy of my agency
  103. I don't know large format photography. Consequently, I've pretty much kept my nose out of here. But the (very) few times I have stuck my head under the black cloth and taken a peek in here, it's been largely to sample this thread.
    Perhaps someone can enlighten me. What is the issue here? Someone's misplaced ego perhaps? This forum is being hosted free of charge. Free of essentially any advertising. By what for all intents and purposes is a non-profit concern run by volunteers. They are very much into photography. Are you? What is the problem? If you don't want to be part of the site, get lost!
  104. well I thought this thread was to discuss any issues about this a participant of both sites, I think my question is a valid concern for me....
  105. Q.-Tuan Luong, As a frequent reader but not so frequent poster I'd like to take this opportunity to send my gratitude for all your efforts and hard work. I am pleased that you are trying to maintain the site as a non commercial entity which in the long run will keep the many contributors coming back to your site, which is what has made it so special and useful. If I was a computer programmer I'd lend you a hand, since not then please except this humble thank you.
  106. I've known Tuan online for nearly fifteen years, first as a climber
    and alpinist and then (as creaky joints afflicted us both) as a
    photographer. I entirely trust that he would respect my wishes if I
    ever had a problem with how my comments were being
    displayed and used. I see this forum as a rare survivor of the
    cooperative generosity of the early internet, and from what I know
    of Tuan I think he does too. I like and use a lot, but the
    feel there is both different and in a state of flux, and I have always
    assumed - and accepted - that I lost any real control of the
    material I posted there.

    Phil G., and now Brian, have made great efforts to support and
    maintain this forum. I believe they are sincere in their desire to
    help photographers and that they deserve our thanks for what
    they have done. On the other hand, there is nothing to prevent's attitude from changing overnight, and nothing to stop
    them applying a strict legalistic interpretation of their terms of
    use. My employer sees the distinction clearly, even if
    cannot: I personally could host LUSENET and the proposed new
    forum on my lab's servers, I couldn't host (Incidentally,
    I did offer this to Tuan, but cannot promise server space longer
    than the term of my current contract, which runs out within the

    In short: I agree entirely with Tuan's analysis of the situation. I
    hope the move to another server occurs as soon as possible
    and that the forum is not left with multiple half-stub databases
    and arguments over ownership. This is not a sideswipe at, just a wish to preserve a different ethos.
  107. I would like to echo some of the concerns illuminated in DK Thompson's previous responses in this thread.

    Think about the more generic photo publications: Shttterbug, Popular Photo, Petersen's etc. How many times have you ever read a review that goes into depth about the faults of a new product? How many times do you read a review of the latest aftermarket zoom lens that doesn't try to give the impression that what you own now is junk in comparison. These publications are more about selling gear then anything else. What is the ratio of articles to advertisements(advertisments includes product reviews)- 10/90?

    The financial success of photonet will become more and more dependent on relationships with manufacturers which in turn may force the end of specific comments about specific products in the forums. One of the greates strengths of the LF forum was the way that contributors would share painfull and costly experiences with specific equipment that has saved me making similar mistakes. Just my opinion, but I think a commercial site would eventually try to limit such discussions.
  108. I think being one of the forums gives this forum a
    renewed vitality and stops it from becoming the club it has been
    ecoming for several months now. New blood is a good thing,
    from the view of the discussions and also in the real world of
    getting more people to use or least considering LF as a viable
    option, or at the very least appreciate the difference in and the
    value of those who use use large format film and equipment to
    create their visions of the world. <P>I disagree with Tuan's
    remark that no one spoke up in favor of the move to My
    memory is that I did, at least twice, in different conversations with
  109. Ellis, yes many people did speak up in favor of My contributions to this thread seem to provoke people, but I've pointed out several times that in the December 2001 discussion in this forum of what to do about the impending demise of LUSENET, 29 people "spoke up" in favor of, a considerable majority. 19 people favored all other options, including the one now being pursued by Tuan and a few other people.

    Many of those 19 mentioned that was acceptable and would be there second choice. Probably only 8 to 10 people strongly favored an alternative site and absolutely rejected, and this number included the people who wanted to develop the software for the alternative site.

    These facts have not been answered. Tuan is included, apparently, in those favoring an alternative site; so that option wins, and the fact that the option actually soundly defeated all other options combined is not only forgotten, but is now described as an outright loss for the option.

    Even in the current polarized environment, if you count noses in these threads (and only count people who post many times on the issue once), you find that there is considerable support for Last time I counted it was more or less neck-and-neck; so I was somewhat perplexed when Tuan predicted confidently in another thread that the approaching Vote would go against
  110. Brian, since you seem to pay that much importance to the
    opinions of the members of a community which was entirely
    foreign to you just one month ago,
    will you have your own community
    vote before you attempt to sell ?
  111. If any of visitors at is qualified to purchase securities that are not listed by the SEC, and would like to do so, they may contact us to discuss becoming a shareholder. The shareholders will doubtless have a vote in the very unlikely event that anyone would care to purchase the company.

    However, that is a red-herring, Tuan, and seems to be attempt to dodge the question that I have repeatedly raised as to why the outcome of polls of the LF membership regarding the presence of the forum on are so consistently misrepresented and ignored by the minority that wants an alternative. If the minority is going to decide because they are the most active, or because they include the moderator, or because they are the most vocal, or because people who are already members of don't count, or for any other reasons, I think it would be good for you to spell that out so that it is clear.
  112. Hmmm...who is the most vocal, with 31 responses in this thread?
  113. listen to my alternative. sad to say, but perhaps the best solution is to start a new Large Format forum on, comprised of like-minded kindred spirits willing to help promote education and passion regarding this format, with no bonds held to their contributions. they will make a concerted effort to cache relevant and on-topic discourse. there will be a collection of large-format links to help bootstrap the project, and allow neophytes to quickly reference periodicals, reference books, and off-forum discussions. through those efforts, the forum should quickly grow as the spirit of the forums charter ignites dwindling passions and infuses us all with a sense of collective participation. let it be known and embraced, that your contributions are given freely without encumbrance, and offered as a karmic seed to your own enlightenment.

    moving forward rather than this continued lateral slide ...
  114. Brian, are confusing the discussion archived here at the forum
    with the poll that Tuan held soon afterwards. The numbers are,
    unsurprisingly, different.

    is the poll Tuan referred to. I personally think that would lose by a larger margin in a new poll.
  116. J.O. People seem to be confusing several different polls that have taken place on the LF forum. In July 2000 (two years ago), there was a thread, not initiated by QTL, on the topic "Should the LF forum move to or remain on LUSENET?" At that point, LUSENET was not in the process of winding down, and the majority of opinions in the thread was that the forum should stay on LUSENET. Those results are confirmed by the poll conducted by QTL, also dated July 2000, the sampe poll to which you refer above.

    However, by December 2001, more than 18 months later, and only six months ago, Philip Greenspun had announced the imminent end of LUSENET, and the question posed was now "Should the forum move to, to yahoo, or to some other alternative?". I have already several times mentioned the outcome of this thread. Of the people who expressed a clear opinion, 29 stated a clear preference for, and 19 stated a preference for some other option, with "independent site" being the most popular "other" option, but still a distant second to (Note in fact, that was preferred by more people than all other options combined.) Furthermore, many of the 19 stated that was their second choice.

    This result is inconvenient to those in the forum who don't like and want to have an independent site; so they go back all the way to July 2000 to find a poll that shows that people preferred staying on LUSENET to moving to, and interpret this as a thumbs down for in the current situation, when LUSENET is no longer a viable option.
  117. Brian, you insist on referring to the December "poll" which was clearly not a poll! It was not a poll! Q-Tuan took the danged poll! Get over it.

    Incidentally, I noticed that many of the Greenspun Lusenet forums are still up and running and active as we speak, on the Greenspun server. So why the big rush to get us here?
  118. Wayne, actually I've not called the December discussion a "poll"; I any of my postings on that subject, I've consistently referred to it as a "discussion" or as a "thread" -- if this is important to you. If you find one where I have, it is rather the exception.

    Although not an official poll, the December 2001 thread, with 50+ different people posting, is the only recent comprehensive sounding of opinion on the subject, and a great deal more relevant than the "official" poll to which you guys keep pointing that is now two years old and on the now moot question of whether to stay on LUSENET. Even back then, with nothing impelling a change, 35% of the people said "let's move", and another 5% said "maybe".

    And what about LUSENET? Yes it is still running. But try sending a mail to the person listed as supporting it. I know the result you will get, because I tried. And do you know where people turn when they can't get a response. Answer: to the various mailboxes, which means the staff. was moved to the servers a long time ago.

    Right now, if went down, I think it would probably be ME that would bring it back up again -- pretty ironic since I would only be supporting the arguments that the move to was "rushed".

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