Leica Forum: A Severe Case of the Flu

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by ray ., May 3, 2009.

  1. Aside from Alex's post there are a total of 60 comments here in the past week. There used to be well over that in one day. Ask a question and you can be grateful for one response.
    Why? I have my thoughts about it, but in any case many Leica buffs and loyalists have been driven away or migrated elsewhere.
     
  2. In my opinion too much hostility. Hostility towards Leica in general, and hostility towards Leica digital in particular.
     
  3. Yup.
     
  4. Front and center of course is the M8. Yes it has workaround issues but it's a great camera. In some ways it's better than any Leica M ever made. You'd never know it though with the internet chatter and noise that's arisen since its unveiling. People saw a couple flubs in the production and release and wouldn't accept them and make the effort to dig deeper to find out there's a gem of a camera there. And people who would never have any intention of buying or using any Leica in the first place had something to sink their teeth into- as if a juicy steak had just been dropped onto their plate.
     
  5. I rarely go to LUG, #1 because I hate the navigation. But at least there you're more likely to run into somebody that knows something. Such a shame that minor detail is slowly but steadily vanishing here.
     
  6. I think the slow death of film may have something to do with it. Also the topics of the various forums overlap. Some Leica stuff appears in "Clasic cameras" and some in "Digital".
     
  7. Everyone has their own opinions of course, but it seems too many people can't leave it at that. It gets out of hand, the name-calling starts, and another person is left with a bad taste. It happens over and over, and over time it takes its toll. Bad behavior unchecked.
     
  8. I have also noticed what you are saying.
    For myself, I am constantly busy planning photo shoots, going out for shooting, and the endless processing of both film and digital. It seems there is never enough time. I have 7 photobooks on wwww.blurb.com, so I must be getting something done! Not to mention downloading and evaluating new software that is promised to make life soooo much easier LOL.
    So my first hope is that Leica users are out shooting, not yacking about how many mp's they have etc.
    Perhaps another answer is that Leica is old. even the M8. What that means is the salad days are over, and most questions have been asked and answered many times. That means we can get on with photography.
    Last week I added a Lumix G1 to my M7/M8 lineup, so I will also be spending time getting adapters ordered, searching out compatible lenses in addition to Leica etc. There is always something to do. I can only say that information from this forum has been very valuable in what I am doing photographically. And I always enjoy and am inspired by the photos I see here.
    Best wishes to all.
    Carol
     
  9. Rangerfinderforum seems to attract more discussion.
     
  10. A period of heavy handed moderation didn't help. Many people left.
     
  11. Here is how I answered a similar question in the Calssic Camera forum:
    People come and go on forums all the time. The old faces are replaced by new ones who then become the old faces. Some leave because they have gotten all they are going to get out of a particular forum, some leave because they find something they like better elsewhere on he internet (RFF is a good example in this case), some leave because their interests change and photography is no longer important, some leave because family/job/life becomes more time consuming and captivating, and yes some leave in anger (or are removed) because they decide that they just can't get along with the way a particular forum is run.
    After over a dozen years of existance, there are any number of people from photo.net who have floated off to other places. As a community, it's pretty natural to say "what happened to so and so" but to be honest, that's the way of the internet. We're all just 1's and 0's here and there is nothing like a home or a business that ties us to any one spot. Heck, after a dozen years, I know for a fact that more than a few former PN users are simply no longer alive. As we all know, time marches on.
    And then there is the simple fact that film based forums (like this one or the Classic or MF/LF forums) have suffered in recent years as people have moved more and more to digital. There are a lot of people who you might think are gone from these forums, but have simply stopped posting because they no longer use a Leica or a Brownie or a ______ (fill in the blank). They post in the Digital Darkroom forum or the Canon forum or simply in the NW forum. Crappy perhaps, but in today's world people tend to only be involved with what they are interested in right now. Some will come back (I myself am a good example of that in regards to Leica), but some will just become an "old face" in their new digital based forum.
    Finally, fighting the "jerks who just post to crap on Leica" battle is pretty difficult. Leave those posts up, and they discourage the Leica fans who just want to talk about their cameras and photography without their decisions being mocked or attacked. Delete those posts, and people freak out about over-moderation. The Leica forum has always been a place of higher emotion than many other PN forums, and this is just one of the issues that makes it difficult. I'm a Leica and rangefinder fan and I would love to see the Leica forum get some new blood, new activity, and fewer jerk posts attacking leica for no good reason. However, I'm at a loss as to how to do that. If you have ideas, please drop me an email and we can discuss it. However, please don't get into a photo.net policy discussion here. Those never really go anywhere but down to insult-ville and we won't accomplish anything but bad feelings.
    Again: you + ideas = email me.
     
  12. Nothing at all to do with digital or the M8. Jim and the others are right. It's a very tough school. Have a look at the WedNEdDAy pic on the Nikon forum. More words than your average W/NW but so courteous. Maybe the photography is better too. On Rangefinder Forum anything may come up including my new Olympus gear for some reason. Awful navigation there too. Lots of pnet survivors who are relieved to be gone it seems. I have been thinking in just the last few days of starting a ThURsday pic on this forum to follow the model of the wonderful thread on Nikon which is growing every week, but I don't shoot enough and think I am too busy. No I am not too scared. I love the picture of the week but we are waiting to almost the end of the weekend here in Australia. It is very 'street'. Not enough colour. Love Steve Deer's shores and Tom Higgings' seascapes. I am sure we need to loosen up and lighten up. Good post Ray. This place is dying while others are thriving.
     
  13. Interesting that Ken Rockwell has become a big fan of Leica in the last year touting the M7 film camera and lenses over digital. http://www.kenrockwell.com/leica/index.htm
     
  14. Ken is a "big fan" of whatever gets him pageviews. His tastes change with the wind. However, in this case, if it gets more people into RF photography, then I'm all for it.
     
  15. I think by making it just another category on the larger site, it really lost the sense of community it used to have. Now it is just "leica and rangefinders" -- just equipment. People still post photos occasionally, but the scope is much narrower. It seems like in the past it was really a hub for people who were interested in EITHER Leica and rangefinders OR street photography OR documentary photography OR travel photography OR buying Leica and rangefinder gear. By separating out the for sale section and limiting the discussion to leica and rangefinders only, I think people lost interest. Rigid categories are by nature restrictive and stunt the growth of interesting discussion. I think when things were bolted down that way, the people with a broader interest than JUST Leicas and rangefinders left. It became more of a gear forum than a spot for people interested in a certain realm of photography.
    I am not criticizing the photo.net policies -- I am sure they had their reasons. I just think if you are wondering what happened, that's what I think was the biggest factor.
     
  16. I think it's been rather a long time since this was a particularly lively forum, and some of the reasons pre-date the M8. If you want a flu analogy:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cytokine_storm
    "The precise reason for this is not entirely understood but may be caused by an exaggerated response when the immune system encounters a new and highly pathogenic invader... [in the 1918 pandemic] a healthy immune system may have been a liability rather than an asset."
     
  17. I think the elimination of the FS posts hurt, it was a tradition. Also, there were a lot of mean spirited posts. People need to feel that there views as a person are respected. Often extending a helping hand was met with derision.
    Then too some of us miss some that left this forum like AL who is a great photographer and gave great advise for years.
     
  18. I think by making it just another category on the larger site, it really lost the sense of community it used to have. Now it is just "leica and rangefinders" -- just equipment.​
    Well it was more than 7 years ago that the LUSENET system was stopped and the Leica forum moved over to the PN side. And even then, it was pretty much always a very heavy "gear" discussion forum. Don't believe me? Take a look into the past yourself:
    http://www.greenspun.com/bboard/q-and-a.tcl?topic=Leica+Photography
    Anyway, the forum has always been a "leica" or "leica/rangefinder" forum. It wasn't at any time called "Leica/rangefinder/street/travel/etc" forum. That being said, if you had questions on those topics that had to do with Leica, they would be perfectly on topic here today or 5 years ago. The PN "street" forum was set up because people wanted to be able to talk about street photography with equipment or in topics that didn't have anything to do with Leica/RF. Users on the Leica forum got annoyed (and understandably so) when people started to post too much stuff not shot with a Leica. Not that the Leica forum people were snobs or jerks, but the idea of a forum is to be able to connect with people interested in or find information about a specific topic. If the Leica people wanted to see shots with Canon digital cameras, they would go to the Canon forum.
    I have to say that your post reads as if you are saying "this forum is too much about equipment these days" and claiming that removing the FS posts was a part of the reason for that change. That's kind of a contridiction. Gives me a bit of a chuckle. In any case, the FS thing did create a lot of friction and it was a judgment call at the time for the people who made it (you could make good arguments either way). But the fact is that it was much easier for the site to have consistency throughout the forums on that issue than having to try to explain to angry people why the Canon forum users had to use the Classified system and the Leica forum users did not. Somehow "because we like them better" wasn't a good enough explanation (nor was "because nobody wants to buy your cruddy EOS 5")
     
  19. I fell I should mention that if we want anything useful to happen as far as livening up this forum and it's community, hashing over arguments from the past isn't the way to do it. As I said, I'm a leica fan and I'm excited about the idea of more Leica and RF activity on photo.net.
    But I am NOT going to waste my time with "oh, PN was so stupid and did this" type of stuff. Particularly when those decisions, actions, and changes happened when I was not at the helm of the site. The past is past and while lessons can be learned, there is nothing we can do to change events. Rather than let this thread turn into a "beat up PN" thread I'll just close the thread and use my time on other site work. I'm not accusing this of happening thus far, but after being involved with a site as long as I have, you can see some things coming a mile away.
    Right now, I'm standing here saying "I am interested in hearing what people think could be done do get the PN community excited about leica/rf again". I'm happy to listen to any and all ideas (though I might not agree with them). If people want to take advantage of that, kickass. If they don't, this thread is a waste of time and I'm moving onto other work that needs to be done.
     
  20. I bet it's simply that far fewer people are still using film, and the hordes who went digital chose SLRs in lieu of the M8. Not rocket science, IMHO.
     
  21. And as a way of using my own advice, I will start things off. Here are some articles that I am working on involving RF photography:
    • Leica M Mount body guide (an overview of all M-mount cameras thus far)
    • Leica M7 or MP, why one and not the other?
    • M7, Bessa R3A, or Ikon, which AE m-mount to choose?
    • Rapidwinder and 'softie' review
    Here are a couple that I could use input/help on:
    • Best budget body/lens kits for a beginner RF photog
    • Overview of fixed lens RF cameras, best choices today
    • Why use a rangefinder? Aren't SLR's better?
    And here are ideas that I would love to see written, but I do not have the time (or in some cases knowledge) to write:
    • Anything about the Leica R line
    • User review of the DMR and why Leica R users should buy one or not
    • Focusing instructions and tips for first time RF users
    • Must-have RF/leica accessories
    • Noctilux, what's the big deal?
    Now, of course, editorial articles are only one part of the site. But they can drive a lot of interest in a particular subject. The PN newsletter goes out to 400,000 people or so and our google ranking is very high for photo related searches.
    Other non-editorial ideas might be:
    • campaign to get everybody to tag their PN images with RF details to encourage gallery searches
    • weekly "thursday" threads ala the Nikon forum
    • contests?
    • Taking a harder line on nuking the "we come here to crap on Leica" posts?
    • magic beans?
    Like I said, I'm open to ideas.
     
  22. "I bet it's simply that far fewer people are still using film"
    Not so; RFF has a lively RF board with lots of daily postings. Here, the responses got amazingly hostile over the slightest issue and, as was said, mgmt got a bit heavy handed. Couple yrs ago the mod said the postings "were too chatty." Whatever that means. Those with more civil ways went to RFF.
    In biz, once you lose your customers its hard to get them back. I wish Josh Root well.
     
  23. Josh, if this is the wrong place for this, could you redirect me please.
    I am very interested to see how the Lumix G1 can be used in conjunction with Leica bodies and lenses. It may open up the usability of a large number of older Nikon, Canon etc. lenses, some of which are now pretty cheap. And because it is a crop sensor, the focal lengths are effectively doubled.
    Here is an excellent table with links from another forum on PN which lists adapter sources for a large number of lenses:
    http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=dx428wg_10fdvsmtd7
    The question to me is "Is the G1 a poor man's M8?" Once I can mount my Leica lenses on the G1 I will be able to compare the M7 film scans, the M8 digital and the G1 digital, all using the same lenses. I want to know what the difference is, and in which direction. So far I have been very impressed with the G1, although it seems that it is no M8. But it could have a place, especially at the price.
    The upshot is it may bring some Leica users into the digital world because they still could use their beloved glass.
    Regards, Carol
     
  24. RFF is a great forum that I enjoy as well. But I'm pretty sure that if we had access to their stats from a few years ago and now, we'd see a downward trend as well. Perhaps different from PN's, but still, the simple fact is that digital has gutted the ranks of film users. Jerk posters, moderator arguments, FS posts, etc are all a part, but they are dwarfed by the overall reduction in film using photographers. If this weren't true, it would be just the Leica forum that suffered. When in fact film forums across PN are down from 4 years ago.
    As an example, the medium format forum posts are down 30% from a few years ago. Medium format is, by and large, a film game. MF digital is very expensive and few people use it. However, in the Pentax forum, once a fairly stagnant primarily film forum, posts are up 155% over the same period in time. A period that saw Pentax move strongly into the digital world and gain a foothold in DSLR sales.
    In biz, once you lose your customers its hard to get them back.​
    While those who still bear ill will from past arguments or issues may not believe me, but PN has not "lost customers" by any means. In every larger metric, photo.net has grown over the same time frame I used above. It is only when you look at specific forums that you see a big up or down swing. And those ups and downs are directly related to film and digital.
    I wish Josh Root well.​
    I appreciate that. But I'm not doing this if nobody else cares. RF photography is close to my heart and I'm wiling to put my own time into it. But if nobody else is interested in joining in, I have to look at what is best for the site in terms of activity, growth, and our "community/education" mission. If there's nothing but "this place sucks because the past sucked" coming from the Leica/RF community here, it's hard for me to justify putting energy into this group when I could be putting energy into any of the other more excited and enthusiastic groups on PN.
    It's really up to the group. I'm willing to put in the effort. But not if nobody else is interested.
     
  25. Josh, I'm very interested ! Many apprieciate your efforts - you have great ideas and I for one can't wait to read them.
    Ray, flu maybe, but I feel it's an ebb and flow thing going on here. Folks such as me that have been around PN for a while have seen and read redundant threads so they check in say once every couple of weeks to see if anything grabs them. If so, then they chime in. They still check it though !
    Right now we've the bottom, but I'm seeing and hearing about the resurgence of emulsion based photography. Film is all the discussion with many top wedding photographers here in Southern California. Issues & concerns with work flow, gear bulk, sensor dust and equipment cost vs. quality. I recently saw a landscape photographer dump all of his Nikon D300 gear so he could buy a Nikon Coolscan 9000 multi format scanner; once again he'll begin using his 35mm & medium format gear. These scanners sell out and go to back order status faster then Nikon can make them. Heck Ken Rockwell loves to confound the gear heads with a bargain $25 or less rangefinder that after a develop & scan, beats up the latest & best DSLR's ! He's also tired of the new and improved $3,000 to $8,000 DSLR bodies going old and cruddy so soon after purchase.
    With the glut of GREAT equipment available for bargain prices right now, (Due to people needing rent money in this economy etc.) the choices for high quality 35mm and medium format cameras or tack sharp Leica lenses are astounding. For several years I've been telling anybody that would listen, that cash would be king someday soon and here we are. Now I tell them that if you have discretionary income, it's a smorgasbord out there, buy these assets now before hyperinflation kicks in.
    M8's are fun ! Mount an old school 1946 Leitz or whatever make LTM, M or Contax lens, and have at it. If you can afford it, why not?
     
  26. If I might comment on this topic as I believe there may be other issues effecting the slowing down of this forum besides the demise of film (which I don't believe as evident by the number of young photographers asking about it on other forums...but that's a different topic) or the switch to digital.
    I know this is primarily a Leica forum but it is named "Leica and Rangefinders" and as such seems to be the place on PNET for those that love the rangefinder experience. However, I have always sensed an underlying cloud of annoyance towards those that find their pleasure with rangefinder cameras other than Leica. I have wanted to participate in this community but have been reluctant to open myself to the condescending attitude put forward by a number of the members here.
    I think some of the confusion and frustration I felt may have come from my understanding (or lack of) of the title of the forum. This prompted me to ask "What is a Rangefinder?" in the context of this forum. A couple long time members kindly pointed out that "this forum takes discussions on any camera made or badged by Leica, whether a rangefinder camera or not..." and another not quite so kindly pointed out that because of the age and/or "brand" (I suppose??) of my rangefinder equipment I would be "more likely to find caring, knowledgeable owners of those cameras over in the Classic Camera forum." Fair enough, I can live with that.
    I do spend the majority of my PNET time on the Classics and the Pentax forums. Both these forums have a abundance of supportive, well informed and friendly folks. It is a pleasure to spend time there after a hard day and I can suggest that their positive attitude towards newcomers and the less informed is a major reason for the growth mentioned above.
    I have no illusions that my participation in this forum or not will have an impact on it's success. But as the original question concerned migrating members...a kind word goes a long way to make one feel at home and want to stay.
     
  27. Scot,
    I'm not sure why someone would tell you that and I'm sorry that you got the brush off. But you got incorrect information. Here is the correct "about" for the Leica-RF forum:
    This forum is for discussing Leica (and rangefinder) cameras and any associated equipment in the pursuit of great photography. You are encouraged to post any questions, or contribute any answers, about Leica and Rangefinder photography​
    It is important to note that the forum is the "Leica AND Rangefinder" forum, not the "Leica Rangefinder" forum. Most any RF camera would be on topic here. In reality, some MF and LF rangefinder camera discussions would probably be better off in the MF or LF forums, but even that is a matter of opinion. Yes, some (many) RF cameras also have a home in the Classics forum. But that doesn't mean that they HAVE to be one place or the other. Leica, Canon, Nikon, Yashica, Voigtlander, and so on cameras are all welcome here.
     
  28. I will admit, I don't visit this area as often as others in terms or Leica, but I do come around to see what has popped up like this topic. I don't really have much interest in M8 discussions as I had an M8 for nearly two years and sold it because I felt it was an incomplete and buggy product with a premium price tag. But I do use Leica, 4 bodies and I use them a lot.
    And maybe Leica owners are out making photographs instead of doing the forum thing, that could be it too...who knows?
     
  29. "In my opinion too much hostility. Hostility towards Leica in general, and hostility towards Leica digital in particular."
    I agree. Although I look in occasionally, I very seldom actually post here - this would be my first in 12 months I think. And the reason - too many agressive, hostile postings by a few trolls who made it a displeasure to be here. So for the most part, I am not.
     
  30. I think it has something to do with the economy. People are preoccupied.
     
  31. I am very interested to see how the Lumix G1 can be used in conjunction with Leica bodies and lenses. It may open up the usability of a large number of older Nikon, Canon etc. lenses, some of which are now pretty cheap. And because it is a crop sensor, the focal lengths are effectively doubled.​
    That's a bit of a stretch for this particular thread. But it just so happens that I'm in the middle of finishing an article on the G1 that talks primarily about using adapters to shoot manual focus lenses. I did not do any direct M8/scannedM7/G1 comparisons. But I think there will be some useful information and opinions in there.
    Should be done in the next few days.
     
  32. Josh, great ideas. Thanks for being so attentive to this forum. Everything worthwhile needs a little reinvigoration occasionally and your fertile mind has thrown up some really interesting suggestions that I can't wait to see e.g. basic starter kit (?M4-2 and VC 35) and even the one on focus will interest me (very difficult focussing vertically sometimes). Quite often the Leica threads get to the hot topic of the photo.net main page and if this one does I think people will be encouraged to see an open analysis of the forum and with a few of your new projects we might more often be there, front page, and win some people back and see more lively discussion. I credit my memberhsip here with rediscovering film, the value of my M2 over my M6, the value of non-Leica lenses and most importantly, my photography has improved. Well I think it has.
     
  33. Well, I have really enjoyed this forum and made some good friends through it (and even acquired some Leica gear.:).
    Some observations:
    1) Official Leica forum has garnered a large following.
    2) This forum is sometimes excruciatingly slow to load. I have to try later.
    3) Leica film cameras and lenses are perfect. So that restricts the total of what can be discussed.
    4) Leica digital cameras, OTOH, aren't, so one might expect more digital postings. Digital product line is limited, though.
    5) Use it or lose it! More lively discussion, please!
     
  34. I credit PN for my interest in photography especially this forum which even inspired me to buy a film leica. I've been reading PN for roughly 4 years now & though it's true that there seems to be not as many posts here as before, I still find it enjoyable since I don't see posts like "post your gear" which I see on other forums and feel is just a way for other people to brag about what they have. This forum has actually been very helpful in answering my questions & I think it's a cool forum. Like everything else, it is evolving & I guess we'll just have to "ride it out" & see where PN takes us.I also go to RFF from time to time but I didn't bother registering since I get answers here.
     
  35. bms

    bms

    Well, this thread made it to the top 5....
    I'm sort of with Richard. Fairly new to RF (Leica and Mamiya) and loving it.... this forum ain't that bad! OK, sure, it was probably more lively in the past. However you guys inspired me to buy a Leica M4 and just go at it.... and I am still learning almost everytime I check here. Thanks!
    I post to the Nikon Forum as well and like it a lot - it is good, too, but as Richard said, quie a few braggers and know-it-alls (maybe I am one of them?)....
    If I feel a little feverish about Leica, it is my enthusiasm and not H1N1...
     
  36. jtk

    jtk

    1) Dwaynes & Fuji are reportedly screwing mailer-users. Has anyone here stuck with rangefinders mostly due to Kodachrome or Velvia? Got a good local E6 lab?
    2) Leica has not attempted Pentax durability or Oly size/weight ... for the latest Leica lenses there's Panasonic micro 4/3.
    3) If one ever expects to go digital, rangefinders ...see KEH, where Canon P's are sharply rising in price, Barnacks are vanishing, and used M8s are bargains with good guarantees. KEH just paid me more for my P's than I paid them, three years ago.
    4) Sigma DP2 may be a lot better than DP1 (RAW 3fps in one report). Lots of folks are hoping for a Voigtlander D/rfdr...there must be some reason they've not bothered to reconceive the Epson.
     
  37. I agree with the others who say that many photogs who use Leicas or used Leicas have gone digital and they have not bought the M8 for all the reasons we have discussed ad nauseam. When film was king then Leicas were still highly relevant, but I do think it is a fact, much as it pains me to say it, that Leicas are less relevant in the current digital environment.
     
  38. jtk

    jtk

    ...and there's the Nikon scanner question...
     
  39. I think we're like Spinal Tap. Our appeal is becoming more selective.
     
  40. Photo.net Leica-RF forum: We go to eleven.
     
  41. Plenty of people use Leica cameras and film . They just don't hang out here. A problem I've noticed is that there are too many PN members with no interest in film, rangefinderers, nor Leicas who only want to pop in, and post negative comments.
     
  42. "Plenty of people use Leica cameras and film . They just don't hang out here. A problem I've noticed is that there are too many PN members with no interest in film, rangefinderers, nor Leicas who only want to pop in, and post negative comments."​
    Okay, I'll post a positive comment. Having used rangefinders for nearly 30 years, I'm finding the M8 one of the most satisfying cameras to use for image quality (when compared to 35mm color film) and ease of use.
    I've retired my Makina 67W and 670 as they're getting too expensive to repair. I've never been satisified with large prints (over 16x20) from 35mm film; and after testing the M8, I became convinced the camera would provide the best transition to digital. It delivers gorgeous color images that are the equal to any film, and can be printed at 20x30. I can now carry one camera and four lenses in a very small bag (weight - 6lbs for the camera + lenses) and have a complete camera kit from very wide angle through moderate telephoto.
    I have never taken more or better photographs than I have done in the last year of using the M8 specifically because of the portability, image quality, and selection of lenses. The M8 is as easy to use as my M6 and makes better images in large print sizes than I can get from 35mm film. Is ithe M8 perfect? Nope - but, I've never had a perfect camera (even the M6), except maybe for my Holga after I applied black photo tape to it in strategic places....
     
  43. Personally, I think that this is a good forum. I enjoy browsing and posting here, and I find useful knowledge and interesting perspectives here. I also see some very good photographs here, ones that help me to see things in new and interesting ways. Sometimes I am able to offer information to help others, particularly photographers who are new to rangefinder cameras or Leicas.
    While a shift from film to digital photography may account for some of the decline in activity on this forum, I think there may be some other factors involved as well. Like all forums, this one does best when each of us, in making posts or comments, treats other posters with respect, civility, courtesy, tact and good will. There is a significant difference between a positive approach involving clear and direct advocacy of a particular point of view regarding an issue, on the one hand, and a negative approach expressing disrespect, condescension, harsh criticism or ill will toward another poster, on the other.
    Regrettably, I have noticed some things on this forum from time to time which have detracted from its enjoyability. I do not wish to direct personal criticism at any individuals by name, but I have noticed with regret some posts that:
    • are harshly critical about the perceived shortcomings of posted questions or comments;
    • are harshly critical about the photographic ability or accomplishments of other posters;
    • are harshly critical about styles of photography other than those that the poster favors;
    • are harshly critical of Leicas for perceived technical deficiencies (particularly the M8), high cost, or perceived "status symbol" orientation; or
    • aggressively advocate the supposed superiority of other types of camera (e.g. DSLRs) and brands (e.g. Nikon and Canon) over rangefinders in general and Leicas in particular.
    I am just one member of this forum, and not the moderator. I do not claim to be a particularly talented or accomplished photographer. I have no greater standing than anyone else to establish rules of decorum here, or to criticize others. I have not always been a saint in this regard myself. Bearing those things in mind, it would be a welcome change to see as many posters on this forum as possible take a positive approach, exercise self-restraint in criticizing others, and express themselves instead with respect, civility, courtesy, tact and good will. By all means, state your views clearly and directly, but please do so in a positive way.
    As my wife sometimes says, "You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar."
     
  44. I don't post here often, not to say almost never, because I'm very determined not to be feisty in wondering why a 5000 $ camera won't automatically take a great photo...
     
  45. because I'm very determined not to be feisty in wondering why a 5000 $ camera won't automatically take a great photo...​
    You know, I though I had changed that. I'm still surprised at how annoyed Phil's lame attempt at humor made people.
    I'll look into changing it.
     
  46. I think it's the site itself. Too much heavy handed and unnecessary editing or deleting of people's posts for one thing. Photographers tend to be independent minded, and I am sure all of them on the site are adults, yet they're treated like children by some of the mods. After a while you say "who needs it"? I'll just search google or another photography forum for my info. Well, the sites need the membership, we don't need them, so it's been turned topsy turvy. It looks like a lot of the knowledgeable people don't get involved on the forums anymore, for the reasons I stated.
    That's just one reason. Another reason is that most people today are starting out w/ digital. So the Leica forum doesn't get many newcomers. Sure, the egos are in the way, but that's on every internet forum. A small amount of people make a large amount of negative impressions. And over the years the site has amassed a lot of info on Leica cameras. Most people can find the answers they need by searching the archives w/o posting a question on the forums.
     
  47. rowlett

    rowlett Moderator

    There are a lot of very well thought out responses in this thread. Thank you, Ray, for bringing it up, for it really is an 800 lb. Gorilla standing in the middle of the room.

    I always liked it when the forum was warm and fuzzy, when members could post how proud they were of their cameras and how much they enjoyed the photos they were taking. But those who demand that the Leica is only a tool, and that people shouldn't get warm and fuzzy about their tools, kind of put a damper on that particular character of the forum. I'm not arguing that a Leica isn't simply a tool, but I am arguing that a Leica is a pretty special tool.

    During my travels, whenever I happen upon a stranger on the street or in a crowd who has a Leica around his neck, close enough for each of us to notice each others' cameras, there is often a distinct raising of an eyebrow or a trade of subtle but noticeable "approving nods" with one another, an act not unlike a club house greeting, and not a word spoken. I always get a neat feeling when that happens. I always thought that maybe some of those folks were participants in the Leica forum. Is that elitist? Is that just something that nurtures my belief that I spent my money on something that's worth it even though it was a high-cost item? Does this happen with other types of cameras?

    I never wanted the Leica forum to be just a hardware forum. Why do some down-home gun stores have an area with benches or chairs and a coffee pot with lousy coffee? Do you think it's only for asking hardware questions? "Hiya, fellas, I'm here to ask if I should MagnaPort my Winchester magnum after I lop an inch and a half off the barrel." Those spots are for customers to pop in during the day, relax, and chat about that 1 inch group they did at 100 yards on a windy day. Or to show off the marvelous, mirror-like bluing of a 1950's S&W revolver. I don't know if I'm making sense.

    I'm not sure why the forum's activity has gone down. Maybe it is inevitable on account of the massive wave of folks switching over to digital and turning down the idea of spending five grand on a 10 MP crop camera. But, I'll bet that, out of 100 people who "no longer post here," that 80 of 'em are still reading. I'd like to get them back into participating and posting their pictures.

    Just some random thoughts.
     
  48. rowlett

    rowlett Moderator

    Steve, I don't think it's the site. Shun moderates the Nikon Forum fairly strictly and the result is nothing but positive for the forum.
     
  49. rowlett

    rowlett Moderator

    I have no idea why people are so uptight about that term feisty. What the heck is wrong with that? My own wife is feisty.

    But I don't think any one is wondering why our expensive camera isn't taking a great picture. But if I take a lousy picture with a $5K camera and I think it's a good picture, then well, that's what _my_ photography is all about.
     
  50. Tony the "feisty...$5000, ..." comment is clearly disrespectful. It characterises the members of this forum in a disparaging way. Someone wrote it & stands by it whether a significant number of forum members like it or not. Probably no other forum on this site is described as dismissively; I wonder if any are described through the alleged personality types of its members.
    All of the complaints in this thread are true, but it is water well over the dam and into the sea by now. This was as vibrant, varied, and interesting a group as could be found anywhere. People shared & discussed personal experiences, equipment knowledge, political & social commentaries, humour, wacky theories. All of them gone off to where they're more welcome.
    The site is to blame. Some members & mods are to blame (one moderator deleted an entire thread of witty remarks because he didn't find them funny). The regular trolls who join in to see how many people they can infuriate are to blame. And we are too, for taking the bait.
    Thanks Ray.
     
  51. Someone wrote it & stands by it whether a significant number of forum members like it or not.​
    Phil wrote it years ago and by the time I got around to running photo.net in 2006, I had mostly forgotten about it. Even when I did notice that it was still there, I didn't remember long enough to actually get it changed as it really was low on the list of important things to work on. But I've got the file pulled out of the database now and I'll screw with it after I get tomorrow's newsletter done.
    But as we now spiraling down into "you stupid photo.net people killed what once was great", I don't predict much ouy of this thread going forward. Such is life.
    Anyone who cares or has an idea can email me. Otherwise I'll leave this thread up to the mods to close or not as they see fit.
     
  52. I know several who have given up on the photo.net Leica & Rangefinders forum in disgust because of the trolls and the disrespect, negativity and hostility. Life's too short and there are too many pictures to be made to put up with that kind of stuff. I rarely participate any more for the same reason.
    As Peter Shawhan wrote, "You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar."
    I've had enough vinegar.
     
  53. Interesting thread.
    I used to come here a lot. I now tend to frequent a few forums that don't insult you for liking a certain piece of equipment ... as if liking it made you a lousier photographer ... the opposite of "gear doesn't make the photographer" is that it doesn't unmake you one either.
    One place I visit every day is a digital site ... at least it was started as a digital site. We asked for an analog section ... and in no time it was thriving ... introducing new users to film, driving some digital die-hards to try it ... some who then sell their digital cameras. Whole new explorations, new approaches, new young M owners ... with all kinds of questions for us long time Leica M users. So many M shots posted, we had to start a "shot on film" thread "using something other than a M" ... LOL!
    IMO, this place became a viper pit chock full of mean spirited, relentless, and highly vocal people who were enabled by lame excuses revolving around being "feisty" and "independent spirits" ... it was a mental institution, and attempts at rational and well mannered discourse were about as successful as it'd be at a mental institution. If you stayed the course, you were in danger of becoming an inmate yourself.
    This forum moved about as far from a bunch sitting around a pot belly stove discussing the wonders and quirks of Leica as you could get. IMO, someone has to set the tone and manner in the direction that benefits it members in general. It has to be based on mutual respect ... and enforced. Why do I believe this? Because every attempt at ruining other sites is snuffed out immediately ... and contrary to being heavy handed totalitarian wastelands, they are thriving hubs of wonderful discussions and incredible sources of information. If you really think everything has been done and said, then its time to hang up your spurs. Leica is "just a tool" is right in that respect. New ways of using it are swirling around all over the place. Just not here from the tone of this thread.
    Here, just like a lot of the answers posted in this thread ... it feels like a graveyard. But not one for Leica or for film.
     
  54. Trolls, Leica haters, master baiters...we have those. But also Google works very well. I just got into LF and instead of mindlessly posting on various LF forums with their equvalents of 35mm or 50mm Summilux or Summicron posts I just googled and learned what I needed to know.
    Can't believe I have been hanging out here regularly since 1997! Time to get another hobby!
     
  55. You want to know how to make the Leica forum a more-productive, more-interesting, and more-active forum? Here are three simple things to do and one simple thing to not do :
    First, take a bit of responsibility for creating a better atmosphere. If everyone waits for everyone else to make things better, nothing improves.
    Try to think of one interesting topic each month, one that invites discussion and participation, and start a thread about it.
    Think twice about every post you make. Are you being helpful? civil? Are you trying to raise the level of discourse?
    Don't take disagreement, critiques, or criticism personally. Yes, disagreement and critique can be productive, but only if people don't pitch a fit whenever they hear something they don't like. Even if you think someone is intentionally trolling, provide a calm, rational response to counter his claims (or, at the very least, ignore him).
     
  56. "I think it's the site itself. Too much heavy handed and unnecessary editing or deleting of people's posts for one thing. Photographers tend to be independent minded, and I am sure all of them on the site are adults, yet they're treated like children by some of the mods. After a while you say "who needs it"? I'll just search google or another photography forum for my info."
    "The site is to blame. Some members & mods are to blame (one moderator deleted an entire thread of witty remarks because he didn't find them funny)"
    "A period of heavy handed moderation didn't help. Many people left."
    ultimately it is the moderators to blame, sorry, but thats how it strikes me. there seemed to be a concerted effort at one point to bring this forum "in line" with the rest of photo.net, whatever the cost. Theres always been trolls and naysayers on the lpf but they were usually drowned out by the level of general enthusiasm- Hell, its even going on in this thread -
    'However, please don't get into a photo.net policy discussion here"
    "But I am NOT going to waste my time with "oh, PN was so stupid and did this" type of stuff"

    - Or else what? the whole thread will be deleted? thats about normal Josh- the minute i saw the title i thought "rays wasting his time there, no way that thread'll be allowed to stand".
    "While those who still bear ill will from past arguments or issues may not believe me, but PN has not "lost customers""
    quite true- but the leica forum certainly has. I conciously stopped subscribing (other than posting pictures) along with quite a few others. It would have been a lot better had time been spent on actively weeding out the baiters and haters rather than trying to make this like one of the other gear forums. Still, what's done is done, I don't see how things can be improved. I'm off to the beach with my M8, see yiz on sunday.
    p.s. If you want to kill it completely, just stop the W/NW threads, that'll be the coup de grace.
    I should add this is in no way an attack on Josh Root personally- he contributes more than most- Moderation is a thankless task for the most part and i realize there has to be guidelines, they just seem to not work so well when applied universally. How can you have a discussion about whats wrong with a forum while not mentioning broader site policy? seems catch 22ey
     
  57. there seemed to be a concerted effort at one point to bring this forum "in line" with the rest of photo.net, whatever the cost. Theres always been trolls and naysayers on the lpf but they were usually drowned out by the level of general enthusiasm​
    In is a sense, you're right: at one point, the standard method of discourse on the Leica forum had sunk to the level of "inundate anyone who says anything critical with name-calling and personal insults," and the moderators did make a concerted effort to change that. The "general enthusiasm" wasn't for having positive discussions; it was for firing up the flamethrowers at every opportunity. And yes, a lot of people stopped posting when they realized that the Leica forum was no longer a free-for-all zone where they could spout venom every time someone said something they didn't like.
    How can you have a discussion about whats wrong with a forum while not mentioning broader site policy? seems catch 22ey​
    Josh said there was no point in people bitching about past policies simply to lay blame for the forum's problems. If there are positive, helpful suggestions about what the site can do to improve the situation, I suspect Josh would be open to hearing them. Keep in mind, though, that there are not going to be policy changes that 1. prevent people from posting comments that other people don't like or 2. allow personal attacks if someone says something you don't like.
     
  58. Sorry Mike, I don't buy it. I shoot a M8 and M7, and would love to participate in a dedicated Leica or rangefinder forum like this once was.
    BUT ...
    Trying to be productive ... yes of course.
    Disagreement, critiques and criticism not taken personally? Hard to do when they are made personal to such a degree. Sorry Mike, calm and rational NEVER worked here. "Ignore them?" ... sure ... but p.net is a highly visited public forum, and your name smeared in diatribes that never seemed to end isn't my idea of something one would want publicly aired ... nor was that kind of experience fun or informative ... EVER.
    I mean, come on, who on Earth wants to go some place where public ridicule is a real possibility and can result in one feeling unhappy? I don't want to have to thicken up my skin when having fun. I get enough of that from life in general, and from doing creative work for a living. Really not interested in some contest of wills and repartee'.
    In fact, that's the core of the issue IMHO. Nothing has changed. You guys keep placing responsibility on the victims to control their emotional response ... when it's the perps that you should be prosecuting. Personally, I've never seen a forum so tolerant of ill mannered, even vicious people, and more critical of everyday Joes just sharing their love of something ... sometimes over exuberantly perhaps, but that's the "human nature" of really liking something ... and Leica's have always inspired passion.
    In my experience, this forum became a cult of personality, with a few highly vocal "elitist in their own minds" the driving force that was allowed to ruin it for the general group. Tolerance based on what criteria? That they were better photographers than the general group? Who cares when it's emotionally ugly? Brilliance is tolerated when there is a profit motivating it. There's no profit here, except to share a love of something you do to express yourself ... each of us at our own level and in our own way. The world is littered with Brilliant, but nasty, people kicked to the curb when they are no longer profitable to others. I know this first hand from my line of work.
    You reap what you sow ... and tumble weeds blowing through this forum seems to be the resulting crop.
     
  59. Marc, I actually agree with most of what you've said. But we can't go back in time and shut down the most-problematic users before they caused the damage (which would have required moderation far more "heavy-handed" that what some people currently blame for the forum's state). We have to go forward from where we are.
    It's encouraging that the posts from the relative newcomers indicate they've actually gained something from the forum. I hope we can build on that.
     
  60. l_

    l_

    Mike, there is nothing in my life I regret more than logging on to photo.net 2003.


    The trolls have won, and worse. If my friends on the Leica forum have logged off, I lay the blame on photo.net's policy of supporting unquestioningly ID fraud in the community and copyright theft, even as trivial as it is today on a forum unfrequented by photographers as is photo.net today.


    I still see my friends, now and again, I no longer see their work, good bad, or just charming as things used to be, I sometimes see a newcomer fairly discouraged at the outset, and I lay the blame on the frequent posters who make up the community of photo.net as it is today.




    Leanne
     
  61. "a lot of people stopped posting when they realized that the Leica forum was no longer a free-for-all zone where they could spout venom every time someone said something they didn't like"
    I don't necessarily agree with that mike, most of the people who made the forum worthwhile were not like that- i wont list them, but there's quite a few of them here, (and you're one of them)- nor am I gazing backwards wistfully at some halcyon days-like recollection of how things used to be. It just seems to me that to quite a large degree the baby got thrown out with the bathwater. I genuinely have no idea how to make it better, other than maybe trying to foster that sense of community that was at one time a lot more apparent than now. Photos threads, print swaps (props to durr wise recently in that regard), and a generally lighter hearted approach to posting- (including some ribbing where appropriate) would seem to me to be a start. This is an internet forum, a thickness of skin would seem to be a minimum requirement. Hey, I always liked the idea of publishing a book of photos from the members here- it could be done like a photo competition/large print swap, and equal chance for everyone. I posted here with a canon 5d for about 2 years, as did ray i think (and several others no doubt)- it wasn't about the camera for me, more the approach and sharing things with people i'd consider to be peers.
     
  62. And another thing- the M8 IS a great camera. just dont use it indoors for color work if someone's paying you- it renders black clothing in an astonishing array of colors. But so what- hasselblads are big and heavy :p
     
  63. " "because I'm very determined not to be feisty in wondering why a 5000 $ camera won't automatically take a great photo..."
    You know, I though I had changed that. I'm still surprised at how annoyed Phil's lame attempt at humor made people.
    I'll look into changing it."
    Oooo, no, leave it. I think it's great! Lame? Not for me it isn't. I used to use Leica RFs for about 20 years before I went digital, but I think it's a great comment. And, deep down, maybe the sentiment expressed in the comment is the reason for the rudeness that used to be part of this forum.
    Please, leave it. Please!
    Regards
    Alan​
     
  64. The subject matter that has been allowed, tolerated to be discussed without members going ballistic has varied through the decade.
    On the Greenspun board 10 years ago many of us liked discussions of our new found Ebay buys like Russian LTM lenses; older 1950's Non-Leica LTM lenses. Often there was this air of "get out of here"; this is about ONLY Leica lenses; and not the millions of non Leica LTM lenses and bodies.
    Thus The Russian camera groups on yahoo groups became a hang out for Russian LTM items. Hard core leica folks were hell bent on weeding out the ill non Leica discussions. Thus you were a jerk for mentioning the new Bessa R; or even a old Nikkor 5cm F2 LTM. This hostile slant with non Leica items existed even when the Greenspun board merged into Photo.net long ago.
    A poor newcomer once asked about a 5cm F2 LTM on the Nikon board; I posted some positive results and images. Then the thread got axed due to being off topic. Then the same begineer posted the same question on the Leica board; and got grilled by old farts about being not a Leica topic. This was before there was a classic section. Thus the poor beginner posted the question about the 5cm F2 Nikkor LTM in a non Nikon; non leica area and got minimum responses.
    Here my take on what the Leica forum is about is about Leica cameras and Lenses; and ALL Leica Thread mount lenses; and all camera bodies that will hold a LTM lens. Purists hate this philosophy.
    Thus early on if one had a discussion about using a Canon 50mm F1.2 LTM as a poor mans Noctilux; the wrath of the old farts set in; one has commited a sin; talking about a non-Leica lens that one wants to use on a M3; Bessa R or Zorki 3C. The whole point seems abit silly; the majority of LTM lenses made are not by Leica. About every camera maker made LTM lenses at one time; and the "body of knowledge" of the quality or lack of is going to be with Leica and Leica clone users; NOT a chap that ONLY has used a Nikon F; TLR; LF; etc.
    The old beat up Leica M3 here was bought as a user; it has a retired guys SS number on the bottom that I bought it from. It was only a few hundred bucks because it is NOT what a collector craves; ie a hanger queen show piece. This concept goes against the grain of leica collectors; buying value in a tool because of its cosmetic "defects".
    The Leica are has always been a stange area; somebody will own a new Leica news. Then notice a speck of lint 2 months later on the optics. Folks will ask others if it is a huge issue; and will not shoot a few images. What bothers a hard core Leica user is often magnified by a zillion times. Thus a BB glued on a Leica train will drop its gas mileage by 30 percent.:)
    In doing research on a possible LTM lens purchase recently; I find more action on other sites; and find other folks who once hung on here too. I am not sure if those folsk were banned; or just gave up.
    The same old fart being grumpy factor happens on amateur radio sites too. A beginner might just need a 250 buck used Icom 735 as a starter rig. Purists will quickly steer the poor beginner into a 3 grand TenTec with 2 grand Linear and a antenna that requires several yards of concrete.
    The same thing happens somewhat with the LF board. A beginner might only need a 200 buck 4x5 speed graphic and 127mm Ektar to get ones hand wet; other folks will quickly steer the newcomer inot a 4 grand Ebony body and a lens that costs 2 grand. Alot of this activity of recommending starter equipment that costs 5 grand is a major turnoff for a newcomer. Its is like all the old farts forgot they started with lower cost gear; and then they preach all this super expensive stuff as a must have for a newcomer.
     
  65. it

    it

    Hasn't been the same since Grant et al left.
    Those guys posted so much good work.
     
  66. l_

    l_

    Oh , hello Ian :)
    Grant et al shoot digital now.
    If the Leica forum were not allowed to perv over their equipment in peace then who is surprised at the low show of Leica users nowadays?
    Missing their warmth, enthusiasm for all things photographic etc.
     
  67. Missing their warmth, enthusiasm for all things photographic etc.​
    Yup!
     
  68. Or else what? the whole thread will be deleted?​
    No Tom. Just what I said, I'm not going to waste my time with "oh PN is so stupid" kind of stuff. I said I would leave it up to Tony and Mike if they wanted to leave this thread open or not. Personally, I don't see anything useful coming out of it at this point. People just want to rehash arguments from years ago rather than try to think about moving forward.
    And so, there are 19,000+ other forum posts a week on photo.net that aren't in the Leica forum that have members who are interested in what features and support I can give them and projects they might want to be interested in. Mention a contest or a project to the Digital Darkroom or Wedding folks and they are all excited and want to know what they can do to make it happen. Mention that here, and exactly zero people have bothered to email and say "here's what I think we should do" or "what can I do to help" or even "get rid of tony/mike and go f---k yourself". That says a lot.
    Everyone wants to throw stones at the site and the moderators without thinking about what they are asking or what the results will be. We've got a pile of people in this thread saying "too many jerks and mean posts make the forum awful, delete them" and another pile of people saying "there is too much moderation and that is awful, let people act however they want". It doesn't work both ways. Some people hate too strong of moderation (a vocal, but often passionate and interesting, minority in terms of user numbers) but free-for-alls ALWAYS fail (witness every "screw photo.net, we're making our own forum with no moderation or rules" forum ever tried). So we're left with:
    "People leave the forum because of too many jerks. Posts shouldn't be deleted if they are negative or attacking leica or other photographers. However, if the user making the attacking post has a secret 'badge of acceptance' then they can make those posts and they shouldn't be deleted because we're all adults here and can handle stuff like this and too much moderation makes people leave the forum."​
    And that is an impossible game to win at.
     
  69. It's hard to specify to what degree forum moderation / policies have influenced things (I do think ending the ads is an easy example of shooting yourself in the foot), but ultimately the forum is made up of the people who post here. We've had too few Travis's (combination of great photographic talent and upbeat personality), Andy Pipers and Rob F.'s (knowledgeable adults) and too many trolls who contribute negative energy by making a sport out of baiting people. That's the bottom line as I see it.
     
  70. Ray,
    If you added in the overall contraction of film photography and its effect on film based forums, I would tend to agree with you.
     
  71. "People leave the forum because of too many jerks. Posts shouldn't be deleted if they are negative or attacking leica or other photographers. However, if the user making the attacking post has a secret 'badge of acceptance' then they can make those posts and they shouldn't be deleted because we're all adults here and can handle stuff like this and too much moderation makes people leave the forum."
    YES! FINALLY - THAT'S IT!!! Please do that. Except for the Secret Badge part. :)
    Seriously you guys have an impossible job of herding a diverse bunch of passionate cats. But if there's one single thing that I think throws everything else off balance it's the name-calling. In my opinion that is the one type of bad behavior that deserves heavier handed moderation. Zero tolerance. And I've heard in the past of reluctance to surgically cut posts because doing so destroys the continuity of the thread. Personally I say screw the continuity if it means allowing name-calling to persist. I may be Polly-Anna but I think most other things would take care of themselves if this problem could be addressed.
     
  72. Hey Josh, do please change that stuff about feisty guys and $5000 cameras. It's the sort of joke that makes you feel embarrassed for the teller.
     
  73. Alex, I'm doing it. It's just not as simple as you'd think due to the "hover" stuff on the page.
     
  74. It's easy to blame the fall-off in posts on past personality issues or moderation, but I'm not so sure. All the forums I visit that focus on Leica have tapered off in the past year too; it's not just the Leica forum here. The decline of film might be one reason; another reason might be that everyone got used to the M8 and arguing about it stopped being fun. The phenomenon seems to be real though.
    Ian hit a nail on the head with lamenting Grant's departure. I think of "the Grant era" as the sort of high point of the forum, despite a lot of bickering. Grant and a lot of other prickly personalities made the place interesting because (in addition to being "feisty") they had distinctive visual styles and were also very knowledgeable. But things change; people get busy, lose interest, and move on.
    What to do? I don't know - wait for Leica to release an M9, and post some pictures in the meantime doesn't sound like a recipe for a quick resurrection, but realistically other approaches are probably a lot of work on someone's part.
     
  75. The problem isn't that someone like Grant is gone. This place used to be interesting because it was fun to have a forum that indulged divergent points of view and which tolerated people who straddled the boundary between normal and sociopathic. I enjoyed nuts like Jay, Al, Kevin M as well as normal, knowledgeable photographers like Marc. It was fun having collectors like Elliott B, German aristocrats proclaiming the superiority of Leica caps, and the occasional pro who produced nice work with an old M6. After all, there are only so many threads comparing one 35mm lens to another that anyone could conceivably find useful. What was noticeable about two years ago was an uneven enforcement of forum rules, doing nothing to discourage some posters from piling into participants over and over again, while banning others for reacting to the piling on. Whereas a few years back there were occasional very good photographers who contributed to the visual richness of the forum, I think they came, saw and left, while thread after thread droning on how much the M8 sucked and how real photographers don't need Leicas stayed on and on and on.... You can't put the genie back in the bottle.
     
  76. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    I think there's a lot of "colored glasses" of one sort of another looking back. I went to an arbitrary forum page in 2004, it was pretty busy at the time. Of the 100 posts on that page, 22 were labeled "off-topic" and fourteen more were definitely off-topic but not labeled so. Of the rest, quite a few were picture posts. That says more than a third of the posts, at least at that point although many other pages look similar, were not really about forum topics. It is odd that picture posts have dropped so much, although I notice that many formerly active posters are now posting on flickr.
    Off-topic now has its own forum, and people with questions, for example. about post-processing now understand there is more expertise on this subject in the Digital Darkroom Forum.
    Some of the posters Andy enjoyed are no longer here because of personal attack issues. At some point, any entertainment value has to get weighed against the damage to conversation.
    Grant went digital long before most people, several years before his posts on this forum he started using digital cameras and told me (in 1999 I think) that photography was going digital, which I didn't believe at the time. So much for my ability to predict the future.
    Most of the people I personally know that shot with Leicas are now shooting with Canon or Nikon digital. I know a lot of San Francisco photographers and I've never met one using the M8. In fact, I've never even seen the M8. I occasionally see people with film Leicas, but that's pretty rare also. That's all anecdotal, but I'm pretty active here and figure I've seen a lot of what's out there.
     
  77. What he said best is true.
    Marc Williams - Franklin/Mich. [​IMG] [​IMG] , May 05, 2009; 06:27 a.m.
    Sorry Mike, I don't buy it. I shoot a M8 and M7, and would love to participate in a dedicated Leica or rangefinder forum like this once was.
    BUT ...
    Trying to be productive ... yes of course.
    Disagreement, critiques and criticism not taken personally? Hard to do when they are made personal to such a degree. Sorry Mike, calm and rational NEVER worked here. "Ignore them?" ... sure ... but p.net is a highly visited public forum, and your name smeared in diatribes that never seemed to end isn't my idea of something one would want publicly aired ... nor was that kind of experience fun or informative ... EVER.
    I mean, come on, who on Earth wants to go some place where public ridicule is a real possibility and can result in one feeling unhappy? I don't want to have to thicken up my skin when having fun. I get enough of that from life in general, and from doing creative work for a living. Really not interested in some contest of wills and repartee'.
    In fact, that's the core of the issue IMHO. Nothing has changed. You guys keep placing responsibility on the victims to control their emotional response ... when it's the perps that you should be prosecuting. Personally, I've never seen a forum so tolerant of ill mannered, even vicious people, and more critical of everyday Joes just sharing their love of something ... sometimes over exuberantly perhaps, but that's the "human nature" of really liking something ... and Leica's have always inspired passion.
    In my experience, this forum became a cult of personality, with a few highly vocal "elitist in their own minds" the driving force that was allowed to ruin it for the general group. Tolerance based on what criteria? That they were better photographers than the general group? Who cares when it's emotionally ugly? Brilliance is tolerated when there is a profit motivating it. There's no profit here, except to share a love of something you do to express yourself ... each of us at our own level and in our own way. The world is littered with Brilliant, but nasty, people kicked to the curb when they are no longer profitable to others. I know this first hand from my line of work.
    You reap what you sow ... and tumble weeds blowing through this forum seems to be the resulting crop.
     
  78. I just saw a video about the making of the M7. I think Leica produces 150 per month. Nikon and Canon probably churns out cameras like that factory in San Francisco pumps out fortune cookies.
    Speaking of San Francisco, there are people in the bay area who use Leicas and they have regular "meet and greets" or "beer and gear" whatevers ... ya just don't hear about them here...
    I thought there might be a web address for a Bay Area LUG, but I couldn't find one.
    I did however find this rather sad, feisty little discussion on the Leica Forum here on Pnet from a few years ago.
     
  79. Time marches on, people & institutions adapt and change. I think this is a healthy thread. I thank Vic again, and Josh too, for initiating, and then stimulating a healthy & frank discussion. If this forum gets interesting & passionate again I may not only buy another membership, I could even keep my Leica.
     
  80. We've got a pile of people in this thread saying "too many jerks and mean posts make the forum awful, delete them" and another pile of people saying "there is too much moderation and that is awful, let people act however they want".​
    Josh, one of the attributes (or drawbacks) of making a decision is that it eliminates all the other possibilities. You are right, you can't do both. So whoever makes the decisions should make one. Then everyone will know where it all stands and can get on with it.
    As you know, I DO participate in the p.net wedding forum. There is a real sense that it's constructive and productive with lots of mutual respect despite very diverse approaches. My participation has ebbed and flowed there due to the redundency of questions, but still feel I can contirbute frequently enough to both learn and help others. It's actually a vibrant community. My hat is off to Mary ball ... who's personality is the steading yet quite force of that forum.
     
  81. So whoever makes the decisions should make one. Then everyone will know where it all stands and can get on with it.​
    True. But there are parts of this that don't get considered by most people.
    So it seems there are a large group of people sitting here saying "The trolls and jerks (both part of the leica community and not) were a large part of ruining of what was once a good place to hang out. We want that crap gone." I am willing to consider making a policy saying essentially:
    "The leica forum members have decided that they want a more positive environment to discuss their love of rangefinders and rf photography. ANY trolling or attacking or harassing posts will be deleted. Doesn't matter if you are a 10 year member or a troll visiting for the first time. We want to share our photography, introduce new members to the joy of rangefinders and exchange opinions with likeminded people. All are welcome here, but if you don't feel like you can join in without being a jerk, you might want to go elsewhere. Otherwise you are going to get booted."​
    We did a version of this when we created the Beginners forum and it has worked wonderfully. Helpful people post there, jerks got warned then banned and don't cause issues.
    HOWEVER , for an existing forum this only works when a large group of forum members support the policy both privately and publicly. The moderators here are good people, they just want to make a cool place to discuss photography. Any actions they have ever taken were with that goal in mind. But moderators (like users) are humans too, and humans have different opinions and yes, are even prone to mistakes from time to time. What happens when a user who wanted this new policy has a difference of opinion with a moderator? The problem is that most everyone here asking for more moderation of crap posts will support that policy right up to the very minute when their own post gets deleted. Or their friend's post gets deleted. Then the moderators are a--holes and "what the hell happened to my post" threads show up all over the place.
    When it's someone else, the post deserved to get deleted. When it's your own post, it was just a joke the the moderator didn't get, or the moderator is an idiot, or the admins are nazi's, or they will sue the site if I don't kick that moderator out etc etc etc. By way of example, here are two EXACT quotes (minus swears/slurs) that I have received due to moderator/admin activities on photo.net. You tell me what sane person would be interested in dealing with this sort of thing:
    "I hope you end up in prison and get a-- raped by a bunch of n--gers you piece of s--t."​
    &
    "You should have your wife die of cancer a--hole. Then you would know what real pain was like and I would laugh"​
    People are booted from the forum for being a jerk or trolling under multiple accounts or calling someone a "f@g", and we end up with 50 posts from the people who didn't see the offending problems or know about the multiple accounts but want to play "pile-on". Should we pull the offender's pants down in public by way of explanation? Absolutely not, a previous admin tried that when he was changing banned members user names to say "Joe smith, banned for calling someone a f@g". It was childish and accomplish nothing when he did it and it would be childish and accomplish nothing now.
    I guess what I'm saying is that I'm willing to consider a strong-arm change like this. But it's a damn hard thing to do. The history of this forum is a perfect example of that.
     
  82. I support your proposal, Josh. And I am stunned that people would send those kinds of messages to a moderator of all people, for what in the larger scheme of things are trivial reasons. Fine, if my post gets deleted then I'd better rethink my wording or approach. There's always a different way of saying it, and the moderator I believe is more often than not a neutral observer. Finally, for those people who send those kinds of messages, please give us their names so we can take them out back and beat the crap out of them. :)
     
  83. What scared people away from this forum was the back-biting, followed by the ham-handed "moderation" by a person who is no longer with us (I mean photo.net). It earned the forum considerable contempt, which, I believe, accounts of the "feisty guys" introduction. I do not believe the digital revolution and the supposedly slow death of film has much to do with it. The Canon FD and Classic Camera forums are perking along just fine. No, it was the bad blood that did it. But what is important is that it is in the past, like the Bush era.
    From what I can see, the discussions are generally clean these days and moderation seems reasonable on the whole. There are people like Marc and a few others who I wish would come back and add their wisdom and images to the forum.
     
  84. The Canon FD and Classic Camera forums are perking along just fine.​
    Alex, your perception on this particular aspect is incorrect. I don't want to berate the issue, but I also don't want to gloss over the facts either. I'm not lying when I say that ALL film based forums are down on photo.net over the time frame we are talking about. I'm not saying that they aren't still active and vibrant, but posts are down significantly from their high point. In comparison, posts in forums like Digital Darkroom are up an equal amount or more over that time frame.
    I think your point is valid about the other stuff though.
     
  85. Keep in mind that the cost of entry for enjoying classic or Canon FD equipment is much lower than for Leicas. You can find working classics for $50 or put together a nice little FD kit for less then $300. A lot more people can afford that than can afford $1500 for a user M and single lens, so there's a much larger pool of users of those cameras.
     
  86. Thanks for your insights Josh and Mike.
    One thing that I want underscore is that this no longer exclusively a Leica forum. Inexpensive rangefinders are out there. This goes from the moderately priced Voigtlanders to the very cheap and often very good Soviet cameras, not to mention the vintage Minoltas, Konicas, Olympuses and others. There is a problem, as someone said, that non-Leica users do not feel welcome here. I do not think this is intentional. But without a little more welcoming the "and Rangefinder" part of this forum's title may well sound like a once a year invitation for the peasants to the Great Hall of the Aristocrats. I think this situation can be changed with a few appropriately friendly threads.
    Another thing to keep in mind is that Leica is very much a part of the digital world. In fact the only two film cameras that Leica makes are the M7 and MP. There are the high end digital cameras but there are also fairly inexpensive Leica point and shoots. They count as Leicas and ought to be welcomed. Again, we need to somehow emphasize that the forum is not the Great Hall of the Aristocrats and never has been.
    But above all, we need to tell everyone who was scared away from this forum that the bullies are long gone and are not coming back.
     
  87. I posted above on the theme of my reason for leaving here being the trolls who inhabited the place. There was a time that a day would not go by without me visiting and no more than a couple of days without posting. Then a couple of years ago after several unpleasant episodes of being flamed I just left. I got sick of having to deal with people who seemed to delight in being as hostile and revolting as they could be. And no one was pulling them up! Oh, I now drive by occasionally - that is how I found this thread and decided to contribute because it was not without regret that I decided to pack my bags and go elsewhere to hang out. But I have no intentions of coming bakc regularly. I have long wondered why it is that this site in particular attracted such a relatively large and vocal number of these small minded individuals. Is it envy? Is it because they think that because we use Leicas we are an easy mark? I dont know but I can certainly say I have not experienced anywhere else, the pure unadulterated vitriol that I found here. And mostly is was uncalled for. I remember vividly one day posting a photo of my wife that I thought was reasonably good. I had not asked for criticism but even so the uninvited response I got from a couple of adolescents (well they seemed so to me) was that my photography sucked, my wife was a dog and my camera was rubbish. If these were not the exact words they were the tone. Who would hang around such a joint? Not me...so I left. It does not surprise me that others have followed suit.
     
  88. l_

    l_

    Posting under multiple accounts _ that is the problem I have with the rangefinder forums.


    Boredom factor.





    Leica is not a 'range finder' forum _ it is a 'Leica' equipment based forum.



    That is where the misunderstandings arose years back, and why other image posting forums were included in the photo.net lineup in an attempt to solve the distress factor :).
     
  89. I hear you Peter. I had deal with similar crap in more crucial circumstances and won by digging and refusing to be intimidated. I did the same here. At some point I became a lifetime member of photo.net. I can imagine that a lot of people are going through some sort of post traumatic stress from all of this. It is really hard to believe what was tolerated at that time. The good thing is that it is over. The only time that I feel a bit of fear is when I post a question. But that is more like ordinary stage fright. I do not know what motivated all that bad blood. At this point, who cares.
     
  90. So, if this forum's membership and set of regular contributors becomes smaller ... my question is ... so what?
    If the quality of the experience improves and the feeling of "welcome" for all types of rangefinder experiences is more the prevailing feel of it, it will attract new members ... and grow.
    The fact is, the evangelists for any forum are its current members. Growth often comes from recommendations.
    If you've been around for some time, people do contact you directly for help ... often asking where to go to learn more. I've introduced a number of people to rangefinder work, both digital and film. This is absolutely the last forum I would send them to.
    People shouldn't feel like they have to be the world's best photographer to come here ... or that they'll be personally ripped to shred's every time they do. Let one Troll succeed and it's uncanny how the pack of Pirañas descend on a forum ... they must network or something ... www.UnitedTrolls.com ... LOL!
    Here's a thought. If this forum seems stagnate, you have to remember that the spiteful trollish people NEED the regular contributors to target. Without them, the Trolls have nothing to do. If you tolerate bad behavior, it's the beginning of the end and you'll end up with no one here. Regular folks are gone ... and the trolls move on ... hunting for another place to wreak havoc.
    My new M7 comes today. I've missed it dearly. I found a new lab and can't wait to try it. I am sick to death of warming my bum in front of a computer and chimping every shot on the M8. I realized that I needed to return to what made my wedding photography unique for my clients ... it was the way one thinks and reacts with a rangefinder camera, specifically a film M ... not that the camera makes the photographer ... but it DID change when I moved away from using film Ms. So, in the end it is MY evaluation of what works for me ... or not.
    It'd be nice to come and share those re-kindled thoughts here without ... "film is dead", "you suck", "wedding photography is inferior", and all the other personal crap and innuendo.
    00TH1k-132125684.jpg
     
  91. Marc, that is an absolutely beautiful shot! Really glad you are using an M7. These days the M7 is with M8 about 85% of the time. Mine is outfitted with a Rapidwinder and Rapidgrip.
    Worry not about Trolls. There are none any more. If there were they'd be on my case for sure.
     
  92. That's now 258 posts since the W/NW picture of the week on Sunday, including only 90 here and 41 for the 5000 feisty thread, so that's still 127 on other stuff and its only half way through the week. It's like the street forum: a little constructive criticism a couple of weeks ago and it just took off. Well done Ray.
     
  93. Yeah, cheers, Ray!
     
  94. common guys, don't give up!;) Although IMO 2003-2006 were the best years in this forum. It was time well spent. Now I have to teach my daughter writing and reading I hardly log on. But this forum is still on my favourite list. I am glad there are folks who keep the w/nw threads going. Seriously, I am no more keen on this M vs that M or this lens vs that lens anymore than what's on tv tonite. Kind of in a photographic rut these past months. But I do missed the people few years back who just disappeared. For example, Huw!
    Ray, enjoying your m8? I can't afford one(or rather i think it's over-priced as it is). Although I can remember how shooting with an M enhanced my photographic experience. It's just different. My brain tells me to get the grdII soon(the convenience and all) but I know I will be waiting for that near perfect M10++ soon one day.
    hey where's AL Kaplan?!;)
     
  95. rowlett

    rowlett Moderator

    Marc said, "This is absolutely the last forum I would send them to [for help with rangefinder photography]."

    That sure is a big help for the forum. Bravo.
     
  96. I can believe Josh when he says these comments come from contributors. You only have to peruse sites such as You Tube to see the amazingly puerile behavior of many contributors when left unmoderated. My feeling is that moderation was not harsh enough to deal with personal attacks (in the name of freedom of expression) a number of years ago and many contributors just gave up and left never to return. I also agree with Alex - if you get pushed around then just ignore it and carry on. Responding to attacks and even noticing and commenting on trollish comments is the oxygen these people need to survive.
     
  97. Marc says... Here's a thought. If this forum seems stagnate, you have to remember that the spiteful trollish people NEED the regular contributors to target. Without them, the Trolls have nothing to do. If you tolerate bad behavior, it's the beginning of the end and you'll end up with no one here. Regular folks are gone ... and the trolls move on ... hunting for another place to wreak havoc.
    Agree Marc .. The key in my opinion is to quietly subdue the trolls - not to answer them - to ignore them completely and let the moderator handle them in the background in private emails.
     
  98. Sorry Tony, but the few people I did send here were insulted and worked over for being exuberant about their new found love of Leica. It was embarrassing to have recommended it, and I stopped doing it.
    But admittedly that was then and this is now.
    I'll take Alex's positive lead, and shut up now.
    Josh, anything I can do to help don't hesitate to ask. I've done what I could for you and Hanna when you asked. Nothing's changed.
     
  99. Tony Rowlett wrote:
    "Marc said, "This is absolutely the last forum I would send them to [for help with rangefinder photography]."
    That sure is a big help for the forum. Bravo."
    Tony, as long as the forum is (or, "was", I hope) infested with sarcasm ("witty" or otherwise), trolls, personal attacks and hostility I won't send anyone here for advice. I sincerely hope those days are behind the forum but I'd have to see it to believe it before suggesting a friend ask a question here.
     
  100. Josh, anything I can do to help don't hesitate to ask. I've done what I could for you and Hanna when you asked. Nothing's changed.​
    Yes you have, and I thank you for everything you've done.
    I guess the one thing that I would ask everyone to do right now is to post. Just make posts. Post photos, post NW threads, post random musings about Leica or RF photography, etc. That will help things get moving again and it will flush out any remaining trolls so that they can be dealt with.
     
  101. rowlett

    rowlett Moderator

    While I am sorry for my snarky remark to Marc, I am annoyed by your remark, Doug. What now, a show of hands of all the folks who won't recommend this Leica forum to their friends? Let's just move on, please.
     

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