Load times and....

Discussion in 'Photo.net Site Help' started by gungajim, Jul 14, 2013.

  1. It is so nice to use PN during the last several weeks since load times, particularly for users' home pages, have been dramatically reduced. This problem seemed to have been solved in relatively short order after the latest administration took over, although who knows what was going on behind the scenes prior to the changing of the guard. Unfortunately, this problem was allowed to linger for years resulting in a dramatic decrease in traffic. As I mentioned in a previous post, I think PN needs to toot their own horn loudly to lapsed members and members whose use of the site has dramatically decreased. Now that operational issues seem to have been solved, the focus needs to shift to marketing so that the site isn't dominated by grump old men like me. I hardly think it would be a violation of the CAN-SPAM Act to email every registered user advising of them of the new operational efficiencies. BTW, the new administration of PN is so faceless and anonymous that it sometimes feels like a ship without a captain. We need a spokesperson who can present a 'vision thing' for PN, to paraphrase a great statesman whose name escapes me at the moment.
     
  2. I think GungaJim has a good point.
     
  3. I actually think that new PN impresaria Cara St Hilaire has been quite the active participant here on PN, much more so than Josh in recent months or years, even. She is fairly active on several forums and even spends time critiquing. I loved Josh's laid back admin style but Cara seems to be doing an admirable job in his place. I don't want to say she's better but she definitely seems to be keeping Jin busy with updates to the system that are improving the experience for many members and subscribers.
     
  4. I guess my previous contacts with Josh et. al. were in this forum and that I haven't been looking in the right places ... but the story of my life is looking for things in all the wrong places.
     
  5. I agree with you GJ,maybe the site is gone faster but you can see neglect in far too many places. The contact tab at the bottom of the page has still the name of Josh Root.If you contact them through that tab you are NOT going to get an answer.The mobile phone gallery in the main PN page is still going for the last 6 months,It seems mobile phone images are very important to this site.There is more but i will stop here.Lets see if anyone notices this thread '
     
  6. Hi there. First, so glad the load times are making people happy. That was a big source of frustration for quite some time. GungaJim Downs – that is a good idea and we did actually send an email blast to former subscribers to let them know about the site speed improvements and to invite them back.
    In terms of vision, these are the transparent and heartfelt thoughts from Glenn Palm (GM) and I (Editor). It is important to note here that Photo.net employs only four full-time employees: Glenn, Marisa (advertising), Jin (who has been with the site since day one and is the one who keeps the site running and improving), and I. There are others helping us right now with the redesigned that we mentioned a while back, but that is on a temporary basis. As you can imagine, we each juggle a lot of moving parts, but each part is intended to create a better user experience for everyone that spends time at photo.net while keeping afloat financially.
    Regarding vision. When we look at other photo-sharing sites, we see one thing that makes photo.net so different: the learning aspect. We aren't a Flickr, where people simply upload their photos and hope for a "nice picture" comment here and again. Photo.net, at its core, is about learning through the forums, articles and tutorials, photo critiques, and from each other most importantly. We encourage actually critiquing a photo and sharing ideas with someone—respectfully—how an image can be improved, rather than just saying "nice job."
    In a nutshell, our vision is to be the ultimate photo sharing, LEARNING site for people to both display work they are proud of, gain inspiration from the other incredible photographs and wisdom here on the site, and ultimately teach what they know to other newer members continually joining. We'd also like to eventually (over the course of a few years) rely less on advertising to keep the site afloat.
    So, our time time (editorially) has primarily been spent with ensuring we have a stead stream of articles and tutorials up on the site to encourage inspiration and learning while also going back and trying to update old tutorials that are no longer relevant or extremely out of date (old equipment guides, tutorials from the late 90's, etc.). We've also been working on things that encourage interaction, like POD (though POW is coming back too), the contests, and more frequent/different format newsletters highlighting positive member activity and new articles up that you may want to read. We've also been working on updating the workspace so that you can actually see recent uploads by those you have previously followed which will hopefully encourage more critiques as well, something we know everyone wants more of.
    The biggest issue with photo.net with retaining members and attracting new ones, in our opinion in looking at the competitive landscape, is the outdated look and functionality of photo.net. We are working on the site redesign, which takes a lot of time as you can imagine for a site this large. We are hoping it will launch in early 2014. We will be testing the site down the road with focus groups (present, past, potential members) and we'll be doing both Alpha and Beta testing to make sure it is the least buggy it can be before it is launched. All of the interactions with photo.net that you have now will be a part of the new design, but it will be much better in terms of functionality, presentation of your photos, and visually (which lets face it – we lovers of photography are visual people!).
    We still want to make the site, as it exists now, continually better. We get feedback daily with suggestions and we try to keep moving forward, because we can't stay the same. Some things we've changed, which like any type of change has resulted in both positive and negative responses.
    • the recent updates (and still in progress) to the workspace
    • pushing for server improvements to improve speed and reduce time-outs
    • tighter control of sock puppetry, an ongoing battle
    • new reviews, tutorials, and/or other articles each week
    • adding POD to give more chances for critique
    • partnerships resulting in better prizes for our monthly contest
    • tighter monitoring of some of the extremely negative member comments
    We can make site changes and provide content, but the other large part of improving everyone's experience here lies with the members. We've heard from former members that they left because of a negative experience, were intimidated, or offended by a racist, sexist, or harassing comment. Since we’ve been here we have adopted a zero tolerance policy for such that kind of behavior with the expectation that it would help weed out some of the negativity. However those are things that only you all, as the members, can change. People are drawn to positive energy and tend to avoid negative experiences.

    Year to date, we had over 14,000 new registrations and almost 2,000 subscribers, so let's all make sure those new folks have a good experience here together. It is largely up to each and every one of you to create a positive environment for photo.net to grow and flourish. While we all are passionate about photo.net and come to work each day with the goal of making it a better place for photographers to be inspired by one another and learn from one another…we know that the power of community is really what drives it forward and makes it a special place. That starts by each and every one of you taking care of it – making the right choices every day in how you engage, act and react, to make it the place we all want it to be.

    Also, we're slowly but surely trying to update contact info on the site. It is on the list.
    ps. Jeff Lear, thank you.
     
  7. As I was one of the members that voiced my concerns and displeasures at the changes made to our homepages when I was under the impression I was being forced to look at images not of my choosing. I must now confess that since the home page drop down boxes can now be customised to suit my preferences, I am now converted and very much in favour of the changes.
    In response to the PN vision of the future that Cara described and also in response to GJD "dramatic decrease in traffic": -
    I agree that the spirit and practice of PN is very different to most other photo forums. At PN there is a spirit of improvement and useful critique that is admirable.
    My genuine concern for the future is that there seems to be an ever increasing amount of members that use PN to showcase thier work and request critiques, and offer little or nothing by way of reciprocation to comments and critiques themselves. These people do not enter into the spirit of PN in any way shape or form. In addition to this I have seen recently a member that seems to make nothing but derogatory comments to other members work and .......as you might guess has no images uploaded himself. Could this be someone from another site that wishes to undermine the general good comeraderie on PN........who knows. But my point being is that it shouldn't be allowed to continue. And yes I concede I should have reported it!
    I can see from Cara's comments that lack of member interaction and members active involvement is of great concern also and I welcome any changes that will promote increased reciprocation etc. However I do have reservations that showcasing images from "People I follow" will achieve those goals, though I do hope to be proved wrong!
    Whilst I am not at all sure that anything can be done to actually make people contribute, or offer critique, perhaps encouragement could be the answer by adding some kind of incentives for those that do?
    I don't mean financial incentives either, but perhaps ask members for suggestions for incentives that would encourage more member involvement ?
     
  8. Alf - thank you for your thoughtful response here and your genuine care and good spirit for PN. Please do flag anyone that is concerning. Glenn and I try to get into forums as much as we can and I love being able to voice thoughts in the photo critiques, but we only see a fraction of the activity. It is helpful if we hear of anyone being abusive/overly negative anywhere on the site so we or moderators can deal with the situation. That is a great idea - incentives. We've been talking about that a lot internally - particularly surrounding critiques. We are going to be sending a survey out soon to give people the opportunity to voice ideas in an anonymous way.


    Thanks again. Oh and I'm so glad the workspace is working out for you.
     

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