Off Topic Forum

Discussion in 'Photo.net Site Help' started by lgw, Oct 14, 2013.

  1. Why is the Off Topic Forum "disabled until further notice"?
     
  2. Laura,
    I was just there from a mobile device
    with no problems.
     
  3. Jim, it appears that new posts to OFF TOPIC have been disabled. No clue why!
     
  4. Ah, thanks Bill.
    I did just see where one of the threads
    had been closed.

    I don't participate there very often but
    do check for interesting threads!
     
  5. Jim, in the "About this Forum" box is written in red letters "The Off Topic Forum is disabled until further notice."
     
  6. My understanding is that there are some admin/structure/moderation issues being dealt with. The forum will return. I think you can still read and reply to existing threads, but as for now the forum isn't accepting new threads.
     
  7. An attempt to prevent arguing parties from continuing closed threads by simply opening new ones with the same subject?
    I would be sad to see the off-topic forum closed completely, I value reading the opinions posted there.
     
  8. Laura, navigating PN from a mobile
    device I'm learning is much different
    than the view of the "full site."

    Now I can see!

    Hmm, that is curious!
     
  9. Thanks for the replies. I rarely participate in OTF, but frequently read the threads for many reasons. I wouldn't want the forum to close.
    Michael, those are great. Thanks for the flash back.
     
  10. One would hope that a decision of this type would be accompanied by some attempt at ownership from those making the decision. "The off topic forum is disabled until further notice" being posted in big red letters doesn't leave the impression that it is the result of a structural issue.
     
  11. "The Off Topic Forum is disabled until further notice."
    Waiting for the "further notice" !
    Hopefully the decision does not have to go through the Senate and the House :)) - a typical off-topic remark.
     
  12. Personally I've walked away from the Off Topic forum. The unrelenting attack-based perspective of some participants meant that it's not an enjoyable environment, and I originally came to this site to improve my photography. I don't miss the process - didn't even know it was "on-hold" until Laura posted this thread.
    Too bad, because there's smart people on this forum who have some good ideas about non-photographic issues. Personally I'd like to see an off-topic political forum that I could simply turn off and ignore, and any thread that drifted that way could be transferred there. The usual suspects could argue as loud as they wish.
     
  13. The Off-Topic forum was created by Josh Root with the intention that it become a place where we can get better acquainted to extend our community interaction beyond photography through our hobbies, interests, activities, or help one-another if we have unusual problems.
    Our community is diverse, and we have a surprising number of experts among us from a broad spectrum of professional disciplines who are always willing to lend a hand, to help solve problems, or simply share their expertise and experiences. Want to know how to start a Piper Cherokee? How about making a 100 gallon salt water aquarium? Maybe you've never deep-fried a whole turkey and want to try, or you heard a great song today that reminded you of old friends that you'd like to share. That's what we're here for, and you'd be surprised by how much we can share, how interesting a discussion can become, and how helpful it can be even to sideline observers.
    Of course it's inevitable that something potentially contentious will tempt us to discuss it in the forum, and there's nothing wrong with that, but realize that we have an international community from all ages, gender, and life experiences, that we will have differences in our values and core beliefs, and these individual differences must be respected even if we disagree. Humor, sarcasm, wit, are all okay, but it's often not successfully communicated through writing and might come across as insensitive sharp-tongued remarks that won't sit well with the community - something we should also be mindful of.
    The Off-Topic forum is arguably the only place where we can nurture our sense of community and develop mutual respect with a site-wide influence because there is no other place on photo.net where we can learn about (and from) one another as people, so there is also responsibility attached to the manner in which we participate.
    I value my interaction with fellow members and from it I've developed a deep appreciation for the high level of collective intellect. This is the reason I've stuck around and have hopefully reciprocated in what I've gotten from it. I'm also not prepared to abandon it just yet in the hopes that smarter choices will prevail from everyone so that we can pick up where we left off for the betterment of the community. The forum is where I've chosen to anchor myself so what I've said is to some degree self-serving, but we will have collectively lost a piece of PN if the forum goes away or returns with stringent rules and threats of unpleasant consequences. None of us want that, so let's give it another try toward the building of a stronger community.
     
  14. Couldn't agree more with your points Michael - and in fact you're one of the people that I like to correspond with through threads on Photo.net. And I agree that a lot of the of the technical and business knowledge here is fascinating. I enjoy those threads a lot.
     
  15. The Off-Topic forum was created by Josh Root with the intention that it become a place where we can get better acquainted to extend our community interaction beyond photography through our hobbies, interests, activities, or help one-another if we have unusual problems.​
    Josh rode into the sunset, and a new sheriff is in town with "a full editorial calendar in place with new and exciting content for the community to enjoy". Are we enjoying yet?
    http://myemail.constantcontact.com/Photo-net-Newsletter-.html?soid=1112251553979&aid=M8MgE3xYrIk
     
  16. Robert, it is a business reality that changes must be made in order for change to take place, and these changes can often be uncomfortable, but running a business a serious stuff and along with it comes accountability which not many of us have the stomach for.
    As a participating member, I prefer to adapt to these changes and work within its framework to do my part; why else would I choose to stick around? It's a lot to expect any single individual to make everything right for us, and we often underestimate the power of our own influence on the collective as members of a community-driven site.
    The creation of the Off-Topic forum can be seen either as the worst idea ever transpired on p.net, or potentially the best thing that ever happened. Which is it? Josh created it, Cara inherited it, but neither will have the power to magically transform it because it's only through our collective decision in how we choose to use it that will make it one or the other.
     
  17. Could someone here point to an OT thread that was the most influential in getting the OT shutdown? I couldn't find anything that warranted it. The thread that was accused of mentioning racism as the cause for that one particular thread being shutdown didn't seem all that serious. Long winded? Yes. But abusive? I didn't feel offended or get upset by anything.
    Much ado about nothing. More drama than resolution.
    However, I'ld have to say you guys need to come up with more interesting OFF TOPICS. I was getting bored more than offended. Michael's Elephant Artist find was the exception. Hey! I know! How about another thread on ID theft?! Snooooozzzz!
    Hey Michael, who were all those people in those two 2004 "Historical Photo" discussion threads you linked? Never see them before? How did you know them? I see they aren't here any longer.
    This place is looking more "clickish" by the year. 9 years as a subscriber here and I still feel like the red headed stepchild.
     
  18. Josh was fired. I don't think anyone missed him, just like no one will miss the off-topic forum.
     
  19. Dan, I'm disappointed that you waited 4-1/2 years just to post this as your only contribution to the entire site and an important topic; at least you should have the decency to post from your real account, don't you think?
     
  20. I have learned a new word: "Clickish" - but still don't know what it means.
     
  21. Anders, maybe Tim meant Clique-ish, or Cliquish.
     
  22. You might be right, Michael, thanks. After all, I didn't learn a new word then.
    Tim, is right then, Photonet is made by cliquish photographers. Most of us participate in several cliques in the same time. The Off Topic clique just happens to be the most in view, and maybe the most active. The No Words clique is just more kind of quiet, although photos sometimes speak with capital letters !
     
  23. Robert, it is a business reality that changes must be made in order for change to take place, and these changes can often be uncomfortable, but running a business a serious stuff and along with it comes accountability which not many of us have the stomach for.​
    Agreed. Editors of this site, new or otherwise, can and should make changes for whatever reasons they see fit. They should expect that the changes won't please everyone.
    However, by "disabling" the Off Topic forum without an announcement or an explanation is unprofessional, or community friendly. It is worse than the forum disappearing without an announcement or an explanation.
    Perhaps the Off Topic forum will be replaced by an Editorial Announcements forum.
     
  24. Josh was fired.​
    Now this is juicy. Tell us more.
     
  25. Michael Chang[​IMG][​IMG], Oct 15, 2013; 03:59 p.m.
    ... a place where we can get better acquainted to extend our community interaction beyond photography through our hobbies, interests, activities, or help one-another if we have unusual problems.​
    I am quite new to the OT and that is exactly how I saw it!
    Tim Lookingbill[​IMG][​IMG], Oct 15, 2013; 05:22 p.m.
    Could someone here point to an OT thread that was the most influential in getting the OT shutdown? I couldn't find anything that warranted it. The thread that was accused of mentioning racism as the cause for that one particular thread being shutdown didn't seem all that serious. Long winded? Yes. But abusive? I didn't feel offended or get upset by anything.​
    Some posts have been deleted. My point of view on this is that the thread itself or the topic where not inappropriate, but some people get angry by their own interpretation of others comments and at times it turns into personal attacks. Some people can't seem to be able to state their opinion without attacking anyone who dare to differ... I personally never felt offended... but I don't easily get offended... hopefully we can restore some civility, respect cultural differences and continue to enjoy the interaction..
     
  26. ""hopefully we can restore some civility, respect cultural differences and continue to enjoy the interaction""

    Not to forget that the Off Topic discussion have to a large overwhelming degree been respecting "civility" and cultural differences and been enjoyable and interesting for most, despite the often strong disagreements between participants.
     
  27. I'm not sad to see it go. It seemed like cable news "debates" of people with different views on politics and economics. People talk about the "death" of photo.net and I think the Off Topic Forum helped create more animosity among members and drove some people away. At least it's driven me to only check the site once a week instead of a few times a day.
     
  28. "At least it's driven me to only check the site once a week instead of a few times a day."
    Walt, The Off-Topic forum is nothing more than a tiny corner on this site. It shouldn't drive you to avoid this site any more than a couple of parking lot fights in a shopping mall will cause you to avoid the mall, unless there was nothing in the mall to attract your business to begin with.
     
  29. I am sorry to see the Off Topic Forum has been suspended and hope that normal service will be resumed shortly. Perhaps if some participants are deemed not to be playing nicely enough they could be put in an Off Topic Sin Bin till they cooled off?
     
  30. Tim, is right then, Photonet is made by cliquish photographers. Most of us participate in several cliques in the same time. The Off Topic clique just happens to be the most in view, and maybe the most active. The No Words clique is just more kind of quiet, although photos sometimes speak with capital letters !​
    Sorry about the confusion caused over my misspelling the word cliquish. I was debating on whether to use "clannish" instead but didn't want the "KKK" inference due to the racism radar here.
    And to be more specific about the word "cliquish" I was more referring to how some regulars appear to know each other by way of who they decide to argue back and forth with and to what extent like some old married couple while quite a few others including myself are continually ignored no matter the extent of their years as a subscribing member.
    It's like in Michael's two links of folks feeling quite comfortable posting there old photos whose names I wasn't familiar with. I mean who and where are all these people and I how come I don't know them or had discussions with them in these forums. This is why I switched to the "Unified View" to increase the odds I'ld come across newer people that just might like to intelligently argue/debate/discuss things of interest with me and quite a few others only to find it ends being a discussion between two regulars.
    This is one of the reasons I don't start topics. I seem to draw two regulars, JDM and Matt Laur, most of the time where soon afterward the thread just dies with a couple of more contributors. Then some other regular starts a discussion on a subject I couldn't possibly know anything about and seriously doubt anyone could possibly have any authoritative information to make it interesting and the thread gets over 30 posts. Long drawn out threads over small talk subjects is still a sociological mystery to me and a waste of time.
    For the length of time I've been a member I've had my suspicions a lot of these people are really friends of PN employees and/or employees themselves hired to add prattle to make this site look like its humming along in order to build traffic.
     
  31. Just to add I think social networking on this level of intensity going by the length of thought out responses here compared to other forum based sites may be an unintended exploration/experiment slowly revealing over time how we humans project meaning and inference into what is or is not a real and meaningful human connection seeing there's no commitment and all conducted within the safety of our homes.
    We don't lose anything but are we gaining anything in the way of long term relationships. When I get off the internet and go about my daily routines I still can't see you all as people because my mind has been tuned to associate that concept visually and audibly and sometimes olfactorily which obviously isn't part of the online human experience in this case.
    I'm concerned the longer I continue socializing this way, the more I'll bond with people who are basically invisible whom I'll probably never see or meet up with. Am I hooked or irreversibly conditioned to only being able to interact with people in this manner? Will I have withdrawal symptoms if I quit cold turkey? I'm a bit afraid to find out.
     
  32. Tim, the Internet and your local neighborhood are not mutually exclusive, though I don't know what the limits may be of your local neighborhood. I spend time on the Internet, enjoy it, learn from it, relate to anonymous, faceless people however best suits me. Then I get out, take a walk, go for coffee, shake a hand, meet folks for dinner, attend a gallery opening, go to a movie with friends, go to a free concert in the park.
    What I've gained here is exposure of my own photos to a broad audience and exposure to a similarly broad array of others' photos. I mostly participate in critique discussions, with some Philosophy thrown in for good measure.
    I've learned a lot about my own work, seen a lot of possibilities in some of the work and many of the critiques I've run across.
    Photography is significantly visual and the Internet isn't a bad place to communicate visually with some supplemental verbiage tacked on.
    Lots of options.
     
  33. >>> I'm not sad to see it go. It seemed like cable news "debates" of people with different views on politics
    and economics. People talk about the "death" of photo.net and I think the Off Topic Forum helped create
    more animosity among members and drove some people away.

    Couldn't agree with Walt more. Despite multiple warnings, most threads of a political nature sink into
    impolite, rude, and oblique backhanded put-downs and behavior that stifle differing views/outlooks, send people away, and cast photonet (a *photography* forum) in a very negative
    light. Usually by the same handful of people. When that has been brought up in the past, the response is
    there are plenty of other photonet discussion forums, just visit those instead. Selfish...
     
  34. Anders Hingel[​IMG][​IMG], Oct 16, 2013; 01:53 p.m.
    Not to forget that the Off Topic discussion have to a large overwhelming degree been respecting "civility" and cultural differences and been enjoyable and interesting for most, despite the often strong disagreements between participants.​
    Anders, as I said, I never got offended by any comments posted on the OT forum... but when people do get offended the conversation tends to degenerate... not that a heated argument is unhealthy... and since offending posts are removed, how could we possibly say if the action taken was the right one. I, for one, want to believe there was a valid reason...
     
  35. Tim,
    I still regularly communicate with many of the people in the threads you mentioned from Micheal's links. I just don't do it here at PN. Some of them have moved on, others still post occasionally. None of them as best as I recall have ever been active participants in the forums. There are a lot of people who utilize PN but never post in forums. A forum like the OT forum has a small group of participants. I seldom bother with that forum unless someone posts an interesting link. After awhile it gets to be that you already know where the usual subjects stand on most of the contentious topics.
     
  36. It is my view, and probably the modern Internet view, that maintaining a cohesive group of any size over time through moderator policing is all but impossible, or will have unintended consequences, so we're starting to see completely unpoliced communities based on the premise that any community numbering more than 2 will self-police.
    YouTube is a good example of that.
    Somewhat in the middle are communities like Facebook where users are given policing power by way of privacy settings to in effect create cocoons to isolate themselves.
    The moderation of our community is probably a carryover from the early Internet days which has resulted in a relatively civil atmosphere in its forum interactions, but it has also limited itself by creating a default "white collar, middle class" demographic which over (calendar) time will evolve into an inflexible geriatric ward to the exclusion of the emerging youth.
    Photo.net probably doesn't have the critical mass to adopt the YouTube free-for-all model, but some combination of YouTube's comment ratings and adopting some of Facebook's privacy settings, together with mild moderation, will likely serve us well and reduce site burden. If for example a comment is voted with high numbers of "thumbs down" then the recipient of the comment will less likely feel offended because the anonymous votes will have vindicated him, likewise trouble-makers will be made quite apparent and perhaps shamed into better behavior.
    At a minimum, it should avoid having to take drastic and unpleasant site measures because the combination of (anonymous) self-policing and moderator oversight will likely be more effective. It will also be non-discriminating toward age and gender thereby creating a more open and receptive community without having to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
     
  37. Hi all,
    I apologize for the delayed response about Off Topic. There have been many discussions about the forum, what to do with it, and if it can be changed in tone. There are just so many complaints about it. We get notes from members often when they decide to leave and the reason is most commonly because of the hostility that exists. Although we all have interests outside of photography, this is ultimately a photography site and hostility towards one another in the Off Topic Forum is not useful or helpful to our fellow photographers. Instead, it is a breeding ground for toxicity and behavior that would not be allowed in most parts of our lives, let alone in other forums on photo.net. When communicating with one another in the forums and via critiques and any other part of the site, ask yourself this: "Would I respond like this in real life? Would I be so uncivil face-to-face?" Let that be your guide.
    For now, the Off Topic Forum is disabled because it needs a break. We realize it will seem unfair to those who are continuously respectful and play by the rules and for that I am sorry. There will be another forum created at some point to discuss interest-related, non-photographic topics, but we will not host a place to berate one another's political views or other unnecessary conversations that will only lead to combative behavior. Surely there are other sites where things like that that can be discussed rather than here at photo.net.
    Photo.net should be a place where people can freely ask questions and discuss issues regarding photography in a supportive environment.
     
  38. Hi Cara,
    Thank you. It would have been helpful to place this explanation in the OTF when it was disabled, then close the discussion. That can still be done for the benefit of those who visit that forum, but don't come here.
     
  39. Just one comment to Clara's message, if it is allowed.

    Clara is the boss and she decides. For each one us to decide how to react to the changes she introduces. Some are
    sure to further improve Photonet, others less so. Most of us have experiences it before, and are still here, maybe because
    it is still one of the best places for photographers to be on the web, with or without relevant off topic discussion.
     
  40. I'm sad to see it go. It's been fun. I wish there were some way to eliminate the polemics but not throw the baby out with the bath water.
     
  41. It may be that the majority of people into photography today, unlike many at photo.net, just want a place to post their photos for display and for praise. It is probably better that we don't get all that nasty with each other as we age into obscurity and irrelevance.
     
  42. I disagree that the forum was too offensive to sacrifice what was often times a lively and thoughtful
    discussion. There has always been from time to time confrontation and over the top comments on some
    of the photography forums. People seem to be able to become enemies and get offended over
    disagreement about photography gear. I agree that those who were offended with threads on the Off
    Topic forum maybe ought to just not visit Off Topic, just like you would choose not to spend time with
    anything else you didn't like. Not sure why that concept is so difficult to understand. I do realize, I
    suppose, that this site is a business, and the owners/caretakers have the right to make the rules as they
    wish.

    I do hope that Off Topic can continue so that people can post topics and questions that are non-
    political in nature. I always seem to have some kind of question not directly related to photography I could use some input on.
     
  43. There are oodles of fora out there which make p.n look like a Victorian Lady's Tea Party. I don't think we do too bad. I also feel that freedom of speech must mean freedom to be told youre talking out of your hat! Most of the time I skim past many posts or gloss a thread for substantive points andor attitudes. We are all adults here and we all know how deep the rifts are between people. What gets me is when people come ot with an outrageous statement, get called on it and then cry foul. I'm used to people disagreeing with me!
    :)
     
  44. One man's chaos is another man's democratization.

    At its core, PN is about the horizontal affinity among its participants and their bilateral exchanges. It can either be forced to function under the rigid controls of vertical management, or it can be a natural product of vertical facilitation by way of positive site-culture influence.
     
  45. Although we all have interests outside of photography, this is ultimately a photography site and hostility towards one another in the Off Topic Forum is not useful or helpful to our fellow photographers. Instead, it is a breeding ground for toxicity and behavior that would not be allowed in most parts of our lives, let alone in other forums on photo.net. When communicating with one another in the forums and via critiques and any other part of the site, ask yourself this: "Would I respond like this in real life? Would I be so uncivil face-to-face?" Let that be your guide.​

    People do not equate their physical and virtual lives and therefore don't behave the same way inside their bodies as outside of them. Inside their bodies most people do not belong to a talking club or debating society, very few discuss things with strangers, and very many rarely speak at all to others except in passing about nothing or to negotiate for something they want. AFAICT the off-topic forum is not more or less hostile than any other active community of disembodied voices on the internet, for better or worse. For a lot better, IMO, and seeing as no one reads the off-topic forum for on-topic discussion or knowledge, I don't see how you can possibly know its utility to others. Now maybe the off-topic forum is off-putting to advertisers and maybe it isn't. Don't know, can't say I care, however, I understand why whoever pays the bills here might want more advertisers or more of whatever it takes to increase revenue. I have to say though that this is the first special interest site intended for a general audience that I know about that doesn't have an off-topic forum. Perhaps they exist but if they cater to my interests, then you won't find them in the first few pages of a google search. Just saying.
     
  46. Count me as sad to see the OT forum go. I believe it is a mistake to think of forums as "photography forums" or "gardening forums" or "classic car forums." The owners of such are kidding themselves. Forums are gathering places, "pickle barrels," around which people seek friends, chatter, gossip, entertainment, and a place to vent. Sure, the online version of this olde tyme social relation isn't the same as the corner bar, or the coffee shop, the general store. Sure, people adopt different rules of engagement than they do with in-person encounters, but that doesn't in the least change the meaning it has for people.
    I have to imaging the biggest complaints about OT came from people who did not regularly post in OT. Why they can't simply skip it and move on is not too mysterious to me. It's a form of resentment that others are engaged in something they can't do well, or maybe dislike. Who was being harmed? The regular OT posters seemed to be having a swell time. If they weren't, why on earth were they posting?
    Why would anyone consider that OT jibber-jabber as vicious or nasty, or dangerous? It's theater. People with some skills at writing, or debating, or arguing, love to play out their parts to the maximum. If you went to a fencing match, would you jump back in some exaggerated horror and wonder, "how can they be so violent to each other?" IT WAS FUN, people. No, not for you who don't enjoy verbal fencing, but for those who DO. I have never laughed as much at the keyboard as when reading and replying to posts in the OT forum. I don't know what kinds of sense of humor some of you have, but I have never taken anything as an actual offense. How could I? - it's impersonal.
    We live in an era of righteous indignation at EVERYTHING! You name it, people are righteously offended. Breast feeding, smoking, protesting, political discussion, arguments, dissent, loud talk, religious discussion, and the Mother of All Offending Speech - any talk of "morality!" Why is this? Where did all this righteous indignation come from? It came from Corporate-America and their minions in public relations who are creating the culture of calm soothing InternetMuzak, and fun, and endless credit, and let's all go buy some new cameras! Let's be sure none of us risk offending anyone! Let's pretend with all out hearts and souls the whole world is nothing but a Big Happy Camera Store!
    "Kettling" is a new term in our culture which describes how police physically manage crowds at protests. They form a chain or barrier and literally herd and funnel everyone into 'cold pools' to damp the ardour, kill the protest, quiet the angry voice, water down the dissent, dissipate the heat, far away from the center of the action. Well, there are more subtle forms of kettling too, which can be applied wherever there is heat of any kind. OMG! Some folks are saying disagreeable things in that thread! It's such a threat to our sacred peaceful commerce! Yes, yes, yes, let's all go buy a new camera and stop all this kicking and screaming - - it's dangerous!
     
  47. It is probably better that we don't get all that nasty with each other as we age into obscurity and irrelevance.​
    (After much laughter) THAT's exactly the sort of thing I will miss by the drowning of the OT forum in the bathtub of righteous indignation.
     
  48. I wish there were some way to eliminate the polemics but not throw the baby out with the bath water.​
    I can't imagine a world without polemics and polemicists! I really hope that wasn't a serious desire. You have me worried now more than before I began reading this thread.
    The international folks know this all too well - Americans are being infantilized. It's a frightening process that is probably beyond the turnaround point already. "Happy talk" must be everywhere, at all times (anyone seen the morning shows lately on TV?). No confrontation! No adult topics (sex, religion, politics, morality) - even if they are the central point of life! No strong language! "Can't we all just get along?" they sang, languidly.
     
  49. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    No confrontation! No adult topics (sex, religion, politics, morality) - even if they are the central point of life! No strong language!​

    This isn't true at all. This an incredible amount of confrontation, strong language and adult topics all over the web, particularly on political and news sites. That has nothing to do with photo.net though, which is supposed to be a photography site. Maybe you missed the name of the site.
     
  50. "I can't imagine a world without polemics and polemicists!"​
    Perhaps that's part of the problem. I'd rather imagine a world of classical rhetoric and efforts at the art of persuasion. If more folks engaged each other in that model the OT forum might have succeeded.
    I'll quote from the community director of another site I used to visit over 10 years ago. They tried an off topic forum too, and in late 2008 banned hot button topics on politics, religion, etc.:
    "Due to the divisive nature of recent political and religious discussions on this forum, discussions on those subjects will no longer be allowed on the Off-Topic forum. I'm closing all political and religious discussions and any new threads will be deleted or closed, depending on the nature of the discussion. Sorry about that. I tried to let things take care of themselves, but it quickly became obvious that we can't handle those subjects in a reasonable and respectful way. So rather than let those two topics distract and divide this wonderful community, I've decided that we will no longer allow them here. It would be nice to see some of the energy that goes into religious and political argument be applied to camera discussion instead." --Photo-John, PhotographyReview
    Let me repeat his last sentence:
    "It would be nice to see some of the energy that goes into religious and political argument be applied to camera discussion instead."
    When was the last time you contributed anything to the photography aspect of photo.net? What's the ratio of your OT forum activity to photography related activity?
    Or are you only here for the polemics?
    Polemics are easy. Anyone can do that. And most of our OT forum polemicists indulged too often in the commonest logical fallacies, increasingly as a first rather than last resort. It wasn't even a good outlet for honing ones debate skills. It was mostly soapbox posturing and shouting, spouting of talking points memorized from our personal favorite propagandists. We can get that anywhere from anyone with a keyboard.
    Rhetoric and persuasion demand real skill and a command of not only the subject matter but of personal restraint and the ability to actually hear what others are saying.
    "Genuine polemics approach a book as lovingly as a cannibal spices a baby." --Walter Benjamin
    Walter Benjamin also wrote:
    "The camera introduces us to unconscious optics as does psychoanalysis to unconscious impulses."​
    Now *that's* a helluva lot more interesting proposition to ponder than anything I've read in five years on the OT forum about politics, most of which I'd already read in the news papers and commentary and policy magazines and sites I follow. In five years I never once learned anything about politics and hot button issues that I didn't already know or couldn't have found on my own.
    I'd rather hear about what else we're passionate about. And if it's only politics... good grief. Take me off your dinner list. I get enough of that already from my real life acquaintances.
     
  51. This isn't true at all. This an incredible amount of confrontation, strong language and adult topics all over the web, particularly on political and news sites. That has nothing to do with photo.net though, which is supposed to be a photography site. Maybe you missed the name of the site.​
    Your best sarcasm? Wonderful attempt. No Jeff, I didn't miss the name of the site at all. I am a photographer...AND I am a polemicist, artist, reader, observer of human nature, philosopher, engineer, inventor, writer, movie maker, entrepreneur, chef, traveler, engaged citizen, adventurer, husband, volunteer, and part time rabble rouser. In other words, your typical human being. May Zeus strike me stone dead when the day comes that all I can contemplate and engage my mind with is, what new camera to buy? The only reason I have interest in making photographs is that I am fascinated with the broader universe, and it's variety of inhabitants. I learn such matters by engaging the world in adult subjects, not asking them what f-stop they used to make a photograph.
    Why this web site? I am not nearly as interested in the strong opinions of say, potters or weavers, as I am in photographers. I didn't create the web site, I just joined and posted in the places already provided. If you didn't want an OT, you shouldn't have made one! That's easy, isn't it? If I got this right now, the owners of the site don't like what they created, and are now mad at the people who post on it?

     
  52. I'd rather imagine a world of classical rhetoric and efforts at the art of persuasion.​
    Well, that's nothing but a difference of opinion and taste then isn't it? It's about as useful as saying, "I prefer only moral arguments that are rooted in a Supreme Creator." So what? So you prefer classical rhetoric (but don't employ it, as far as I can tell). Are you the arbiter of style AND content? Polemics has played a major role in the development of modern civilization, and will continue to do so. Many of history's most influential writers and thinkers were polemicists.
    Now *that's* a helluva lot more interesting proposition to ponder than anything I've read in five years on the OT forum about politics, most of which I'd already read in the news papers and commentary and policy magazines and sites I follow. In five years I never once learned anything about politics and hot button issues that I didn't already know or couldn't have found on my own.​
    Once more - -so what? What you are saying is that if you know it, or if you have heard it, it need not be said to anyone else. Really? You're the sole arbiter also of what qualifies as new or interesting positions, or information, or opinions? I too can learn any of this on my own. Here, let me not exaggerate. Here's a quote from a photographic post today regarding the Contax 139Q:"It's hard to go wrong with either of the Carl Zeiss 50 mm lenses (1.7 or 1.4). The 25mm Distagon is expensive but excellent. But if watching budget the Yashica primes are a good value." Now there's a thrilling photographic detail. But, since I have already owned a Contax 139 and a Carl Zeiss 50mm f/1.7, and a bevy of Yashica lenses, I already know this information, because, "I learned it on my own." So what do I do when I come upon this? Lecture they guy for posting stuff that, "I can learn myself," or do I do the common sense thing and move on to the NEXT POST under the commonly understood and pithy sentiment, "Read this, skip that."
    "The camera introduces us to unconscious optics as does psychoanalysis to unconscious impulses."​
    It's wonderful that you found that to be so intriguing and thought provoking! But I learned that at age 20, after the third roll of film through my first camera. I am not bragging Mr. Jenkins, but this is once more to point out that simple differences of opinion, experience, preference, or viewpoint, are not usually very profound. Will you just delete all the posts containing information that YOU already know?
    I'd rather hear about what else we're passionate about.​
    What posts did you make to explore that? What's stopping you now? I'd like to know too. I thought everyone was free to being such posts already. What's stopping them? Not me.
    When was the last time you contributed anything to the photography aspect of photo.net? What's the ratio of your OT forum activity to photography related activity?​
    Now we get to the metrics. Ok, what are the exact requirements? I read all the threads in the sub-sections that interest me, and I post where I have something to add of value. If there are requirements for 'post ratios' of some sort, as you are implying with this question, please say what they are, and if they are applied to everyone. I've reviewed cameras I own, I have done trouble shooting, I have posted in the Philosophy column extensively (does that forum still count?). What then are the requirements that you have now brought up?
    In summary, your argument is you just don't like the stuff others are interested in.
     
  53. Thanks for helping to underscore my points, Mr. Stephens. It usually takes a bit more effort to draw out such examples. I appreciate the effort you put into those counterpoints without any apparent sense of irony.
     
  54. Thanks for helping to underscore my points, Mr. Stephens. It usually takes a bit more effort to draw out such examples. I appreciate the effort you put into those counterpoints without any apparent sense of irony.​
    And why would there be any sense of irony when nothing of an ironic nature was demonstrated by the post? You preferred classic rhetoric (Ahem!), and such was the argument I made above: your complaint is chiefly an unreasoned one, because it is hinged on a not a single thing greater than some petty biases you have against topics "you can learn about on your own," or that you have "had your fill of from real life acquaintances." All of which we can boil down to simple personal preferences.
    Given the OT Forum was rolling right along when I joined, and I posted to it with politeness and decorum at all times, (even when the site's moderators didn't follow that rule), I find it quite impossible to discover the logic behind your current attempt at scolding me in this thread about my posts in the OT forum! You do see this point, right?
     
  55. I think the 4-5 people who in the past have turned the pnet OT forum into their own personal
    playground, usually after causing political/religious/gun/etc threads to run amok (to the
    detriment of the larger audience tired of and driven away by the insults and bad behavior), have a great
    opportunity for creating their own forum where that group can get together, set their own rules, and do whatever they want.
    Win-win for all - them, the larger photonet audience, and admins/moderators trying to create a better
    environment for its members.
     
  56. It is true that no one owes anyone else a free place on the web to discuss politics. That's really the
    bottom line here-- that the operators of the site have the freedom to do with the site as they please and to make decisions they feel will best maintain a site that is primarily about photography.

    I don't care one way or the other. I am happy to see that there may be plans to re-start an Off Topic forum
    sans politics, which is a common approach on hobby sites, and may be a good choice here now. It might even strengthen the discussion of what for many of us are more constructive and fulfilling topics.
     
  57. It's interesting how often some kind of restriction on freedom is appreciated or even demanded. I refuse to exercise my freedom to change the channel (to walk away from the OT forum because it's not my cup of tea) so I rely on the authorities to take away everyone's choice so I don't have to make a responsible decision for myself. This says nothing about administration's decision to close the forum, which I support, but it's telling that is has to come to that. If there were no complaints, it wouldn't have been closed, and if folks had just been able to walk away, things would have panned out very differently. Obviously, likewise, if people had been more reasonable in their behaviors, there wouldn't have been a need either for complaints or for anyone to walk away. Such is life.
     
  58. I've pondered that "changing channels" analogy quite a bit, in this context. Why did so many people find it disruptive? Why not simply "change the channel"?
    My best guess is that some folks - assuming the "channel" analogy works at all - regard photo.net *as* the channel. The entire internet is the TV or radio. They choose this channel - photo.net - for photography. Many photo.netters - perhaps most photo.netters - use the unified forum view and see all activity. And they find it disruptive to see unpleasant stuff, reminders of the outside world they're hoping to escape for a little while through photography.
    I suspect that most of our members are well read, well informed, and don't really care to be reminded of the "outside" world during the 15 minutes or hour they choose to spend on photo.net. That's pretty much how I view things, anyway. That's why I dropped most news and commentary media stuff from my Facebook feed. It's just clutter, the same stuff I already read anyway via RSS feeds, and I don't really care to be interrupted with that stuff during the time I set aside to catch up with online friends.
    It's just compartmentalization, something humans tend to do in order to cope with a glut of information and stimuli, so that we can make some sense of things and order out of chaos.
    So, assuming the channel analogy applies at all, it's more akin to parking the TV or radio on a favorite channel and being upset because the station manager chose to allow some inflammatory ads or interstitial programming which wasn't compatible with the overall programming of the channel/station. Perhaps the station manager and marketing folks thought, hey, it'll draw more viewers/listeners and more buzz, more hype, and that's always a good thing, right?
    Not necessarily so.
    From that perspective, even one of our local radio stations made some adjustments in response to listener complaints. The station retained the talk/news format, but dumped some of the most toxic and extremist "talk" show propagandists, in favor of some more actual news related commentary and more balanced and diverse talk/interview programming. They also dropped "Coast to Coast", which I thought was a mistake - it's a harmless and entertaining bit of fluff to listen to while I'm dozing off. But the change was consistent with the station's goal to differentiate themselves from the din, and the John Batchelor show that replaced C2C is actually very good.
     
  59. The closing of the forum suggests that we can derive a measure of PN's social outcome from the performance measured in the OT forum, and therefore establish a direct link to the site's financial return. If this were true, then we should see an immediate upswing in site activity as dissenting voices are squelched by the forum closing, and a corresponding increase in site patronship, right?
    Furthermore, if similar flareups occur in other forums with some regularity, say for example, in the Site Help forum, and there were equal numbers of dissenting and threatening voices, should we disable that forum as well? Or do we simply close offending threads because somehow it's different?
    I suppose what I'm really saying is, the misdiagnosis of misleading symptoms will lead to the wrong cure.
     
  60. "So, assuming the channel analogy applies at all, it's more akin to parking the TV or radio on a favorite channel and being upset because the station manager chose to allow some inflammatory ads or interstitial programming which wasn't compatible with the overall programming of the channel/station."
    An excellent point and viable way to see it. I'll meet you half way, since there's merit in your analogy of PN being more like the channel than any specific forum, but it breaks down a little because you still have to be proactive to enter the Off Topic forum and read it whereas when the channel is left on you have no control over what comes blaring out at you.
    Again, just to make it clear. I don't disagree with its having been closed. My wonderment is more about the community's actions and complaints than the administration's ultimate decision.
     
  61. I personally find topics being repeated, in not-so-short- & short time interval, in one forum and/or across multiple forums to be offensive. As a recourse, I would much appreciate if moderators proactively close/delete such threads; if one is feeling generous, point to already existing thread(s) elsewhere.

    (Lacking above recourse, I would also be happy simply with a working "ignore this thread" link/button so that the offending thread does not show ever again in the respective forum or in "Unified View", including "New Responses".)

    In short, repeated topics are my "Off Topic" poison. One can avoid them only so much before each display increasingly irritates.
     
  62. So I come back to the OT forum after a long hiatus (Mom's long illness & passing away) only to find that it's closed down. Aw shucks! While we could certainly find other sites to talk about politics, gubmint, social issues, etc it's been my experience that the smart people are here. I mean, there are a lot of very smart people here with a wide range of knowledge and interesting thought processes on many topics from cooking to global economics. That's what I really liked about this forum more than topic specific forums. It was often interesting to read even when I didn't post and I had no trouble skipping over topics that would bore me.
    Yes, it could certainly get abrasive at times. People went over the line at times. But m stephens hit the nail on the head with his comment that we live in an era of righteous indignation at EVERYTHING! You name it, people are righteously offended. It's really gotten old because you can see it reflected in our legislation. An intolerant nation of wusses that can't stand to be offended but also can't take the time to formulate the words to express their own thoughts.

    Well, it's not my site. I don't pay these bills. You have the right to do whatever you want with your site. I will miss it though. And Lex, trust me, nobody wants to get photography advice from me. I'm one of those people who contributed to OT more than the photography forums, but that's because I'm still learning and I won't give bad advice. This site is still the best for photography knowledge, hands down, and I come to learn, not to teach (yet). I did do a lot of rating which is just a visceral reaction to a photograph. I'm pretty good at visceral reactions ;-)

    Bye bye Fred, my OT husband. It's been real. I have a feeling that our interesting home has been permanently razed or if not, it will be replaced with a FEMA trailer with topics so bland and uninteresting I won't want to live there anyway.
     
  63. "And Lex, trust me, nobody wants to get photography advice from me."​
    Actually, I would. You're just the sort of person I would want to critique my photos, especially to hone a theme or project.
     
  64. Too bad a few people ruin it for others. It seems that whenever any one person starts to dominate a
    forum, they're gone, usually with good reason.
     
  65. If you can't stand the heat, get yourself out of the kitchen! You don't...
    1. Tear down the whole kitchen,
    2. Ask your room mates to cook at the neighbor's house,
    3. And, you shouldn't order your room mates to only cook non spicy food.
    And room mates surely do hold different perspectives, and biases. While some don't, many do prefer spicy food. No one is forcing anyone to watch us cook...
     
  66. Good to hear from you, Christine, and sorry to hear of your mother. I lost my Dad last year and can imagine how you might be feeling.
    About the OT forum, I 'm not sure it's so much about righteous indignation as it is about needlessly dominating a conversation and potentially playing to an audience; it's one thing to disagree but quite another to escalate a fruitless disagreement. It doesn't bother me and I am more than willing to put up with it providing it remains civil, but I can also understand how sideline observers might find it offensive.

    In a more general context, the OT forum has accumulated 4834 threads since Josh created it in Sept. 2008, and the vast majority of those threads have been entertaining, educational, friendly, inspiring, and community-building. On the other hand, the forum was also introduced right around the time of the financial collapse and US elections, and 5 years later, it's probably fair to assume that some members here have been touched by the economic and political fallout. These are not normal times, and we shouldn't expect everyone to be happy-go-lucky shopping for the next $3,000 camera, so the OT forum can also, within reason, serves as a release valve.

    I think an authentic community is one in which its members are accepting of individual differences; a place where we can also cut one another a bit of slack in the recognition that we're not always necessarily at our best.

    Of course there's the other side of corporate governance and its duty to make money, but that's a strategic issue and quite a separate discussion.
     
  67. ""the OT forum can also, within reason, serve(s) as a release valve""

    It was in fact much more than that, Michael.
    I think many of us, who have participated throughout the years in a great number of the 4834 threads you mention, did it, not in order to dominate or convince others about our individual political, social and ideological standpoints, but in order, together, to try better understand world wide issues of concern.
    The financial crisis, inequalities, poverty, guns, human rights, the surveillance society after 9/11, wars, global warming, gender roles - and why not good cooking, were discussed numerous times because Photonet is filled with a wide range of knowledged photographers, who are engaged in society and who even shoot "engaged photography" - or "conceptual photography", if you wish.
    People who care about what happens with our societies in all these fields. Photography is indeed, for many, a "conceptual art". We do, many of as, street and documentary photography as a means of showing what happens in streets and around us, that reflect good and bad sides of societal change: growing poverty, homeless, marginality, decay, health and environment etc on one side, and happiness, family life, and "life goes on" type of photography, city development, transport, historical roots etc etc. We do nature photography, because we care about nature and some of us, maybe even most of us, are worried also about what pollution, over-exploitation and global warming do to our landscapes and biological diversity.
    In fact, personally, I have never considered the "off topic" forum of being off-anything, considering photography. I saw it as a place where context issues were discussed between photographers - in a civilized manner, mostly, but almost always in an engaged and enlightening manner. It was a place of a lot of intelligence, knowledge and engagement. Many of us learned from it and became better photographers in the same time, each in our field of interest.
    It might be relevant, in light of all the ever repeated formulations of bad experiences with the OT forum of a smaller number of individuals, in this thread and a few others, the last days, it might just be justified to thank all those who have contributed to the discussions on the 4834 subjects in the Off Topic forum since its start. It has been a pleasure to read most of them - heated debates or not.

    PS: concerning threads, which are dominated by individuals or a very small number of members, I would think, that other forums could be mentioned as well - maybe most of them. The OT forum was, according to my experience, not an exceptional case. Some relevant statistics would be welcomed on the subject, so that our opinions could be supported or contradicted by facts.
     
  68. Some very good points you've mentioned, Anders.
    We often use the term "community" to describe the collective, but I think it's important to point out the distinction between a community and a mere collection of individuals. The difference is intangible and not easily measured, but it's there and has a tangible influence on site dynamics.
    Some are content with impersonal interactions without salutation, referring by name, or any form of social etiquette beyond static question/answer. This might fulfill the basic functioning of a site, but it's not by any stretch a community if there is no interaction beyond dispensing information. It's a collection of individuals.
    With its warts n' all, the OT forum is arguably one of the few corners within PN where real community interaction takes place. It's imperfect, but just browse through the nearly 5,000 threads and one will quickly feel a sense of community in the tone of its interaction, albeit fragmented by topic and interests, and notwithstanding the exception.
    PN is indeed a site about photography, but far from being marred by the OT forum, I believe peripheral interaction should be encouraged to cultivate and facilitate a more cohesive and friendly environment which is essential to every successful "community", whether through an OT forum or site features by design.
     
  69. "Casual Photo Conversations" seems to be turning into OP, sometimes via not so subtle efforts. ;-}
     
  70. +1 for Leslie's comment.
    As some one who ALWAYS checked No Words, Off Topic, Casual Photo Conversations and Sony/Minolta (in that order) I always just skipped topics that didn't interest me or, if I did check them and realized they had turned into a pissing contest, just moved on.
    I would say 'we're all adults here' but maybe not.....
     
  71. "" 'we're all adults here' but maybe not.....""
    Hopefully those "maybe-be nots" of yours, Diane, don't look at the nudes on PS. Or maybe you are just mistaken and seeing disagreements of opinions as signs of lack of maturity. I see it differently, as you might have understood.
     
  72. Losing one forum that appealed to many photonetters, but which was compromised by a relative few who had trouble entering into a debate without slandering another, is quite sad, and also I think for the appeal of the site in general as well as those who miss the specific OT forum.
    This is probably more so (sad) at present when the quality of posts and frequency of interaction in forums (or at least the several that I follow when not actually photographing or posting images) is IMHO not as high as it has previously been.
    This is a subjective personal evaluation that may be argued, of course, but I have poreviously found a lot of interests in the questions and problems of others and that does not seem to me to be at its highest at present.
    At least with the OT forum in existence, if you couldn't find a stimulating OP or varied and informative discussion on a photographic forum, or find one where your participation might be stimulating (as a curious being, not unlike others, I seek new information and bright thoughts from fellow photonetters), you could for the moment see what was happening on the OT forum and contribute there.
    I think it is important to recognize that photography cannot be divorced from many non photographic human activities, which are often the subject matter that fuels our photography, whether they relate to OT subjects of family, hobbies, vintage Thunderbirds, food and wine preferences, mountain climbing, culture, politics and entertainment. Those were found on OT forum and not on flik'r or other photography sites.
    I believe quite sincerely that, given the presence of sufficient moderator time, an OT forum including ALL these subjects (and more) could be made quite viable for Photo.Net members and would do a lot to keep and attract members who want a more complete experience that is commensurate and parallel with the wide applications of photography.
    The few with little education in dealing with contrary opinions and with a propensity to react emotionally and without courtesy could simply be given a "recess" from posting for a few months, in order to cool off and to reformulate, or reform, their reactions that were obviously over the top.
     
  73. I totally agree with you, Arthur, despite the fact I'm one of those who were partly suspended from the Off Topic forum, probably because I asked a moderator to "calm down", because he wrote he was so annoy with the forum, that he wanted to "stab it in the eye".

    In fact, I think we all can profit from a cooling down period, but I certainly hope that some kind of Off Topic forum will be reintroduce together with an improved role of moderators.
     
  74. "...I'm one of those who were partly suspended from the Off Topic forum..."​
    No, you weren't. The entire OT forum was disabled. It affected every member equally. No one was singled out. You were not personally targeted.
    I've explained this before in one of the two or three ongoing threads about the closing of the OT forum, as well as in the first thread you initiated on the site help forum complaining about the closing of the OT forum.
    That thread has since been deleted because it was inaccurate - you claimed you were singled out. You were not.
    So let's reiterate to make this absolutely clear: When the Off Topic forum was disabled, effective October 14, 2013, no particular member was singled out, temporarily suspended from posting or banned from the OT forum. The entire OT forum was disabled, affecting everyone equally. No new threads were permitted. Any replies to existing threads were kept in a holding bin awaiting approval or deletion. Since then, that option has been changed an no new replies to existing threads are being accepted.
    This affects every member equally.
     
  75. "I believe quite sincerely that, given the presence of sufficient moderator time, an OT forum including ALL these subjects (and more) could be made quite viable for Photo.Net members and would do a lot to keep and attract members who want a more complete experience that is commensurate and parallel with the wide applications of photography."​
    Arthur, I was the only moderator with any interest in tending to the OT forum. Like every moderator here, I'm a volunteer. There isn't "sufficient moderator time" to adequately ensure the OT forum is moderated in a way that serves the diverse and often contradictory needs and preferences of the site and all of its members.
    "The few with little education in dealing with contrary opinions and with a propensity to react emotionally and without courtesy could simply be given a "recess" from posting for a few months, in order to cool off and to reformulate, or reform, their reactions that were obviously over the top."​
    Let's be direct: You're talking about suspending or banning members from participating on the OT forum. We tried that approach between 2008-2011. The problem with that approach is that it alienates members, some of whom are valuable participants toward photo.net's primary mission as a site for photographers.
    Suspensions and bans are invariably regarded as condescending, paternalistic and punitive. I can tell you from years of experience it's not a good way to resolve conflicts with peers.
    Not only do suspensions and bans seem condescending and punitive to the members directly affected, it also produces a negative impact on friends of those members. It heightens paranoia and discord and drives a wedge in community relations. It is not a good way to resolve problems among peers and should always be the very last resort.
    I tried private emails and messages to nudge participants back toward styles of communication that were better suited to photo.net's overall mission and preferred tone. Those too were often met with anger and only served to escalate friction and discord.
    By late 2011 I decided to take a hands off approach. Virtually the only moderation I did was to delete spam and respond to emails or messages complaining about inflammatory or abusive posts. In most cases I advised those who complained about the OT forum to simply avoid it altogether, as it had proven to be impossible to moderate to everyone's satisfaction.
    And I can assure you that no matter which position you or any other member may take on a hot button issue or a moderator's action, there will be another member who takes the exact opposite position. For every dissenting opinion on decisions to moderate heated discussions, to close threads that were beyond repair and, finally, to close the OT forum altogether, there were opinions that we did the right thing and took the appropriate actions.
    Believe me, I wanted the OT forum to succeed. I had, to quote HAL 9000, the greatest enthusiasm for the mission. The problem is that the mission and the logic for handling diverse, contradictory and mutually exclusive problems were irreconcilable. However in this case we decided to disable HAL before he began solving the problem by deleting all of the troublesome humans.
     
  76. This affects every member equally.​
    Lex, I know you are referring specifically to Ander's statement and reaction to the closure.
    However, your statement is also revealing and is true in the sense that the decision to close the forum also affects everyone who has visited it (and that number I wager was quite important, whether those whio visited always posted a response, or not).
    I hope that those of our administrators who were involved in the decision to shut down this popular forum will rethink it. Photographers are not simply consumers of equipment (of course that is nice as it helps advertisers in the photo business) or geeks completely absorbed in the kaleidoscope nature of electronic post treatment of images, but are also thinking individuals who have many interests in life.
    I sought in my post above to relate photography to subject matter that may be related to the many facets of our daily life as members of different societies. We think about many things that may or may not be related directly to our last photograph. Our process and approach in photography are probably more related to our perceptions of community and of politics than we think. We are inspired by subject matter and themes that relate to our life. So called off-topic subjects are closer to our reasons and interests in photography than we think.
    I wouldn't go so far as to say that my photographic approaches are molded by what I read or exchange on the Off Topic forum, but a relationship exists which in some cases is more important than other cases. How we photograph, and what we photograph, often relates to our perceptions of our community, or that of others, more than it does to the advantages of that zoom focal length combination compared to another, or other such technical photographic issues.
    I often photograph when something is new, unknown or intriguing to me. It expands my personal horizons, knowledge and maturity. Understanding political issues, local to me or foreign, often incites a reaction and a result that expands my knowledge of others. I may not agree with all political or social imperatives, but understanding how and why they differ tells me a lot about the citizens and their values, which can stimulate my photographic approach when present in that jurisdiction or just thinking about it.
    I am sure that Photo.Net had a unique position in the overall photographic community because it hosted forums of varying type and utility, and attracted some photographers because of that variety.
    Don't lose it.
     
  77. Lex, our posts crossed.
    I understand the great effort you made to make the OT forum work and the difficulty of some members in understanding the limits. If the moderator was me I would probably have thrown in the towel earlier.
    Most of us won't argue if we drive and pass a red light and are then reprimanded (fined) for that, or drive drunk and are stopped. Those rules of conduct are well known and generally well accepted.
    Lex, if an OT forum had specific and very visible set rules (in addition to the Photo.Net rules) that each who used it agreed in writing to obey before posting, might that not resolve most of the problems encountered. If I agreed (as part of the process of submitting a post) that I would not slander or abuse another for his or her different views, and that was written and accepted by me, I think I or any friends would be morally obliged to accept my temporary suspension for going over the rules and would thus realize that they would have no grounds to complain. I know that we cannot all debate calmly and respect every idea of another, but for me, and I believe for many members, that is the only civilised way to interact. Those who wish to interact that way should have little difficulty in accepting the ground rules of debate.
    When I believe that another is being abusive and intransigent I generally prefer to just leave the conversation. There is little personal loss in those cases. There are many other OT subjects and opportunities to discuss in more civilised manner, often with others.
    I remember intervening in a question to a moderator (perhaps yourself, or Josh, I don't remember) about the suspension of one member (a seemingly perceptive and intelligent person with ideas) about 4 years ago. On the surface, it appeared to me that he was being severely punished for one outburst. I learned from the moderator that in fact his outburst was not singular but multiple and that it was particularly abusive and impolite in conversation one on one with the moderator. I regretted coming to his side, but was not alone in doing so in that case and I assume the others were equally ignorant of the "depth" of the issue.
    Whatever you and your colleagues decide, I for one can be happy knowing that it is not a superficial evaluation. Thanks for your response.
     
  78. If I agreed (as part of the process of submitting a post) that I would not slander another for his or her different views, and that was written and accepted by me, . . . Those who wish to interact that way should have little difficulty in accepting the ground rules of debate.
    Photo.net's Terms of Use, to which all members agree when they sign up for an account, state that exact sentiment, though in slightly different words.
     
  79. ""No, you weren't. The entire OT forum was disabled. It affected every member equally. No one was singled out. You were not personally targeted.""

    Lex, I think I have indeed discovered, that the OT forum has been disabled for all and everyone.
    When I write above, that I have had the dubious privilege to have been singled out, together with some others, it is because I received, at the time, the message, that "only one" contribution to the OT forum (or the specific thread?) was accepted. At the same time, others continued with multiple daily contributions.
    Doesn't really matter by now. the forum is closed down and I'm still here, feeling just fine..
    Concerning "not slander(ing) another for his or her different views" I think we can all agree, and it is my impression that when slandering has taken place in the OT forum or in other forums on PN for that sake, they are exceptions. We might have different standards for what "slandering" actually implies. Personal attacks were never tolerated, and systematically denounced by others, me included.
    That disagreements were present in almost all the nearly 5000 thread over the years, should be considered positive. That's why discussion take place and we all learn from them.
     
  80. Suspensions and bans are invariably regarded as condescending, paternalistic and punitive. I can tell you from years of experience it's not a good way to resolve conflicts with peers.​
    Having been permanently banned from the POTW forum I can personally attest to the accuracy of Lex's comment. I will not pay to subscribe to a site on which I am banned. My participation in other areas of the site has decreased to next to nil, the entire experience has been soured. Of course that was the intent of the ban, so on that level the ban was a success.
     

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