THE FUTURE OF THIS FORUM - PLEASE READ

Discussion in 'Large Format' started by qtluong, Dec 5, 2001.

  1. As most of you know, this forum uses software and hosting outsourced by Philip Greenspun free of charge at the greenspun.com server. I received an advance notice from him that he will not be able to maintain this service. Some of you have already noticed a number of recent glitches with the service, which initially was flawless.
    Ideally, someone would install the ACS software on another server (the Berkeley server would not work) and transfer the current forum data to it. However, this person cannot be me because I lack the skills to do that in a reasonable time. Therefore, to continue this forum, I see only two practical alternatives:
    • Pull out the data from the current server and archive it in some searchable ways. Then switch to another software system. This new system would be either ran from the LF page (with a new domain name), or could be outsourced to something like yahoo!groups.
    • Integrate the LF Forum to photo.net, like the MF Digest currently is.
    • The problem with the first alternative is probably an inferior interface different from the one you are used to, plus possibly work for me and/or anybody who volunteer to help. The problem with the second alternative are the issues which we already discussed in length.
    So what do you think ?
     
  2. "...could be outsourced to something like yahoo!groups." No, no, no.
    Please, anything but Yahoo!groups. I don't have an good answer to
    where this forum should go, but I have been a member of
    the mailing list hobbicast@yahoogroups.com for some time. It works
    fine until you want to do something like access the archives and then
    it is an absolute nightmare. It refuses to recognize passwords and
    just trying to find the archive among the God knows how many Yahoo
    groups is near impossible. This isn't just me. There have been several
    posts on hobbicast by people trying to get direction through the Yahoo
    maze. I hope I live to see Yahoo follow Enron into bankrupcy. I make a
    real effort not to rant on newsgroups, but this is a topic where I
    can't restrain myself.
     
  3. As I type this reply, photo.net is down, a not uncommon occurance.
    I'd like to see this forum continue in its current commercial free,
    informative and mature style. Moving to a hosting service such as
    Yahoo or Photo.net will necessarily threaten these qualities, but if
    the first alternative is not too much work it would be my preference.
     
  4. By all means, please preserve past threads. I vote, in some way, to
    keep this forum by finding another server as a host, installing the
    ACS on that platform.

    <p>

    What does ACS stand for? What is the software in which it's
    programmed. Is the ACS software available without royalties? You
    mentioned "advanced notice." When will Mr. Greenspun's service
    expire?

    <p>

    This is the best going forum I've been associated with, especially
    related to photography. I hope that there is something that can be
    done to continue its existance.

    <p>

    Neil
     
  5. I see no major problems with going the Photo.net route. Shure, there
    might be some inconveniences, but as long as the content remains the
    same (and that's OUR job) the forum should continue to thrive. An
    added attraction of going with Photo.net is that we may broaden our
    audience and introduce new people and ideas to the forum.

    <p>

    Certainly anything is better than letting this forum languish and
    die, and I feel Photo.net has the best chance of success.
     
  6. -Q-

    <p>

    I may be able to help in the first option. Please email me with
    particulars and bandwidth history. Particularly details of the
    software requirements.
     
  7. The Medium Format Forum doesn't seem to have suffered from it's
    association with Photo.net.
     
  8. What about switching to an email list and using something like Mailman
    or Majordomo. That way everybody gets to choose their own interface
    from Hotmail to Pine. The archives could then be sorted by date,
    subject, etc. and people could easily search, browse, and download the
    raw data. Plus it probably won't be too hard to find a host since these
    programs run on pretty much any platform.

    <p>

    Other than that, I say merge with photo.net. Forget about Yahoo! or
    anything else like that, I definitely don't want to be held hostage to
    those services and I'd really like to avoid banner ads if at all
    possible.
     
  9. I would vote for LF to be made a part of photo.net in the same manner
    the Medium Format and Nature sites are. Definitely should be kept
    apart from the general forum. While not having the separate LF site
    would be unfortunate, being a more integral part of photo.net would
    be a better alternative than not having a LF gathering point at all.
    Many of us do participate in photo.net discussions and if nothing
    else, there would be a convenience to it. Photo.net does remain a
    central gathering point for much of the photographic community and it
    would be better for the LF group to formalize being a part of it --
    in a sense we already are since we use Phil's server. My two cents.
     
  10. I'd be willing to help with a transfer to a new system -- I'm an IT
    developer/architect by day and could probably help. I just have to
    believe there is a way to get ACS installed somewhere. If my options
    are Yahoo groups vs. Photo.net, I would choose photo.net. BUT, my
    priority is to save the old threads because there is just so much
    good information in them.
     
  11. Photo.net does seem to be down a lot lately. It seems like we have a
    choice between an unreliable system (photo.net) and a hard-to-use
    system (Yahoo Groups). Can anyone suggest any other alternatives?

    <p>

    Tuan: does Phil have anything to say about the recent unrelability of
    photo.net? If there are known problems that are going to be fixed
    soon, then photo.net seems to be the obvious place to go.
     
  12. Assuming we can't get someone else to host us, photo.net is our best
    option. As chance would have it, they're down right now (sigh)!

    <p>

    We've been spoiled by good service in a non-commercial environment.
    Do you think Mr Greenspun would change his mind if we all cried and
    whimpered in unison? How about obsequious flattery? I'm prepared to
    try anything.
     
  13. photo.net is my vote. I had posted previously why this wasn't part of that forum anyway. The format of the public groups like Yahoo or Google are very
    cumbersome to use.
     
  14. Here's my vote for photo.net. The medium format digest is useful and
    it would be better to go that route versus yahoo.
     
  15. I think photo.net would be a fine solution. My suggestion is for
    Q.-Tuan Luong to get a written document giving him (or the entire
    community) copyright to the postings that would be made at photo.net
    so that if something goes wrong with photo.net he would be able to
    transfer the LF postings at photo.net to somewhere else. The worst
    case scenario would be for photo.net to suddenly disappear and
    transfer its assests, including the contents of the photo.net site, to
    some creditor, the creditor then just placing them on the shelf.
     
  16. Between the options given, i would vote to merge with Photo.net.
    This site seems to attract quite a few people interested in moving up
    to large format and as someone else stated, the widest possible
    audience the forum can be exposed to the better for all of us in the
    long run. And by all means, keep the archives, it is a valuable
    storehouse of info that I look to first before posting questions.
     
  17. Please NOT photo.net. I've been on that site. In my opinion, the
    photonet interface is pretty ackward. I think part of the success of
    this site is due to the ease at which the ACS software enables one to
    leave posts and responses.

    <p>

    Also, we should thank Phil Greenspun for his support enabling this
    site to have such a strong beginning. And, we need to keep it going.
     
  18. Actually, I would like to see the archived data moved into a newer
    system that has more seach capabilities. Here is a link to a very
    popular application:

    <p>

    http://www.discusware.com/discus/home/

    <p>

    And it's free!

    <p>

    We would definitely benefit from being in the photo.net community,
    however. Tough choice. Definitely NO to the Yahoo groups.
     
  19. I have been with photo.net MF for some time now and from a software
    developers point of view I only have good things to say. It is much
    more reliable and user-friendly than the majority of forum/mail
    support systems out there, is tried and tested, has added security
    and likely guaranteed future support. All software are flawed, some
    less, some more.
    I would however like to add that I do not believe it is impossibly
    difficult to upgrade(or only keep alive) this system and that it
    would be my first choice. A NEW system is not a solution and neither
    the solution.

    <p>

    But whatever we decide, we must not/can not go the yahoo/whatever/..
    route. We will fight in the cities. We will fight in the streets.
    We will fight in the fields... We will never give up :) Ryan
     
  20. No to Yahoo. Yes to photo.net.

    <p>

    The more esoteric forums on photo.net (e.g. medium-format and Nature)
    have not been swamped with idiot questions nor are their threads
    controlled by people who have no idea what they're talking about.

    <p>

    It's been a great ride here, and I'm sorry to see it ending....

    <p>

    ...
     
  21. I would go for either option. Yahoo has proved quite reliable, photo
    net locates the LF format in the subject area for browsers. I am
    sorry to see the list close

    <p>

    Robin
     
  22. I've only been reading this forum for less than a year, but photo.net
    for a few more. It gets my vote, although I'd agree with a previous
    poster who said that the copyright should be held elsewhere. They've
    been getting a bit commercial of late. As to the interface being bad,
    you can switch off the JavaScript menus if you like, and it seems
    pretty stable compared with most other forums I've read. the other
    advantage is the number of other folks who'll no doubt be attracted
    to LF because of the sheer number of people that the forum will be
    exposed (sic) to. Or a disadvantage; TBA...
     
  23. I prefer the photo.net option to Yahoo!Groups, if an independent
    server cannot be found. The MF forum is fairly civilized, and I think
    this forum would be pretty much the same over there. We would also
    get the photo.net search engine, the ability to post images to the
    forum directly without having them on a separate site, and we could
    keep the structure of the list the same.

    <p>

    There is too much clutter and advertising at Yahoo, and it is
    difficult to include HTML in posts (long URL's are routinely
    truncated), and images have to be kept separate from the post itself,
    and it is difficult to follow long threads and return to old threads
    in that format.
     
  24. Despite some problems, I vote for photo.net. Many of us read other
    forums there already. Keep it as a separate topic, parallel to MF and
    Nature.
     
  25. Please please please……don’t leave me!

    <p>

    Leave the forum run with the current software interface. The current
    forum interface works flawlessly in creating my own AvantGo “LF Forum
    Channel”. I download the forum two and three times a day to my Palm
    and read it offline, often in the field waiting for light. All
    other forum software is useless for this application and even clunky
    to read online.

    <p>

    Thank you for your consideration.
     
  26. My vote is to photo.net. I use the medium format forum a lot with no
    problems.
     
  27. Another vote for photo.net provided that LF remains, as MF is now, a
    distinct category. I doubt that many of us want to have to wade
    through threads with no bearing on our LF pursuits, whatever their
    merit or interest. Also, as things stand with the present forum,
    even the most ambiguous thread title may be assumed to be connected
    somehow with LF; but if lists are combined, we'd have to start being
    a lot more specific in respect to both title and content. Somehow,
    too, I hope, the archives will remain easily accessible. Nick.
     
  28. Another vote for photo.net as a separate entity, such as the MF
    forum. NO NO NO to Yahoo!! I agree that it's a major priority to keep
    the present archived threads easily accessible.

    <p>

    Danny Burk www.dannyburk.com
     
  29. I am likewise trying to negotiate with Photo.net to move the
    Alternative Process, Film & Developing, and Printing & Finishing
    forums to their server. I don't see any other valid option.
     
  30. Hi all,

    <p>

    I think I can offer some help to maintain the phorum as follows:

    <p>

    1.- I own a small web hosting company that could provide hosting
    space for the forum, the page or both.

    <p>

    2.- I could help installing ACS or whatever software you would like
    to maintain the phorum in.

    <p>

    This board is so fabulous that it would be a chame to let it die.

    <p>

    Please let me know what I can help with...

    <p>

    Enrique Vila.-
    evilap@yahoo.com
     
  31. Tuan,

    <p>

    Top choice: an independent server running the current software (not
    just importing existing data). Ask us for money if necessary.

    <p>

    Second choice: separate forum under photo.net, as long as copyright
    issues are resolved. This option is less desirable because of the
    increasingly commercial nature of photo.net. Also, MFD seems
    to attract a larger number of less professional/civil posters than
    this forum does. Don't know whether that was the case before its
    association with photo.net, so can't say if there's a causal
    relationship or even a correlation.

    <p>

    Please not Yahoo or any other similar system.

    <p>

    Thanks for everything you've done so far, and thanks to Phil for
    having made greenspun.com available until now.
     
  32. A LF forum already exists on photo.net, I'd guess any arrangement
    with them may involve uniting the two forums, check here to see
    content:

    <p>


    http://www.photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-one-category?
    topic_id=23&category=Large%20Format
     
  33. Although I haven't been a regular contributor to this forum, my vote
    (if valid) would be to go to photo.net.
     
  34. My vote for porting it over to photo.net.
     
  35. Michael, the url you posted takes one to a message saying the forum
    cannot be found. It affers a link to a list of photo.net forums and
    suggests looking there. I did so, and there's no LF forum listed.
     
  36. To the user, the MF digest on photo.net appears very much like this
    forum. (More so like it than any of the other forum formats I've
    seen - almost identical in use, except you need to log in to post.)
    Therefore I'd vote for that route (as a separate forum - NOT as part
    of the general photo.net discussion!).

    <p>

    Cheers, and thanks to Tuan for the great job he does!
     
  37. My vote would be for photo.net over yahoo any day of the week.
    That said, I think an independent server would be the best idea,
    even if it meant having to periodically ask users for a little
    monetary support- I'd much rather throw in $10.00 every now and
    then than see this forum lost. Another idea for funding if an
    independent server is chosen would be to accept sponsorship
    from a few LF-Related companies. Who knows, maybe
    someone like Sinar Bron would help fund things if they were
    allowed to put ads at the end of threads like Phil Greenspun's
    articles are appearing right now.
     
  38. First Choice: Move this forum in it's present configuration to a new
    server. It looks like we have a couple of offers already.

    <p>

    Second Choice: Go over to Photo.net (can we move the archives too?).

    <p>

    Please don't: Go to Yahoo. The interface is awful.

    <p>

    Regards
     
  39. photo.net is ok as long as we don't have to get past the moderator
    hurdle.
     
  40. This forum has been a tremendous help to me and I don't want to see
    it die either. Yahoo is in the dark ages when it comes to usability,
    and so are most other similar options as far as I can tell. This
    software is terrific! Seems to me the best option would be to go with
    photo.net unless one of the other offers appears to be solid for the
    long run. The Web is very unpredictable on its best day re: providers
    and servers staying in place, but we should find as reliable a home
    as possible.I would not hesitate to pay a fee for the service if need
    be. For something of this high quality we should be willing to pay to
    find a solid and reliable home we can depend on. Many of the posts
    above have talked about the quality as the reason they use the forum -
    anything good costs money and takes time and effort.
     
  41. seems like nobody asks the question as to why this site cannot be
    maintained. Is it because of cost. then how about everyone who
    likes to use this site pitching in to pay for it. long ago I learned
    that there is no such thing as a free lunch. Where do I send the
    check?
     
  42. I would just add to previous posts about contributions. The only
    problem is do you charge an access fee? If so I think you eliminate
    the most important audience and that is the newbie to large format.
    This site is invaluable for answering the many technical questions
    about the format, but I fear that charging a mandatory fee, unless a
    small one time registration fee would discourage those that get the
    most use out of the forum. Remember, the more people that use the
    format, the better it is for maintaining availability of film, papers
    etc.
     
  43. Sal, there is a LF forum on photo.net, but the link I posted is not
    valid, it must be one of those addresses that changes with each post.
    Try going to the main Photo.net page, then "community", "discussion
    forums", "general photography", then scroll down the page to the
    large format section. I'll try the link again, but if it's no good,
    just follow the above.
    http://www.photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-one-category?
    topic_id=23&category=Large%20Format
     
  44. I just posted a suggestion to Steve Simmons on his current thread:

    <p>

    http://hv.greenspun.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg.tcl?msg_id=007EUq

    <p>

    Why not have View Camera's Web site host this forum (software and
    data). Perfect synergy!
     
  45. First, I want to really thank Phil from the bottom of my heart. I
    would be a much poorer photographer if I had never found this forum.
    Thanks also to just about everyone on here for thier help, assistance
    and for their generosity and willingness to share with others what
    they know. A big round of applause for all of you. I sincerely hope
    its not time to turn out the lights yet.
     
  46. Michael, now I see what you're referring to. That's only a category
    (currently holds 280 posts total) within the general photography
    forum. I suspect that it relies on a poster selecting that category
    when asking a question. Not even close to the value, depth and
    breadth of what you find here.
     
  47. Philip and I talked about this briefly over Thanksgiving when he
    was here. I know there are a lot of people who hate to think that
    they might be 'contaminated" by contact with small format, or ven
    (go forbid) amateur photographers, even neophytes. well you
    can choose not to have the "unifed or any other photo.net forum
    come up on your screen. Frankly I think sticking with this tried
    and true interface and model is the best idea so I think he is right
    in his intent to pull this forum into the photo.net sphere. He tells
    me that he will be taking a more hands on approach to photo.net
    now that he has finished with the Ars Digita mess and is
    returning from his sabbatical, the previous discussion was what,
    a year and a half ago? As we all know circumstances have
    changed.<P>To make it clear: ifyou go to a Yahoo! format, I think
    a lot of us are going to lose interest in participating pretty quickly.
     
  48. It seems like a proper poll may be in order if you don't get enough
    interest in someone hosting off of photo.net. My personal concern
    (shared by one other so far) is that I would like to continue to
    download to Palm OS. If there are only two of us doing that, ignore
    us, but there might be many. This is the sort of question which only
    a systematic poll could evaluate properly.
    So, pursue other offers to keep this format first. If that doesn't
    pan out, then post another query asking what questions to ask on a
    poll and then create a poll of needs/preferences. I've been with this
    gang for a bit over a year now and I love it!
     
  49. I vote for Photo.net.
     
  50. Luong,
    What is the average volume of daily traffic on this site for the
    combination of the homepage and the Q&A forum? Do you know
    what the peaks are as well?
     
  51. Like many so far, I too would have to vote for Photo.net, albeit
    reluctantly. I remember the MFD back in its early days, when it was
    just a mailing list, and to be honest I don't think its character has
    changed much, apart from becoming bigger and more comprehensive as the
    years have gone by. Integrating the LF Forum into photo.net would be
    far better than the Yahoo option.
     
  52. We are in the process of re-doing our web page. What would it take
    for View Camera magazine to be the host??

    <p>

    steve simmons
     
  53. Given the general feeling, I think we should stick with
    the current software or its extensions.
    <p>
    This software is OpenACS, which is an improved open-source
    version of the software at greenspun.com
    see: http://openacs.org
    <p>
    In particular, correct me if I am mistaken, but I'm under the
    impression that:
    (a) one would need to dedicate a machine to the system, as it
    is not common to have servers running Aolserver. this increases
    commercial hosting fees significantly. I suppose I could run
    it from a home server, but this raises reliability issues.
    (b) the software is relatively complex and would take a couple
    of days to master for someone experienced in this area (and
    probably a couple of weeks for me).
    <p>
    I don't know what is the bandwidth use of the current site as
    I have no access to statistics. Here are the numbers I have:
    The data in the QA Forum is currently 28M for nearly 40000 messages.
    There are about 1000 active participants (probably ten times as many
    readers), and the number of new messages per day is about 40.
    <p>
    Hosting from View Camera would require a significant step up
    of their web site. Their hosting fees would jump maybe twenty times
    (from the
    current website easily ran from a $10/month
    web host) and they would have to subcontract the instalation
    of ACS to a software engineer.
    If we go with a (semi)
    commercial route
    photo.net has readily the resources in engineering, software, and servers.
     
  54. Wow. I like that solution even better if it can be done. Move the
    forum to the _View Camera_ magazine site, if Steve Simmons will have
    it.
     
  55. I am offering to run a seperate server from my apartment here in LA,
    day and night - free of charge. (I live in an apartment with
    utilities pre-paid by owner, whom I can't stand). Reliability will be
    excellent, except when me and the guy donstairs cook dinner on our
    electric hot plates at the same time. andre
     
  56. Q. - Tuan,

    <p>

    I was about to reply to your email, but after reading some of the
    recent messages, I thought I would respond here, to offer some advice
    to those offering assistance.
    Everyone needs to understand that to provide a server for the site in
    order to maintain it in its current form would not be a casual (or
    inexpensive) undertaking. You must be well-versed in "C" programming
    and Unix/Linux, have a thorough understanding of Oracle (and a
    licensed copy) or other 1st-line DBS, have a good/fast machine that
    you are willing to turn over completely to the effort, a "pipe" to
    the internet, etc. etc.

    <p>

    Aolserver, that runs the show operates on Unix/Linux and functions as
    the network operating system. OpenACS, the BB module, operates within
    Aolserver. While modular, it is not for the inexperienced.

    <p>

    I have a Unix box with a T1 pipe, and thought I might be able to host
    the site in conjunction with (or as a part of) a site I am
    developing. This site is intended to offer a forum for users to
    display their work, offer mutual critique, and provide user written
    articles of LF interest - so I thought it would be a perfect fit. But
    I now realize that hosting this board in its current form is more
    than I can do. I do not own a copy of Oracle, nor am I willing to (or
    have time)learn a new, complicated piece of software.
    I am confused as to why Greenspun cannot continue to host, but is
    willing to fold it into photo.net - when the site resides on his
    server already.

    <p>

    Anyway, I have a few questions for the group:
    (email me if you prefer)

    <p>

    What is it about this site in its current form that makes you NOT
    want it in another interface? Isn't the content why you are here?
    Given the same content, what does the page formatting mean to you?

    <p>

    I would still offer to host, just with a different engine.
     
  57. In Answer to Steve Simmons... a much better web site than you
    presently have? Re-doing is an understatement.. View Camera's web
    site is basically non existant. Its there purely to tell us how much
    it will cost us to renew subscriptions, or how much to advertise and
    what has been featured in past issues.
    Steve, please feel free to email me and let me know just how good
    View Camera intends to be 'online?'
     
  58. I believe that we are seeing here the same pressures that are being
    felt by many other non-commercial web sites. Once they reach a
    critical mass, they either must either be run by someone who is
    financially independent and so can pay someone else to do the work, or
    who is willing and has the time to do the work, or the site must be
    commercialized to some extent. We cannot expect Tuan to devote his
    life to this site. Nor do I belive that casual offers for hosting can
    be accepted unless the person has a demonstated history of running
    such sites.

    <p>

    That being said, I believe that it would be appropriate for this site
    to be associated with the View Camera site. I also believe that it
    would be reasonable for Steve Simmons to ask for a small annual
    subscription fee. It could start at $10-20/year. Quite frankly, if
    you can afford a computer, ISP charges, and a LF camera setup, you can
    afford $20/year for access to this site.

    <p>

    The biggest problem with alignment with an existing commercial site
    would be maintaining editorial independence. Contributors must
    continue to be free to respectfully criticize films, cameras, lenses,
    workshops, etc. without worrying about the budgetary impact of such
    criticism. If Steve and his financial backers are comfortable with
    that, I personally would be willing to put up with ads from Kodak,
    Fuji, Schneider, Rodestock, etc. in addition to paying a small annual
    fee.

    <p>

    I must admit that my reasons for opposing incorporation of this site
    into photo.net are more intuitive than concrete. I don't have a good
    feeling about the site, nor about the motivation of Greenspun. I am
    particularly bothered by his absence in this discussion.

    <p>

    Finally, I would like to thank you, Tuan, for taking this site further
    than I would have believed possible for someone with a day job and a
    real life.

    <p>

    Bruce
     
  59. Whoa, Nigel, let's cut Steve S. some slack (and please, don't turn
    that mild criticism into a separate thread and flame war). As far as I
    know, no magazine anywhere on the web has found a long-term model for
    running a web site that doesn't lose money or just barely break
    even--indeed, excepting brilliant concepts like ebay, most of the
    successful web sites I know of are run either as charities or as
    sidelines of already-successful bricks-and-mortar operations. (Heck,
    the jury's still out on whether Amazon can make a go of it, and if
    they can't...). Until successful web models are identified and
    created, in other words, I don't blame printed magazines for having
    limited content on their web sites: there's no reason they should give
    away their best stuff for free, thereby hurting their very bread and
    butter.

    <p>

    I think of the owner of "The F Stops Here" camera store, who started
    an online forum and it quickly turned into a place where people bought
    and sold equipment directly to each other at no benefit to the site's
    host--in other words, his forum was undercutting his business (I
    always thought he should ask for 5 or 10 percent of any sales made
    through his forum). As noted above, seamlessly hosting a large
    interactive web site is a tremendously complex and expensive
    undertaking, a reality oft overlooked by visitors blithely clicking on
    these sites. Its glossy appearance notwithstanding, View Camera
    magazine is not a highly lucrative operation that can afford to run a
    complex but free-admission web site if it would cut into the income of
    the printed magazine.

    <p>

    I'm heartened by Steve Simmons's query about hosting this site (and it
    WAS merely a query, not a firm offer). It would be a great match but I
    wonder whether it would be a good idea (for him OR the forum) over the
    long term as this site continues to get more complex. If he decides
    it's impractical, and none of the individuals offering to host it can
    make a credible multi-year commitment, I think photo.net is the best
    (albeit not ideal) option.

    <p>

    ............................
     
  60. You guys know more about this stuff than me. I'll follow the
    discusion to its new home, and I'll pop a cheque in the mail to where
    ever it needs to go. Though I think if there is a charge, there
    should be a 6 month window for new people -- this is a great resourse
    and I think memebership fees might seal it up. So, if possible,
    please try to keep it open.
    Dean
     
  61. Ditto Dean's response
     
  62. It is not my intention to do an online magazine. As to placing
    articles on the site this is a problem. If I post them free than why
    will people subscribe??? I could post them and make entry into the
    site dependant on either being a subscriber or having a password paid
    for by a subscription fee. There could be two areas for the site - or
    more accuratley two divisions. One free for discussion only and one
    subscriber/fee based.

    <p>

    I am going to send my web person the address for this page and ask
    him what would be involved in being a host.

    <p>

    steve simmons
     
  63. I too wonder about Mr Greenspun's motivation for closing the server
    on this forum while still maintaining the photo.net forum (I don't
    blame him - he can't go on absorbing a cost such as this indefinitely
    and has my thanks for doing so until now). If the reasons are purely
    financial, perhaps he will accept an offer of subscription fees (or
    ads in place of the articles at the bottom of the page) to keep the
    forum afloat.

    <p>

    My vote is to:
    1) bribe Phil to keep the forum running on the current server.
    2) find a new server to host the forum in the current format.
    3) move to photo.net if 1) and 2) are not possible.
    4) commit hari-kari en masse if the forum goes to yahoo ;-)

    <p>

    Regards,
    Graeme
     
  64. Tuan, I'm not up to speed on many of the software issues you describe,
    but can offer a simplistic explanation of what's good about this site
    in its current form. Someone brought up the "F Stops Here" bulletin
    board. The user interface there is rather hostile. It has no
    categories, no "recent answers" function, etc. A few
    (non-photographic) forums I visit don't even place all posts from a
    single thread together, forcing one to "go back" for each one.
    Despite occasional complaining about your LF forum's lack of a
    dedicated search function, OpenACS is extremely user friendly. I know
    that all the convenient tools we currently enjoy - - and
    hopefully the archives too - - would still be available under
    photo.net, and will not complain if you migrate us there. It just
    seemed worthy of a post to suggest the View Camera lashup. If that's
    not practical, so be it. I hope Phil has invited you to continue as
    moderator in a "separate photo.net LF forum" arrangement. Thanks one
    more time!
     
  65. First YAHOOGROUPS - I'm not quite sure what the big deal is here? I
    am on several pro photo groups on Yahoo and never seem to have a
    problem - e mails come fine, no ads, archives search works well (in
    fact one or two groups that run on their own servers actually archive
    to Yahoo so they are searchable). I can access them via the web when
    I'm away. I've experienced none of the apparent woes...

    <p>

    Secondly, I've never especially like way the photo.net group is run,
    so I wouldn't be a fan of linking up more closely with that - I think
    this group would lose much of it's independence.

    <p>

    Thirdly, neither am I fan of being set up on the Viewfinder site. I
    seem to remember cases of people pulling stuff from their sites after
    heated discussion on the internet about some topic or other. Who's to
    say that wouldn't happen here in similar circumstances, with the plug
    being pulled on the list? (oh Steve, and as for articles on websites -
    no, I know of few that make money, but I note the likes of
    Photovision does... it's what led to me to subscribe to them!).

    <p>

    So I'm in favour of either an independent server, or Yahoogroups.

    <p>

    Tim A

    <p>

    Kevin
     
  66. Photo.net over yahoo...
     
  67. Q:

    <p>

    I have been watching this forum, and occasionally contributing for
    about 4 years. It's been a unique & rich source of information about
    large format photography. I have been involved with the medium format
    forum at Photo.net for about the same time. It generally works ok,
    and far better than Yahoo. Aside from your ideal situation, my vote
    is to move to the Photo.net sit as a separate category.

    <p>

    ~Ted
     
  68. Greetings,

    <p>

    I agree with most of the previous posts; this is a valuable resource
    and should continue, unfortunately I don't see many options. Someone
    suggested a fee if that would help fund another option. Personally, I
    would rather see a site similar to Philip's for a fee rather than
    Photo.net. I would also rather see it go to Photo.net than go away
    completely.

    <p>

    Regards,
     
  69. Q or other who takes on resposibilty, seriously: Make promise to
    archive all people's email who contributed on this site. Take time
    to develop BETTER system. Send email when it's up and running.

    <p>

    Why does anyone think we should settle for moving backwards? We have
    something really good here, and technology is moving forward too.
    Responses to go to photonet/yahoo route seem pessimistic, and are
    baffling.
     
  70. Q
    I just wish to thank you for providing such an informative and
    stimulating forum. I've been reading this for a year or so and never
    miss reading every thread every day. I don't know much about
    computers, hosting and the like but I do know I thoroughly enjoy this
    forum. I am always searching for more information and ideas about my
    choosen field and this forum provides the ideal begining for this
    quest. All I can add to this is that where ever you go we will follow.
     
  71. I personally would be more than willing to contribute to keep this
    forum on it's own server. I'm surprised more people haven't suggested
    this. This forum is better than any photo mag I've ever read. I would
    not object to contributing in any way, or to paying a user fee for
    that matter. People have gotten used to getting stuff for free on the
    ‘net and it's gotten out of hand. If you're worried about excluding
    newbies, offer a 30 day ‘guest' membership. I've learned more from
    this forum than from any magazine - but's let's keep it free from
    advertisement, pop up windows, and all the other nonsense. I'm also
    surprised that Mr. Simmons suggestions have been so roundly rebuffed.
    Seems like a natural to me as long as the technical issues can be
    worked out, AND the forum doesn't become a vehicle for View Camera
    Magazine. Seems like a good fit to me.

    <p>

    If there is no other alternative to becoming part of the photo.net,
    please don't adopt the ridiculous hero icons that has become a part of
    photo.net. All they do is to diminish the value of the rest of the
    contributors. Talk about elitistism....
     
  72. I learned MF through Medium Format Forun and LF through your kind
    selves, I bought a "new" attractive Spanish LF learning book last week
    but ended up giving it away, I was way ahead of it's entire contents
    thanks to this forum.

    <p>

    This forum has its unique "air" about, it not found in the MF of any
    other forum, obviously due to the fact that we have to be a bit
    eccentric to be into LF and we are bonded by this "madness". I think it
    is normal that people are trying to protect this unique environment
    from "outside contamination" but I really don't think that the forum
    will suffer from being on Photo.net (as other posters have pointed out
    MF forum has not suffered), people usually leave "nutters" alone.

    <p>

    go for it Q.-Tuan Luong
     
  73. doctype html public "-//w3c//dtd html 4.0 transitional//en"> Just an offer, you are welcome to join us at http://www.usefilm.com and participate. If you want a large format discussion forum to be created I can create one for all of you to participate in and get it going, then try to port over the old data. Take a look and if you want one, it can be up in less than a day. We already have other forums running on the server. The forums currently support image uploads as well as all the comments.
     
  74. doctype html public "-//w3c//dtd html 4.0 transitional//en"> Since I tend to hate delays, I enabled the new large format photography forum just now http://www.usefilm.com/forums .php
    If you want it, feel free to use it.
    al
     
  75. Hi guys. This is Lumberjack. Some of you know me and those that don't,
    I was a regular correspondant on this site for a long time. I was
    enticed by a siren song of civility to emmigrate to usefilm.com and
    have been very happy over there. It is a photography site unlike
    anything around here. It is a site by, for, and about photography. I
    think that you will find it a good site as a replacement for this
    site. I'm asking Q to have a look, talk with the usefilm creators, and
    see if this can't be moved over there. I think everyone will like it
    and it offers another option I found attractive. It has an option
    allowing you to post images. I for one like this option because it
    allows me to show my work "and" get input about it from other
    accomplished photographers. I have always liked the idea about
    sharing work and talking about it. We have no canikonolta wars over
    there, but we do have a really friendly chat room. Take a look and let
    me know here or on the large format page over there what you think. I
    know you will like it. And it is a user friendly place. Lumberjack
     
  76. The character of this forum is distinctly different from that of
    usefilm.com. They serve two different purposes. When used
    correctly, this is an archived resource, not a chat room. I'd
    encourage anyone looking for what Altaf provides to visit his site,
    but please *do not* approach it as a "replacement" for this site.
    Let's support Tuan in getting this forum rehosted (in its current
    form) on the most practical server. If that turns out to be
    photo.net, the tradeoffs are - - at least for now - - tolerable.
     
  77. Sal, I've spent a lot of time at photo.net and it isn't a better place
    which would be tolerable. Not even close. And usefilm is so much more
    than a chatroom. Usefilm has offered to host this Large Format site
    and "we" will moderate it like we always have. And it offers
    additional options not found here or at photo.net. And we don't engage
    in tech wars or anything else. We are about photography. It is easy to
    navigate and it will be what we want it to be. It has it's own large
    format page. And Al is looking into the archives issue to see if they
    can be moved. We on Q's LF page have always been available to the
    newcomer and old timer alike as a resource for all things LF and this
    is what I want to continue with. Or I wouldn't be here hyping the
    virtues of usefilm. So take a look and get involved. The site will be
    what "we" make it. Lumberjack(aka James)
     
  78. Hi all, I just went and checked the usefilm.com site and I like it a
    lot better than photo.net. Easier interface, very similar "look and
    feel" as this board. The only draw back I saw was that you need
    to "register" before you can post a question, but heck that is not
    too much to ask if our info is not being sold out. Why don't some of
    you check it out and try it?
     
  79. One of the big reasons why we want you to register is to keep spammers
    and malcontents out.
    We want no wars. Intense discussions are fine as long as they are
    instructive but we don't want it degenerating into a yahoo or
    photo.net war
    and we want serious photographers. Amateurs are fine but if you don't
    have anything constructive to say or you want to hassle people then we
    don't want you there. Same as here. This has been a very unique site
    and would interface and meld with usefilm very well. Come have a look.
    We also welcome all the discussion about the posted images as
    long as it is constructive. We don't ask that you like the images
    but that you critique them constructively
    James
     
  80. Hi, just poped over to the usefilm area. Somehow it seems like we
    have a critical mass here that might just get diluted if something
    happend ... no disrespect... Can't we just pay Mr. G's people
    something, or send a cheque to Steve Simons which seems like the best
    idea as his magazine is the linchpin -- his offer is generous and
    then maybe we'd all stop bugging him about silver because we'd still
    be able talk about it on our own -- solve two problems that one. I
    don't know if he's still with that idea, and it might be easier to
    just migrate, but with all thoes Coolpix out there, combining the
    critical mass of this forum with the linchpin mag makes sense. That
    not being doable, I'm for a fee.
    Dean
     
  81. I do not understand the talk about photo.net being intolerable becuase
    you simply do not have to visit those General or Archived or Nature or
    Medium Format sites if you do not want to. The Large Format site
    remains exactly as it is if it is hosted by photo.net. Are you all
    accessing the discussion forums at photo.net differently from the way
    I do? I type in www.photo.net/bboard in the URL and I get directly to
    the list of forums. I click on the forum I wish to click on and I do
    not have to look at the rest. Somehow there is the misconception that
    being hosted by photo.net means losing our good moderator Tuan.
    Nothing can be further from the truth. Each forum has its own
    moderators and they do not cross over to control the other forums. So
    you have nothing to fear from the likes of Darron, Bob, Russ, Don etc.
    in the LF Forum.
     
  82. If it matters we took a peek and it will not be much trouble to port
    over the archive. Usefilm.com is a heck of a lot more than just a
    chatroom. Take a peek and decide for yourself. The tone of
    Usefilm.com is distictly about becoming a better photographer by
    actually TAKING pictures. The photo projects are there for those who
    wish to participate. Discussing techniques and equipment will always
    be some part of photography which is fine. They both can happily
    coexist together.

    <p>

    I've read this forum for a long time and been a large format
    photographer for much longer than that. Large format should not be an
    elitist secret. It should be a wonderful avenue to try and practice
    Photography in the traditional sense. There is no greater joy than
    seeing that first big polaroid come out of a large format camera and
    have it not come out blank.

    <p>

    I want to expose as many people as possible to the joys of large
    format and alternative processes so I made the offer to host the
    forum. I will still be a member at this LF forum no matter what.
     
  83. Reply from Philg (presumably) copied from Pentax 67 Forum:

    <p>

    Hey, I'm not dead yet... But seriously the easiest thing to do
    with photo forums is move them into photo.net. The
    site has a full-time staff. For the rest of the greenspun.com
    stuff, I'm not pulling the plug immediately. But I want to
    make sure that the services are rebuilt in a way that is
    sustainable. I've already told Steve that we can move his
    forum onto photo.net and redirect seamlessly from old
    greenspun.com bookmarks.

    <p>

    -- Philip Greenspun (philg@mit.edu), December 07, 2001.
     
  84. Interesting. But I question the feeling that somehow this forum will
    become diluted by joing usefilm.com. We large format shooters over
    there have our own page complete with archives and a large base of
    other serious photographers to draw from. And Q is my choice for
    moderator if he so chooses. I'm sorry but I feel PN sucks as far as
    navigating and options and it isn't always up and running. I
    frequently have to back out and try over again. I went there because
    of the options that existed over there. Like other lf photographers
    who put there images up for critique and comment on mine. And the chat
    room has rooms you can go to where you can talk serious photography
    while looking at the image in question. I hope you will come visit us
    and have a chat with us about what we offer. As for PN, I choose the
    better option. I've already been there and it wasn't usable.
    James
     
  85. No, James, I disagree with you. PN does not suck. It is not perfect
    but it does not suck. PN remains the most informative archive of
    photography knowledge on the Web. It has been helpful to many since
    its inception. PN does not suck.
     
  86. Sorry Eric X but "in my opinion" it sucks. There is more current
    information on usefilm then on the archives on PN. I spent a lot of
    time on Photo.net and all it was was a bunch of bickering and
    techwars. So I don't buy it. This site is a class act and usefilm.com
    is just as good. That is why I have invited those that want a great
    photography site with it's own LF page to come over and experience it
    for themselves. And PN is hard to navigate. Go where you want but
    having been here for a very long time and having used usefilm I will
    never go back to PN. Period.
     
  87. PhotoNet is not all that bad, but it is down from time to time, and
    it’s not the easiest site to move around in. It would be a
    consideration if were are unable to maintain the site as is, or with
    some changes as to fees or funding if required.

    <p>

    Deans' point about critical mass is a good one. Usefilm.com is a good
    site among many good sites - and all photography sites are constantly
    looking to increase their traffic/memberships. Altafs’ offer is kind,
    but I’m sure we would be welcomed at other sites as well - the
    important thing here is to maintain our critical mass, and to try to
    continue with the forum in it’s current form, or as close as possible
     
  88. that's what we are trying to do
    keep all the information together and keep all the participants
    together
    we don't want to dilute the page with other formats and agendas
    and usefilm offers other options as well that PN and here don't
    james
     
  89. Some thoughts on the options:

    <p>

    I've been to usefilm and found that I can't access it because of an
    incompatibility between the site and my browser, so I'm not interested
    in that option. (And please, don't tell me to change my browser. The
    whole genius of the worldwide web was that the markup language was
    designed to make all sites compatible with all hardware and software
    combinations (including palm pilot, webTV, etc); I have little
    patience with the argument that because an incompetent web designer
    has created a site that's inaccessible to my browser, I should change
    my browser. I don't THINK so. Of course that's one of the many great
    things about being with Greenspun, is that he understands that whole
    idea of accessibility and practices it as well as preaching it.)

    <p>

    As for yahoo-- I'm in a yahoo group, and I think someone here said
    there's no ads on yahoogroups, but that's not my experience. We get an
    ad at the bottom of almost every message. Many have graphics that take
    a while to download. I put up with it because it's my brothers and
    sisters and it's an easy way for us to keep in touch, but for a
    professional group, I hope we could do better. And we didn't join
    yahoo voluntarily, by the way; we were on egroups, which was better,
    but we were sold to yahoo like so much furniture.

    <p>

    Given the manpower requirements Tuan has outlined, it seems unlikely
    that Steve Simmons would be able to follow up his polite request for
    information about our requirements with a definite offer to host the
    forum. He can speak for himself, of course, but it seems unlikely to
    me that it would be cost-effective for him to take this on.

    <p>

    As for paying a fee to maintain the forum as a standalone on its own
    server, has anyone worked out how many subscribers at what fee it
    would take to maintain a server and a person to manage it? People are
    used to free discussion groups on the net; I'm not sure how many would
    be willing to pay for the service. I'm not sure I would, myself. I
    expect what you'd end up with would be a core group of a few people,
    but not enough to pay the bills.

    <p>

    I think probably Phillip is right, that photo.net makes the most sense
    because it has a staff already, and the interface is familiar. If the
    forum can maintain a separate existence there and keep its present
    tone and usefulness, that would be tolerable. One potential problem I
    can see is it may be more visible to people who enjoy joining groups
    purely to create dissension, who wouldn't have known about our group
    in its present location, but that might be a risk we'll have to take,
    if we can't find a way to continue as we are.

    <p>

    This may be a dumb question, but I guess I don't understand the
    difference between the two sites, greenspun.com and photo.net, as far
    as the software. The forum format looks quite similar; is the software
    totally different?

    <p>

    I don't think we need a feature for uploading images for critique.
    Once in a while it would be useful to be able to show a problem with a
    camera or something like that, but critiqueing work isn't what this
    forum is about. I lurked on one critique group for a while and was
    rather taken aback by the arbitrary and even bizarre advice people
    were being given on how to "improve" their photographs. When I found
    it harder and harder to restrain myself from jumping in to yell "Run
    for your lives!" to the hapless participants, I unsubscribed. That's
    a longwinded way of saying, "No critiques, please!"
     
  90. No need for apologies, James. I knew full well that it was your
    opinion without your having to state it every time. And in a world
    where opinions are about as common as a@@holes, that makes your
    opinion as about valid as mine. Since you are insistent on
    repeating your opinion that photo.net sucks, there you go, following
    your tack, I am repeating my opinion that photo.net does not suck.
    Somewhere in there lies a sliver of truth.
     
  91. Just to make sure I understand - this affects the forum only,
    correct? Not the "static" page with all the data, reviews, etc.?
     
  92. Yes, Sean. Only this forum MAY be affected. The static page is
    hosted by Dr Quang Tuan Luong's own cs.berkley server.
     
  93. No, David, you shouldn't give a vote to that site. That site is a
    repository of information on photographic equipment written by a few,
    not about photography per se. You must be careful to make that
    distinction. It is unlike photo.net or this forum, with input from a
    world-wide audience.
     
  94. I would really like to see the current character of the site
    maintained, and if that is done best at photo.net, so be it. This
    site has a tremendous wealth of knowledge shared by long time
    practitioners that filters down to those of us who are not
    professionals but pursue image making with large format as a passion.
    There is no other site on the net where I can ask a question about
    some arcane lens I have located and have a dozen responses on
    manufacturer, image properties, design, coverage etc. At the same
    time a person can propose a discussion regarding non techie subjects
    and ther is always a spirited discussion.

    <p>

    As far as a site for the critique of images: please stop now before I
    lose my sanity. You only need to read so many "to dark at the top" ,
    should have cropped this or that side, NICEST IMAGE YET!, what filter
    did you use for this or that effect in photoshop etc. If people want
    their images seen and critiqued, ask them to provide a URL for their
    own site or at least a completely seperate forum for critiques.
     
  95. I think Katharine Thayer's post (above) is right on target. Excellent!

    <p>

    .
     
  96. There might be two other sites which we might attempt to emulate or
    at least have discussions with to learn how they provide service and
    forums.

    <p>

    Perhaps there is a way that this LF Forum integrate or move to a link
    at Photo District News' page. I am often there and find their
    discussions similar and thoughtful like this one.

    <p>

    The other site which I use and find easy to navigate is
    www.Robgalbraith.com. I am not suggesting a merger or use of this
    page since they are focused on digital cameras and issues. They
    probably would not want opposite end of the spectrum forums under the
    same banner. However, someone might want to look at the
    architecture, design and the appearance of their forums. Perhaps, we
    can open telephone conversations and ask them who they used to create
    the site, what software they use and their thoughts about servers and
    long term operational needs. I happen to enjoy that they have a
    couple forum links to different topics. Maybe we could have sections
    for film, lenses and different bodies among other areas.

    <p>

    There may additional options than these and they should be given due
    as we are discussing Photo.net and Yahoo and the rest.

    <p>

    Regards,

    <p>

    John Bailey
     
  97. Hi

    <p>

    Would be nice if the design and workability of these forum would not be
    changed. But Q.-Tuan has to take the decision and he will do it right
    as he already did!
    Good luck!
     
  98. I've nothing much to add, but wanted to register a vote.

    <p>

    My first preference would be to find another independent server.
    The traffic here isn't that big, and generic discussion server
    software comes free with most internet-aware databases these
    days. I would offer my servers and programming time (my
    University, and Swedish Law, is very tolerant of non-profit servers
    within the domain) but I can't promise continuity for any
    reasonable time, so the forum would probably have to move
    again in a year or so.

    <p>

    I would be willing to pay a small subscription fee were that
    necessary to keep the forum going on a commercial server, but I
    feel strongly that access should be free (and that cute little icons
    for those who've paid up are childish and divisive).

    <p>

    I like photo.net, but I prefer this forum, which in many ways is
    what photo.net was like before it went professional. Photo.net is
    now slow and klunky in comparison because it is too busy
    selling my eyeballs to advertisers to engage fully in the dull task
    of sending ascii down the pipe.

    <p>

    More seriously, I believe that photo.net claims copyright over the
    posts made there, which might make things difficult if the forum
    got sick of the adverts for 28-200 zoom lenses and tried to move
    again.
     
  99. I am very nearly computer illiterate and can't make a qualified
    opinion on most of the tech issues.

    <p>

    I will say that this site is the only one that has a shortcut on my
    "personal toolbar" in Netscape. I've been to all the other ones to
    investigate from time to time, but don't find myself going back. Why
    is that? What is it about this site that makes it so classy?
    Whatever it is I would certainly vote to maintain that character and
    flavour. If it takes reaching into my pocket book, then that's what
    it takes. Thank you Q Tuan Luong for keeping this place an island in
    an ever increasing sea of "No Value."

    <p>

    There was a thread a while back about equipment insurance. Maybe
    there could be a subscriber fee that included equipment insurance in
    the price. I'll shut up before I say anything even dumber.

    <p>

    Very Best Regards to the people that make this site "special". Jim
     
  100. I'm hoping that the forum can be continued with the ACS software,
    which is a definate example of the beauty of simplicity. A while
    back, after I acquired a Palm Vx with Minstrel V wireless modem and
    installed a little Palm OS browser called AvantGo, I was pleasantly
    surprised to find that this forum displayed perfectly and was
    incredibly useable even at the blinding (not!) connection speed of
    19.2k. Consequently I have spent many hours reading this forum in
    bed next to my warm, sleeping wife rather than out in the cold family
    room at the desktop machine. I'm hopeful that this will continue!
     
  101. I've been a lurker here, and a semi-active participant in the People Photography forum. I was a bit distressed about the prospect of the greenspun servers going away, so I started writing a facsimile of the q-and-a system in a more portable form than ACS is (PHP/mySQL vs. AOLServer/ACS/Postgres/Oracle).
    The result is http://joshwand.com/q-and-a/. Mind you, it's not finished yet (most notably missing are email notifications, but that will be added within the next week or so), but the core functionality is there and solid.
    My next task after polishing up the service to current levels is to figure out how to move existing content-- I can write a spider, I suppose, but I might ask philg if he can give me raw database dumps of both the forums (and any others that might wish to move) so I can import them directly into my new system.
    I also plan on releasing the source code so that others can maintain similar services on most popular UNIX webhosts.
    How does this idea sit with the forum?
     
  102. Hey - looks great. If you can get the email notification up and
    running, it should be pretty cool.

    <p>

    Yep, the existing material ont here would be a huge advantage

    <p>

    Tim A
     
  103. Outtages of this list all the time now... kinda annoying. Maybe it's
    tame to take Josh up on his excellent offer and migrate the lsit to
    somehwere that works?

    <p>

    tim a
     
  104. I'm down with that. All the outages, on top of being irritating, kind
    of make me nervous. This forum and its archives along with
    Luong's site are easily the two greatest LF resources on the web
    and I'd hate to see the former lost. It's just too good to lose.
     
  105. yes, go Josh go, if this server is going to keep being trouble like it
    has been
     
  106. I hope that this forum continues in it's present form - clearly a
    useful resource to large format photographers.

    <p>

    I hadn't visited for a while - I was pointed to a discussion here by
    Tim Atherton who posted some URLs to the f32.net LargeFormat Mailing
    List.

    <p>

    Some of you may not be aware of f32.net Large Format Photography. We
    run a Forum and a mailing list amongst other things. It is essentially
    a Community of Practice for large format photography.

    <p>

    If this board does (heaven forbid) go to the wall then there are
    alternatives that have been running for a couple of years.

    <p>

    Best Regards,

    <p>

    Clive Warren http://www.f32.net
     

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