Jump to content

PhotoNet at a Crossroads


Recommended Posts

PhotoNet has existed for over 30 years.  For much of that time it was one of the premier photographic communities on the web.  Things began to change with the first migration of the platform in early 2017.  Two more “migrations” later resulted in much damage to its reputation, loss of membership, and participation in PhotoNet.

Today we stand as a mere shadow of what this community once was.  Administration is doing its best to remedy problems with the site.  Some things are possible and some are not.  We will continue to keep you advised on these things.  But change is necessary PhotoNet to survive.

Our forum boards are a hopeless tangle of mixed categories that defy SEO and intuitive navigation.  This is the result of poor planning and action in earlier migrations and the effects of time.  From a site that in 2009 had an average of 4000-5000 regular active members daily has now dwindled to a core of around 300 posting regulars.  There are usually no more than 30 logged in members at any given point in time.  

PhotoNet is at a crossroads and must adapt in order to survive.  Be advised that at this time, we have no budget to buy new features or pay programmers to custom develop functionality.

We are soliciting your thoughts on things you would like to see, and your vision for the future of this community!  

Please let us know!
 

 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

20 minutes ago, SiteHelp said:

"Some things are possible and some are not"

It would help to understand the basic parameters of what is possible and what is not possible given the site technology and the current budget (non existing budget) to make changes.  I would agree that personal galleries would be the biggest improvement, but it would help for management to define if they can be fixed.  The forums may be a mess, but seem to be working, more or less.

It is a bit shocking to actually see the decline in users laid out in the posting, but not really surprising.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Being one the those 300, alike the warriors of Thermopylae, ever present over the last 20 years, I thank you and commend you for the precision of your message. We all wish you luck and success.

What I omitted to add earlier, hence the copy/paste here,  is that one of the problems we faced is that no one told us precisely what was going on and what the prospects were for the future. What was also missing was thread that you have opened which allow us to make concrete suggestions.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

22 minutes ago, Sanford said:

Personal Galleries.

Personal galleries are called 'Albums'.  A member can create any number of them.  At this time all member Albums are set to public view.  Private albums are possible, but to what purpose?

PhotoNet is not like or intended to be an image depository like Flickr, smugmug, or others.  It is a place (among other things) to show medium resolution images to others and solicit comments and discussion.  What role in this do private albums that only a member can see play?

It's a good comment, and bears discussion so that PhotoNet can decide what it wants to be when it grows up.

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 minutes ago, SiteHelp said:

 

PhotoNet is not like or intended to be an image depository like Flickr, smugmug, or others.  It is a place (among other things) to show medium resolution images to others and solicit comments and discussion. 

 

Well, if it’s to be just an in and out process, with a couple of comments added, we have Instagram for that among others.

The interest of galleries in the past was to divide work into different categories, e.g., portraits, landscapes, birds etc., not in order to create a depository, but to focus attention on a theme which fellow members (clients, a concept that was promoted in more recent times?) may be interested in.

Edited by John Peri
  • Like 2
  • On Point 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I always understood Albums/Galleries/Portfolios (different terminology, same concept) to be as you describe. 

23 minutes ago, SiteHelp said:

PhotoNet is not like or intended to be an image depository like Flickr, smugmug, or others.

Right. Most of us have understood that and still do. Unfortunately, there are those that have used it much more like Flickr was intended and they’ve suffered hardships because of it. Though alternatives have been offered, such as the sites you’ve mentioned, there’s been resistance to adapting to what Photonet is and what these other sites offer. Don’t be surprised if your message doesn’t get through. But, thanks for the clear explanation and for whatever you can do to help bring the site up to speed in a new era.

I’d like to see easier personal gallery functionality, with notifications of comments back and forth, if possible. Because of gallery issues for quite some time, I haven’t tried using that part of the site lately, so forgive me if things are in better shape than when I last checked. 

Thanks again for any and all ongoing improvements and for continuing communications. 

Edited by samstevens
  • Like 3

"You talkin' to me?"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please provide an option to move migrated or other image content that existed before an album was created into an album. The ability to create albums and then upload new pictures into them is a boon for new members developing a portfolio, but it is not much help for members who've been posting images since the late 1990s just because they wanted to share pictures on a daily basis.

 

Please provide basic, intuitive slide-show navigation seen in previous photo.net incarnations and still in use on other sites I visit. By this I mean when a user clicks an arrow on the image page from a member’s Gallery, the user sees the next picture in that shooter’s collective work, not the next image in the Category to which the picture has been assigned.

 

Thanks!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sadly, I don’t know if you can survive as the site as it is now is almost impossible to navigate. I’ve been a member since 2009. Photonet was an absolute pleasure to use. They even had a 4 picture a day upload limit to stop people dumping 5 years of photos on the site (although I think it had more to do with the “storage space” they had.)
 

My point is, I realize that “ownership” may have changed but why did the mechanics of using this app have to change. It was easy and people loved it. Go back to it ( if you can!) 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

55 minutes ago, RobertWPillow said:

Please provide delete functionality that allows photo.net members to remove their Gallery or personal album images completely from the site and its supporting database.

Thanks!

I do agree with the above.

I have written on this topic recently, but since this is now the thread on which to make suggestions, I will take the liberty of repeating what I said earlier.

“in Europe the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) encompasses the right to privacy/the right to be forgotten which applies to all social media, search engines etc, among others, and includes the right to withdraw consent to use any personal data or photographs displayed”. The law is far reaching and even obliges the previous user to inform any other websites where they've been shared that you have asked for your data and links to them to be deleted.

It is in fact the law, and it is what obliged Meta and Google to adapt their policy more recently to include issues of privacy regarding all personal data and materials, when and how they is displayed., as well as the control of how it is shared with other entities, including cookies.

People move on in life and must have the right to privacy, which includes images of theirs that are displayed publicly, not to mention the people represented in them.

The wife of Sarkozy, the ex-president of France was a model and steps were taken to remove all “inappropriate” photos of her in social media We are all equal in front of the law and others have that right too, whether the photographs are uploaded by us or others.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, setsail728 said:

Sadly, I don’t know if you can survive as the site as it is now is almost impossible to navigate. I’ve been a member since 2009. Photonet was an absolute pleasure to use. They even had a 4 picture a day upload limit to stop people dumping 5 years of photos on the site (although I think it had more to do with the “storage space” they had.)


My point is, I realize that “ownership” may have changed but why did the mechanics of using this app have to change. It was easy and people loved it. Go back to it ( if you can!) 

We cannot go back to what was before as people remember.  Here is a short history of why we cannot return but rather maximize what we have today.

  • From 1993 to 2000, PhotoNet was a privately owned endeavor of Phil Greenspun.  He wrote the platform from scratch and maintained it himself.  In 2000 it was incorporated as part of ArsDigita--a venture of Greenspun, Rajeev Surati, and Waikit Lau.  It was sold in 2007 to NameMedia for USD6 million. It continued to operate and expand the original platform until 2016.
  • In 2016, ownership transferred to CreativeLiveDevelopers there recognized that the underlying platform was archaic and had become impossible to plug security leaks.  PhotoNet was transferred to the Xenforo platform which functioned fairly well and provided many features users were comfortable with.  It was not a frangible replacement for the original platform.
  • In 2022, PhotoNet was purchased by Fiverr, and the decision was made to replace Xenforo with Invision Community Board.  This is our current software, and a less than optimal fit for our sort of community.

This community has a fairly "vanilla" capacity in terms of what it is capable of without significant investment in feature plugins and custom coding.  This is why we need everyone's thoughts to find what is possible and what is not.

 

  

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Half of the home page screen real estate is consumed by a generic static banner.  Move new activity and images to the top so that's what people see when they first hit the home page.  When I first hit the home page I almost mistook it for one of those generic "domain available" pages.  People visit forums to see what's new.  Put new and changing content up first. 

image.png.917743d3a4d16b412c6ecca8bb22e776.png

  • Excellent! 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, SiteHelp said:

This is why we need everyone's thoughts to find what is possible and what is not.

Could you please explain how "what is possible and what is not" will be communicated to the members? Will each suggestion get a response on this forum regardless of feasibility?

Thanks!

Edited by RobertWPillow
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You are absolutely right Jeff.  Everything was left fairly vanilla during the first part of this "migration".  We are now trying to correct and finish things that should have been accomplished during pre-launch development production.

The Wayback Machine is the perfect way to see what was.  Here is a sampling of our appearance through time.

2000
https://web.archive.org/web/20000304130409/http://www.photo.net/

2005
https://web.archive.org/web/20050101023328/http://photo.net/

2010
https://web.archive.org/web/20100115184028/http://photo.net/

2015
https://web.archive.org/web/20150310041813/http://photo.net/

The best has been saved for last. This is what PhotoNet looked like in September 2022, just before this last "migration".


https://web.archive.org/web/20220905030450/https://photo.net/

 

 

"I met a traveller from an antique land,
Who said—“Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal, these words appear:
My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

Percy Bysshe Shelley, 1818

  • Like 3
  • Excellent! 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

No suggestion to "roll back", I understand that is unfeasible. However in the last 12 months there have been many constructive criticisms which might give a hint on what serious long-time and new users value. I'm personally shocked at the decline in readership, but personally, due to what I've considered a feeble effort, excluding Sandy, to communicate, address issues raised by members, or give a semblance of what the future portends, I've spent time formerly devoted to this site, with another much better managed site. Without capital to engage in constructive and future-looking programming, or even automatic avoidance of tons of spam, it is hard to imagine survival when others seem very capable of doing so. I sincerely hope the new owners find their way to "get off the pot" and address the myriad of concerns longtime members have expressed, and can not only stem the hemorrhage,  but develop a plan to attract members and grow the forum. As an aside, a "THANK YOU" to Sandy for his engagement.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

One of the biggest issues was that communication from PN administration had vanished.  Someone had mentioned on a post that PN had been abandoned and that created a stir.  Great that PN has reopened communication with members and has requested feedback.  

If PN cannot go back to the format it was, can you tell us what is possible?  I'll have to look for a description of how the albums work.  Right now I feel "locked out" of my gallery because I cannot manage images there. 

I certainly enjoy the diversity of PN's membership; very talented artists' that share their knowledge, the ability to post an image and receive feedback, to admire the work of others and be inspired, to learn how to do it better or at least have a conversation about it.  The gallery (as mentioned) was a location that displayed your work.  It's very important that members can manage their accounts.  

Thanks again for the information and hard work! 

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

17 hours ago, SiteHelp said:

You are absolutely right Jeff.  Everything was left fairly vanilla during the first part of this "migration".  We are now trying to correct and finish things that should have been accomplished during pre-launch development production.

The Wayback Machine is the perfect way to see what was.  Here is a sampling of our appearance through time.

2000
https://web.archive.org/web/20000304130409/http://www.photo.net/

2005
https://web.archive.org/web/20050101023328/http://photo.net/

2010
https://web.archive.org/web/20100115184028/http://photo.net/

2015
https://web.archive.org/web/20150310041813/http://photo.net/

The best has been saved for last. This is what PhotoNet looked like in September 2022, just before this last "migration".


https://web.archive.org/web/20220905030450/https://photo.net/

 

 

"I met a traveller from an antique land,
Who said—“Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal, these words appear:
My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

Percy Bysshe Shelley, 1818

Looking through your Wayback Machine, I think the layout in 2010 was the best. It was very easy to navigate using the tabs. Just my opinion 🙂

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 1/23/2023 at 11:39 AM, SiteHelp said:

PhotoNet has existed for over 30 years.  For much of that time it was one of the premier photographic communities on the web.  Things began to change with the first migration of the platform in early 2017.  Two more “migrations” later resulted in much damage to its reputation, loss of membership, and participation in PhotoNet.

Today we stand as a mere shadow of what this community once was.  Administration is doing its best to remedy problems with the site.  Some things are possible and some are not.  We will continue to keep you advised on these things.  But change is necessary PhotoNet to survive.

Our forum boards are a hopeless tangle of mixed categories that defy SEO and intuitive navigation.  This is the result of poor planning and action in earlier migrations and the effects of time.  From a site that in 2009 had an average of 4000-5000 regular active members daily has now dwindled to a core of around 300 posting regulars.  There are usually no more than 30 logged in members at any given point in time.  

PhotoNet is at a crossroads and must adapt in order to survive.  Be advised that at this time, we have no budget to buy new features or pay programmers to custom develop functionality.

We are soliciting your thoughts on things you would like to see, and your vision for the future of this community!  

Please let us know!
 

 

Before you get any deeper into the graphic re-design of photo.net, could you please take a few minutes to respond to all of the suggestions/requests for improving the functionality of this web site?

Thanks!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

21 minutes ago, samstevens said:

I think a good administrator will be able to multi-task. I’ve always been aware that photo.net has a diverse group of photographers (except, perhaps, for age and gender, which seems to me predominantly male and alive when John Kennedy was shot). Given that diversity, many kinds of questions will be asked and answered and some info put out will be of more interest to some than others. Since photography is a visually-oriented site, the graphics look seems important and visual presentation can make a significant impact on the photos and info we’re viewing. So, that stuff is important to me. I understand others have different priorities.

My approach is generally not to reject info offered, even if it doesn’t respond to my own needs. Because I know others are interested in just that info or at least it might help others understand where we are compared to where we came from. I will simply make my own requests and hope they will be responded to in due course. If there’s anything I’ve learned at PN it’s that there are widely divergent photographic approaches and visions and widely divergent uses for and needs from the site. That’s, to me, a good thing. 

Mr. Stevens, I politely decline to participate in a debate on the timing of my efforts to elicit comment from the people who are responsible for the technical and administrative support of photo.net on my ideas for improvement. By the way, most of the complaints expressed since the migration began about four months ago have been about functionality, not cosmetics. Have a nice day, Mr. Stevens!

Edited by RobertWPillow
Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 minutes ago, RobertWPillow said:

Mr. Stevens, I politely decline to participate in a debate on the timing of my efforts to elicit comment from the people who are responsible for the technical and administrative support of photo.net on my ideas for improvement. By the way, most of the complaints expressed since the migration began about four months ago have been about functionality, not cosmetics. Have a nice day, Mr. Stevens!

Yes. I deleted my post while you were responding thinking my comment was unnecessary. I understand your position. 

"You talkin' to me?"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, RobertWPillow said:

Before you get any deeper into the graphic re-design of photo.net, could you please take a few minutes to respond to all of the suggestions/requests for improving the functionality of this web site?

Thanks!

Dang man, what are you thinking?

The migration was a complete bollix, with an admin that popped in once a week.  As far as I can tell, he only got about a quarter way through things and then stopped.

And then the site was left to simmer for two months in which we had no tech help, no questions, no solicitations of thoughts.  And then nothing.  Now we seem to have what appears to be two tech people working hard for the PAST WEEK popping in every day and starting question topics.  It looks to me like a whole lot has been done in response to comments.  It further looks like a lot of things are fixed too.  We have albums, a better interface, and everyone sees and has permissions for the same things.  It looks like a whole lot of functionality has been given.

If you know how to code websites, perhaps you might volunteer to straighten things out....  🤡

I think that we just need to continue suggestions and stop griping.  

Edited by PapaTango
  • Like 1
  • Excellent! 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

@RobertWPillow We are responding to these things in a certain order and sorting matters out.  It's a trivial matter but over 150 major commits (things changed) have been made since we began this this renewal effort on 1/17/2023.  Around 125 minor tweaks and adjustments have been made also.  You do not want to see the number of things on the punch list going forward.  As a developer I am satisfied with the progress so far given the state it was inherited in.

The team appreciates everyone's comments and suggestions and we will continue to solicit them and communicate with members as appropriate.  I myself have put in nearly 50 hours this past week appraising, adjusting, and working on this site. 

This is not our "regular" paid job.  Rather we have taken on this project as volunteers donating our time and skills to this endeavor.  This effort is for the benefit of the community and the survival of this venue. 

Everyone is invited to check out our new temporary front page loaded today.  It is much improved over the stock homepage that was left up by previous admins.  It is not permanent as a new one is being shaped based on member comments.

Thank you for your comments.

 

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I usually log in to show new forum posts.  The new version seems hard to go through with photos posts, verbiage posts, album posts, ads, etc all running one into the other.  I tried to just show regular discussion posts.  But it seem very difficult to look quickly through the list and select.  It's an eye sore and difficult to navigate.   The new version is definitely worse.

Good luck. I hope you can fix it all up. 

Edited by AlanKlein
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, TGOPS said:

Everyone is invited to check out our new temporary front page loaded today.  It is much improved over the stock homepage that was left up by previous admins.  It is not permanent as a new one is being shaped based on member comments.

Looks nice, I noticed it right away!  Thanks.

  • Excellent! 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • TGOPS unfeatured this topic

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...