Feedback Photo gallery forums too scattered!

Apr 2, 2018
I like our vibrant and active photo forums here, but don't you think there's too many of them and they're all scattered. I never find the right place to post my pictures! Frankly it's exhausting.

Some of my thoughts, what I am seeing.
  • "Words / No Words". Nice idea but in practice has anyone seen anyone making a critique or unwanted remark on a post? This place is too nice, and W/NW concept is superfluous -- the whole place is WNW de facto!
  • Herman's Genres. Wonderful ideas and inspiration to be sure, but couldn't these be part of the existing subforums such as Color, Action, Street.
  • For that matter, Color and B/W subforums themselves could go because nobody's preventing you from posting a small gallery in BW in Street Photography subforum for example.
  • Stroll Photography. I don't know man, I don't know. What's the purpose? :)

My proposal:

Simplify, simplify, simplify! I would personally go for the following division, which will ignore the technical details of the photo and focus on the genre:

  • Sports and Action (admittedly this is very small subforum as is)
  • Strolling (and) the Streets (Stroll + Street)
  • People and Portrait
  • Nature and landscapes (including Macro, Nature, the relevant landscape threads that are scattered around)
  • Quests and Challenges (combine Photo Challenges and Image Quest)
If you want to post a photo for critique, post it in the appropriate subforum with a flair such as "C&C". The sad lonely "Photo Critique" subforum doesn't have the activity.

Infrared/UV photographs are most probably "Nature & Landscape"; post there, maybe under a dedicated megathread or by all means start a new post with a nice flair.


Even this division is so artificial and introduces hard decisions about where to post!

Alternative proposal. I just might go all the way in: :D

Combine everything we have into just two forums*. One forum contains all the megathreads and the other contains invididual's posts. Use flairs to give a little color. Our community is not very huge so this could probs be a welcome concentration of content. I don't know, what do I know? :)

(*)Maybe contest and challenge things deserve their subforum.
 
Totally agree with almost all of your observations. I am watching only a few threads where most photos appear that I'm interested in. I too ignore Herman's Genres almost completely because there are way too many of them and I don't want to wade through all the separate threads, and the same is true for a lot of other image threads that don't particularly interest me.

There's a rather extreme situation on another forum I frequent, TalkEmount. It features the Pic a day thread with over 12k posts and everybody seems to dump their pictures into that forum, whatever theme, technique, doesn't matter. It's really nice to have one place to go to for most things members do. I'd strongly favour something like that here. The Show: Random Picture Thread!!! could be a candidate for that. Of course you can have separate image threads for contests, Single-In-<month> stuff etc., but not too much.

While we're at it, I seize the opportunity to rekindle interest in one of my pet-peeves: it would be nice if you'd get an alert if someone you follow, posts something. That way I get much more relevant alerts, not missing anything that my favourite photographers are up to.

Your post makes me think: maybe I should start to post my pictures in the Show: Random Picture Thread!!! from now on. If more members would do this, we'd quickly have a go-to place to view photos.
 

MoonMind

Hall of Famer
Dec 29, 2013
Switzerland
Matt
While I agree that many parts of the forum could use an overhaul and a concentration, the suggestions are going far to far for me.

This board is NOT some shallow "stream of consciousness" dump like FB, IG or, yes, even Flickr (for some, if not most). A message board like this one allows and calls for conceptualisation and contextualisation of what you post - that's its purpose, in fact. There's always the possibility to start a conversation - because it's *not* just some random chain of images. It's ordered, it's categorised, people have thought about what they have done, it's meant to make some sense.

It's obvious that the many mergers this board has been through have left kind of a mess that should be our common purpose to clean up. However, to that end, sections categories are the soul and center of posting as well as shooting for me. I want to know (and to think about) what I'm doing and I want to contribute to how my images are preceived. If everything posted on here was contained in a single thread, I'd find it dreadful.

It's also true that some people tend to create new threads for everything they post - that's not helpful at all; if there's no narrative to follow (or people who pick up on the theme), those threads are bound to dry up; some are orphaned after the first post. This is bad practice and should be discouraged (btw. the same goes for double and cross posting - but that's just my opinion; I've been a member of much more rigorous boards in that regard, anyway, and it's always helped to avoid fragmentation).

Anyhow, I don't *want* to have to follow people on here as I would have to on social media. As it is, I can look through my favourite threads, the ones I've learned to trust and treasure, with the confidence to find images worth my time. Mixing everything up would make wading through the resulting mudflow tedious and, yes, mindlessly random in the worst sense of the word. It'd mean losing focus. It'd mean having to waste my time finding the good stuff.

Furthermore, by choosing my favourite threads, I make sure I'll (most probably) like what I see. This is an all-important filter for me - I don't want to have to "appreciate" everything in order to find images I like. On the flipside, limiting myself only to people I "follow" would mean missing every worthwhile contribution by others. Either way, the experience would be a lot less concentrated - yes, throwing everything together would mean the ultimate watering down of the experience.

In my opinion, it's a small service to do to the community to think about why you do what on this board - which also means picking the right section and thread for your (or judiciously creating one if it's missing - only then, of course).

And one last thing, by the way of an example: I think it'd be a real mistake to mix "street" and "stroll" photography. They're conceptual oppsites of each other - one's about moving through space to see what you find, the other picks its spot to catch a worthwhile "moment". Not the same thing at all - and easy to distinguish.

M.
 
Apr 2, 2018
Good points Matt.



It's also true that some people tend to create new threads for everything they post - that's not helpful at all; if there's no narrative to follow (or people who pick up on the theme), those threads are bound to dry up; some are orphaned after the first post. This is bad practice and should be discouraged (btw. the same goes for double and cross posting - but that's just my opinion; I've been a member of much more rigorous boards in that regard, anyway, and it's always helped to avoid fragmentation).
It is a tradition for some to form a narrative in form of a collection of carefully ordered images, with titles. These are best enjoyed in isolation and don't require comments or further followup. Could the same be achieved by making an equally careful post in a megathread? Quite possibly.

Furthermore, by choosing my favourite threads, I make sure I'll (most probably) like what I see. This is an all-important filter for me - I don't want to have to "appreciate" everything in order to find images I like. On the flipside, limiting myself only to people I "follow" would mean missing every worthwhile contribution by others. Either way, the experience would be a lot less concentrated - yes, throwing everything together would mean the ultimate watering down of the experience.
I think the following thingie can be a nice use in conjunction to normal thread-following. For example say I don't care for pet pictures but someone took the most remarkable shots of her dog. I could follow that user and see when she posts something in the "Show dogs" thread or whatever. Other times I could ignore that thread.

And one last thing, by the way of an example: I think it'd be a real mistake to mix "street" and "stroll" photography. They're conceptual oppsites of each other - one's about moving through space to see what you find, the other picks its spot to catch a worthwhile "moment". Not the same thing at all - and easy to distinguish.
Fair enough. But that one megathread would still be its own thing within the subforum.
 
Dec 31, 2013
Louisville, Ky
We need some of the sub forums for people who have a specific subject/event, etc. which they want to post several photos from. And then there is the obvious like photo challenges, single in, and so on. We can re organize the sub forums to clean up the clutter. As well as close several of the ongoing threads and start fresh. The older threads will still be there for people to look through.

A proposal I will put forth for going forward. On the other photography forum I frequent. We start two new threads each month. Color and B&W. Which are for posting images from any genre which you don’t want to start an individual thread for. You shot a landscape yesterday and a candid of your significant other today. Post them in the color or B&W thread for the month. It’s not even regulated to having had to be shot in that particular month. If you shot it three months ago but are just getting around to posting, then post it in the current month’s thread. Starting a new thread each month keeps the threads from getting huge and hard to look through.
 

MoonMind

Hall of Famer
Dec 29, 2013
Switzerland
Matt
If you enter the forum via "What's new", you can easily choose what to view. I never found *viewing* any kind of trouble. As for posting, I can agree that choosing an appropriate thread can be troublesome and I would welcome a major culling, merging and reordering of threads. But that needs time, attention and dedication, and it's not as if we can expect anyone to do this for us any time soon - being a volunteer moderator on a board like this doesn't mean you can dedicate hours on end to a task like this.

Anyhow, this "one thread for everything" thing, even when done monthly, still puts me off big time - it's against everything that makes posting images on this board more attractive for me compared to any of the social media sites out there. It would be impossible to know what I'll find in those generalised threads, so in the end, I'd be forced to sift through everything in order to find the worthwhile stuff. This in turn would mean less time and attention for every single image viewed - which would be a shame in many cases. It's much, much easier now to happen upon the good stuff, too - in fact, now I hit on something I like almost every time I visit a thread I favour in the first place. I'd also hate to lose all the thoughful contributions to dedicated threats and categories to any kind of catch-all thread (or threads, whatever) - I'd probably end up not seeing a lot of the images by people whose work I appreciate because it'd be lost in the noise.

As for posting, I don't get the fuss, even though I know the problem of choosing approriate threads myself - but it's an issue that I cause myself and that I can solve myself. Either I know where an image belongs, or I at least have an idea how to categorise it, in which case the search function is helpful enough - though the numerous different threads with similar titles *are* a problem, but that can be addressed without sacrificing everything that sets forums (or fora, rather) apart from the social media mudflows. If you don't know how to choose a category, you can even now just put the image in one of the more open threads. For that sole purpose, monthly "colour" and "b&w" threads would be helpful, but they'd usually be useless for me. I'd be forced to look through them anyway, though, if I don't want to miss stuff ... I won't deny that this'd take most of the fun and reward out of visiting this site for me.

I'm thoroughly pessimistic of the outcome of any attempt at over-simplification. Either way (be it forced or just offered), something like (monthly) catch-all threads will disrupt the community and the way we are used to giving feedback. It'll make things more anonymous and thus contributing less desirable; moreover, to get at least some visibility, one would have to join these unspecific threads as well - those who don't want to do that because they prefer a more deliberate approach will be sidelined. Not a nice outlook at all. I'm frankly astonished that the need for pruning gets confused with an overhaul of the overall handling of posting to the forum in this context.

btw. If people want to follow others: fine by me - if it's not the only way to see what people are doing. I can see the benefit of following certain people *in addition* to watching threads, so if it can be implemented, I won't complain.

And I forgot to mention that I'm in complete agreement about the "W/NW" thing - not needed around here, as helpful as the concept might be otherwise.

But anyhow, it seems I'm fighting a losing battle here. Probably time to move on ...

M.
 
Apr 2, 2018
For the record, I'm not a fan of big unthemed megathreads either. Take the "Found while Strolling" thread. Full of gorgeous landscapes, birds, street photography, sunrises, sunsets. All very nice but why they're all dumped together :D
 

MoonMind

Hall of Famer
Dec 29, 2013
Switzerland
Matt
For the record, I'm not a fan of big unthemed megathreads either. Take the "Found while Strolling" thread. Full of gorgeous landscapes, birds, street photography, sunrises, sunsets. All very nice but why they're all dumped together :D
Food for thought, certainly - that's what I meant by "stroll photography" being a genre of its own; it's the process from which the images are generated that's important for the way the photographer wants the image to be perceived. It's not an outing to *generate* landscape shots - landscape shots is what you've come across.

But I do agree that it can be a bit fuzzy - the question is, what's more important: creator's intention or viewer's convenience ... If we can agree to prioritise subject matter, I can live with that.

However, stroll photography is what makes me go out and take images almost daily ... (if I'm not cooped up inside because of household - and a cold ...).

M.
 
Apr 2, 2018
Agreed, and perhaps slightly disagreed. Should we establish a whole new subforum for "photographs taken while intoxicated" or "photographs taken while having headache" or even "photographs that the photographer feels are going to hit big on the instagrams and make them a six-figure Ad contract"

I certainly see that people LOVE that strolling thing but I just don't see (or care to see) what the intentions really have to do with the end result. It's probably because I don't pay attention to that myself, never taken this thing very seriously.
 
Apr 2, 2018
My vision (the alternate idea of super simple suborganisation) in manipulated screenshots.



subforums.png



"Photo threads" for lack of a better term, will contain every big thread

megathreads.png
 
Last edited:

Kevin

Code Monkey 🐒
Nov 3, 2018
For getting the proverbial ball rolling, how about...
  • Eliminate Herman's Genres dedicated forum - As mentioned, Herman has not been an active member for quite some time and the threads can be moved into their more subject specific counterparts.
  • Eliminate Words/No Words dedicated forum - I have never come across a totally negative posting by any of our community members; if this situation ever does come up, or if somebody reports a post, it's something the volunteer moderators can take a look at.
  • Eliminate Photo Critique dedicated forum - There is a "For Critique" thread prefix that is available when creating new threads. Anybody seeking actual critique can just post in the appropriate subject specific forums and use the thread prefix to indicate that they are actively seeking feedback.
I can work on moving the threads around, and will make sure the "For Critique" prefix is available in all of the other gallery forums, but our volunteer moderators also have access to move threads around. If anybody wants to help out, if even temporarily, just let me know and we can get your account setup as a 'moderator' so you can move threads.
While we're at it, I seize the opportunity to rekindle interest in one of my pet-peeves: it would be nice if you'd get an alert if someone you follow, posts something. That way I get much more relevant alerts, not missing anything that my favourite photographers are up to.
I'll add this to my list. The "Follow" functionality, as @MoonMind described, is really the thing to use for that purpose. The "Your News Feed" screen shows you all of the updates for the people you follow. The "Latest Activity" screen is for all members activity so the "News Feed" screen is the place to take advantage of following people. But, to my knowledge, 'following' another member doesn't generate an alert when they do something, for that a 3rd-party add-on is needed. I'm pretty sure I've come across something like that before but will need to check out what the options are. 🤔
Everything in one thread: that's the ultimate sophistication 😎
I shall assume this was subtle sarcasm and hope some of the other members realize it as such. ;)
As someone who has been here for most of the versions of this forum it seems every time we consolidated we just added threads from the added forum willy-nilly. This explains why there is so much repetition. Well overdue for a massive simplification as Mike and Ad suggest.
Yep, the unfortunate side-affect of several different forums being merged. When I did the software update last year from XF1 to XF2 I did take the opportunity to clean up a lot of what I could, like links pointing to old URL names and such, but I left the multitude of forums alone as I didn't see any feedback about it back then and didn't want to upset the status quo too much.
 
Apr 2, 2018
I shall assume this was subtle sarcasm and hope some of the other members realize it as such. ;)
Oh s### :D Hopefully nobody misreading it didn't mistakenly understand my tone here.

It was sarcasm in the sense that yes, in my personal opinion it would be a step taken too far. At the same time, there's no denying it wouldn't be the ultimate in simplicity. ;)
 

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