Feedback Photo gallery forums too scattered!

Lightmancer

Legend
Aug 13, 2011
Sunny Frimley
Bill Palmer
I'm up to my ears at the moment (one of which is infected, which is rendering me a tad less amenable than usual....) but I just wanted to make a few pertinent points.

1. Broadly, I agree with Miguel, a couple of posts above. If it's not broke, don't fix it is a sound adage. The eclectic nature of Cameraderie is part of its charm.

2. One of the things I do for a living is help large corporates to transform. They only do so for one of four reasons ("compelling events") :

- To grow (increase market share)
- To compete (eliminate competition)
- To survive (respond to an existential threat)
- To comply (remain within the law, eg GDPR)

Nothing else matters. Change is a constant, transformation is optional.

I do not see a compelling event here...

3. Regardless of whether the transformation is corporate, personal, work-related or social one thing is true.

You should always go to, never from.

4. The armed forces use an acronym - OODA - which stands for

Observe
Orientate
Decide
Act

My fear here is that there is currently a bit too much of the A and not enough OOD. Infants get ejected with the soapy suds in such circumstances.

I urge a period of contemplation and a structured approach to understanding the "problem", the extent to which it is an issue to the membership (including the "silent majority") and the optimum course of action. This is "fact based decision making" and in my experience it yields the optimum outcome.
 

theoldsmithy

Hall of Famer
Jan 7, 2013
Cheshire, England
Martin Connolly
I agree very much with @MiguelATF and @Lightmancer . I love the fact that I can fossick around in old forums and find stuff that’s completely new to me. Merging forums might make taxonomic sense, but I echo Bill’s point that this is by nature an eclectic forum. A bit of anarchy never hurt anyone (and I don’t want examples to show I’m wrong, thank you 😊). It may not be easy to find things, but it’s worth the effort. Let’s consider awhile before making any drastic changes.
 

Kevin

Code Monkey 🐒
Nov 3, 2018
Well, there's my word of the day! Now to figure out how to slip in into some meetings today.... 🤔
fossick verb

fos·sick | \ ˈfä-sik \
fossicked; fossicking; fossicks
Definition of fossick

intransitive verb
1 Australia and New Zealand : to search for gold or gemstones typically by picking over abandoned workings
2 chiefly Australia and New Zealand : to search about : RUMMAGE

transitive verb
chiefly Australia and New Zealand : to search for by or as if by rummaging : ferret out
 

MoonMind

Hall of Famer
Dec 29, 2013
Switzerland
Matt
I'm all for keeping everything around, and @Bobby Tingle has made a strong case against merging for the sake of it (breaking apart conversations would indeed be unforgiveable). But it's actually not always trivial *not* to be misguided when looking for a place to post. It's alright for those who're having a look around and enjoy the diversity, but it's not conducive to efficiently place new threads to have, e.g., several "b&w" or "street" or "red" threads, several of which are actually brand-specific, but not marked as such because they didn't need to be when they were first created in an independent forum.

A simple way to avoid damage grown structures would be to consequently label threads, especially older ones - which in turn might mean more labels in order to achieve this.

What, in my personal opinion, should get merged into appropriate threads (and/or closed/archived) are dormant threads or single-post threads. These are the most obvious causes for scatter and clutter. I'm all for keeping the images available, but removing the countless stubs; in fact, there were whole regions of the forum almost entirely consisting of such "threads" (does a single node even constitute a thread by itself?).

Some of the long threads would grow even longer, but probably also more complete and diverse in the process. I don't think that'd be a problem - on the contrary, more likely.

@Bobby Tingle's suggestion of starting over with certain threads may or may not help - depending on what happens to older ones. Closing threads and guiding members to new ones that take over the theme isn't an idea I personally object to - the question remains if it's actually necessary.

As for the brand-specific image threads - well, there's the Showcase label type; if anyone wants to keep a thread in a brand-specific section, it's not hard to label it (or have it labeled). I personally usually prefer gear-agnostic threads, but find (true) showcase threads very interesting as well - at least if they actually demonstrate what a piece of kit can really do.

It's not as if we are in any kind of hurry, though. @Lightmancer's assessment certainly rings true: It's not as if we didn't manage fine up until now. The changes that have already been made don't affect our ability to continue posting to our favourite threads, so no harm done (and some issues addressed).

Nevertheless, there's at least some weight behind the original suggestion - even if it went a bit too far IMO (we've discussed that already). But I must say that as someone who posts frequently (and tries not to clog single threads with multiple entries during the same session, making the results easier to access via the "What's new" search method), finding my way around some of the more popular types of images and their respecitvely themed threads isn't always as easy and straightforward as it could (and maybe should) be. So, Bill, here's your "go-to":

- Make posting easier for people who actually do care where their images go.
- Make themed threads richer and more consistent; encourage judicious posting.
- (this may be controversial) Integrate stubs and clean up section listings by doing so.

M.
 
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mike3996

Hall of Famer
Apr 2, 2018
Finland
With utmost respect, I'm such a newcomer to the place but I used and I browsed for year(s) and I carefully identified over time that I have frustrations with the old organisation of content here. Hence, this thread!

I oriented, I observed. I shared my observations with you, and made proposals how things could be improved (to my taste, while also trying to keep objectivity to them).

Did we decide and act too hastily? Heh, perhaps! :D But we haven't done anything irrevocable. Some forums are merged; some threads have found a new home under a new forum.

I definitely maintain that there was a big problem with the old org, it was "broken" and a fix was most welcome.
 

mike3996

Hall of Famer
Apr 2, 2018
Finland
Regarding merges, deletions and closings.

  • Deletions: never! I don't think anyone here has proposed deleting old threads. I wouldn't and I don't support such a thing.
  • Merging threads: personally I find it very confusing if a very long-standing thread has been merged with another long thread. I wouldn't prefer it to simply closing some threads.
  • Closing a thread: when there are several collective threads about the same subject matter, then I think it's the wisest to close the less active ones with suggestion to concentrate efforts into the remaining one. Obviously you can still visit the closed thread for pictures and discussions.

I want to again stress how I personally view about closing a thread. If I propose closing a messy thread about "rainbow colored dogs in the rain" I am not in fact advocating banning the subject from the site! I just want to see the thread rebuilt as good as ever!
 
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Kevin

Code Monkey 🐒
Nov 3, 2018
Let’s consider awhile before making any drastic changes.
But that's rub, there are no "drastic" changes being considered, just some clutter reduction*. Honestly, reading some of the responses, I think some folks were jumping to conclusions or making assumptions about what the scope of changes were going to be. The main forum listing is cluttered due to the large volume of forums listed and it isn't clear what where some conversations could be found. To be blunt, for a new visitor to the site, forums with names "Words/No Words" or "Herman's Genre's" were meaningless and to be presented with a huge list of forum names, including some forums with very little activity, gives no incentive to go further.


* Which is, for now, done for the most part.

{Long winded post from Kevin ahead.....}
"Herman's Genres", "Words/No Words", and "For Critique" dedicated forums have been eliminated. There is a new "Other Genres" gallery forum that can be used as the catch-all spot for image threads that don't have a better matched forum. The "Infrared" gallery forum was kept intact but moved as a child forum to Other Genres. Going forward other under utilized gallery forums can be moved under Other Genres to keep them intact instead of giving them prominence on the main forum listing {I'm looking at you "Macro" with just 65 threads and "Sports and Action" with just 31 threads 👀 and I'm still trying to figure out why there is a dedicated "Color" forum}. Also going forward if somebody suggests we need a new gallery forum then instead of creating it right away we can instead create a new thread prefix, have the thread prefix available to the Other Genres forum when creating threads, and if/when it looks like that genre is getting a lot of activity then we can easily break out those prefix identified threads to their own dedicated forum.​
"Photography Techniques, Tips & Philosophy" and "Photo News and Rumors" dedicated forums have been eliminated. There is a new "Photography Chat" forum that can be used as the catch-all spot for miscellaneous conversations that are related to either photography or cameras but don't fit in to the other specific forums. Thread prefixes are available in Photography Chat such as "News / Rumor", "Advice Wanted", and "Critique Wanted". Additional thread prefixes can be quickly added as wanted/needed. Just like Other Genres, if a particular subject ends up getting a lot of activity then properly prefixed threads can be easily moved around as wanted.​
Overall this was a good conversation, along with some direct messages received, because it brought to light a few issues and/or concerns as action items.​
  • The ability to "follow" another member, and to then show the activity of just the people you follow, is not a well known feature and needs to be made more prominent. This is an action item that can be worked on.
  • The "Gear" forums need to be better watched so that new threads are more on point. A thread about specific Canon gear (eg: Let's talk about the new RF lenses) should be in the Canon gear forum. A thread to show examples of specific Canon gear (eg: Here is a thread to show the maximum zoom ability of the new Powershot XYZ) should be in the Canon gear showcase forum. A thread to share pics taken with a Canon of somebody's new tiki idol addition should be in the Gallery forums, not the Gear forums. Note I use "Canon" and "tiki idols" only as an example because I personally use Canon and collect tiki items and did not want to call out any particular actual thread in the gear forums. The various existing threads in the gear forums will be left alone but new threads will be better kept an eye on. This is an action item that can be worked on.
  • "Mega threads" is something that need to be considered on how to handle them. Some folks don't mind them because it centralizes a topic they are interested in, some folks don't like them because images that they might be interested in seeing can be quickly lost in a giant thread and newer members may not be inclined to really click through 50 pages of a thread. It was suggested that perhaps the mega threads should be closed after X amount of posts and then a new one started (like how there is a "Dogs" and a "Dogs II" mega thread). This is an action item that needs to be discussed further.
  • The Single In challenges are pretty fun but smaller daily/weekly/monthly organized challenges between the big SI challenges is something some folks expressed interest in. This is an action item that needs to be discussed further.
  • While contemplating the main forum listing page I realized that mobile users may have not even realized that some child forums even existed. That is because some screen elements are hidden based upon your devices screen size. For small screens the child forum list was being hidden, it has been changed to now always show. The forum descriptions are also hidden on small screens but I'm not sure yet whether to change that as well since that would have a bigger impact scrolling on a phone versus showing the child forums list. This is an action item that can be worked on.
  • All of the forums should have descriptions. This is an action item that can be worked on.
Should be more decluttering be expected? Absolutely. When? No idea at the moment. What could be expected? The most obvious item would be the main forum listing; if there is a dedicated forum listed on the main page and it has very little activity then it should be expected that at some point that forum will be either moved to be a child forum or a new thread prefix created and the threads moved somewhere else with the new thread prefix. Will old threads be purged or removed from public view? No; I don't know where that notion came from. There is absolutely no reason to delete any existing threads. Will existing threads be merged? In bulk, no. But if there is a thread with only one or two responses and it is a duplicate of an existing thread then those should be merged. That has nothing to do with decluttering, that's just normal forum thread maintenance. Has Kevin not had enough coffee today and may be grumpier than usual? He's had a 24oz cup of his favorite French Vanilla coffee ☕ this morning but, with conference calls scheduled all day, he's eyeing up that Coke Energy stash in the fridge.​
 

wt21

Hall of Famer
Aug 15, 2010
So, go from quirky to just-another-photo forum? Just being honest about my perception of those changes, but I've not been a heavy user anyway.

Maybe most people use the "what's new" feature anyways, and perhaps the forum structure doesn't matter?
 

mike3996

Hall of Famer
Apr 2, 2018
Finland
So, go from quirky to just-another-photo forum?
Running the hot water pipe right through your living room might be quirky but you're still going to burn your hand on it at times.

The community is the same as it was yesterday. The people are still the same. The photos the same. Herman's genres are still alive, just under another forum name. The curious visitor who eyes the front page is still going to see the intriguingly named "Seen while strolling...walking and wandering outside" thread in the side bar's list of recently active threads.
 
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wt21

Hall of Famer
Aug 15, 2010
Running the hot water pipe right through your living room might be quirky but you're still going to burn your hand on it at times.
Or it’s the difference between a mall and an open air flea market. one is efficient, the other is interesting but can be frustrating.

based on the replies, it seems the older members like the flea market, the newer the mall. can you attract new members without boring the older ones? That’s the question for any owner of a forum like this. You need to find new subscribers
 

theoldsmithy

Hall of Famer
Jan 7, 2013
Cheshire, England
Martin Connolly
Well, there's my word of the day! Now to figure out how to slip in into some meetings today.... 🤔
fossick verb​
fos·sick | \ ˈfä-sik \​
fossicked; fossicking; fossicks​
Definition of fossick
intransitive verb​
1 Australia and New Zealand : to search for gold or gemstones typically by picking over abandoned workings​
2 chiefly Australia and New Zealand : to search about : RUMMAGE​
transitive verb​
chiefly Australia and New Zealand : to search for by or as if by rummaging : ferret out​
See also: rootle
 

Kevin

Code Monkey 🐒
Nov 3, 2018
So, go from quirky to just-another-photo forum? Just being honest about my perception of those changes, but I've not been a heavy user anyway.
There is a difference between quirky and confusing information overload.

Maybe most people use the "what's new" feature anyways, and perhaps the forum structure doesn't matter?
Based on the responses I'm seeing, it seems to be a mixture. Myself personally I use the "New" link (the lightning bolt on phones) to keep up with what's going and I have push alerts enabled in case somebody tags me in a post I missed. Some members seem to prefer the 'hunt & peck' method of going into the forums and seeing what catches their attention, others are using the What's New links and I know of at least one person that relies on the sidebar 'widgets' showing the newest posts and newest threads. But those are existing members who have joined, potential new members are more likely to be surfing the main forum listing to see what the site is about.
 

Kevin

Code Monkey 🐒
Nov 3, 2018
Or it’s the difference between a mall and an open air flea market. one is efficient, the other is interesting but can be frustrating.

based on the replies, it seems the older members like the flea market, the newer the mall. can you attract new members without boring the older ones? That’s the question for any owner of a forum like this. You need to find new subscribers
Hence my comment many posts back about compromise. Trying to entice new members to join our community can't be ignored and major renovations can't be done else you risk losing the existing members. The changes this week were, really, pretty subtle and the list of action items to be worked are things that can be done with some folks not even noticing but of benefit to those that do.
 

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