Editorial: Why some people hate comments (and why we don't)
Barnaby Britton - Editor: dpreview.com
Mat Honan of Wired.com thinks the time has come to banish comments sections from web pages. Writing for Wired.com's Gadget Lab blog, Honan describes the 'collective delusion' among online publishers that comments are a necessary component of web content. Honan characterizes active comments moderation as 'a messy, frustrating and typically thankless affair that involves more time than most people have'.
I sympathize with this point of view. We've only allowed commenting on our content relatively recently, and in the case of full reviews, only in the past few weeks. And at first we had a tough time keeping up with the unwelcome comments - mostly spam - that appeared at the bottom of our articles. I don't know exactly where they come from, but there do seem to be armies of people in the world who are employed to sign up to sites like ours and post commercial spam in the comments until they either get bored or get banned. Nice work if you can get it, I imagine.
|DPReview admins can still see the spam, but you can't. How do we do it? Well that would be telling, but if you think that story is neat, check out this amazing deal two weeks ago my husband won $1 million...|
And then of course there are the trolls. Anyone who comes to dpreview.com regularly and looks at the comments or reads our forums knows what I mean. The users that occasionally derail conversations with raving accusations of brand bias, attack other people for not knowing as much as they do, or criticize our content for not being good enough, fast enough (or long enough or strong enough, or the wrong color, etc.).
Honan calls this 'digital graffiti on online real estate', and certainly, cleaning it up takes a degree of effort. I certainly don't agree with Digg CEO Andrew McLaughlin though, when he says that 'everyone who runs a commenting system ends up killing themselves or shooting up a post office', although I do have a few more gray hairs these days than I used to.
All of us on the editorial team at DPReview have to reply to comments that most people would consider overly critical, offensive and sometimes very personal, but I wouldn't describe their authors universally as 'parasitic trolls'. Why not? Because pretty often, if a comment from one of our users gets me riled and I reply, more often than not they'll respond, apologizing for being hot-headed and thanking me for engaging with them. It doesn't happen every time, but surprisingly often, nonetheless. It's easy to cross the line when you're not sitting across a table from someone, and we've all done it.
What I've learned about commenting, either by email, private message, public comments or forum posts, is that most people are pretty reasonable most of the time. And of the comments on dpreview articles, I'd characterize the majority of the discussions as pertinent and on the whole, constructive. There's always some mud-slinging of course, but that's where active moderation comes in.
Of course it's very hard not to take some of it personally. At the end of a long day, towards the end of a long week, I for one don't aways respond as well as I should to the more personal attacks that are directed towards us. But in general, if I take a deep breath and respond politely, offer explanations and ask for constructive suggestions, the fire goes out pretty quickly. Even if not, I'll certainly feel (and sleep) better. And although it's not always easy to follow, that's the advice I give to everyone that writes for the site.
So I don't think that comments sections should be banished - partly because I know there are ways of dealing with the truly suffocating stuff like commercial spam (without giving too much away, we've managed to pretty well hide it on dpreview.com) and I've been in this business long enough to know that a lot of conversations that start badly can still end well.
But I do agree with Mat Honan's final point:
'If we want actual conversations, we have to acknowledge that those conversations are as important as anything else we publish.'
This is precisely why we continue to add new features to our forums, and if you read our weekly newsletter you'll have heard me banging on week after week about our system for creating your own articles. When we created the articles section of the site a couple of years ago, it was intended to do two things - mainly to allow us to post a more diverse range of content, spanning short reviews, technique articles, photography-related features and so on - but also, and no less importantly, to allow you to do it too. If you're a logged-in user and you've got something to say that's too long for a comments box or a forums post, why not write an article?
One of our priorities for the rest of this year and beyond is to get more comment on dpreview, to make the most of our readers' vast reserve of knowledge and experience and make our site a better resource for people who want to learn about photography. I want you to talk to one another, and continue to talk to us. Because the more you do, the less noise there will be.
What do you think? Let us know in the... well, you get the idea.
Feb 28, 2016
Dec 30, 2015
Dec 28, 2015
Dec 23, 2015
|Bald Eagle by anisah|
from Features - lips/mouth
|heron and fish by APenza|
from A Big Year - birds
|Cows Cowering Under Rare California Super Cell by RBFresno|
from -The Old Cows-
The new iZugar 3.25mm F2.5 super fisheye lens offers an insane 220-degree angle of view. That means it can basically see behind itself... good luck keeping your feet out of the shot.
You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll remember that time you took a picture of the frozen pizza baking directions.
A Craigslist poster has discovered the worst possible way to photograph a car: taking pictures of pictures displayed on a cracked and scratched up smartphone screen.
With the iPhone X coming out soon, the title probably won't last, but the iPhone 8 Plus is officially the best smartphone camera DxOMark has ever tested, and the iPhone 8 is second.
Kodak's new Facebook Messenger chatbot is trying to bring back the 'Kodak Moment' by digging up your old social media photos and trying to sell you prints and custom coffee mugs.
Affinity Photo for iPad was touted as "the first full blown, truly professional photo editing tool to make its way onto the Apple tablet." This update makes it that much more convenient.
Yashica has released a new teaser video, and this one claims they'll be releasing an "unprecedented camera" in October on Kickstarter. Ready... set... speculate!
Storage solutions company Synology has just released its very first 6-bay NAS tower. Combined with the DX1215 expansion units, it can hold and control up to thirty drives.
We're always expanding our collection of product overview content, and we've just added videos for the Canon EOS 6D Mark II, the EOS Rebel SL2 and EOS M6.
The venerable Canon PowerShot G1 was announced seventeen years ago this week, marking the start of a line of enthusiast-focused compacts that's still alive and kicking.
Super macro photographer Can Tuncer captured these incredible close-ups of a single peacock feather using a special setup and three different microscope lenses.
After successfully crowdfunding the Biotar 75mm F1.5, Oprema Jena is at it again. This time they're bringing back the Biotar 58mm F2: the world's only lens with a 17-blade aperture.
Adobe's move to a subscription model is treating it very well indeed. The company has posted record revenue for the second quarter in a row, hauling in a mind-boggling $1.84 billion.
More details have emerged about the potential sale of Blackstone's 45% stake in iconic camera brand Leica.
Popular mobile editing app Snapseed just got a major update that includes a new interface and 11 new presets for both Android and iOS, as well as adding the Perspective tool to the iOS version.
It might sound like a strange idea, but taking macro photos of boiling water can actually result in some really cool photographs. A good photo experiment for a rainy day.
The database was created to "break with the narrow lens through which history… has been recorded" by equipping those who commission photography with "the resources to discover photographers of color available for assignments.
Lensbaby has released two new optics for their special "optic swap system." The Lensbaby Sweet 80 Optic gives you that trademark sweet spot of focus, while the Creative Bokeh optic gives you 9 different drop in aperture plate options to play with.
TechCrunch has already posted their review of the upcoming iPhone 8 (not yet the iPhone X), and they're calling it "a look into the augmented future of photography."
Affinity Photo is a $50 photo editing software with no subscriptions. That's it – pay for it once and you're done. And we think it's actually pretty darn good.
Instagram is currently testing a major change to the app's profile layout: replacing the 3-photo across grid with a 4-photo grid... and some users are NOT taking the news well.
A report by USSRPhoto is shedding some light on the return of the famed Zenit camera brand. It seems the full-frame mirrorless camera they're working on will be made in part by Leica using components from the Leica SL.
According to a reliable Korean report, Samsung is developing a smartphone sensor that's capable of super slow motion. Translation: Samsung's next batch of Galaxy smartphones may be able to shoot 1,000fps.
This simple photograph of a seahorse and Q-tip has taken the internet by storm. We spoke to photographer Justin Hofman about how it was captured, and what it means to him.
After a massive leak last week, Profoto has officially debuted the Profoto A1: the company's first on-camera flash system that they're calling "the world's smallest studio flash."
"When the first hyperfocal distance charts were designed, someone decided that an acceptably sharp background contained some blur — enough to notice in a medium-sized print [...] After that point, nearly every other hyperfocal chart followed suit."
The Canon EOS Rebel SL2 (also known as the EOS 200D) is the company's impressively compact entry-level DSLR. Packing a 24MP APS-C sensor, DIGIC 7 processor and Dual Pixel AF, it promises a lot of bang for the buck. And while not mind-blowing, it handles most tasks very well.
Correct these four common composition mistakes and your photos will be more balanced, tell a better story, and lead your viewer's eye where you want it to go.
The rugged, compact 360° action camera Kodak unveiled at Photokina in 2016, the Kodak PixPro Orbit 360, is finally available in the United States.
iOS 11 launches tomorrow, and it'll save all of your pictures in a new high efficiency image format called HEIC. Fortunately, there's now a converter that will let you turn those photos back into JPEGs.