What is happening to these forums

Started Nov 14, 2011 | Discussions
dlinney Regular Member • Posts: 290
What is happening to these forums

The forums seem to becoming less and less civil by the day. So many threads seem to become bogged down in personal insults, accusations of lying and xenophobia. Is it so hard for us in the photographic community to discuss our photographic interests in the manner I am sure we would adopt if talking face to face? I find myself starting to read a thread because it interstes me as a subject but then abandoning the effort because of the personal comments being made or attacks on whole cultures.

I am also surprised that moderation seems not to be addressing many of these abuses.

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chris_uk
chris_uk Contributing Member • Posts: 762
Re: What is happening to these forums

Is the moderation scheme up and running yet?

Craig Gillette Forum Pro • Posts: 10,524
Re: Nothing new

Quality versus click count. Choose one. Not a new problem. Assuming it's viewed as a problem.

Sammy Yousef
Sammy Yousef Veteran Member • Posts: 4,657
Gone to the dogs

It's not just a recent problem, but yes it keeps getting worse here.

This has been THE number one vilest board for insults and put downs that I have ever frequented. That is saying something. I've been on a lot of forums. Here I've been called everything under the sun - idiot, liar, terrible parent, even zoophile and worse. I've been accused of wanting to destroy people's businesses. I've been told to put down my camera because my photos are rubbish. I've been ridiculed for mourning the loss of a pet. I'm not alone - others have been abused for daring to post pictures of her children on one of the camera forums, as if skipping the post were too difficult.

When the moderators do act, it usually just consists of scorched earth deletion of large parts of the thread without any distinction between actual valid content and bickering. With that approach all that a troll has to do is push someone's buttons then spout abuse and they win - if the other person retaliates, their content is deleted, and if the other person doesn't fight back (as the ridiculous "don't feed trolls" mantra dictates), the abuse and misinformation stands unchallenged. If you suggest they are out of line they proudly tell you that free speech means they're allowed to be obnoxious here (which is just not true)

It's worse here than the old unmoderated newsgroups were. Only reason I keep coming is I do encounter decent people and photos among the rabble, but I fear the way this is going it won't last long.

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Sammy.

My forum postings reflect my own opinions and not those of my employer. I'm not employed in the photo business.

Footski
Footski Senior Member • Posts: 2,302
Re: Gone to the dogs

I am a Moderator on a couple of non photographic related sites and we do not have any problems at all of this nature, largely due to a zero tolerance of such things. As soon as anything is posted that could be considered inflammatory (for no good reason), it is deleted and the poster warned as to their future conduct.

I accept that this site is much bigger and as such requires more "policing", but it needs to start somewhere...

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rsn48 Veteran Member • Posts: 7,755
Heavy moderators and censorship

I have moderated in a non-photographic forum and the atmosphere was much more civil; however I didn't like it. Sometimes censorship is a good things, it keeps the atmosphere "level." But sometimes in communications, there is more to it than just being "level." I have left forums because of heavy handed moderators, because censorship can go the other way and silliness gets censored.

The best criticism I've read of the USA is that although they build the Stature of Liberty on the East Coast, they forgot to build the Statue of Responsibility on the West Coast. With freedom of speech comes responsibilities; when you get forum members who don't know how to play nice in the sand box, you get trouble.

And it swings both ways, its not just the insulter who eventually leads to "forum pollution" but the responder as well. I find once the insults start, eventually I don't care who the "injured party" is and wish they would both shut up.

And I find the nastiness on forums is cyclical, usually the worst forum members eventually get the boot, then the forums settle down for a while until the next knuckle dragger comes along. There are so many folks without people skills, its unbelievable. I remember when I was a young bunny and I joined the Canadian Armed Forces, my father said to me - "And now son, you are going to find out just how many weird people there are in the world!" At the time, I didn't know what he was talking about, unfortunately I do now - Thanks dad.
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Sammy Yousef
Sammy Yousef Veteran Member • Posts: 4,657
Re: Heavy moderators and censorship

rsn48 wrote:

The best criticism I've read of the USA is that although they build the Stature of Liberty on the East Coast, they forgot to build the Statue of Responsibility on the West Coast.

Actually the French built the statue of liberty and gifted it to the USA.

And it swings both ways, its not just the insulter who eventually leads to "forum pollution" but the responder as well. I find once the insults start, eventually I don't care who the "injured party" is and wish they would both shut up.

That is half the problem. Trolls know that. So by hurling insults and provoking someone, they can easily get the opening post including pictures they don't like deleted.

People whine on and on about freedom of speech, and rightly so - it is important. But it does not extend to slander.

Concrete example - I posted pictures of the planetary alignment and some nerf herder decided that because they weren't pretty deep sky images I should not have posted them. Called them stupid, not worth posting, me an idiot for posting such "rubbish" etc. etc. When I responded that his attitude was attrocious and that he should not be trying to discourage people from taking photos just because he personally didn't deem them worth, it was on. End result was that a couple of loud nasty trolls joined in and the whole thread, including my pictures was deleted. The idiots that started the whole flame war weren't upset because their opinion was that the photos should be deleted, and they were. Meanwhile the trolls themselves had nothing of value to contribute. Yeah thanks for the moderation.

Funnily enough I don't bother posting my own pictures here half as often these days. I'm happy to stand up for myself if ridiculed but why waste my time contributing to a board that has no respect for the pictures in the first place? Suddenly standing up myself resulted in having a perfectly good experiment deleted. Why waste my time on something that will be deleted? I'm suppose to just let people be abusive without comment? No thanks.

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Sammy.

My forum postings reflect my own opinions and not those of my employer. I'm not employed in the photo business.

Edymagno Veteran Member • Posts: 3,601
I was once temporarily banned

Because I started a thread asking for info and opinions about satellite radio in the Open Forum!!!

My post was related to photography because I was getting into RV traveling for landscape photographic purposes and satellite radio seemed something good to have.

I didn't fight it because it was a short ban. However, everyday I see (and suffer sometimes) posts where people totally degrade their fellow photographers at first chance. The administrators don't seem to do much to solve this.

Maybe, active moderation is linked to certain words.
Despite all this, still a great website.

Eduardo

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rsn48 Veteran Member • Posts: 7,755
Then the States should....

Then the States should send a note to France saying they forgot to send the other half, the Statue of Responsibility - might clear up a lot of stuff.

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rsn48 Veteran Member • Posts: 7,755
A thread was locked....

I'm an active model rail roader but due to medical problems my model building and layout building came to a halt for a number of years. Lately I have been fine and I returned to a model railroad forum and asked if battles were still going on between those who wanted to run their trains digitally and those who didn't.

The thread was eventually locked, not because of what was said in the long thread, but the "potential" the thread had to open battle wounds again. Model railroaders can be just a dumb as amateur photographers posting here. But my point is that nothing detrimental was said, it was just the potential for something detrimental - a silly reason to lock a thread - heavy handed moderating.

Once the heavy moderating starts there's no going back, and if they are going to use moderators here, who knows what types they will recruit on a power trip.

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stephen davis Regular Member • Posts: 236
Re: What is happening to these forums

Well I think we should appoint RICHARD FRANIEC as a moderator

he seems to be well connected

stephen davis Regular Member • Posts: 236
Re: What is happening to these forums

Well I think we should appoint RICHARD FRANIEC as a moderator

he seems to be well connected

Miike Dougherty
Miike Dougherty Contributing Member • Posts: 849
Re: What is happening to these forums

If you want to read really nasty comments, check out The Huffington Post. Yikes.

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BIJ001 Veteran Member • Posts: 5,705
Re: digitally and those who didn't

rsn48 wrote:

I returned to a model railroad forum and asked if battles were still going on between those who wanted to run their trains digitally and those who didn't.

Those who did not want digital, wanted, let me guess, film?

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rsn48 Veteran Member • Posts: 7,755
Those who did not want digital......analog

Model Railroads have notorious wiring if run with power packs (analog). So if you are running 6 throttles, usually denoted by colour assignments, eg. George is using the red throttle, then wiring has to be done around the layout for each throttle colour. A layout may have over a hundred turnouts and each turnout has to have a common wire, then wiring for each coloured turnout. When it is done, the layout can look like a telephone exchange.

In fact, early hackers were teens who cut their teeth assisting in wiring layouts.

Digital simplifies wiring. You wire the tracks for power, then signals are sent through the rails to the engines via decoders, the decoders...well... decode the signals and the engine slows down, speeds up, stops, blows it whistle, releases steam etc, based on what it is told to do. You don't have to be very long into the hobby to realize that wiring becomes less of an overwhelming task with digital. I've seen layouts take years to wire; no longer with digital.

And just like you have more control with cameras "running digital" so you have more control of your consists, turn outs, etc running digital.

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Wayne Larmon Forum Pro • Posts: 10,485
Re: Those who did not want digital......analog

rsn48 wrote:

You don't have to be very long into the hobby to realize that wiring becomes less of an overwhelming task with digital. I've seen layouts take years to wire; no longer with digital.

And just like you have more control with cameras "running digital" so you have more control of your consists, turn outs, etc running digital.

OK, so why is digital control controversial? Cost? (I am not a model railroader and don't know anything about it.) Or is it newer than digital photography is and is just being introduced?

Or is this a general law that applies to all forums: any change whatsoever will be met with howls of outrage.

Wayne

Craig Gillette Forum Pro • Posts: 10,524
Re: Cost and changeover

The two approaches aren't, that I can tell compatible. (My brother and his son are pretty active, I haven't been for several years so that may not be completely true).) In the past, the compatibility issues were for the most part the type of couplers used, there were several major players but assuming you ran only your own gear, you could run on any layout. As a guest on some one else's track, on your own layout,, build a module and join a modular club, etc. With digital, you need a compatible decoder in each locomotive, which I believe runs somewhere in the $100-$200 range or so.

That can be a chunk of change for someone with a lot of engines collected over the years. Also some may not be well suited to the conversion process due to the type of electric motor or space available, electrical pick-ups, etc.

However, I can still run circles around the Christmas tree if I want to the old fashioned way.

rsn48 Veteran Member • Posts: 7,755
Digital, change and old farts

When model railroading was in its infancy the "power packs" were car batteries. Then power packs came along offering more control, but not much; the major innovation was a very large car battery wasn't kept by the layout; most layouts were (and are) in home basements, so "the wife" wasn't always thrilled to have a car battery in the home.

One of the problems of power packs is that you wired your layout for "block" running. Lets create a mythical layout that is an oval with two turnout to create a siding. So each end of the oval would be a "block" so two blocks, then the long part of the oval would be a block, so two blocks. Now lets make the siding another block, so five blocks in all. Now each block has a controller to turn it on and off, each block is independent of any other block. If a block is turned off, there is no power, so a train can't run on it, (to isolate an engine means to put it on a block, then turn the power off). Now I have two engines running on this oval, but each has to be on its own block, if they are on the same block, then one controller will run both. So lets put these engines facing opposite directions, now lets run them.

So we turn lets say two blocks on for engine number one to run, heading in the direction of engine number two. Since we know engine number one is headed towards engine number two, we'd better get engine number two on a siding so there is no collision, and into its own block, so that is what we do. Now number one engine blows by, and we turn the blocks that were given to engine one over to engine two so it can proceed on its way. As you can imagine, you are throwing a lot of switches and electrical controllers; if you are a newbie it can all be quite confusing.

With Digital, each engine has a decoder and only that decoder will operate that engine, so the power can be on every where on the layout, and the engines can be controlled from separate hand held throttles. So in the above scenario with an oval and one siding, we don't need to throw any blocks, but just direct engine number two into the siding, waiting for engine one to blow by, but nothing needs to be turned on or off.

But to go digital, you have to learn how to use it. Early digital was like learning DOS commands and about as exciting, if you weren't a computer geek. You have to learn now to assign addresses (the name of the engine) to the decoder and the system, what buttons to push to reverse, blow the whistle, etc. In other words, like some one new to DSLR's, the amount of control though liberating was also intimidating. The best analogy I can think of is of a guy who used a point and shoot film camera contemplating moving to a DSLR.

The price of decoders was initially high but now you can get them as low as $15, but of course these are the simple ones, no sound, etc. Expense was the prevailing argument for not going digital but most of us knew that was BS because we knew how much money was spent on engines, turnouts and structures. A brass engine back then could easily cost a thousand bucks. To convert could cost a thousand bucks, but the guy who was saying he couldn't afford it, owned 30 brass engines - you get the picture. Expense was an excuse. Your average basement layout including everything could easily cost out at $70,000 to $150,000 or higher, but this expense has been spread over decades. Think this is stupid, at least the model railroader has some equity after the day is done, a golfer will spend the same amount over decades and have nothing to show for it.

The real issue is "change" and fear of the unknown - learning the digital system. The issue is the average member is ageing, the average age at some clubs will be around 68 years old, some younger some older. This is a hobby where the guy with the basement layout hides it from his neighbours out of fear that teens will break in and destroy it. You can imagine how well the hobby is doing when most hide the product.
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Wayne Larmon Forum Pro • Posts: 10,485
Re: Digital, change and old farts

rsn48 wrote:

The real issue is "change" and fear of the unknown...

Which is pretty much always the case. And that it takes time to learn the strengths and weaknesses of any new technology. People (including myself) tend to be too quick in exaggerating the weaknesses of the new while minimizing the advantages. Or vice versa.

Thank you and Craig for your informative replies.

And BTW, there is another current thread in the News forum, this time complaining that there is too much moderation. I asked Simon Joinson if DPReview is working on a new moderation system, and if so, when will it be unveiled. He replied "we're still working on it."

Wayne

Le Kilt Senior Member • Posts: 2,499
Despite conflicts, at least...

...subjects change and you get to learn about all sorts of things, model railways here !

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