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Sunset Bar: Feedback Please

olafphoto

Administrator
Staff member
There is one area of the forum that causes problems. And you guessed it right. It is the SUNSET BAR. In general, I like the idea of the Sunset Bar – a place when we can discuss things in a laissez faire atmosphere without censoring too much. However, we have to make a decision. Despite the idea of having a HYDE PARK on our platform, we are receiving numerous complaints about the content there. I will refrain from injecting my own opinions about the discussions, but we need to make a serious decision about the future of the SUNSET BAR.

  1. My first idea was to write a disclaimer “ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK” and let it be a space free of excessive moderation.
  2. The second idea is to leave it, stay away from politics and religion and as Jack suggested, “limit it to discussing anything *photography related* not suited for anywhere else.”
  3. The third idea is to get rid of it for good.

I would like to hear from you. Please refrain from social or political commentary in responses. We all differ and stating your political/social position won’t help us in solving this issue. I would appreciate if you just indicate your choice and/or share any other ideas. Thank you in advance.
 

olafphoto

Administrator
Staff member
What is the current issue are you trying to solve?
Some members complaining about some posts in this forum. I spoke with Jack and the issue appears to be coming back like a boomerang. Therefore I try to make the best decision based on your feedback.
 

Shashin

Well-known member
But is it a problem of one or two threads from time to time or is this a systemic problem with the Sunset Bar? I am not sure what "some" members mean. Obviously, not everyone can be pleased, but they don't have to read or post either. I don't like Sony cameras, but that does not mean I want the forum banned. I think the confusion was it was billed as anything goes, but it is obviously moderated--which is that is fine with me.

As far as political topics, I would not like a political forum simply because the level of conversation I have found on the internet is not very sophisticated--one popped up recently, but I simply did not participate. But there was also a topic in the Medium Format section that discussed the environmental responsibility of photographers. That is political, but went very well, as far as I can tell. And given the number of photographer that are inspired by the environment, it is a natural topic--no pun intended.

I think clarity over the function of the Sunset Bar is needed. I would like a place we can talk about things other than gear. I don't think a free-for-all is good--I would expect the administrators don't either. I am unsure that only keeping it "photo" related is a bit too narrow--I like some of the science posts that go on there. But as I write this, I guess the number 2 option seems the best.
 

pegelli

Well-known member
I like your choice #2 the best, look what happened to LuminousLandscape when they went your #1 way, you don't want that to happen with getDPI
 

Robert Campbell

Active member
#2, "photography related"

Things that don't fit elsewhere; as an example "environmental responsibility" as mentioned above.

Politics only as far as "photography related"; I could imagine the use of photos as "propaganda", or images that have been manipulated for political reasons — the air-brushing stuff from the old USSR days. I see quite a lot of images of people that are laterally reversed in publications; the reason appears to be to make the image show the person "looking into the article" and thus expressing an approval, or the person "looking away from the article" and thus indicating disapproval. Such reversals are often blatant; the breast pocket of a jacket suddenly on the person's right (and preferably with a hanky in it).
 

Robert Campbell

Active member
PS: I forgot this, another example of "photography related" and the interface with "politics".

There have been several books of photos published locally illustrating (and describing) that period euphemistically called "the troubles" in N Ireland. The photographers were on the staff of local papers, and usually sent to cover the horse racing, a wedding, or various other similar events. All very humdrum...and suddenly they found themselves in a war zone, trying to record this — and escape unscathed. They had to rewind their cameras quickly, and tuck the exposed 35mm film into their sock while loading a fresh one into the camera; this was then confiscated by the "boyos".

Curiously, one of these books shows the photographer at work; the image is laterally reversed. I got in touch with the author, and was told that this is how the image had come from the agency.
 

Godfrey

Well-known member
I believe every discussion forum should have a "free for all" space where people can yak about whatever passing fancy floats in their head, and even argue about it, because we're all human and that's what we do when we sit around the table together and conversation goes out to the edges. Yes, some folks get their feathers ruffled or get pissed off ... That's all part of the communication, and if you have a good group of people, you learn to identify and respect the others by trying NOT to piss them off but to raise hot topics like that in a conversational and reasoned manner.

This is hard to do over electronic media, where the channels of communication are so constrained compared to sitting around the table in person. You're missing facial expressions, intonations, body language, the movement of hands, etc. It's hard to get to know the other people in any complete sense, you're always dealing with a limited aspect persona. So in the "free for all" space on-line, and the written word sticks around, so some moderation is a necessity.

There should be some guidelines for the free for all: What topics really are taboo for the site, how to comport yourself in conversation, and an a priori notice that some topics or threads will be considered by the moderators as too sensitive for the venue, and closed down or removed if they appear. It should be clear up front that there is NO judgement on the person/persons raising such topics, it's the topics themselves that in the opinion of the moderator do not meet the guidelines.

Once upon a time, I had to deal with this quite a lot on an email list that I have been running since the early 1990s. However, over time, and as the community of folks who remain and persist on that mailing list have come to know one another and matured, the issue has just about disappeared. Everyone is respectful of the other folks, and everyone accepts that once in a while someone's hot button will get hit and a minor rant or foolish couple of words will pass by. We accept that we're all not perfect and we all have our social limitations. New people who enter the mailing list (still! after thirty years! :)) are welcomed and quickly ken to the respect and common dignity of the list participants, or they leave of their own accord.

I enjoy the Sunset Bar, although I only look at a few of the posts there, just like I enjoy the "Barnack's Bar" on the Leica forum and the perpetual free for all of my own mailing lists. Sometimes I participate in a goofy discussion, sometimes not, after reading a few of the posts.

It's a tough call for exactly how to moderate issues and complaints, particularly on a site that you're hoping will provide a place for community to develop and grow participant's interest. I think we need the space, but the burden is on the site administration to make it clear how to have it and enjoy it, and enforce its intent. My best wishes and good luck in the endeavor!

G
 

Jorgen Udvang

Subscriber Member
The danger of allowing discussions involving politics, religion etc. is that they tend to become polarised, particularly when the participants have very different backgrounds and live in very different realities. Most of these questions look very different depending on which side of the globe you live on, what religion you adhere to or if you eat your dinner with chop sticks or knife and fork. Even people who live in the same city in the same country can be rather hostile towards each other, which unfortunately is becoming increasingly clear, if media are to be believed.

If people in general had a flexible mindset and were eager to learn, this would be less of a problem. Unfortunately, most people, also nice, friendly ones, tend to be rather stubborn when it comes to these questions. I would much rather not know what a person stands for politically than have the opportunity to discuss politics at yet another forum, at least if the price of the discussion is one more war of words with someone who is a great resource when it comes to cameras but whose political views belong in the 15th century. I don't need to hear about those views.

This is btw. a principle I follow also during my extensive travels. In some countries and regions, certain questions are better avoided if a friendly atmosphere is to be maintained. Having lived 20 years in a culture very different from my homeland, I have learned that while certain traditions and practices may look strange or even inhuman seen from a distance, they often make more sense after becoming a part of that society. Live and let live.
 

dave.gt

Well-known member
Well, this one is not... but the other forums/threads I have visited today show the latest posts first and it is very much appreciated!!!

Lol.., it screws with the brain to come this thread immediately afterward and have to scroll down to find a place to comment on something very positive. I never like The Twilight Zone either!:eek:
 

olafphoto

Administrator
Staff member
I believe every discussion forum should have a "free for all" space where people can yak about whatever passing fancy floats in their head, and even argue about it, because we're all human and that's what we do when we sit around the table together and conversation goes out to the edges. Yes, some folks get their feathers ruffled or get pissed off ... That's all part of the communication, and if you have a good group of people, you learn to identify and respect the others by trying NOT to piss them off but to raise hot topics like that in a conversational and reasoned manner.

This is hard to do over electronic media, where the channels of communication are so constrained compared to sitting around the table in person. You're missing facial expressions, intonations, body language, the movement of hands, etc. It's hard to get to know the other people in any complete sense, you're always dealing with a limited aspect persona. So in the "free for all" space on-line, and the written word sticks around, so some moderation is a necessity.

There should be some guidelines for the free for all: What topics really are taboo for the site, how to comport yourself in conversation, and an a priori notice that some topics or threads will be considered by the moderators as too sensitive for the venue, and closed down or removed if they appear. It should be clear up front that there is NO judgement on the person/persons raising such topics, it's the topics themselves that in the opinion of the moderator do not meet the guidelines.

Once upon a time, I had to deal with this quite a lot on an email list that I have been running since the early 1990s. However, over time, and as the community of folks who remain and persist on that mailing list have come to know one another and matured, the issue has just about disappeared. Everyone is respectful of the other folks, and everyone accepts that once in a while someone's hot button will get hit and a minor rant or foolish couple of words will pass by. We accept that we're all not perfect and we all have our social limitations. New people who enter the mailing list (still! after thirty years! :)) are welcomed and quickly ken to the respect and common dignity of the list participants, or they leave of their own accord.

I enjoy the Sunset Bar, although I only look at a few of the posts there, just like I enjoy the "Barnack's Bar" on the Leica forum and the perpetual free for all of my own mailing lists. Sometimes I participate in a goofy discussion, sometimes not, after reading a few of the posts.

It's a tough call for exactly how to moderate issues and complaints, particularly on a site that you're hoping will provide a place for community to develop and grow participant's interest. I think we need the space, but the burden is on the site administration to make it clear how to have it and enjoy it, and enforce its intent. My best wishes and good luck in the endeavor!

G
Well-reasoned and thought-out response. I appreciate your perspective, which is similar to mine. We will try to work it out. I will publish more ideas shortly. Thanks for sharing.
 
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