View Full Version : FAQ/Guidelines refined

Ralph Barker
14-Feb-2006, 18:31
The Large Format Photogarphy Forum has a long tradition (measured in Internet time) of being one of the most helpful, civil and respectful photography forums on the Net. However, after the recent spate of flame wars in various threads (and the resulting e-mails), the moderator group examined the question of whether our guidelines, and our level of moderation, were in need of change or refinement. After considerable discussion, I'd characterize our conclusions as reinforcing the fundamental philosophy that has served this forum well over the years. To express that philosophy with greater clarity, we've made a few refinements to the guidelines/FAQ page. We've also become a bit more proactive at enforcing the guidelines, while trying not to become overly intrusive or oppressive as might be experienced on some other forums.

The full guidelines/FAQ page can be viewed at this link (http://largeformatphotography.info/lfforum/help.html), but here's a summary of the sections that have changed:

This forum is a great resource to the LF community, and it is the participants here who make it so. We moderators appreciate the level and quality of participation, and just do a little janitorial work when needed.

Kirk Gittings
14-Feb-2006, 18:40
That all looks pretty positive. There is one area though that I might get into trouble. That would be annoucing my book publications, which I will have a couple more in the next couple of years. That is not really any different than a gallery opening where prints are for sale. Is it?

Ralph Barker
14-Feb-2006, 18:49
Book publication announcements, if done properly, would fall into the same sort of category as gallery openings or article references, I think. (Such things as including point of sale links would likely push the announcement beyond the spirit of the guidelines.)

tim atherton
14-Feb-2006, 19:20
hmm - think I just violated your newly refined commercial postings bit... oh well

neil poulsen
14-Feb-2006, 21:24
Book announcements fall into the general category of education, which is something we wanted to emphasize with the announcements.

While we all worked on these guidelines, Ralph took the initiative to write the rough draft, facilitated the updates, and completed the final draft. Hopefully, our adherence to these guidelines will address some of the problems we've had in the recent past.

John Berry ( Roadkill )
15-Feb-2006, 00:53
I don't see anything I can't live with. Thanks to all who worked on this.

Mark Sampson
15-Feb-2006, 06:05
Helping an excellent forum stay that way. Thanks gents!

Kevin M Bourque
15-Feb-2006, 06:46
Thanks for all the work you guys put into this.

The problem with rules is that they are by nature black and white and the real world is only shades of gray (or maybe "digital" and "analog", but I don't want to go there).

Most of us are willing to live with the spirit of the rules.....I have no problem with learning about Kirk's books, and I'm sure there's other stuff that's slightly commercial but still OK. Truly, we ought to be proud if "one of our own" publishes a book.

Similarly, there's a boundary between strong opinions and being a loudmouth boor. Unfortunately, it's usually the loudmouth boors that don't get it!

My students sometimes try to chip away at class policies, trying to find that crack in the rules that will let them get away with not having done their homework. I then remind them that this is not a democracy, I'm in charge, and that being a "little lawyer" will not enhance their standing. Draconian, but it usually works.

When one of the loudmouth boors says, "What happened to free speech?", the correct answer is , "Why, nothing.....go start your own forum".

Thanks again!

Frank Petronio
15-Feb-2006, 07:32
I think the most fun way to run a forum is to have people put up a deposit and then let the mods assign fines for troublemakers. It would make the mods job a lot more fun and hurt the offenders in the pocketbook.

There is little real enforcement possible with this forum software as it is so easy to spoof with fake emails and changing IP addresses. So posting new and refined rules, no matter how carefully worded, is a moot point. Assholes will be assholes.

Jim Rhoades
15-Feb-2006, 12:57
Ralph and Neil, etc. Thank you for all the work that you are doing to keep this forum on target. I like to learn of new books, workshops and openings. Strong opinions on gear, lab work, art vs. craft and yes, even traditional vs. digital has it's place. Moronic innuendos of ones politics are not needed. Nor are vile personal attacks.

Jerry Fusselman
16-Feb-2006, 00:45
I wonder about this phrase:
enticing/baiting others to violate forum guidelines will not be tolerated here. It sounds vague to me. It sounds like utter nonsense. Enticing and baiting could be anything. How do you know some one's motives? It is sheer guess work. You seriously cannot know.

Can anyone cite one post on this forum, just one post, where we can deduce that the motives of the poster are to bait or entice others to violate forum guidelines? I would be impressed by the deduction. I expect no one can really do this, and if so, this proves that the quoted passage is not ideal.

Instead of saying that an unprovable motive is banned, I would rather see a statement that denigrating the motives of a person is banned. Let us discuss issues, not motives. Alleging dark motives, I think, is one of the easiest ways to start a flame war. Please just ban questioning of motives.

Dave Henry
16-Feb-2006, 01:04
This sounds great only to have been violated already. The one thing that drives me away from this forum is the frequent use of profanity. I have so little time available to read forums that I am looking for pleasant and informative commentary when I make the time. We all hear profanity or adolescent flaming and behavior in the everyday world, we shouldn't have to read it as well in the cyber world.

Don't bother flaming as I am leaving in the morning for a four-day shoot and won't be able to read it. Sorry.

Juergen Sattler
16-Feb-2006, 06:13
I congratulate the moderators for resisting to put too many strict rules and regulations in place. There is no way to prevent some of the flaming wars and some of them are very informative. It would be much easier for a moderator to come up with a very restrictive set of forum guidelines, than to allow some flexibility, as they have done. The world is not just black OR white- as we all should know:-) Thank you!

Frank Petronio
16-Feb-2006, 07:24
I appreciate the job the mods are doing, but I think it is unrealistic to attempt to regulate human nature, or to expect everybody to act like a saint. And a little tension keeps people interested and returning. So I really don't mind a moderate amount of controversy -- it's only online -- it's not like some radical LF photographer is going to come to my door and splash Pyro on me or bash in my new digital camera.

So I question why waste time tweaking the rules when they end up being subjective anyway? People on the forum can always ignore the evil doers, and on a case by case basis the mods can delete, warn, and ban people and posts.

Afterall the worst case scenario is that some evildoer posts swear words and child porn alongside a camera for sale ad. How long do you think that post would last even on the slowest day?

(Sorry about my use of a swearword back a few, I guess I am warped from too much exposure to diapers...)

Ralph Barker
16-Feb-2006, 10:55
Thanks to everyone for your comments. While we obviously can't please all the people all the time, we try to strike a reasonable middle ground in the guidelines, and "enforce" them with a reasonable degree of flexibility.