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Thread: Is the Forum a repository or a community?

  1. #11
    Corran's Avatar
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    Re: Forum Growth.....or not?

    There will always be questions needing answers and searching the topic may not adequately answer anything.

    Sometimes newbies do not know the proper nomenclature. They might wonder "does this lens work on 4x5?" but don't realize what they are asking about is the "image circle," or know what that even is. Then there are the innumerable number of similarly-named lenses from large companies which may vary greatly in specifications. And even if you do grasp everything and know exactly what you are looking for, a Google search of a specific lens and a question about using it on 8x10 will often discover one person saying it has almost enough IC for 11x14 and another poster saying the corners are so poor you shouldn't go past 5x7. Oh and of course no example images or possibly dead links.

    I've also even recently read posts saying to go to "XYZ website" and search for this or that tidbit of information, but then that specific site had been gone for years. Such is the nature of the web.
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  2. #12

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    Re: Forum Growth.....or not?

    Quote Originally Posted by Corran View Post
    There will always be questions needing answers and searching the topic may not adequately answer anything.

    Sometimes newbies do not know the proper nomenclature. They might wonder "does this lens work on 4x5?" but don't realize what they are asking about is the "image circle," or know what that even is. Then there are the innumerable number of similarly-named lenses from large companies which may vary greatly in specifications. And even if you do grasp everything and know exactly what you are looking for, a Google search of a specific lens and a question about using it on 8x10 will often discover one person saying it has almost enough IC for 11x14 and another poster saying the corners are so poor you shouldn't go past 5x7. Oh and of course no example images or possibly dead links.

    I've also even recently read posts saying to go to "XYZ website" and search for this or that tidbit of information, but then that specific site had been gone for years. Such is the nature of the web.
    In the age of google, this is all moot.
    Think of any noob question you can think of and type it into google in free text question form. See if you do not find the answer you were looking for in the first page results.

  3. #13

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    Re: Forum Growth.....or not?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sal Santamaura View Post
    It matters because, as originally envisioned by LUSENET's founder Phillip Greenspun, from whence this forum sprang, it's intended to be a useful archive of information, not a chat room. Cluttering up the database with redundant questions and answers makes it more difficult to search and adds no new information. In your school analogy, this is the textbook. Repeating the content of each chapter again and again, in random sequence, makes the book larger and larger, at the same time making it more difficult to carry around and use.
    Deep down on this forum *and on others) this is the very schism that we encounter again and again. Some people see the forum as a database of technical knowledge, assembled and kept current by users. The knowledge base is the reason for being and everything else is clutter and distraction. Nothing wrong with that view.

    My view is that this forum is more like a large party at someone's house. There are clusters of groups talking about various topics. Not everyone stays on topic not do they have to. Conversation ebbs and flows. It's all recorded so later other coming to the party late can share the good stuff, too. There's a huge social element, and by "social" I don't mean idle chit chat but "Social" with a capital "S."

    Some of the issues on the board seem to spring from these two sometimes opposing views.

    --Darin

  4. #14
    Jac@stafford.net's Avatar
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    Re: Forum Growth.....or not?

    Quote Originally Posted by koh303 View Post
    In the age of google, this is all moot.
    Think of any noob question you can think of and type it into google in free text question form. See if you do not find the answer you were looking for in the first page results.
    I'm going to hold you to that. You are certain to make an uninformed comment or ask a question someone here can answer.
    .

  5. #15
    Corran's Avatar
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    Re: Forum Growth.....or not?

    Quote Originally Posted by koh303 View Post
    In the age of google, this is all moot.
    Think of any noob question you can think of and type it into google in free text question form. See if you do not find the answer you were looking for in the first page results.
    You are absolutely right, within the confines of me thinking of a "noob question" and already knowing the answer, thus "finding" that answer easily.

    If I was not already quite familiar with LF gear and various terms, that would not hold true. Just search for example "fuji 300mm lens for 8x10" and you will find nearly 200,000 results. This does nothing to help our supposed noob who has no idea what the A, C, CM, CM-W, W, S, etc. nomenclature means or implies, what IC is needed for 8x10 or indeed what "image circle" even is. Then his head starts to spin when finding info stating "this lens covers 42 degrees" as if that means anything to most. Let's also not forget that terms and understanding can vary greatly between generations. Many young newbies entering LF did not learn the same vocabulary in photography having grown up in the digital age or are simply not well versed in it. I am reminded of questions about "telephoto lenses" for LF which as we all know means one thing but most young folks simply mean "longer than normal" lenses when they say that. It is complete folly to think that all questions have been answered and you can just Google anything and find your answer.

    Some questions though, yes. If you want to know about a lens that you have in your hand, and are already well-versed in terminology, just Google the exact name of the lens and you'll find tons of info. A thread asking for opinions on a "Symmar-S 210mm f/5.6" lens for example might be responded to with "Google it." If they are a brand-new poster perhaps a helpful reply asking what they'd like to know would be better.
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  6. #16
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
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    Re: Forum Growth.....or not?

    This site isn't just a repository of knowledge. It's a community, one that depends on other people becoming interested in LF photography for it's survival down the road. Be nice.
    “You often feel tired, not because you've done too much, but because you've done too little of what sparks a light in you.”
    ― Alexander Den Heijer, Nothing you don't already know

  7. #17

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    Re: Forum Growth.....or not?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jac@stafford.net View Post
    Numbers are useful, but there is no metric for the concentrated expertise that has grown thanks to long-term participants. This is definitely my go-to place for expertise
    ^^ Exactly why I love this place. the kb here is deep, very deep.
    notch codes ? I only use one film...

  8. #18
    I live in Connecticut now.
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    Re: Forum Growth.....or not?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sal Santamaura View Post
    It matters because, as originally envisioned by LUSENET's founder Phillip Greenspun, from whence this forum sprang, it's intended to be a useful archive of information, not a chat room. Cluttering up the database with redundant questions and answers makes it more difficult to search and adds no new information. In your school analogy, this is the textbook. Repeating the content of each chapter again and again, in random sequence, makes the book larger and larger, at the same time making it more difficult to carry around and use.

    There. I've once again answered that redundant rhetorical question, contributing to the very clutter problem I describe.

    Fortunately, this is not a commercial site. Maximizing traffic doesn't need to be a goal. There would be nothing wrong with not talking about those topics unless new or revised information were available that could be added to them. That and an occasional genuinely new topic; we haven't exhausted every facet yet.

    There's massive blah, blah, blah in the world. Not talking for a while might be a good thing.
    Perhaps you could compile a list of forum threads that are FAQ and create a sticky with a list of links to each FAQ thread?

    This would allow for the current desire of many to utilize this as a chat room, while also honoring the original purpose.

    The list could be added to/updated/edited as needed?

    It could be added as a kind of "resources" section?

    You're really good at identifying the often asked questions, and I know that it might take some effort but perhaps this is a way to alleviate the frustration and allow you to also reference the FAQ list for new members or people who are asking "the same old questions?

    I think there's already a FAQ? but I mean a more thorough one?

    Would you be willing to compile that Sal?

    Just a thought.

    ~Stone

  9. #19
    IanG's Avatar
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    Re: Forum Growth.....or not?

    Quote Originally Posted by Darin Boville View Post
    Deep down on this forum *and on others) this is the very schism that we encounter again and again. Some people see the forum as a database of technical knowledge, assembled and kept current by users. The knowledge base is the reason for being and everything else is clutter and distraction. Nothing wrong with that view.

    My view is that this forum is more like a large party at someone's house. There are clusters of groups talking about various topics. Not everyone stays on topic not do they have to. Conversation ebbs and flows. It's all recorded so later other coming to the party late can share the good stuff, too. There's a huge social element, and by "social" I don't mean idle chit chat but "Social" with a capital "S."

    Some of the issues on the board seem to spring from these two sometimes opposing views.

    --Darin
    You're right.

    There's a big dilemma here because yes this website as a whole is that resource and knowledge base but outside the actual forum there's little updating being done to the rest of the website to update or add new articles, resources etc. There's huge potential to dramatically improve the website, many of the current articles would benefit enormously ly from the addition of images, diagrams etc or just being updated with more current information. There are issues though because the text of the articles are the copyright of the original writers, sometimes there's multiple contributors.

    I think it was Brian Wallen who actually wrote some sample pages of what the site resources could look like, this was a few years ago.

    So at the moment there's a disconnection between the Resources and the Forum and maybe that's what needs discussion.

    Ian

  10. #20
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
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    Re: Forum Growth.....or not?

    Purposes can change.

    "There's massive blah, blah, blah in the world. Not talking for a while might be a good thing. " You're welcome to give that a try.
    “You often feel tired, not because you've done too much, but because you've done too little of what sparks a light in you.”
    ― Alexander Den Heijer, Nothing you don't already know

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