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  #1  
Old 11-13-2010, 05:14 PM
iainsp iainsp is offline
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Default A newish member inviting debate, please

Greetings all,

I have only been on TE for four months or so, so I do not remember the 'golden age' of four or so year ago. I do value what I have seen of TE so far (with some constructive criticisms, which I am sure we all have). I also vaule some of the work posted by people who now seem to be leaving for other pastures.

Can we please use this thread to actually conduct a healthy debate on what is going on on TE, and could this debate please include moderators talking openly.

I would be interested to see some of the following issues addressed:

1. Stop telling me that it was "better four years ago". I and many members were not around four years ago. Tell me: a) why it was better four years ago, b) what has changed to make things different from four years ago, c) why those changes are so severe that leaving TE seems to be the only option.

2. One for the moderators: As I understand it, one member recently has been banned "not permenantly, but for a long time". We are all grown ups here, and most of us are well adjusted grown ups who do not respond well to racism on a site that we love, nor do we respond well to false accusations. However, we also do note respond well to "so and so is banned because I told you so" statements. Yes, people can commit offences of sucha nature that they can be banned from a site - but stop treating me like a child and convince me that this is the case. Surely not that difficult an ask.

3. Certain recent threads seem to be locked up, I for one cannot get access to at least two recent threads discussing people leaving TE. Could this be explained?

Please people, there are clearly issues out there that need to be addressed and discussed - that may not be an easy discussion, but can we at least start it, rather than avoid it.

regards to you all, Iain

Last edited by iainsp; 11-13-2010 at 05:21 PM.
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  #2  
Old 11-13-2010, 06:36 PM
marietom marietom is offline
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Default hello Iain

Je ne vais pas parler de "c'était mieux autrefois", mais plutôt de ce qui me fait partir.
Plusieurs raisons :

- d'abord, mon travail a évolué et je ne peux plus poster mes photos préférées sur TE, puisqu'elles n'entrent pas dans les TOS. Cela avait été une raison de mon premier arrêt il y a quelques mois.
Finalement, compte tenu de messages de pas mal de membres, j'avais décidé de rester, me disant que je posterais ici, et sur mon blog.

- puis, les événements récents... Il est difficile pour moi de penser à rester sur un site où on ne peut s'exprimer en toute liberté. Si par exemple ouvrir un thème pour soutenir quelqu'un de banni, est maintenant devenu un acte grave, c'est que la liberté de penser et la liberté d'expression ne sont plus un droit ici. Cela, j'ai du mal à l'accepter. Et c'est une raison suffisante pour déménager.

Depuis longtemps j'hésitais entre plusieurs lieux, je décide à présent de favoriser mon blog, sur lequel je peux dire ce que je veux, et poster ce que je veux aussi.

Je continue pour le moment à commenter quelques photos, pour remercier ceux qui sont passés voir mes photos, mais je crois que je ne posterai plus d'images.

Voilà en ce qui me concerne.

Bonne soirée
Marie
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  #3  
Old 11-13-2010, 06:55 PM
Angshu Angshu is offline
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Hello Iain

I am in this site for quite almost 5 years now...when I started it was all different..Adam started this site & it was bristling with good talent...all types of photographers...landscape, daily life, portrait artists. The point system was still the same, the nuances of it remains, but what was present those days were a lot more camaraderie, which allowed people to communicate freely. I, can say for myself that I learnt a hell lot in those days...BECAUSE guys were there to criticise me constructively!
Times changed, TE changed hands and the current owners bought this site. That was I think about a couple of years back. Advertisements started to pop up, many members left the site saying its become commercial. A few of my friends from here started a photographic site themselves...runs quite well I think...I contribute there as well. But the fact remains that it was the first set of exodus, mostly about the terms of TOS, the copyright problem in this site.
And now of course you're witnessing what's going on. TOS is very important, but I guess what makes seasoned contributors offended is the way pictures are deleted, critiques are deleted & altered! I was shocked to hear abut the latter! I can only wish that some sense prevails amongst the moderators and those who run the site. Certainly in terms of pure economics, for them, this doesn't make sense at all. The bushfire is going to burn all!
Angshu
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  #4  
Old 11-13-2010, 07:09 PM
Keitht Keitht is offline
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Hi Iain,

Let me make it clear from the outset that I am not responding on behalf of the mods but I am using some of my experience as a mod in compiling my comments.

Why was it better 4 years ago? Possibly part of the answer is the sense of "The good old days" and selective memory. What I believe is true is that it was a smaller community with fewer images posted, therefore more time for constructive critiques to be developed before the image disappeared onto page 20 or beyond I also believe there were fewer people in what I refer to as 'mutual admiration societies', more interested in accumulating points exclusively for their little group than in wider, general participation. The metaphorical photo of a black cat in a coal cellar with the lights off would garner many points if posted by a member of such groupings!

Ownership has changed in that time too. The site was owned and run by one person, with only a couple of mods, for many years. The result, for better or worse, was that the TOS (Terms of Service) weren't very actively implemented. The new owners recruited a number of additional mods and did want the rules enforced. This undoubtedly caused some friction with probably the most common question being "Why has my photo been removed when xyz from 2 years ago remains?". The reason is explained above and it would have been extremely unfair to apply the rules retrospectively by removing 'old' photos. Most members accepted, if reluctantly, the more stringent application of the rules but some felt/feel that the change of emphasis shouldn't apply to them.

Not referring directly to those involved in the latest situation, but on all sites you will find people who don't want to abide by the rules; complain when the rules are enforced; and then play the victim in claiming that they have no option but to leave. Everybody has a choice of whether to participate on any site - they do not have a choice of whether to abide by the rules of the site or not.

Generally I believe that reasons for, and knowledge of, suspensions and bans should be a private matter between the mods/admins and the member(s) involved. It is rare for such sanctions to be taken without warning and I believe that would only happen in truly exceptional circumstances such as that mentioned by yourself. If people don't heed warnings about their behaviour what other options are left?

I haven't seen any instances of a response along the lines of "so & so is banned because I told you so", but if that has happened, in my view it shouldn't have. Everybody on the site should be treated as an adult, but that again is a two way street.

The most common reasons for locking a thread are that it has (a) come to a natural conclusion and old questions and answers are being recycyled (b) has started to get personal, although such threads are generally removed completely rather than locked (c) is generating more heat than light and probably falls into a category that should be dicussed directly with the mods by means of PM. In relation to (c) it is far from uncommon for a PM to be sent to the mods and then basically the same content posted on the board within minutes and the member screaming that they haven't received an answer to the PM! Please remember that the mods do have a life outside TE

Hopefully this has answered at least some of the questions raised, if only in part.

I have referred to the rules of the site, the TOS. They aren't necessarily all that easy to find so just in case you haven't discovered them yet they are accessible via the About link at the bottom of each page. Read that page and the onward links and you should have a decent understand of what is and isn't right for the site.

Last edited by Keitht; 11-13-2010 at 07:20 PM. Reason: edited to add the final paragraph
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  #5  
Old 11-14-2010, 04:15 AM
Angshu Angshu is offline
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Hello Keith & Iain

Within the scope of the knowledge gathered during my period of stay in TE, let me share my personal experience about the issues in question :

"Mutual Admiration Societies" : Was there & will remain as long as some people have a 'hunger' for the green smileys & hence points! Hence no point bringing this up, because to be honest, nothing has changed in this aspect & nothing will. In a 'mutual admiration society' we live in, this would continue

Was a smaller community with fewer images posted, therefore more time for constructive critiques to be developed : Very true, but the quality of pictures posted & sheer variety of it was earlier very high. Today, the images tend to be more like postcards or landscape shots with very little 'innovative approach towards photography' if I may say, barring a few photographers who want to show things differently. These pictures were critiqued constructively earlier but are barely being looked at or critiqued now. Hence while a lot of new photographers have joined the site, the direction & way to learn via critiques has diminished exponentially. I for one, have always maintained that the learning I had from this site had been enormous. Sincerely doubt whether I can say so now! The % of 'constructive criticisms' was earlier around 10% of the crtqs received, whereas now I would be lucky if its more than 1%

"TOS (Terms of Service)" : This was, as I understood the main issue for the first exodus of photographers from the site, in 2007-8 I guess. Main issue was the Copyright issue stated there. This Copyright statement was subsequently modified, but I am not the correct person to state whether a photographer's right is protected still

Moderation: Needs to be there, but looking at the one sided feedback (victim as you said), I think the approach of the moderators could have been different. Once again I do not know what communication went on between the member & the moderator, but I was barely able to believe myself when one of the moderators stated that 'racism' has been cited. I'm quite appalled really, but without knowing the communication, I shouldn't comment! Maybe a re-look into the approach would be objective

"Everybody has a choice of whether to participate on any site - they do not have a choice of whether to abide by the rules of the site or not" : Absolutely. I can't agree with you more! But you're talking about 4 photographers who have contributed to more than 2500 images in this site. Are you telling them now that they don't know the rules? If yes, could that have been handled differently?

"Everybody on the site should be treated as an adult, but that again is a two way street" : Agreed again! But if TE has to continue whilst making economic sense to IB, introspection needs to be done. Hardline approaches don't help! People do have the choice to move to other pastures for posting their pictures, but then, does TE benefit out of it?

Humbly yours
Angshuman
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  #6  
Old 11-14-2010, 09:17 AM
Keitht Keitht is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Angshu View Post
Hello Keith & Iain

Was a smaller community with fewer images posted, therefore more time for constructive critiques to be developed : Very true, but the quality of pictures posted & sheer variety of it was earlier very high. Today, the images tend to be more like postcards or landscape shots with very little 'innovative approach towards photography' if I may say, barring a few photographers who want to show things differently. These pictures were critiqued constructively earlier but are barely being looked at or critiqued now. Hence while a lot of new photographers have joined the site, the direction & way to learn via critiques has diminished exponentially. I for one, have always maintained that the learning I had from this site had been enormous. Sincerely doubt whether I can say so now! The % of 'constructive criticisms' was earlier around 10% of the crtqs received, whereas now I would be lucky if its more than 1%

Angshuman
I won't make any comment on the rest of your post at this time, and please don't read into this that I don't agree I really do mean I'm not commenting, but you are absolutely correct in what you say here. The question is how to address the problems of lower image quality and fewer meaningful critiques. Since TE came on the scene many other photo sites have appeared and there seems to be a misconception amongst some members that TE is just another place to dump your holiday snaps. That is certainly not the aim and is the reason a limit was placed on the number of images that can be uploaded per day. There was a suggestion the the ability to upload should be linked in some way to the number of critiques posted. Unfortunately we only need to look at the way people try to get around the requirement for notes to suspect that the same people would find a way round the critique too.
Any thoughts on ways to raise the standard both of image and critiques would be gratefully received.
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Old 11-14-2010, 06:17 PM
iainsp iainsp is offline
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Firstly, thank you to Angshu and Keith for contributing to this discussion. In the lights of events today, it is clear that far more clarity is required on the site - and far more openness and discussion is required. I do think that the team of moderators should look on some of the constructive criticism that is being offered (and if you choose to accept a position in a 'managerial' role, then dealing with people when they are angry without making them even more angry is part of your job - I would recommend picking through the anger and finding which parts of it are justified and which not).

To address a few concrete examples:

"... on all sites you will find people who don't want to abide by the rules; complain when the rules are enforced; and then play the victim in claiming that they have no option but to leave."

I agree completely - in some respects that is part of the nature of blogging and similar sites. However, today you have 7 or 8 longstanding members who all seem to have a history of moderateness and tolerance for change saying goodbye. We are clearly not talking about victim mentality here. the "On all sites ..." argument is also a bit of a fallacy: we would both agree that it would be completely inappriate for a contributor to start a post with "On all sites you will find moderators who ...".

"Everybody has a choice of whether to participate on any site - they do not have a choice of whether to abide by the rules of the site or not"

Yes and no on this one - in broad terms I may well agree with you, although you are clearly bringing up issues of how rules are set and who informs that rule setting system. I will accept your implied position that those of us uploading photographs on to TE are not so much members of a TE Community as consumers of the TE product. However, the moderators, as representatives of the TE brand, should perhaps consider bringing their most loyal and longest standing 'consumers' in on the discussion of rules rather than watch them leave to consume a rival product.

Can I suggest as a way forward that it is suggested to the moderators team that far better communication is in order, especially in what looks like a delicate time for Trek Earth. Any deletion - whether of a photo or parts or all of a note or critique should involve direct communication with the person whose work is being deleted/edited. One might find the consumers a little more tolerant of change if we are given even a small response as to why our photos did not meet the ToS.

Like yourself, many of us are worried that "TE is just another place to dump your holiday snaps". The 7 or 8 members who have said they are out the door are not part of the 'holiday snap dumping' brigade. They have all spent some time exploring and pushing the boundaries of what constitutes a travel photograph. Without these photographers on TE, the site may be in danger of moving closer to the holiday snap dump.

regards all, and thanks for listening and contributing.

Iain
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  #8  
Old 11-14-2010, 07:01 PM
Keitht Keitht is offline
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Hi Iain,

Your input is appreciated and I promise you that constructive criticism is appreciated, after all critiques are a central plank of the site.

An e-mail is sent to the member every time an image is removed providing basic information on the reason for removal. The member can also submit a Review Request giving their reasons for believing the image should remain on the site. That request is considered and a final decision made. That part takes time as we do like to get comment from as many mods as possible before the final decision. In fact on many occasions mods will ask for other opinions before removing the image.
For better or worse, the mods must have the final say on whether an image fulfils the requirement of the site or we would have endless arguments back and forth.

Regarding the all sites terminology - Maybe not all sites but it's certainly true of the vast majority of sites I have been active on for any length of time, generally as a member rather than mod. I've seen members and mods banned from sites for unacceptable behaviour - it's human nature that some people are unwilling to accept that they can be in the wrong sometimes.

I didn't intend to imply that members are consumers of a brand rather than members of a community. Every community has a set of rules for its members and expects and needs members to abide by those rules. The community should be open to members questioning the reasons for or scope of those rules, and to develop / amend the rules over time, but individual members shouldn't be permitted to operate consistently outside agreed boundaries just because they don't like those boundaries.

I certainly agree with your comment that the members considering leaving can't be considered as part of the 'holiday snap dumping brigade'. Much of their work is high quality, but the simple fact that an image is high quality doesn't automatically make it appropriate for TE. Two associated sites TrekLens and TrekNature were create specifically to handle images considered to fall outside the remit of TE. I know many don't like to use those sites because they believe their work doesn't get the exposure there that it received on TE. Maybe it doesn't get the exposure there because the other sites aren't as active and maybe they aren't as active because people would rather post inappropriate images on TE instead. Chicken and egg
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  #9  
Old 11-14-2010, 11:24 PM
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kajenn kajenn is offline
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Cool TE rules...

As I see it, we have the TE rules on what, when and how to post our photos, in order to prevent this site from becoming "just another place to dump your holiday snaps".

That's what makes TE so special. Take away those rules, and what do we get? Right! Just another....
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Old 11-15-2010, 07:28 AM
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Porteplume Porteplume is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kajenn View Post
As I see it, we have the TE rules on what, when and how to post our photos, in order to prevent this site from becoming "just another place to dump your holiday snaps".

That's what makes TE so special. Take away those rules, and what do we get? Right! Just another....
Balm to my soul...
Thank you so much Kaj!
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Amicalement...
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