Those that know me well will know that I am a big fan and daily reader of DPReview. As such, it’s really exciting for me to be able to announce that they have just launched a new forum for analogue photography… and that I’m a new moderator there!
A little while ago a couple of the guys I sometimes chat to at DPReview got in touch wanting to speak to me about an idea they had for launching an analogue forum on their website. They have long recognised that analogue photography has been in growth, and have noted an increase in apparent interest within the wider site, so wanted to provide a space for discussion.
The few of guys I chat to at DPR are also occasional readers of 35mmc. What’s relevant about that fact here is that they had noted that the community within and around 35mmc is a really positive one. As such, they wanted to know if I might be interested in getting involved in their site in the hope that some of the positivity might come with me. Quite ironic since I’m a grumpy bugger, but I suppose you lot are a friendly bunch at least…
The nature of online forums
I actually don’t often delve into the forums on DPR. It is fair to say that some of them have a bit of a history of users conducting themselves in a slightly unsavoury way. Being honest, this has always put me off – not just in DPR’s forums – but almost all online forums. My interest in DPR has instead always been more focused on the primary content they post which is of a higher quality than pretty much anything else online.
My concern with the way that some people conduct themselves on the site was actually the first thing I mentioned to Dan and Barney when we had our first Skype chat about this. Of course, it’s not like the team there are unaware of the historical issues, but what helped convinced me to become a part of this forum was a really positive attitude in the guys toward how much the forums have been becoming more positive, and how much they are doing to encourage that positivity.
The interesting thing for me is that all this has coincided with me becoming absolutely exhausted with the “wild west” that is the various analogue photography Facebook groups. With the exception of the Negative Positives podcast group, pretty much every other analogue-focused Facebook group I know of has just become a mass of arguments, bickering, trolling and flaming. The issue is, most of the groups are really poorly and/or scarcely moderated, and Facebook as an organisation doesn’t really seem to care or have any control at all. As such, as forums for discussion and sharing images, they have become quite unpleasant places to be.
This is quite unfortunate in my opinion, as forums such as Facebook groups could be a great place to ask questions, short-cut learning, and generally bolster knowledge. All of this is entirely undermined by problem-users.
DPReview to the Rescue
Of course, it might seem a little counterintuitive therefore to start a new forum somewhere else that has a history of such issues. But, actually, I think DPReview are onto something really good!
For a start, now I’ve engaged with the forums on DPR I’ve realised that the “problem” now isn’t nearly as bad as it used to be. As I’ve said, the team there are really clamping down on the issues and have made deep inroads into improving the atmosphere there. Yes, the discussion is still heated in places – there are a lot of passionate photographers out there who care deeply about their kit, so it’s no surprise that conversation still gets a little warm from time to time. Importantly though, there is a clear reduction in ad hominem scrapping, trolling, flaming and all the other nasty stuff.
What’s specifically interesting to me, is that the new analogue forum is part of this wider ongoing process of improving the atmosphere there, which is, as I say why the guys were interested in getting me – and more importantly you lot – involved.
Bringing a bit of 35mmc positivity
One of the most amazing things about 35mmc for me has been the lack of moderation I have to put into to comment threads. In nearly 7 years there have only been a few “incidents” of behaviour that I have had to deal with, and probably fewer times than I could count on one hand that I’ve had to delete a comment. You guys do discuss things in a sometimes-heated way, but it nearly-never gets personal. This is something I am enormously proud of, and was very pleased to have this recognised by the guys at DPR.
Of course, the discussion here is limited to the context of the posts that are shared. I also don’t provide a platform for readers to ask questions outside of that context. I have thought about starting a Facebook group in the past, but I’m involved in a few already, and frankly – as I have alluded to – I don’t enjoy it there at all.
Joining the new DPR Analogue Forum
Which is why me getting involved in this new forum on DPReview seemed like a great idea! If the forum there can provide a place for some of my readers to ask questions outside of the context of specific posts here, but also do so in a well-moderated environment, then really, I couldn’t think of a reason not to get involved.
Of course, nothing will change here. If any of you have any thoughts on the content shared on this site, please keep commenting and getting involved here. But if you have anything to add outside of the context of the posts here, any questions about analogue photography, or just want to share some thoughts, then why not join the new forum on DPR?
For me, it’s really exciting that the biggest photography website in the world has recognised that analogue is part of the future of photography, and not just a thing of the past, so I’m really proud to have been invited to be asked to get involved there, and I hope that some of you will too!
You can find the new forum here