Upload & Sell: On
I have some thoughts on this issue and a few Simple Suggestions.
There are other (many other now) photo sharing sites on the net. I don't frequent them, but know that many here obviously do (see comments above about 500px etc.).
Some are easier to browse photos or have a more attractive interface, making it easier to enjoy the photos or select which photos to view when visiting the site.
So, a "forum" style presentation where only the title of a post is shown, and one must click on a forum post to see what is inside may be...reducing the views. It is "old style" internet, and no longer visually attractive.
Because it is easier to VIEW many photos on some other types of sites.
I see a "photo sharing site" as primarily ENTERTAINMENT (a visual form of entertainment) OR a LEARNING opportunity (if one is a photographer).
I think the only advantage a forum like this has is the ability to ADD textual content and INFORMATION that goes WITH the photos when they are posted.
That is why anytime I open a discussion topic posted by someone else and see they have added a BACKSTORY or introduction remarks on how the photos were made, I compliment them on adding something MORE than just photos.
So, when someone posts a photo here, I suggest that adding "how it was made" or "What I learned at this shoot" or "My Tips on How To Make THIS KIND of photo" would be valuable, helpful, interesting CONTENT for viewing, in addition to the photos themselves. I think THAT would help FM remain a valuable site to visit.
I write this because I think the only way a forum like this will continue to have appeal is by offering interesting or INFORMATIVE or HELPFUL CONTENT that is hard to find elsewhere.
For example, recently a FM member posted some exemplary photos of animal portraits taken at a zoo. They are nice to see. But, there is nothing mentioned on HOW the photos were made to look so good. Nothing was given as TIPS or SUGGESTIONS on how to do this type of photography, or how to overcome challenges posed by the conditions or setting/scene/light/subject. I think that kind of INFORMATIVE CONTENT would make a difference and would keep people visiting this site to LEARN HOW to make better photos.
As I see it, I think IF the photographer had posted something HELPFUL or INFORMATIVE about how they made their photos look so good, it would INSPIRE and HELP other photographers to learn more about photography. In short, I think it would inspire more to get out and try to make similar photos of a similar subject, perhaps using similar tools and techniques etc.
I believe that many of the photographers who visit here are looking for a way to improve their own photography. That is why so many ask for C&C. This is particularly true of the many photographers who visit here and want to learn how to do certain genre photography such as "Senior Photos" and such. They are looking for advice on how to begin making money with their cameras. Same with people looking for advice or tips on how to improve their use of flash or studio lighting for "home studio" portraits of their own family.
I think simply posting photos here is not enough, anymore. As the competing photo oriented sites have easier viewing or more personal relevance (the photos are seen by friends and family on facebook or other social network style sites).
For example, in the past I have posted over 100 photos here (my Impressions Series) and in each case I included background on the photos, what tools I made, what challenges the photo op presented, and any tips or suggestions I thought would help others make a similar photo. Unfortunately, for anyone to see those photos on FM, one would have to know the topic name or search by my name and would have to search back through archived years and topics. That means that those posts are essentially "lost" in the many thousands of posts here on fm.
More lately, over the last two years while traveling, I have posted 900+ photos on my facebook wall. I have found the relevance and feedback at facebook higher than on FM, as the comments I receive are about the photos, the content, or they are from people in an audience who appreciate the subject. Also, I have not encountered the hostility or trolls that I have here on FM. I think the hostility, trolls, and snarky or snide remarks found on FM probably inhibit many from posting here.
Another "plus" for posting on facebook has been that all of the photos show up in an online album, where my visitors can see ALL the photos in an easy to browse "photo gallery" style of presentation. I find that style of online presentation much more appealing than a search through topics (many archived here on FM). So, I think the styling or type of online interface regarding the display of the photos is what is important (a key factor).
Given that the format of this forum style of presentation will not likely change, I believe it is up to the members here to encourage, adopt, and show by example, a more robust and informative post about the MAKING of the photos they present here.
That is my Simple Suggestion for FM.
And another suggestion: I think adding thumbnails to this site for each topic would improve the viewing and visual appeal (showing more photos on a screen).