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I have run into this question at other fora. Even to the point the 'mod' didn't want to comment on 'good' pix because he couldn't criticize them. That seems to me perverse, if you want to keep a forum alive.
In response to the issue; Times change, people change. What doesn't change is the need for encouragement or acknowledgment in order for people to go on posting - which is what a forum is for primarily, for without posting there is no forum. I don't agree with your (and others) assessment this forum is a mutual admiration society, though I can see how it may look like that to some.
People post their images and if they are 'good' to my eye I will say so - as much as I post or comment these days. If I don't think they are so 'good' but the poster hasn't shown any inclination to improve over time I will still often comment positively, shortly, but I won't push any CC on them - not my place to. If the images can be improved I may also comment positively with a suggestion for improvement - if I sense an opening. The difficulty in giving CC sometimes is that the poster hasn't asked for it and to give it regardless is intrusive or even arrogant, in the circumstances. That's my take on it.
And regarding the comment above about ego stroking; I couldn't disagree more. No doubt some are only after acknowledgment without giving back but many people don't learn by reading and analysis, photography is after all a largely visual discipline, and macro has a distinct physical dimension that only practise of the right technique/s perfect. The application of theory does happen but in my experience it is a very small (in regards to time spent) but very significant part of the evolution of ones output. I remember spending 90% of time posting and looking at others images to find how to make mine better but nobody could have told me anything before its time. And that time is recognised by the poster asking the right questions, or 's/he' will just take it on and the improvement will be apparent. The upshot is if I didn't get encouragement, and from some of the best, regardless of my response or contribution, I would have stopped posting here and gone somewhere else.
Now that is something I don't see engendered here or anywhere else I post, a culture of experts in waiting who understand there is more than one way to approach the subject (skin the cat) and who are willing to do the work and be understanding of a different POV. I must say too I believe there are many experts here who are willing and able but there is no support for a culture that would enable a critical learning environment without excluding those who are not of an intellectual bent - like me, I am primarily visual.
I would suggest a sticky - a very useful tool in any forum - where the experts, those capable of teaching what they have learned from others - as we all do, contribute their idea of how they would like to see the forum like this function optimally, taking into account all categories of contributor - nobody should be left out or ignored. A sticky that is not judgmental of any poster and outlines what the forum's ethos is and how it is put into practise, and 'rules' will be broken and nobody will get on their high horse about it but may, if the poster is receptive, explain and point to the sticky. And the 'mod' should edit the superfluous posts, without consideration - a one time exertion of authority.
I, and many others I believe, have seen the need for some articulation of aims and objectives to be posted where they won't be lost in the melee and pass from the front page in a matter of days. Maybe titled; What this forum is about, including those who don't 'appear' to fit the bill.
Maybe you could invite selected experts and ask them to contribute, to draw up a manifesto for the sticky, including the contributions/analysis that supports it so people know where it comes from, what its origins are and that it is not just dogma.
I would be pleased to see something like this I have outlined, a reference/sticky of best practise written by experts (at macro, judged by their work and an ability to articulate it) to further the macro genre by appropriate attention and understanding where it is due, by ones lights.
I would delete any OT posts, it is just clutter in the scene.
Edited on Sep 06, 2013 at 02:50 AM · View previous versions