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Thread: Please Give Us Input On What You'd Like To See Changed, Included, etc.

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    Lightbulb Please Give Us Input On What You'd Like To See Changed, Included, etc.

    Hi all. It's been awhile since I was this active. For those who don't know me (yet), I have been with the site since (actually before) it's inception, helped Tony edit articles before becoming live, and took over (from Pavel) running the contests. And all this while we've had some really great moderators helping out behind the scenes as well.

    It's time for some changes. Craig is the owner of the site now and your participation would be greatly appreciated. Please voice your opinions on what you would like to see added, changed, combined, brought back, or whatever on this site.

    Are there other forum categories you'd like to see included in the list? Such as a separate place to show your photos for others to critique? Would you like to see the contests come back like before? (weren't they fun?) How about separate categories in the discussion forum?

    Please list your ideas here.

    Thank you,

    Ann
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    Default Re: Please Give Us Input On What You'd Like To See Changed, Included, etc.

    Hi Ann, nice to hear from you and that you are looking to improve the forum.
    Just one off the top of my head. I'm not sure if the forum officially embraces m4/3 as well as 4/3.
    As well all know, 4/3 has slipped a little into the doldrums due to lack of new bodies, but m4/3 is thriving, at the moment anyway. Many of the 4/3 people who have been contributing a long time now have m4/3 gear, either as a second compact system, or as a replacement. I think it sensible that the forum should be a combination of both, for continued vitality, even survival. I have 3 systems! But this is the forum of choice for me, and always has been.
    Perhaps your thoughts about separate categories would be a sensible way to embrace, yet differentiate the two branches of the same sensor.
    Cheers,
    Don

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    Default Re: Please Give Us Input On What You'd Like To See Changed, Included, etc.

    Hi Don. Thanks. All ideas will be heard and taken into consideration. I think it would be nice to get it back like it once was.
    Personally, I think that's a good idea.
    I remember when we did have other forum categories before and I miss them.

    If you have anymore ideas, you know where to post them!

    Ann
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    Default Re: Please Give Us Input On What You'd Like To See Changed, Included, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Baldwinson View Post
    Hi Ann, nice to hear from you and that you are looking to improve the forum.
    Just one off the top of my head. I'm not sure if the forum officially embraces m4/3 as well as 4/3.
    As well all know, 4/3 has slipped a little into the doldrums due to lack of new bodies, but m4/3 is thriving, at the moment anyway. Many of the 4/3 people who have been contributing a long time now have m4/3 gear, either as a second compact system, or as a replacement. I think it sensible that the forum should be a combination of both, for continued vitality, even survival. I have 3 systems! But this is the forum of choice for me, and always has been.
    Perhaps your thoughts about separate categories would be a sensible way to embrace, yet differentiate the two branches of the same sensor.
    Cheers,
    Don
    I think we can embrace m4/3, we already have unofficially, there is lots of chat about pens and lumix. Officially, the forum could probably need some sort of re-branding to make it known to newcomers that we aren't 4/3 only. that said, I wouldn't care to see two different topic groups one for m4/3 and one for 4/3. DPR did that and its just a headache, people post in the wrong topic and others get upset, etc. While I think we are better behaved here, there's no need to segregate the congregation.
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    Default Re: Please Give Us Input On What You'd Like To See Changed, Included, etc.

    I think we could split the Discussion Topic area. I think we could use an area for Gear Talk and another for Technique or something like that.
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    Default Re: Please Give Us Input On What You'd Like To See Changed, Included, etc.

    Sounds good to me. Didn't we have that once before?
    Quote Originally Posted by jnicklin View Post
    I think we could split the Discussion Topic area. I think we could use an area for Gear Talk and another for Technique or something like that.
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    Default Re: Please Give Us Input On What You'd Like To See Changed, Included, etc.

    With the current volume of posts, I think dividing things would be a mistake. If I had to navigate 2 or 3 different forums for 1 post each it would seem hardly worth it. I shoot 4/3's and my son shoots micro 4/3. Because of the sharing of sensors, much of what apples to one system apples to the other. With micro 4/3's the site has a chance to become more relevant to the current market. This is a nice place with nice people and I wish you luck.

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    Default Re: Please Give Us Input On What You'd Like To See Changed, Included, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by jnicklin View Post
    I think we can embrace m4/3, we already have unofficially, there is lots of chat about pens and lumix. Officially, the forum could probably need some sort of re-branding to make it known to newcomers that we aren't 4/3 only. that said, I wouldn't care to see two different topic groups one for m4/3 and one for 4/3. DPR did that and its just a headache, people post in the wrong topic and others get upset, etc. While I think we are better behaved here, there's no need to segregate the congregation.
    Actually I agree with you John. I was trying not to sound too radical, and upset those who are wedded only to 4/3. But we are after all all joined at the same sensor.
    Cheers,
    Don

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    Default Re: Please Give Us Input On What You'd Like To See Changed, Included, etc.

    1) Make Buy and Sell free. It has gotten like 5 new threads in the last month, so you're not exactly banking in there, and it'll likely get worse. Other 4/3 and m4/3 forums do have active buy & sell sections, its not like there's a lack of people trying to sell used 4/3 gear.

    2) Making new forum categories will make a dead forum feel even dead-er. Activity spawns activity. You should think about removing forums more than adding new ones.
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    Default Re: Please Give Us Input On What You'd Like To See Changed, Included, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Edmunds View Post
    1) Make Buy and Sell free. It has gotten like 5 new threads in the last month, so you're not exactly banking in there, and it'll likely get worse. Other 4/3 and m4/3 forums do have active buy & sell sections, its not like there's a lack of people trying to sell used 4/3 gear.
    It's being addressed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Edmunds View Post
    2) Making new forum categories will make a dead forum feel even dead-er. Activity spawns activity. You should think about removing forums more than adding new ones.
    Do you have any suggestions on which ones?

    Thanks,

    Ann
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    Default Re: Please Give Us Input On What You'd Like To See Changed, Included, etc.

    I think the site has settled a bit now; and the forum software seems stable, so I am still hanging around. To get me to pay for a subscription again, I think the site has to offer enough so that I feel I get my money's worth.

    I think this site needs to officially embrace -4/3 as well as 4/3; it is the same sensor after all. I don't think there will be enough 4/3 users in a years time to keep this site alive. But it might be sensible to focus on the more advanced users.

    I agree with Edmunds that we can reduce rather than increase choices in the forum. The number of forum categories are OK; although I won't miss Front Page News and Keepers if they disappeared. There is probably too many topics in the discussion category (The -4/3 can be dropped as there are other sections covering it).

    I see that there is a blog feature now; is that for subscribers only? If not, maybe it should be? I think this is something that can add value to the forum if used right.

    It might be an idea to get the competition/assignments section back to life.

    I also think there should a loyality bonus for subscribers who keep subscribing; eg. add 50MB of photo storage for each year subscribed.
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    Default Re: Please Give Us Input On What You'd Like To See Changed, Included, etc.

    Glad to see attention is being given to improvements. Note that the "Comments and Questions About This Site" was inexplicably dormant for the last couple of months. One guy was literally begging for an answer to a question about some difficulty he was having, and received no reply whatsoever week after week after week. That sort of thing is destructive to the integrity of the site, in that it affects not just the one or two who are seeking answers at the moment but all of us in the sense that we start to think, "Well, they want my subscription, but when I have a question or a problem, there's no use even asking, because nobody in management gives a hoot." It will be good to see this sort of thing changed. ~Ken

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    Default Re: Please Give Us Input On What You'd Like To See Changed, Included, etc.

    Since the "Discussion" category has become the catchall for nearly all discussion about almost anything and the "Photos" category is the place for posting images, I could see ditching everything except Discussion, Photos, and Buy & Sell. An archives area would be useful if someone wants to check for previous answers before posting a question.

    Anything news-wise can go into Discussion, introducing yourself can do likewise. Contests can exist within the Photos category, we have been running one for a long time.

    I agree with Edmunds that fewer categories is better than more. Myself, I live in Discussion and Photos, I sometimes check Buy & Sell, that's pretty well it.

    There will have to be some compromises, the forum isn't designed for just one or two people.
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    Default Re: Please Give Us Input On What You'd Like To See Changed, Included, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Bradley View Post
    No need to seperate mFT and FT.
    Agreed, splitting them would be the wrong move.
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    Default Re: Please Give Us Input On What You'd Like To See Changed, Included, etc.

    I think Don's original suggestion was that we need to "officially" recognize m4/3. Right now it "looks" like a 4/3 only forum from the name and banner, the branding needs a little work to make it clear that we are a blended family 4/3 - m4/3 - Olympus - Panasonic - etc.
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    Default Re: Please Give Us Input On What You'd Like To See Changed, Included, etc.

    No need to seperate mFT and FT.
    Agreed ^

    I have no interest in m4/3 but I Am Interested in what our members are doing with it

    BTW - categories are fine the way they are for me, I just click on "New Posts"...

    Cheers, Don
    Last edited by Don Kondra; 11-26-2012 at 12:37 PM.
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    Default Re: Please Give Us Input On What You'd Like To See Changed, Included, etc.

    In previous years I've thought there should be more forum categories, as almost everything I would post would go in the single discussion forum (then what's the point of the others?). However, with such little activity we have here, there's not even enough posts to fill up the discussion forum's front page in a week. Because of this, I say keep the single discussion forum, don't create others, and instead remove others. Make buy and sell free. The "business of photography" is pretty much useless, even when I was a paying member.

    Looking at the site, I could see that if I was a newcomer, I'd be confused. Seeing a page littered with ads, very little activity on the forum, and poor organization would lead me to click away and not join this place. This needs to change, somehow.

    It should be assumed that the two systems (mFT and FT) complement each other, and knowledge of each transfers over. They both should be discussed here. If there was more activity I'd say have two different gear-related discussion areas, but at current volume, no.
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    Default Re: Please Give Us Input On What You'd Like To See Changed, Included, etc.

    There are a few things that I like here over the other sites that I am active in, but my liking them doesn't count for much... just another voice... I particularly like the Member Reviews and the Keepers sections. In addition to reading and seeing what other people are doing, I consider the experiences of the members to be a strong 3rd voice in my decisions about purchasing equipment, setting up the configuration, etc. Having a reference section to find those things without having to run a search (...which never really works very well for me...) is useful. This is not to say that they need to be kept in their current form - - perhaps just a Reference section, with types of How To, Member Review, etc. and putting both types of threads in there works fine. But to be honest, it was these 2 forums that got me here in the first place... having never used (or even held) a digital camera before I picked up an E-500 body in an equipment trade.
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    Default Re: Please Give Us Input On What You'd Like To See Changed, Included, etc.

    I wish you would allow pictures in the gallery taken with other systems besides 4/3rds m4/3rds.


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    Default Re: Please Give Us Input On What You'd Like To See Changed, Included, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by cosmonaut View Post
    I wish you would allow pictures in the gallery taken with other systems besides 4/3rds m4/3rds.
    Agreed.
    -Mark
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    Default Re: Please Give Us Input On What You'd Like To See Changed, Included, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by cosmonaut View Post
    I wish you would allow pictures in the gallery taken with other systems besides 4/3rds m4/3rds.
    As much as I enjoy seeing your work this is my Oly home, I go elsewhere to see what the rest of the world is doing, he, he..

    Just saying

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    Default Re: Please Give Us Input On What You'd Like To See Changed, Included, etc.

    Disclaimer: Not many folks around here are going to like this post much.

    This site lost viewership interest because of two basic factors:

    1. It became became far less 4/3 focused and started dabbling in micro. In other words, it became went from THE go-to place for all things 4/3 to a generalist site for all things Olympus. One of many. many sites doing exactly the same thing. As it has become more and more micro-centric, I sort of lost more and more interest (and yes, I have some micro gear). I think many other dedicated 4/3 shooters other than me feel the same. As a SHG shooter (and a long lens SHG shooter at that), what would possibly interest me in micro as a replacement system at this point in time? There tons of sites devoted to micro out there. This site and foum 1022 over on the dark side are virtually the only forums left with a focus in 4/3. While forum 1022 is less active than it used to be, it's still active and full of proponents of 4/3 gear. In short, this PAY site can no longer differentiate itself from the many, many other FREE micro 4/3 sites out there, many of those with far better photographs being posted...which brings me to point #2:

    2. The general level of photos posted on this site is - bluntly put - pretty poor and getting worse as the old guard 4/3 posters lose interest. Not all of them mind you, but lots of them are just plain bad. Interestingly, it's likely less a function of the acceptable available talent level and more a function of the extreme politeness of the forum. We've fostered a "precious snowflake" mentality around here that just encourages more crap to be posted. Many photo posters don't seem to want (or cannot handle) any negative criticism at all. I've never understood this. While I like a pat on the back as much as anyone, I also embrace vigorous criticism because it helps me get better as photographer, and it develops thicker skin to boot. I find I am hanging around sites like Fred Miranda and LL much more now than I hang around here because they post really outstanding inspirational photos, and where the peanut gallery is informed and seldom holds back its opinions. Photographers there very quickly improve or perish. Anyone who disagrees with my point, just ask yourself this question: Would you buy a 4/3s camera based on the photos posted here, or would you buy a Canikon camera based on what's posted on Fred's site? It's a no-brainer, and the 5000-15000 photgrahers online there at any given time obviously agree. I basically stopped posting photos when the new format arrived because the feedback was generally ho-hum and otherwise simply not rigorous enough, plus I just got out of the habit while they were working out the kinks in the new format.

    As an aside, if you really want to kill the forum, just watch what happens if you allow non-Oly/Panny photographers to start posting photos here.

    Suggestions for forum headings: 4/3 discussion, micro4/3 discussion, buy-sell, gear reviews, and that's it, except for photos. Photos should be broken into several discrete categories: landscape, wildlife, portrait/wedding, street/photojournalism, sports, and macro. That should cover everthing that needs to be photographed, and keep all the categories open to BOTH 4/3 and micro4/3 for comparison purposes.

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    Default Re: Please Give Us Input On What You'd Like To See Changed, Included, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by AnnF View Post
    Do you have any suggestions on which ones?

    Thanks,

    Ann
    Take everything that has gotten less than 10 new threads in the last half a year and nuke it.

    IMO, having "Front Page News" is a fundamental error in site management. Front Page News and their comments should be the mainstay of the Discussion forum, not a separate forum.

    Contests - use it or lose it, most likely the latter.

    Blogs - an unlikely feature that I don't think has ever worked.

    Member Reviews - The first page shows threads from 2010, and basically nobody replies to these. Its simply the wrong format. If you had a front site, which listed a chart of all cameras/lenses with their details, and then we could post comments/photos on how these cameras/lenses worked for us, we could build up a very interesting database of 4/3 info that could rival commercial sites for reviews. As it stands right now its useless.

    About Me - useless, and threads on the first page date back to June 2011.

    The Business of Photography - I don't have access to this forum, but the post count clearly means nobody uses it.

    Keepers - while this is a great idea, the execution falls a bit flat on itself. For starters, there not enough keepers and there's too many non-keepers. But what makes it worse is that many of the threads contain images/videos/pdf files that are linked to other sites and are broken links or will be broken links. That's why this type of content is usually added as articles on a website. That way they would be accessible from the website and commented on the forums, and the content hosted by fourthirdsphoto.com and not a 3rd party site that will end in a broken link.

    Questions & Comments - 3 threads in 4 months, when somebody has an issue they can post it in discussion.

    Archive - you probably want to keep this.


    So that leaves Discussion, Photos, Buy & Sell, which is about the right idea. Clean and simple like everyone is used to these days. I'm not sure about splitting/merging m4/3 and 4/3 discussion. On one hand, as a 4/3 user I would like to see discussion of only 4/3 stuff. On the other hand, most people have a m4/3 camera, and other than doom & gloom there really isn't much to say about 4/3 as nothing new happens.
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    Default Re: Please Give Us Input On What You'd Like To See Changed, Included, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Edmunds View Post
    ... and other than doom & gloom there really isn't much to say about 4/3 as nothing new happens.
    That's the reason I don't think there is much sense in keeping this forum 4/3 only. If we are lucky, we will see one new camera body the next year. I will be very surprised if there are any new lenses released for 4/3 ever again.
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    Default Re: Please Give Us Input On What You'd Like To See Changed, Included, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by jnicklin View Post
    Myself, I live in Discussion and Photos, I sometimes check Buy & Sell, that's pretty well it.
    I agree with what John says. I also agree with those who say there is no need to separate 4/3 and m4/3.
    Rich
    Olympus E-M10; Panasonic GM5
    m4/3 lenses: Oly 75-300; Oly 14-42 f3.5-5.6 II R; Oly 17 f1.8; Oly 40-150 f4.0-5.6 R; Oly WCON-P01 adapter; Rokinon f7.5 fisheye; Sigma 19 f2.8; Pan 20 f1.7; Pan 12-35 f2.8; Pan 12-32

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