Fanboys or trolls? The delicate balance of a Micro 4/3 forum

Discussion in 'Help and Feedback' started by Amin Sabet, Apr 3, 2015.

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  1. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    I've been seeing a common theme in some recent threads, and I think it's time to address it head on, in the open. We have many scenarios, and I'd like to highlight a few of them:

    1) This is a Micro Four Thirds (MFT) forum. If someone is banging on and on in multiple threads about "equivalence" and such, or other perceived disadvantages of our system, I will quickly show them the door. Any overt trolling = ban. That's fairly easy to recognize and not very challenging to deal with from a moderation standpoint.

    2) We have some members who, in being so taken with MFTs, sometimes make false or exaggerated claims about the advantages of our system and or the shortcomings of another system. This annoys some other members, especially those who use both MFTs and some other systems, but I try to emphasize tolerance for the so-called "fanboys". After all, this is a MFT forum. If you can't be a little over-enthusiastic about MFTs here, where can you be?

    3) We have some members who are enthusiastic about some non-MFTs gear. Either they are shooting some non-MFTs gear they really like alongside their MFTs gear or they are in the process of switching from MFTs gear to non-MFTs gear. While I personally wouldn't use as the place to post about my enthusiasm for some other system, some of our members want to share that aspect of their photography here. Again, I would emphasize tolerance and an open mind to the fact that it may be overly defensive to take such posts as "trolling".

    Often times, both the so-called "fanboys" (not fanboys from my perspective) and the so-called "trolls" (not trolls from my perspective either) will report the same thread to complain. I try to respond by asking each group to understand where the other is coming from, and usually both sides end up thinking I'm wrong and accusing me of taking the other side :doh:.

    Here's what I ask:

    1) Think twice before sharing your excitement about a non-MFT system here. If you are going to do this, be mindful to do so in a way which won't be taken as derisive of MFTs.

    2) Give others the benefit of the doubt before assuming that they are trolling. Are you are bringing baggage here from another forum whether MFTs users got trolled overtly and often? Ask yourself if you are being defensive.

    3) Regardless of which side you're on, don't repetitively argue. When you state something once in a post, you've said your piece. It does no one any good to keep on repeating it over and over again. In fact, we have a rule against that. We also have a new forum software ability to ban members from replying further to a specific thread, and if we need to apply that to you more than a couple times, you are likely going to be given a break from the forum as a whole. We mods all have jobs and lots of better things to do than moderate these squabbles, which bring down the tone and quality of the forums so much.
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  2. Carbonman

    Carbonman Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jul 10, 2014
    Vancouver BC
    Sounds OK by me. Sorry it increases your workload.
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  3. MoonMind

    MoonMind Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Oct 25, 2014
    Thoroughly sound analysis and reflection, and very helpful rules and advice. I admit to being guilty of sticking to the argument too extensively at times and will consciously avoid such behaviour in the future. Not being exclusively an mFT shooter, I appreciate your call for tolerance and self-moderation.

    mFT is the most important system for me because it brought me back into photography as a whole and for the first time opened up digital photography for me in a big way - which in turn resulted in newly found interest in other systems and techniques, including film. So, discussing such things from time to time, maybe even by the way of comparing them with mFT, seems natural to me, but by the same token should be done with respect for and emphasis on mFT on this board.

    As an afterthought, there's actually another good way of reducing the troll count: Don't feed the troll. Ever. Again, I admit to not being able to immediately spot the odd troll at times myself, but after having understood the purpose of such a person, post or thread, it gets rather simple ...

    I love civility online - specifically because it's a rare commodity. Keep up the good work, and thank you for all the effort!

    • Appreciate Appreciate x 1
  4. Halaking

    Halaking Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 17, 2012
    Los Angeles
    Thanks, Amin!

    Being in the forum for few years, it's a great place to share and find lot of information, and I did learn many from others.
    • Agree Agree x 2
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  5. Lcrunyon

    Lcrunyon Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jun 4, 2014
    I watched this and a number of other photography forums for a while before choosing this one to join - for exactly the reason that the conversations seemed more civil and intelligent here than what I saw on a lot of the other sites out there. You're doing it right!
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  6. dogs100

    dogs100 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Nov 12, 2011
    N Devon UK
    I haven't noticed a problem but the fact you mentioned it means it exists, so, you have my support for whatever it takes to keep the tone the way it is.

    • Appreciate Appreciate x 1
  7. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    I wouldn't say it's a big problem, but it's a recurrent one, so I just wanted to share some thoughts :).
  8. T N Args

    T N Args Agent Photocateur

    Dec 3, 2013
    Adelaide, Australia
    call me Arg
    I may be part of the problem here, so will do my best. cheers
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  9. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    I think we're all susceptible to these behaviors in one way or another. Thanks everyone for taking this in the positive spirit intended.
    • Agree Agree x 3
  10. About time Amin - I used to come here to read about "M4/3" not to read how inferior the system I use. If I wasn't happy with my system, I'd move on to another forum that caters to "MY" system. Do you ever see a nikon shooter bitching about the lack of DR in canon cameras on a canon forum?
    • Agree Agree x 1
  11. woof

    woof Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 18, 2011
    The present.
    Thank you...
  12. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    I think you only read half my post :rolleyes:.
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  13. I treat this place like your house Amin and respect and obey the rules.

    I am a user of another system and I am a member of it's forums/fora too.

    I only ever try to refer to either system, or forum for that matter, in the opposites' corner - if you like - in a positive way.

    Still think this one is the best though. Nice bunch of people.
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  14. I read the whole post, but this thread (the half I like) should keep the forum more M4/3 friendly. Should make it a sticky.

    $100 lens and a dirty window still produces good stuff.

    17032863702_b783eeaf61_h. _4040015 by savingspaces33, on Flickr

    16414157023_188fdea88c_h. _4040018 by savingspaces33, on Flickr

  15. demiro

    demiro Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Nov 7, 2010
    I think one of the absolute strengths of this forum is the fact that so many people here have shot with such a variety of gear and can share those experiences and compare and contrast most anything out there to m4/3s.

    While I agree with Amin that folks who come here to rip m4/3s really have no place at the table, I disagree with those who think anything negative about m4/3s is somehow out of place. I think we're all better served if we understand the strengths and weakness of any system. Those discussions should not be taken personally.
    • Agree Agree x 7
  16. TwoWheels

    TwoWheels Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 28, 2014
    British Columbia
    For what it's worth Amin, this is the most civil and considerate place I have found on the internet. There are some truly outstanding photographers here and there are some that aren't so accomplished, but generally everyone gets treated respectfully. This is the first time I've ever been active on a forum and that's a good part of the reason. I cringe a little on those occasions when I see someone go into attack mode, hoping that it isn't an indication that things are changing. Thanks for being proactive and taking the time to maintain the positive culture here. :2thumbs:
    • Agree Agree x 4
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  17. T N Args

    T N Args Agent Photocateur

    Dec 3, 2013
    Adelaide, Australia
    call me Arg
    I am on a football forum where some threads in each club forum have the words [FANS ONLY] added to their titles. In these threads, mods both remove and punish posts from fans of other clubs or posts derisive of the club in question. When joining, every member has to nominate their primary club.
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  18. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    I'm as guilty as anyone, sometimes more so, when it comes to hammering home a point. But I wouldn't call myself a fanboy when it comes to m4/3, because I've always acknowledged its shortfalls as well as it's benefits, and I've used 4/3 and m4/3 for too long to understand that it's far from a perfect digital system. One of the things that I enjoy about the forum is that it's system specific, notwithstanding discussions on adapted lenses etc, which I think are great and very informative, often showing the versatility of the m4/3 system.

    I don't have an axe to grind with those that use multiple systems and the threads dedicated to photos from other systems don't cause me any angst. But I'm not really sure that threads that discuss other brands of camera, their performance, advantages over m4/3 etc as headline threads have a place in this forum. If they did, perhaps they would be better located in the Back Room, so that they don't appear in the Recent Threads/New Posts section, where they are often predisposed to lighting a fuse.

    It's all well and good to suggest that we respect the different choices that people make, and so we should; but if people use multiple systems, then I would assume/expect that they visit Nikon, Canon, Sony etc forums that allow them to discuss the merits of their other systems. In fact, it sounds incongruous to discuss other systems here, as you are not going to get the same level of information and knowledge that you would in a system specific thread. The only exception would be if you were using lenses and accessories from those systems with m4/3 and providing informative comment to others.

    There have been times that I've felt like leaving the forum (voluntarily, and possibly to the joy of many) because of the number of threads dedicated to other systems, especially FF. I get it, FF is really great and does things that m4/3 doesn't, but I don't need to be lectured about it. And yes, I can ignore threads about FF etc, but the mere fact that they appear as headline topics, I believe, send a potentially negative message in an overall sense. You need to consider who reads this forum, but doesn't contribute in any way.

    Following the football analogy, who do you want to promote? Your team or the other team?
    • Agree Agree x 1
  19. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Legend

    The whole concept of teams when talking about photography seems odd to me. I'm not trying to win points against Sony users, I just want to take photos.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  20. T N Args

    T N Args Agent Photocateur

    Dec 3, 2013
    Adelaide, Australia
    call me Arg
    IIRC Bob Dylan once nasalized, "I can tolerate anything but intolerance."
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