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Photography Message Board Forum Etiquette

MichaelVMichaelV Member
edited June 2014 in news & discussions
I am on a few photography message board forums and, over the years, there has been questionable etiquette at times. Many of you here know exactly what I mean as you can see some of the bickering and back&forth which goes on at times. There is a lot of behavior which is less then classy.

So I have decided to author this thread and offer up some rules of etiquette to live by on the photo message boards.

#1. Keep in mind that these forums do attract "trolls" and there are people out there who get on these boards with the intent to incite a riot. Some others may not be official "trolls", but their manner and conduct are trollish.

#2. If someone places up a photo they took do not comment publicly if a critique is not specifically asked for. If you like the photo, then tell them you like it, but if you dont like the photo then stay silent unless specifically asked for that type of input.

#3. If you feel you must provide input which is not specifically asked for then offer it up in a private message rather then a public post.

#4. When critiquing a photo either publicly or privately use the "sandwich" method. Follow in with a greeting and introduction. Tell them what you like about the photo, then follow in with critical commentary, then state some positive words followed by a conclusion. Basically, keep it classy and dont come out as sounding harsh.

#5. Always consider who you might be talking to. There are a lot of fakes and frauds on these boards, but take a few moments to consider the audience.

#6. My final rule of etiquette is to "keep it classy". Do not take the attitude that this is a "free country" and you can say whatever you want as you please. I would take the attitude that you are in someone's home and to keep it classy watching your words carefully crafting responses. You wouldnt swear or be argumentative in someone's home.

These are my basic rules and advice when participating on a message board. Just thought I might offer this up in the morning.

Have a great day.


  • Been here for a long time... never been an issue. And I firmly believe that saying something positive is a critique, just like saying something "negative." ( exceptions apply such as a business Facebook page, etc)

    But other than that, these sound like good guidelines for other forums... that I no longer visit because of negative attitudes:)
  • Neil vNNeil vN Administrator
    edited June 2014
    The rules here are quite simple: Be Nice.

    I have zero desire to see this forum devolve into the mean-spirited sniping you see on DPReview, and lately, FStoppers and Petapixel. Trev and I have moderated a few comments over time - there's little chance that a harsh comment stays up.

    I first started posting to my website, Planet Neil, when I was trying to figure out why the Nikon D100 under-exposes by 1 stop, compared to Canon D60. After 30 years of shooting slide film for my personal photography, I really had the hang of exposure metering, and the D100 didn't play along, and certainly didn't give the same exposure as the Canon D60.

    So I posted a few questions on DP Review forums about the Nikon D100, because it just didn't respond like I was expecting. (This was about 10 years ago.) Instead of a discussion and help, I was accused of being a troll. WTF? Other experiences like that left me with little desire to participate on photography forums, and I rarely post elsewhere.

    So yes, Be nice and be helpful.
  • I have to b honest here , this thread kind a got me back up a little , its pretty much telling me to suck eggs , being that of a 43 year old i kind a know how to behave. Its called growing up , there are t & c to most websites and one would certainly be kicked of if one were out of line ,
    This thread eats me to be told what to do or behave when no such disbehaviour has occurred .
    I have read alot of threads on here and all seems great .
    This would be like myself teaching neil or trev about studio lighting .. They dont need to be told how to suck eggs .
    I speak in a calm and collective way .
    Michael i know u mean well , so i respect that.
    Neil on you last paragraph its nice to see your a down to earth chap ( wtf )
  • "suck eggs"..awesome! never heard that before and I have been all over the world :)
    That will be my go to phrase from now on and will replace "what a douche."

    And Stephen71...I am serious here. Digging that phrase!

  • Hey traveltrev.
    Now u have made my day. ,, how funny.
    Chears pal
  • Neil vNNeil vN Administrator
    I didn't take Michael's post as criticism about this forum, but rather photography forums in general.
  • Im all chilled here . Just felt abit dictated to. But truly understand michaels forums views , ive experienced all sorts of stuck up ,degrading nonsence on other forums to the point i nearly gave up learning ( but i toughed it out ) :). .
    Ps thank u for my first news letter ..
    Good night all :)
  • SkipperlangeSkipperlange Member
    edited June 2014
    I'm with Stephen71. I wasn't going to say anything as I did not want to be labeled negative but I too found the original post off-putting and bossy. Why did someone decide to set the rules for NVN's forum? And why? This is not a mud slinging forum. So why is this chap telling us what we can and cannot do? Frankly, if I post a photo I welcome criticism. Harsh though it may be it's a way to learn. 'Great photo' tells me nothing. Just the other day someone (ok it was NVN) was a little critical when I asked if high speed sync might solve a lighting issue. It's ok, I was momentarily stung but read the accompanying tutorial and learned from it. I am sure the OP was well-intentioned but you just can't start bossing everyone around, not everyone's going to agree with you and many will feel patronized.
  • My comments are about photography forums in general without naming names, but not this forum. This post is just a chit-chat post more or less pointed at the many other forums which are less then moderated or attract a less gentle crowd.
  • Hi michael. I know u had good intensions and im all the way with you on them forums , if i were there i would buy u a pint .. :)
  • Come to think of it i would buy skipper, trev and neil a pint. Lets b fair here . :)
  • Ok a pint sounds good. Let's rendezvous, especially if you live somewhere cool. Until then, follow rule #6 and stay classy!
  • ErinCErinC Member
    I agree MichaelIV, I've seen posts elsewhere asking for CC or help understanding a concept turn into pissing competitions and personal attacks. I hang around this forum like a bad smell because I have never seen it happen here, in fact, I have asked some really, really, really stupid questions (even I looked at them later and went, WTF was I thinking?) and have only ever received respectful and encouraging advice. Ironically the people who most need to read your OP and take it on board wouldn't last ten minutes here and thus wouldn't see it.

    Luckily this forum seems to have cornered the market on photographic genius so there is little need to go elsewhere ;-P
  • Firstly - Hello All,

    My recent discovery of this site/forum I'll say has already done more for my photographic knowledge than all of the forums and message boards I've read in the past, and I haven't even asked any questions. So thank you all. I thought this thread would be the right one to take a moment to post something of a self introduction since the basic message is one I try like hell to live by "be Polite."

    I am not sure whether be a troll means to be in a "Read-Only" mode or refers to being some form of social media instigator. I tend to read and observe and glean much but rarely speak up. I'm like that face to face too until I've been oiled up with a tall glass of bourbon, or a few pints.

    So Again Hello all,
    Thanks for the knowledge,
    Stay classy.
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