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revenant
Ever since the five most recent forum posts have been displayed on the front page there have been a welcome increase in activity and valued contributions from members who may not have participated otherwise. Thanks to FP forum posts we now have wonderful community-wide initiatives such as the Mass Observation Project and My Best Photo project. The cynic in me says it’s flattering to appear on the FP in one way or another, but never mind…

Unfortunately, it has also led to irritating spam and very unwelcome troll activity with content that is unpleasant, rude, insulting, racist, sexist or just plain nasty, whether deliberately or not.

Some of the more committed members here (I like to think of myself as one of them) have tried bumping off the more reprehensible posts with what I hope is more interesting, useful or simply more pleasant messages, but this isn’t enough.

Another downside for those of us used to inhabiting the murky depths of the forums and exchanging technical information or reviews is that our occasionally silly, frivolous or unimportant comments are automatically posted on the FP. This means we can inadvertently flood the front page and/or bump off far more interesting comments.

Suggestions

1. Simply: take the forum posts off the front page, but add a clear link, as it was before. Those who really want to use the forums will continue to do so. Trolls will quickly lose interest when their bile doesn’t reach the same audience.

2. Another solution is to give the OP (original poster) restricted moderator privileges, meaning that s/he can delete (not edit) any comments posted after the first one and, for example, remove a minor hissy fit between two excitable members whilst keeping all the positive and interesting contributions. At present, the OP can delete his/her post, which deletes everything in the thread, the good and the bad.

3. A more complex and probably less effective solution is to add a “don’t display on the front page” option. It won’t prevent troll activity, however.

4. Add the requirement that contributors to a forum thread must have an avatar image and/or posted images. It’s too easy for a troll to open an account, make it “friends only” and then spew incendiary remarks, as we have all witnessed.

The above are suggestions only the administrators can implement. I don’t know how technically complex they are.

Then there are things we as members of this community can do:

1. Do not respond to a troll’s insults. I know it’s wounding and it’s only natural to want to reply, but that’s exactly what the troll wants. Don’t indulge the troll’s twisted desires.

2. When we see a disturbing troll comment, bump it off the FP with a “hello”, a quote, a link to another site, etc., and report the offending comment to the administrators in a private message (not on the forum, which is counterproductive). This is already being done, but perhaps not enough.

3. If you are the OP, save the thread as a PDF (in case someone wants a copy or you want to repost it later) and then delete your first comment, which deletes the entire thread. I have already done this with “If God were a member of Photoblog” and I will certainly do it to this thread at the first troll attack.

I hope the Michaels take account of these suggestions – they are neither new nor innovative, but I think they are increasingly necessary. I suspect the Michaels maintain the site as a labour of love and I hope, perhaps in vain, that we as a community can return the compliment.

Feel free to add your suggestions to this thread – unless you’re a troll, of course.
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onlyricky
I support as well!
but please message this forum to michael, if he made this up, he can take it off.
i emailed him about the trolls, but no response from him yet tho.
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onlyricky
Mcmommy, you with pro account you'd kill my mind ))
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onlyricky
it was just you mcmommy, i bet you're drinking too much wine again...and you didn't invite me at all
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lookagain
Totally agreed, Stéfan.....all of your suggestions are excellent. I emailed Michael a few weeks ago when FP forum posts were at the least rude, negative, and overrun by trolls. I told him that if I'd stumbled on PB looking for a photosharing site that day and seen all of that I'd have turned and run the other way. Luckily those of us who've been here awhile know that's NOT what PB's all about, but I shudder to think what goes through the newcomers' minds.
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karmankwarner
I avoid the forums specifically because of the trolls. I have read many and they always seem to get into the "stupid butt munch" mode quite early. These are things I would spank my children for. I like your ideas and I would probably use the forum more if I was not called stupid for asking a question. As I am new to photography I have a lot of stupid questions. Besides; the only stupid question is the one that never gets ask because if I don't know the answer it is an honest question.
Thanks for this post; hope the "Michaels" read it and impliment some of those suggestions. I espically like that the OP can delete any nasty comment as well as the ignoring the trolls.
Karman
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Jarvo
For me it's definitely time something was done. All are good ideas - I'm not personally so keen on #1, but as a last resort, I'm sure it would work. I'd definitely like to see an end to posting by empty blogs - or at least some tough restrictions.

Another suggestion for the front page would be to display the latest posts of the last five active threads rather than the last five posts. This would make it harder for spammers to control the front page by carpet bombing a single thread with spam. It would make it easier for ordinary people to bump some of the offensive filth we've seen recently from the front page. Also, it could be used to minimise the amount of time that deleted posts stay visible on the front page.
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bammphoto
I totally agree that something needs to be done, and although I believe in free speech and all that jazz, Can we please keep the topics to photo related topics? I joined photoblog to share photos and learn about photography related issues not to go back to high school and have to read about lame insults and all that drama. Can we all just get along and make photoblog the best it can be?
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revenant
@ Karman: if you are the Original Poster, you can delete the original post, which deletes the entire thread (see suggestion 3 for the community) including any 'stupid' remark. I do hope you post your questions. This is what the forums are for. I've learnt a lot from them and I hope I've helped members in the past.

@ Jarvo: Jon, I don't understand the difference between active threads, compared to latest posts. I must be one of the stupid people... ;-) I'm not too keen either on the radical solution of removing forum extracts from the FP. Fascinating community initiatives like the MOP, Bougnat Club, Bistro de la Photo, etc., wouldn't enjoy the same audience, but it's probably the easiest solution to implement.

@ Amber: I think the vast majority of forum posts are photography-related (except for the spamming and trolls, of course), but some of the more enjoyable threads for me have been in the off-topic section. I hope the forums reflect the diversity and vibrancy of our community, including its humour. The techno-babble and self-promotion found in the forums of sites such as dpreview can be rather dull - and they are far more vicious than even the trolls we get here.

If some kind of entry barrier is put up, we should be able to enjoy reaching out to the community and sharing, which is what I enjoy most about PB, without the troll unpleasantness that sours the experience.
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Jarvo
It's quite simple really (at least I think so), I guess I just haven't explained it well enough. Perhaps it will help If I give an example based on you the front page looked before Ruth's last post it will help.

There are (as ever) five replies showing in the "View Forum" section. Three from this thread, one about Macro photography, and one about god. Under my proposed system only one of the replies in this thread would be shown. The previous replies from bammphoto and me would have been replaced by the most recent entries from two other threads.

Sorry can't figure out how to insert a picture here. Here's a link instead.
Image from FP.
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onlyricky
this is good...we use this like for spam
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revenant
Any response, Michael(s)? We're still getting trolled...
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bammphoto
what... you guys don't like spam and trolls? ;-)
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ArtBee
I agree.....take the Forum off the Front Page!
It's not the first time this issue has been addressed and it certainly won't be the last....
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gwalarn
... Old Ideas are often Good Ideas ...
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promise
Forum in the front page has some goodness also.

I remember some new comers introduced themselves here, and got tons of welcome messages. That would lift spirit of the new members for sure.

If the forum is removed off the dashboard, would that be difficult for new members to find it, and easy for old members to overlook the new members' messages as well.

I second Jon's idea to show only last post of each active thread.

cheers!
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revenant
Yes, all four of them. Thanks for finding a three year-old post of mine and showing how consistent my position is.
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tomie
@ Tala1: Thanks stefan! )
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gwalarn
@ tala1 ... Good Morning "Funny Bunny Ghostly" ... You write very well. And (for a newbie) you seems knowing perfectly how the blog works

Congratulations for your your threads ***Coined "Work from under appreciated or little known artists"*** and *** Musical interlude*** ... were the pecfect examples of being inappropriate in dashboard ...
That was funny (bunny ghostly) but so boring (except for yourself) ...

*** ... Playing devil's advocate. Just as you seem to be so adamant and passionate about enhancing one and removing another, others may feel differently. They may not be as outgoing as you and neither speak up nor participate in your call to vote.
Again, confused.***(sic - in the text) ...
Do not be confused ... "ghost's advocate" ... you would be better in Tex Avery's Cartoon ...
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gwalarn
@tomie ...
... you may be right ...
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revenant
This thread will do as well as any other, I suppose…

I just counted the votes for the straw poll organised by Artbee (who has yet to vote). Six people repeatedly wanted the forum extracts removed from the dashboard page. Four do not. One person spoiled his vote because he felt the question was badly worded (me). Eleven vocal people do not a majority make, but I think the overall consensus is to ask Michael to change the way forum extracts are displayed on the dashboard page.

I have consistently requested either changes to the display or removal of forum extracts if no changes are possible. I think the latter option would be a shame – the dashboard page is livelier and other people do contribute, whatever some might say. It also increases traffic and thus revenue for the site and allows new members to introduce themselves.

I have suggested these as options with absolutely no knowledge of how feasible they are in technical terms:

# Putting the FP back at the top

# "Show your comment in the dashboard page? Yes [ ] No [ ]" radio buttons

# "Show/hide forum extracts on the dashboard page” in account settings

# “Show/hide your forum contributions on the dashboard page” in account settings

# Moderator privileges for the Original Poster

And two new ones:

# Replace extracts with a forum subject trending map – individual contributors wouldn’t be seen, but the subject would

# Replace extracts with a table of the most recently updated forum topic: subject + link to the last update, but no avatar or member name.

And while we’re on the subject, I for one would like some more html editing options (titles, numbered lists, bullet points…) if possible.
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ArtBee
- tala1 · 2013/03/17 - 22:26


The front page and the dashboard are not the same thing.

The front page is what you see prior to logging on to Photoblog. The Photoblog Forum extracts are NOT
displayed on that page. One must click on the Forums at the bottom of the screen.

True, the Forum extracts are displayed on the dashboard which is only available to members. Additionally,
the Forums button is also available to them in the same location as the front page.

A reduction in spam will not occur with it's removal. When spam was sent in the past, it appeared on several topics
in each of the main threads. A bot is not doing this. It is a human being. And from what I gather, one must be a member
and logged on in order to post to the forums. Clicking the Forums button or the View Forum is the only
way to gain access to the main threads. Spammers don't seem to be interested in what is in the Forum extracts. They're not interested in seeing their avatar smeared across the dashboard page. They are interested in dumping their posts in as many places as possible. Now, this is just a theory based on things I have seen.

As referenced above, potential members would not see the Forum extracts. They would land on the real front
page and then click the Take A Look Around link. This wold bring them to the browse page. Again, if they want to see anything in the forums, they must click the Forums button.

So, I'm confused.

I agree that the Featured Photo should be much larger on the real front page; however, I don't believe it should be the forefront of the dashboard. Larger, yes, somewhat.

Playing devil's advocate. Just as you seem to be so adamant and passionate about enhancing one and removing another, others may feel differently. They may not be as outgoing as you and neither speak up nor participate in your call to vote.

Again, confused.


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