Why did PS kill its online community?

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18 comments

  • Official comment
    PhotoShelter Marketing

    Hey guys,

    I know those guidelines linked above say PhotoShelter won't have a voice in this forum, but I just couldn't help myself on this one! You all bring up valid and interesting points that I'd really like to address. And even as I begin to type this response, I can feel it's going to be a long one... so please bear with me!

    The old forum was shut down and transitioned to this new format for three key reasons:

    1. To speak candidly, we felt the feedback aspect was swallowing up the Q&A, and the solution was to separate that part out. As a living and searchable resource for members to find fast answers to their questions from fellow photographers and PS-scholars like yourselves, it wasn't quite working. Searching and sorting through the content there left a lot to be desired, and it just wasn't functioning like we originally intended.
    2. We'd known for years that the old forum was in need of a design update, but development scheduling and priority never quite allowed us to spend the necessary amount of time on it. So we decided that bundling a format change with the design change was the most logical move. The new forum sits on our support site's platform; this site was specifically built to house a community Q&A like the one we were trying to achieve. Color/font/minor design tweaks aside, I'd love to know more about why some of you feel this isn't currently functional. (If you can, please send any comments you might like to share to me directly at rachel@photoshelter.com!)
    3. Unfortunately, we could never quite get a handle on the old forum re: monitoring and moderation. It was supposed to be a member-to-member resource from the very start, but more or less everyone expected us to answer questions there, to speak to feedback requests, etc., and as much as we wanted to respond to every post, we just didn't have the resources. With the new forum, we wanted to start fresh, and be clear about what it's meant for. But I'm concerned we may have missed the mark a touch on this last part. Because at the end of the day, killing the community was literally the opposite of our intent.

    All of that said, do you see any real reason why you couldn't adopt this as a place to interact, ask questions and/or help other members? I really would love any additional feedback you'd like to share. Please feel free to email me with your thoughts or suggestions! I may not respond here again, but I do hope you'll drop me a line directly!

    All the best,
    Rachel

    Senior Manager, Client Experience
    rachel@photoshelter.com

    P.S. I moved this thread over to Industry Discussion! ;)

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  • Jonathan Buckley

    I completely agree. It was lively and it used to be great being able to get very quick answers and opinions about a whole range of stuff, with a different perspective from official PS customer service.Yes you had to be selective but there were some very knowledgeable and helpful people using it. Does seem very strange and a great shame.

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  • Per Karlsson

    Yes, very strange.

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  • Per Karlsson

    Perhaps it has to do with the user interface? It was a bit old and clunky but very functional. Now it is slick and very user-unfriendly! Who could ever imagine using light-ish green for the most important text elements.... Just an example.

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  • Nick Miners

    I was never on the old forum, but having had a look at the archive I found this thread which might answer some of your questions…

    http://www.photoshelter.com/mem/forum/thread-show/FT000fppOqL3njFA?po=0&ph=eJzzz9N1CglP8YssyMiMqHAuKg32M_XITLFw1C22MjY1NLYyMrUyNjCwcguJd_MPCvWNd3YMifd0sXVzNjAw8HA2MDYLzw03sHRUAyoI9g8KiXfxDLJ1CXaG8W1BGuODQzydvSMBzYAfiQ--

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  • jeff wolfram

    I agree it's sad but I'm not sure if it was PS true intent. To echo Per's comment. I've seen this on a few forums lately trying to redesign stuff to be all simple and pretty killing off the actual usefulness of a literal design. I don't even know how to find anything on Mandy or the Macrumors forum and before that MacWorld killed their forums overnight with a redesign. I think designers of forums need to remember why Craigslist is still so relevant because as horrible as the content is the old style no nonsense format works.

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  • Thailand Wildlife

    Because reading the "old" forum was like reading a list of issues that posters had with PS . It was killing new business as the general feeling portrayed was one of negativity and unfulfilled promises. So IMHO, they killed it and buried it. And to my surprise it worked.

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  • Ian Murray

    Worked? As in removing negativity or preventing discussion of it?

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  • Thailand Wildlife

    The killing and burying it.

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  • Ian Murray

    Not sure that burying the community solves problems.

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  • Kevin Shields

    I think it was because a few posters kept hammering PS on a few issues and PS didn't want to spend time monitoring that. When I started here (PS Collection) I knew nothing about online operations and little about digital photography. Reading the forums here put me on track quickly and provided useful answers to questions I hadn't yet thought of. Wouldn't happen with the current format.

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  • Ian Murray

    It is simply a statement of fact today that the community has been 'killed' even if that was not the intention. Actually, it is even more sad if it has happened in error!

    Perhaps one key difference between the old and the new. Yes, there was too much moaning on the old forum, a lot of negativity, but equally there was a lot of passion and optimism. There was a sense that Photoshelter was making a big difference and was on 'our' side. There was so much engagement over what could change in the stock industry, what could be done together, how PS could enabled lead. There was huge hope that PS would offer something for us all to rally around, there were long promising about developments in the pipeline for stock photographers to co-operate and help change the industry.

    There was colour. Now we have beige.

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  • Ian Murray

    Edit button please???

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  • Paul Smith

    They've totally succeeded in killing the community forum. I used to regularly read the old forums and posted occasionally. I found the old forums extremely useful and they were always the first place I'd go to if I had a problem using PS.

    Yes, there was a fair bit of criticism of PS - some deserved, some not - and I have a sneaking suspicion that this was the real reason they killed it. Talk about throwing the baby out with the bath water!

    So now we're left with this current forum. Hardly worth the effort to visit. As Ian Murray said in an earlier comment: "There was colour. Now we have beige."

    And as far as the design updates go - smaller font size, pale green on white, poster's names and dates in tiny pale grey text that is barely legible - how are those upgrades?

    What a shame, and what a disservice to their members!

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  • Nick Miners

    I was not a regular poster on the old forum, but having belonged to thriving forums on other corners of the internet I can understand the feeling of disappointment when they are taken down. I generally found however that the most active members of a forum would continue interacting on social media, which in many ways were making the social aspects of forums obsolete.

    There is no reason why people can't still come here with their PhotoShelter problems - I am doing my best to address most (if not all) of the questions people have, so that aspect of the old forum lives on. You are all also welcome to chip in if you feel you can answer some of the questions being asked here. A forum is only as good as its members, so if people continue to contribute with questions and answers this can continue to be a valuable resource.

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  • Kevin Shields

    After trading notes with Rachel I've re-read this thread. Nothing in this new forum prevents participation, so the format isn't necessarily the problem. However, quick access and an edit button would aid function, I think. Not having a Forum button on the photographer's page might be reducing traffic. I look at other forums much more often than here. I like the way they list the active threads on the first page I see. One even has a direct link from any page, for buyers or sellers.

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  • Per Karlsson

    For me the design is terrible. Very user unfriendly in design, layout and colours. Difficult to read.

    And it is totally insane that the comments/answers are not listed in chronological order! Totally. As if on purpose to make it unintelligible.

    I've sent a few comments to Rachel too and I encourage everyone to do it. With constructive comments and specific examples of course...

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  • Gui Ricky

    The current forum speak everything. :(

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