Major Announcement: APUG future development plans

Discussion in 'System Announcements' started by Sean, Nov 22, 2016.

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  1. Wallendo

    Wallendo Subscriber

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    I look forward to the update, but I am concerned that thread drift may be an issue and that analog threads may veer into scanner discussions. This may keep the mods busy.
    Hopefully we will all play well together.
     
  2. jvo

    jvo Subscriber

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    ditto!
     
  3. iandvaag

    iandvaag Subscriber

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    I foresee that it may be difficult to separate all threads into a dichotomy of "contains digital content" and "does not contain digital content" Threads, like real discussions, evolve and move from topic to topic. For example take a look at the "Hello APUG from FILM Ferrania (PART 2)" thread. The discussion changes from flooding and earthquakes, to stability of cibachrome vs RA-4 prints, to linguistic peculiarities and so on. These are all at least somewhat "on topic". The difficulty with the new proposed system, I imagine, is that some APUG members will want threads to be allowed to drift into discussions about digital negatives, scanning, etc while others do not. The thread may start off with both parties discussing in purely analog terms, but one party may wish to discuss a hybrid approach. Does each person who comments have to agree to the terms established by the OP (analog-only/hybrid/digital)? If a poster posts content outside of the scope (analog-only/hybrid/digital) of the thread, will the post be deleted? Or will this thread simply be tagged as "hybrid", will it be split, or what? I'm just a bit concerned that those who love APUG as it is will no longer feel like it is the same place. I will hazard a guess that there are a large number of members (including myself from time to time) who will wish to discuss digital/hybrid and that this will result in fewer purely analog threads (i.e. APUG as it is today will not be the same). I think it would be a shame if APUG members who clicked the "analog only" button on the new site missed out on a lot of good analog discussions and information simply because somewhere in the thread someone wrote something about scanning or whatever. It does look like an awfully slippery slope, and I see why the policy has been analog-only up until this point.

    I'm sure Sean and the team have already considered this, I just wanted to be sure.

    I'm looking forward to the update.
     
  4. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    This may be why Sean is hoping to offer pay to the moderators.
    Outside of the annual Christmas Tip Jar, of course:whistling:.
     
  5. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Scanning threads currently are not deleted on DPUG, and they'll continue not to be deleted on DPUG or in the hybrid area. We'll try to keep the streams separate, but when analogue threads drift toward digital, we'll have the option of moving the thread over to the digital area, which we can't do now. If the strength of the thread's content is analogue, however, and a digital discussion is dragging the thread off topic, we'll delete the off topic content and try to bring it back on track, just like we do with any topic drift that's destructive of an otherwise good discussion.

    The main thing we hope to get is better integration, and the option of moving threads between forums. Keeping the streams separate will be a challenge, more from the social perspective than the technical, but we'll see how it works and hope everyone respects the boundaries that allow users to customize their own individual forum experiences.
     
  6. Truzi

    Truzi Member

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    I don't think moving threads that drift would be a big concern to people already participating in those threads.
    However, it can negatively affect those who come in later looking for specific analog information.

    Information might be moved to a forum they are not going to look in because it allegedly does not have the subject matter they are searching for. Conversely, people might end up having to search the entire site - including the digital portion - to find posts relevant to an analog process they are interested in. I already have to do that on other sites, which is part of what had made APUG more compelling to me.

    I think the hybrid idea is good, but it does risk becoming like all the other sites out there. There is an excellent source of digital and scanning information that I already use... everywhere else on the internet.
     
  7. mr rusty

    mr rusty Member

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    Hi Sean. I've been quiet in the forum recently due to a house renovation project taking time over photography, but kept the subs up! I think this is great news. It shows a commitment to continue into the future. APUG has been a tremendous resource for me in learning this craft, hence I have had no hesitation in chipping in.

    I think "craft" is a relevant term in the context of where I see we are. In the early digital days it was a "threat" to traditional analogue, and hence there was a natural dichotomy between "traditionalists" and "modernists", with both sides precious about "their" methodology; some of this "preciousness" remains. I don't see it that way any more.

    Like you, I think all photography methods are just different perspectives. I don't think the digitalists look down on the old ways with the scorn they used to; rather I think they recognise there are "artful" things that can be done using analogue methods that digital can't reproduce. Also they recognise the advantages in archival durability. Likewise, I don't believe most analogue pratctitioners fear the march of digital like they did in the early days when there was the constant threat of business closing and products lost. By and large I think we now have a stable market. Analogue exists as an arts and crafts movement supported by generally profitable smaller busineeses that have cut their cloth to suit the market. But it is no longer a market where the cost to participate relies on the day to day consumer. It is like the revival in vynil records, fine quality woodwork tools (which I also get involved in) and all the other niche markets where people keep alive skills that have been around a long time.

    What I am getting round to saying is, that I understand your intention of creating a "firewall" system that allows bits to be turned off, and a few may use this. My bet is the majority won't; they will be interested to dip in and out of all areas to keep an overview of what is out there. I know I will. Nobody likes change, but change things must to survive. Huge thanks for keeping this place alive, and as others have said, this isn't a democracy, it's your business to do with what you like. Like others I don't think a rigid divide between analogue, hybrid, digital will ultimately survive, because the divisions are nowhere near as clearly delineated as some people think. However, a moderation team who can reallocate threads to the correct category is perfectly realistic as long as the moderators are there to do it. This happens in other forums I visit.

    Happy to be a beta tester when the time comes.
     
  8. iandvaag

    iandvaag Subscriber

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    I think this is the key. I believe you and the other mods will have your work cut out for you, but I'm willing to trust that everyone is up to the task.
     
  9. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    I plan to continue to ignore Dinesh on all platforms.
     
  10. Dinesh

    Dinesh Subscriber

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    +1
     
  11. OP
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    Sean

    Sean Admin Staff Member Admin

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    Hi Truzi, search results will be tied to what areas you have enabled/disabled. If you only have APUG enabled there will be no search results other than APUG forums.
     
  12. iandvaag

    iandvaag Subscriber

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    Let's say APUG member #1 has developed a really obscure process, say enlarging colour slide film onto black and white ortho film to make an enlarged negative to use to make a cyanotype. At the end of the process he digitized the cyanotype so he could clone stamp out some artifacts and adjust contrast. Since digital was part of his workflow to achieve the final result, he follows the correct procedure and posts about his process under the "hybrid" section.

    A couple years later APUG member #2 comes along and decides she wants to make a cyanotype out of a colour slide she has, but she doesn't know where to start. She decides to search the forums on APUG to figure out how to achieve this goal. Unfortunately, because she has checked the "analog-only button", she misses out on the analog parts of the process that APUG member #1 described. Now APUG member #2 either has to:

    1) Forge her own way forward (which seems to me like APUG has failed her since the answers to her queries exist, but cannot be accessed by her.),
    2) Make a new thread (which dilutes the site with many threads on the same subject, also problematic since the APUG member #1 may not be active anymore on the site, might miss the post, or might be tired of repeating his findings when he already described them elsewhere), or
    3) Unclick the "analog-only" button and search the other areas of the site (hybrid/digital) to find posts relevant to an analog process they are interested in.

    This is an unfortunate loss to those members who check the "analog only" button. Or consider if the thread starts off as purely analog, but drifts to digital and so it is (rightly) moved to the hybrid area. Moving the thread is the right decision, but it moves a lot of information about an analog process to a forum which may be unavailable to members who are most interested in it. This represents a significant loss to members with the "analog only" button clicked coming back to look for this thread. Just a word of caution since this site's greatest asset is that it is absolutely the best place for discussions on traditional/chemical/wet/alternative/analog/... processes. It's a super special place and it's something to treasure. Thanks Sean and mods for working hard to make it work.

    I think this is maybe the kind of scenario that Truzi was getting at.

    I'm sorry I keep posting these cautionary remarks, I'm done now. I trust you guys, and the only way is onward and forward. I'm wishing you all the best and I'm looking forward to the upgrades. I'm sure it will be a much more inviting community for those coming to analog from the first time, which have potentially been undervalued in the past. We need them here for the continuation of APUG into the future. All the best,
    Ian
     
  13. Truzi

    Truzi Member

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    I know - that was my point.

    Imagine there was a very good thread about developing C-41 as B&W, with excellent information, and the thread drifted to scanning to such a point that it is moved to DPUG.
    Let us then say I come on as a new member, interested in developing C-41 as B&W, and not interested in scanning. I would likely not find the information.

    I might create a new thread asking about this process, and we know how forums everywhere appreciate new threads on the same old subjects :smile:

    Perhaps someone may then refer me to DPUG - and if I do find the information useful, I will have learned that I may indeed need to search everything just to find the analog information I seek.

    On the other hand, if the thread drifts to scanning, and those posts were relocated to DPUG, leaving the C-41 as B&W parts in APUG, there will likely be some confusion, frustration, and lack of continuity. Off-topic posts that are merely deleted without a trace might also result in ill-will and a lack of confidence. Then again, they may not - I'm just playing Devil's advocate here.

    The technical aspects are the easy part. Decisions regarding when to move/delete posts/threads may prove difficult to codify in a consistent manner (this can presently be scene on APUG alone when comparing similar posts in the same sub-fora, where one remains, yet another disappears into oblivion - without even a place-marker like the old system - both having been equally off-topic or "offensive").

    Don't get me wrong - I like the idea of being able to switch between or view both APUG and DPUG. It is a noble idea. I've perused DPUG as a non-member, but have found better resources elsewhere.
    APUG, however, is yet unequaled.

    EDIT: It seems I took too long to compose my post, as Ian just covered much of the same material.
     
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  15. OP
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    Sean

    Sean Admin Staff Member Admin

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    This is the kind of feedback we need so thanks for taking the time to post it. One thing we were toying with is a search results page that is tabbed for each area, so for example you only have APUG enabled and search on "enlarged negative", your main results page are results for APUG, but there would be other tabs behind that which appear such as "hybrid (18)" "DPUG (2)" which would indicate some results may have been found outside of your chosen area. Also the enabling/disabling of the areas is super easy and done straight from the main site header itself, for example here is a rough screenshot of the development site header:

    ptrio.png

    Some could check all boxes, do some searching and exploring, then uncheck them to go back to their preferred state. But yes, there could be a few complex things in the middle that fall through the cracks. We can hopefully manage this through feedback like yours and working with software solutions to minimize it.

    Other options are for the end user to use both content control systems. As you know right now you can "ignore forum". The ignore forum will still exist so another option is to enable APUG & Hybrid yet "ignore" those few hybrid forums which may be too digital oriented.
     
  16. Truzi

    Truzi Member

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    With all due respect, I still use Google with "site:apug.org" as I find it gives me better results (and I like the formatting better). Odd, as I believe APUG's search is powered by Google. I've not figured that out yet, lol.
     
  17. OP
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    Sean

    Sean Admin Staff Member Admin

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    I can see some tough calls for moderators but in the scope of APUG once it drifts into scanning or digital, that is off-topic for an APUG thread as always. So a few factors need to be examined on what to do with it at that point. Of the top of my head:

    1. did the OP intend for the thread to be a 100% analog thread? If yes, it should be steered back.
    2: did the OP post a thread in the wrong space (it was suited for hybrid from the start)
    3. if the thread off-topic posts are valuable content they could be split to a new thread in the hybrid area with a redirect in the thread for those who were involved "These off-topic posts have been moved to a new thread, you can continue discussions there".
     
  18. OP
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    Sean

    Sean Admin Staff Member Admin

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    I find google superior for most site searches, APUG has a google tie in which should provide the same results from google (are you saying the results are different? I'll have a look) , also the advanced search is an internal search database.
     
  19. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hopefuly there are people who have more than 1 half of the site clicked on
    and they might respond to the user and say " hey, here is a link to exactly what you are looking for"
    and then that person might follow the link see the wealth of information he or she is missing and click on
    another half of the site "by default". the same thing happens today when something has to do with
    something off-site /// either via PM, in thread or whatever

    i think the new site is gonna be pretty badass, can can't wait.
     
  20. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Sean:
    What I would suggest is a search result that:
    a) lists the threads that are within the area(s) that we have chosen; and
    b) an indication that there are also search results in the other area(s), and gives us the option to reveal them by clicking.
     
  21. Alan Johnson

    Alan Johnson Subscriber

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    For information on scanning ,Google is now IMO the leading search engine and it is unlikely that the re-adoption of the very quiet DPUG will affect this situation.
     
  22. iandvaag

    iandvaag Subscriber

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    These are exactly along the lines I was thinking. I think a fair bit of headache may be saved by making sure that it is abundantly clear to all participants what type of content is appropriate in which thread. I'm not sure how that is best accomplished. Possibly having a button requiring the OP to specify (before publishing the thread) what is the scope of answers they are looking for (APUG/hybrid/DPUG) would save some trouble. Maybe colour coding each thread would be an easy way to identify which area it belongs to and what type of content is appropriate.
     
  23. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    This is where I will be found. Thank you. I have little to no interest in scanning.
     
  24. Truzi

    Truzi Member

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    True, but towards my point, it negates, in practice, keeping things separate.

    If someone is interested only in APUG, but learns they are missing valuable analog information that had been moved elsewhere, the choices are either to do without or to sift through everything. If one chooses the latter, the benefit of being able to choose is confounded. (Another choice is to trust that someone will always inform them, which is not always timely if it occurs, and is similar to needing someone else to turn pages when you read a book. Some people would rather find things themselves if possible.)

    This is why I believe the process moderators use to decide whether something should be moved is of far greater importance than the integration itself.

    I'm not really concerned, though, as I'm sure I will find what I need. I've done it on other photography sites, though rarely, as it requires more effort than APUG has.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2016
  25. pdeeh

    pdeeh Member

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    Such an incredible amount of fuss just to placate a handful of people.
     
  26. RattyMouse

    RattyMouse Member

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    Very well stated!
     
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