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A *discussion* about site changes - please don't kill me

Discussion in 'Site Information, Help, and Feedback' started by Amin Sabet, Oct 29, 2018.

  1. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator Administrator

    Feb 25, 2017
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Ever since this site was founded, the owners, admins, and moderators have maintained that other camera brand discussion and photography were welcome here. In the ~20 months I've been here, it occurs to me that what makes the site special is the membership, not the Nikon-specific focus per se.

    Some of you may know that I own a few other camera/photography sites, and I'd like to have a discussion about merging them into this one and changing the site address to something not brand specific.

    I have not made up my mind to do it and won't do it if the whole membership here is against it. So please don't kill me. Let's have a discussion.

    Here's why I think it could be a good idea:

    1) We inevitably lose friends by having a brand focus. Even though we want and encourage members who switch to non-Nikon gear to continue to see this as their home and remain active here, there is a tendency for them to drift away over time because our site name says "Nikon". I've seen in on my other sites, and I'm sure it happens here as well.

    2) There would be more activity and engagement here. Many additional active members to contribute. TalkEmount is currently the most active Sony E-mount site on the web, and Mu-43 is the most active Micro 4/3 site on the web. Some of those members have interest in Nikon, and some Nikon users have interest in those other systems.

    3) My other sites have similar members to this one - friendly, courteous, and talented. Those sites have been moderated since day 1 and in spirit are truly siblings to the Cafe.

    4) It will cost me a lot less money. About half of my ad revenue disappeared as a result of GDPR. It's become much more difficult to pay all the licenses, etc, for four sites.

    5) I can do a better job if I focus on one site. I can spend more time and money to make our site and our app better: more user friendly, more capable, less buggy, etc.

    If we merged the other sites in and changed the main domain / name, we'd still have a "Nikon Cafe" section, so the Cafe name would live on.

    I realize some of you - moderators, admins, and other many other members - have been here for many years and have contributed a great deal long before I showed up. That's why I'm starting this discussion in the open forum. Please let me know what you think.

    • Like Like x 2
  2. Perfect! I am a member on 4/3 and cameraderie as well.
  3. It makes sense to me.
    4) and 5) on their own would convince me to make the change.
    I am on Cameraderie and agree that merging all the sites would most likely be beneficial.

  4. justLuke


    Apr 11, 2018
    I like the idea of only needing to visit one camera-related site a day. I'm interested in keeping up with Nikon info, but because I don't own any Nikon gear, I tend to not come here very often.

    I think even if the site is brand agnostic, having forums that are brand specific will allow everyone to still feel "at home" with their camera brand specific buds.
  5. Thanks for opening this up for discussion Amin.

    I realize that I'm a new member here, but I've been over on the mu-43 boards for ~5 years. I agree with you, the community over there is largely the same as it is here: Courteous and friendly, talented, etc. I've made a number of good "internet friends" over there, but as my photography interests evolve, I'm using my m43 gear less and less, and my Nikon gear more and more. Truth be told, I would miss the m43 community if I move entirely to Nikon (a decision that I am strongly considering, as I have trouble justifying the use of two different camera systems).

    Personally, I am in favor of merging the sites. I know there is some membership cross-over between this site and mu-43. I think it would be good to still have distinct sections of the sites (basically take everything that is here, and port it over to the new site in a "Nikon" folder, so that we don't lose any of the sub-forums). I would do that for mu-43 and Sony as well, but it would be nice to have a new all-encompassing sub-forum as well for system cross-posting.

    My only wish is that things would be moderated under close surveilance so that things didn't turn in to a hell-hole like they are over on DPR in the m43 forum. But in general, I think it is a good idea.
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Cslucas34


    Oct 8, 2018
    I am a relative new comer to the site but I have enjoyed my experience thus far. As someone who has previously owned and operated multiple sites, I would say that combining multiple assets into one umbrella is definitely a cost saver and more than enough reason to do so. I also do aerial photography with drones and it would be great to have a “one stop shop” that covers multiple areas. Just my two cents, I say do it.
  7. If this would save you time and money, do it. Could you compartmentalize it so we don’t have to wade thru reams of stuff we don’t care about? Have a high level “enter the Nikon stuff” portal, and offer similar entry points for whatever you are blending together.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  8. The only factor that is really important to me is your item #3, that the community remains friendly, courteous and talented. If you can pull that off while reducing costs and management time, I can't think of a single reason not to merge the sites.
    • Like Like x 1
  9. +1
  10. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator Administrator

    Feb 25, 2017
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Thanks, everyone, for being open to the idea. I was nervous about starting this thread.

    That would be the hard part. Most sites that do this (FredMiranda, GetDPI, etc) just have one big forum per brand. It gets ugly and stops some people from posting when you try to have a whole bunch of subforums per manufacturer. Genre forums like "Bird Photography" would be cross-brand, but the gear talk stuff would be lumped by brand. Maybe we could encourage the use of thread tagging to make it easier to navigate?
  11. Uhm, OK - I guess I'll be the first to disagree. I would definitely NOT be a fan of this change. We already have FM when we want a combined site, and I've always enjoyed the fact that the Cafe was different. I like being there, but the Cafe is Home. At least it has been.

    I shoot Nikon. I enjoy having a place where I can ask Nikon questions and give answers to others that have Nikon questions. I realize the camera is only a tool, but it is my tool. I can understand why as site owner and administrator you would want to combine sites to save on time, work and costs. At the end of the day this is a business, and I am merely a customer (or a guest?). However I just don't have an interest in 4/3rds or Sony or what ever is the next flavor of the day. I shoot Nikon.

    The change you suggest may result in more traffic. It may also chase away dedicated users. Bigger is not always better. It is not unusual at FM and other sites to see sub-forums dominated by a few vocal participants. Others get shouted down and new users are too intimidated to post something in front of those "seasoned" users. You end up with a few dozen members posting over and over and over, with many folks just lurking. I realize that Nikon Cafe is not as large as some of the other photography forums. I have always found that to be a plus. It's easy to get lost in the crowd on other sites; not so here. The cafe is intimate in nature and much more personable. I would hate to lose that trait.
    • Agree Agree x 3
    • Like Like x 2
    • Winner Winner x 1
  12. You own the Cafe. It's your decision. I'd rather see you make a go of a combined site that succeeds than have the Cafe fail and disappear.

    Perhaps title the Nikon gear section "Nikon Cafe" for old times sake.
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  13. West


    Jan 2, 2012
    Vancouver BC
    I assume the decision has been made, this is just going through the motions.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  14. Can I combine my total message count across all the forums and keep my charter member status with my original "join" date? Some of us are actually registered on all 4 forums!

    Actually the fact that I'm a running 4 separate camera systems right now, might actually reflect the reality of combining all the sites together! :D 

    I support whatever it takes to keep these sites up and running, but knowing member personalities and discussions on each forum, it'll be like combining all the post zombie-apocalyptic communities from the TV show The Walking Dead!
    • Agree Agree x 3
    • Like Like x 1
  15. I know I will like it less if the sites are combined but you are the owner. I like the community here and don't really want a mix that is suddenly much larger than the one we have now.
  16. merlin


    Oct 12, 2010
    Northern New Mexico
    Merlin Emrys
    Although I no longer own any Nikon gear, I still participate on this forum, as I have for many years (and thousands of posts). I appreciate why you are wanting to combine the various sites that you run, but when Cameraderie replaced what was a Fuji forum, it lost a great deal, for me. Mostly the sense of internet friendship and mutual interest. It feels lots colder than what it once was.
    • Appreciate Appreciate x 1
  17. How would the new "Nikon Cafe" section be structured, ie., what would it contain and how would the content be segregated? Perhaps a more specific example of what the new site structure would entail would be helpful, Amin.
  18. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator Administrator

    Feb 25, 2017
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Don, it would probably be one single Nikon forum for gear talk related to Nikon. Prefixes and tags would be used to help find topics but no subforums for lenses and such.

    EDIT: I spoke too soon. We could have more subforums than that.
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2018
  19. I guess you could safely call me "brand agnostic". I currently use 3 systems. And occasionally a p&s camera.
    My contributions are mostly limited to the b&w section and the lens lust section, the nikon and non-nikon manual lenses threads specifically.
    However, what I really like here is the community. I would be really hesitant to jeopardize this.

    If I'm not mistaken, a similar action has recently been taken to produce "Cameraderie"?
    A survey with the users of those sites that have been merged might reveal some data that might be of consequence to the proposal at hand?
  20. Been reading the various replies. My take is it's your site, you can do what you want. Since you took it over I think the changes you've introduced have been very good, maybe this idea will prove to be good too. That said, I only use Nikon cameras and lenses. I'm pretty sure that's all I'll use until I stop. The best feature here is it's mostly Nikon specific, there are a few threads for other brands but they're easy to ignore. My hope is whatever you do, I hope it doesn't muddy the waters and make it difficult to find the threads I want to read or attract the kind of crowd.
    • Agree Agree x 1
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