Announcement for Nikon Cafe

Discussion in 'Site Information, Help, and Feedback' started by Amin Sabet, Mar 14, 2017.

  1. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator Administrator

    812
    Feb 25, 2017
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Amin
    Yesterday Mike transferred ownership of the Nikon Cafe to me.

    Over 3.5 years ago, Mike became the owner of the Cafe. Since then, Mike has paid the very high bills to keep the site going. He and others went through a great deal of work to replace an aging server with a capable one, and subsequently to replace aging forum software with XenForo.

    For all of us, interests and circumstances change over time. Back when I was spending most of my time at DPReview, Patrick and Frank (Flew) set out to create this great community. After years of work and dedication, Patrick passed ownership to Mike, and now Mike has decided that it is time to let someone else take over the site. I am honored and grateful for the opportunity.

    I am a newcomer to Nikon Cafe but not to Nikon or to photography forums. Some of you may know me as the owner of several other photography forums, including the most active dedicated communities for Micro 4/3 and Sony E-mount. And I have always been a fan of Nikon.

    Right up front, I want to explain that I am not here for the primary purpose of monetizing Nikon Cafe. I do not make my living from forums. Like Mike, I've had the experience of owning forums for years at a loss because of a love for community. I started creating forums, with the help of too many others to name, because I felt like the photography forums I had participated in lacked the basic courtesy and friendliness that we expect in "real life" (off the internet).

    All of my sites share with the Nikon Cafe a mission statement of being friendly and safe photography communities where basic courteousness is a requirement. Having spent a lot of time observing the community here, I am confident that I can be trusted to help maintain it without ruining what makes it so special.

    And it is absolutely clear to me that I will have a lot of help. The current administrators and moderators have been extremely helpful to me so far. Many of them have volunteered to continue in their current roles, something for which I am very grateful. In the short time I have known them, they have impressed me with how dedicated and caring they are in regards to protecting the essence of Nikon Cafe.

    I fully understand that this site has existed for over a decade and that some members here have spent a sizable portion of their life here, both in years as well as in effort and energy. I know that a lot of you consider this to be your home on the web. And I will take as much care as I can not to mess that up. The admins and mods are here to work together with me on that, and I think my other communities would tell you that I gladly seek and accept input and advice, sometimes to a fault.

    -------

    Changes I don't intend to make:

    1) I am not going to try and drive non-Nikon talk to my other forums. On the contrary, I think it's terrific that we have a Nikon community that welcomes discussion and photography from all sorts of other brands without trolling or discourtesy.

    2) I do not plan to make big changes to the forum rules / TOS. They are already very similar to the rules on my other sites. At some point soon, I will add some legalese that I adapted from the Yahoo TOS in order to further protect me from liability in the event of service interruption, data loss, etc. But it will remain substantially the same, and I will of course announce any changes, however minor.

    3) I am not going to change our website address. However, if you have bookmarked the address including subdirectories, etc, those may need to be updated. The site address will be https://www.nikoncafe.com and it will not matter if you include the www or not. That will be automatically added.

    4) I don't plan to make any big changes to the forum organization or structure. Maybe some changes to the order (will discuss first) but that is about it.

    5) I am not going to delete or prune any of the current content including historical posts of Nikon Cafe, including the memorial forum and other historical areas. Some of them may remain visible only to members, but none will be discarded.

    -------

    Changes I do intend to make:

    1) Members will be able to edit or delete the contents of their own posts (but not threads) without time limits.

    2) Members will have the ability to upload / attach images directly to forum posts without having to host them elsewhere (Flickr, Smugmug, PBase, etc)

    3) New default forum style and logo

    4) New front page where the admins and mods can feature certain threads

    5) A more user friendly feedback system for the Marketplace

    6) Search will be updated here so that character limits are removed, eg a search for "F5" will work

    7) Allowing most of the site content to be indexed by search engines and publicly viewable.

    I know this is a major break from tradition, but I feel it is necessary to foster activity and bring in new members. I know some here may see this particular change as unwelcome and that it's going to make the Cafe like certain other sites which will remain unnamed, at least by me. However, I'd argue that the spirit of this community is well established, and new members who find us via search will for the most part follow in that spirit. And those who don't like how things are here will generally move along after a spell.

    Addendum (March 19, 2017): Our Site Terms of Service specify that we will not delete your posts for you and that you have to do it yourself if you want them deleted before your account is canceled. I am going to make an exception to this for members who want their posts deleted and account canceled because those posts are no longer going to be in a private forum and/or because those posts will now be searchable. Please contact me directly if you are in that situation, and I will delete all your posts for you.

    8) At some point, I will put some ads up.

    However, there will be a simple setting in your user preferences where you can indicate if you don't want to view the ads, and that will remove them.

    9) When the new forum styles / skins are established, I would like to retire the current ones.

    The reason is that it takes a lot of work to maintain different types of styles.

    Update: 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 done. 5 is on hold for now. 7 has started but will take a while to complete.

    -------

    Changes I'd like to make and will be up for discussion:


    1) All of my other sites include buttons for like, thank, informative, and so forth. The members had concerns about adding them at first, thinking it would discourage commenting or cheapen interactions.

    I think there is a natural dislike for social media-like features amongst established forum goers, which I suppose is for the best since otherwise we'd all be on Facebook instead of here.

    However, I am convinced that the same members on those sites who didn't want the buttons before wouldn't want to give them up now. They are relatively unobtrusive, and I don't think the concerns have manifested in any negative fashion.

    Update: We are trying out the buttons now.

    2) I'd like to add a whole bunch of smilies. But if that is unwelcome, then I'll use what we've got :D.

    3) I hope to eventually persuade the community to lower the requirements for participation in the Marketplace. That is not something I will do any time soon or without agreement from a large percentage of the longstanding members here.

    -------

    Some of the members here are also members on my other sites. Maybe one or two of them will chime in about those experiences in a way that will be reassuring to other members of the Cafe.

    I hope everyone will join me in extending thanks to Mike and the others who have labored to keep Nikon Cafe going and improving over these years.

    All best,
    Amin
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2017
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  2. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator Administrator

    812
    Feb 25, 2017
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Amin
    I should also mention that we have changed servers, so let us know if anything isn't working or seems out of place!
     
  3. Whoa, congratulations on taking over the 'cafe Amin! Seems like the photography world is going full circle! :D
     
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator Administrator

    812
    Feb 25, 2017
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Amin
    Those two changes have been made. To post an image directly without hosting it elsewhere, choose "Upload a Photo" and select your photo(s), or simply drag your image(s) into the post. Then choose "Click Here to Insert Image into Post".

    There is no limit to the total number of images you can post this way. Images larger than 1600px in greatest dimension will be automatically resized to 1600px.

    EXIF data is preserved, and files are lightly compressed in order to keep pages speedy. The details are as follows:

    Anything posted at 1600px or less gets processed with jpegoptim quality 90.

    Anything over 1600px is resized to 1600px using Imagick resizeImage, filter Lanczos, blur factor 1, followed by Imagick unsharpMaskImage (0 , 0.5 , 1 , 0.05), followed by jpegoptim quality 90.

    I experimented with a lot of different settings, filters, etc, before settling upon those as a good compromise.
     
  5. Comm

    Comm

    307
    Nov 30, 2013
    Yes, welcome and good luck on the new adventure.
     
  6. Ray Vonn

    Ray Vonn

    117
    Feb 27, 2016
    I am extremely happy that you have taken over.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator Administrator

    812
    Feb 25, 2017
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Amin
    Thanks, all!!!
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2017
  8. I just read through the announcement of the transfer of ownership. Amin, I don't know if congratulations or condolences are in order. I have created and managed a few internet fora and understand the amount of work required.

    I read through your list of changes and suggest to you that opening the forum to search engines and the eventual addition of ads will be the most controversial.

    Speaking for myself the ads are a non issue, especially if you include a native "switch" to disable them. I use an ad blocker on two other fora I frequent.

    The opening of the forum to search engines is a little more complicated for me. I understand the desire (one could argue that it is a need given the waning interest and participation here from what it used to be). If you wish to control the argy bargy (as late and lamented member Rich Gibson used to put it), I think you may need to recruit some more moderators. IMO, the big problem with that "other forum" is that they try to make do with just a few mods per sub-forum and there is a general reluctance to engage in strict enforcement the rules. I suggest that you engage the membership in a discussion on this point prior to pulling the trigger and if/when this is done monitor the effect. If it gets ugly and the character of the forum is threatened, be ready and willing to change your mind.

    Welcome to the community.
     
  9. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator Administrator

    812
    Feb 25, 2017
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Amin
    Hi Doug,

    Thanks for the kind and frank comments.

    I am hoping that most of our members see the ad issue as you do. Between an easy to flip native switch and the availability of effective ad blockers, the options should be covered. I know there will be some (hopefully just a few) that just feel that any monetization ruins everything, but I am at peace with the fact that I'll never make every single person happy.

    As far as opening up the forum to search engines, I can speak from some experience in that my Mu-43.com forum has always been open to search, is quite a bit more active than this site is currently, doesn't come close to having the moderator numbers and moderator dedication that we have here, and remains a friendly place where courtesy is strictly required and a lack of courtesy is not tolerated.

    I know that doesn't mean it will necessarily work out the same way here; but I am optimistic that it will, and I'm convinced that it's a risk we have to take. I am looking forward to engaging the membership on the particulars. There may be some forums that we want to be unviewable by guests and not indexed by search engines.

    All best,
    Amin
     
  10. Kingfisher

    Kingfisher

    Dec 26, 2010
    Annapolis
    Welcome Amin,

    I am in agreement with Doug, especially the forum being open to search engines. I am personally against it as it opens up more avenues for riffraff and undesirable traits of the internet pounding on our door. I guess my major concern is I have always viewed the members of this forum as extended friends and family, I just don't want to see that atmosphere deteriorate. Other than that, I hope it all works great for everyone.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  11. asaya

    asaya Subscribing Member

    Aug 7, 2006
    Syracuse, NY
    Tony Saya
    Can I offer congratulations and wishing you well
     
  12. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator Administrator

    812
    Feb 25, 2017
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Amin
    Thank you, Tony!
     
  13. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator Administrator

    812
    Feb 25, 2017
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Amin
  14. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator Administrator

    812
    Feb 25, 2017
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Amin
    Sorry, I didn't realize that members couldn't reply to the announcement thread because of the forum where it was posted. I've now moved it to this one and merged it with the other thread started by @bpdougd@bpdougd .
     
  15. I'm liking your planned changes. All the best.
     
  16. Congrats Amin, and thanks Mike.

    By the way, there is a great camera company that could use some inspired leadership :)
     
    • Like Like x 1
  17. McQ

    McQ Just your average, everyday moderator. Moderator

    Thanks for the message, Amin.

    And to the many members of the Nikon Cafe, both long-time and newer, I think you'll see some great, positive changes that will make the Cafe even better.
    I had very skeptical thoughts about this when I first heard the news, but I can say that even over that past two days my fears have been put to rest.
     
  18. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator Administrator

    812
    Feb 25, 2017
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Amin
    Thanks, Glenn, Nick, & Rick!
     
  19. Will we still be permitted to display our images as we have done in the past, by linking from another hosting site? To be honest, I don't want to lose control of my images. I'm concerned that once this site is opened to search engines and the public, the risk of our images being stolen will increase. I have had serious issues with this on Flickr.
    As it stands now, at least I can move a posted image on my site and break the link that makes it visible. Maybe I'm just being paranoid, but this all comes as a big and unexpected change.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2017
    • Agree Agree x 1
  20. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator Administrator

    812
    Feb 25, 2017
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Amin
    Yes. I have no plans to change that here. The attachment / upload is just another option.
     
    • Like Like x 1
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