Month: July 2015

The Death of Reddit

[edit July 12: when you’re done here, I wrote a followup for you: Fixing or Replacing Reddit, some quick thoughts — take a look! chuq] Two or three times a year I get asked why I don’t use Reddit, typically from someone telling me about all of the great stuff on it. They’re right, there are a lot of interesting communities and activities that happen on Reddit and a lot of people doing good and interesting things… But. My favorite visualization of online communities is the community bar. I’ve used, managed and built online communities going back into the 1980s, many of them sports related, so it’s natural to look at those communities as sports bars. The thing I’ve always told people interested in community management is this: if you’re running a sports bar, and you have a gang of bikers move in, you have two choices. You can either eject the bikers, or you’re running a biker bar. I never set out intending to put my time and energy into a biker bar, so I always worked to prevent the rowdy elements from taking over my communities, because I knew that would cause the people I wanted to be around to leave and find some other place to be. To carry this visualization to Reddit, what you have is a really large, multi-floor building with a large ground-floor common...

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Some Thoughts on Lightroom Keywords

For most photographers, adding keywords and other meta data to their photos is a necessary evil. Many of us prefer to take photos, and putting in the time and energy to describe them during post-processing isn’t — fun. So we tend to do a minimal job of it. The information you tag a photo with, however, is the key to finding and using those photos later. If you’re hoping to sell your images, then your title, caption and keywords become a key part of those sales, because without them, your potential buyers won’t find them. Even if you only use your photos for yourself, as your photo collection grows, you will at some point lose the ability to find images from memory. There’s a good chance if you’re reading this article you already have. You really have two choices: teach yourself the good work habit of adding this meta-data to your images when you import them into your library, or find yourself trying to retrofit this information onto the images, probably after some long evening of frantic searching for an image you know is in there, but you can no longer find. You want to avoid that frantic search. While I can’t promise that keywording photos will ever be fun, it is possible to set up a system that helps you get the right keywords on the proper images...

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Outfitting the Digital Darkroom

Photographers love to talk about camera gear — almost as much as they seem to enjoy buying it. Lenses, bodies, bags, tripods. And without a good camera kit, it’s difficult to take good images consistently. Photographers show a lot less enthusiasm for their digital darkroom. Often, it’s seen as a chore and a drudgery, something that they have to do but don’t enjoy, and I know lots of photographers willing to show off their new lens or other field trinket who are grinding away on a six year old computer running software the developers stopped supporting years ago. Digging into the Digital Darkroom In the film days, if you didn’t like to work in the darkroom, you could send your film out to a lab and they would develop and print it for you. Today? The digital darkroom is a crucial part of creating the image, but I still see many photographers who treat that as a hassle and not as a critical part of the image creation process. I’m not minimizing the importance of doing your best in the field with your camera — instead, what I’m suggesting is that the time at the computer processing the image has been proven to be as crucial to the final quality of the image, and needs to be treated as seriously. So do the tools you use in your digital...

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