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01-29-2008, 03:29 PM   #1
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K20D and the Online Pentaxian Community (essay)



Dear Fellow Pentaxians,

What surprises me about the K20/K200 announcement has less to do with the technological advancement of the new systems but rather the angry, vociferous comments racing back and forth between two disparate camps within the greater pentaxian community.

It surprises me because, having followed the online community for a little while now, I have observed it to be particularly inclusive, especially to those new to photography. People have been generally courteous and helpful to each other. But when the new announcement came out, that feeling of inclusiveness turned into exclusivity.

Some people came online to voice their disappointment. Others came online to vociferously retort against those voices. These pentaxians seem to have developed some sort of Pentax patriotism and their first priority at this time, seems to be to violently reject those other pentaxians who just want to have their voices heard in regards to the new camera.

In a healthy community, as in a healthy relationship, people need to be able to voice their opinions and feelings without fear of personal retaliation. That's not to say that counter-opinions should not be voiced. There have also been those who have constructively expressed rebuttals without disparaging the original poster/s, their skills, or their parentage!

Thank you to those kind people who are genuinely trying to help and bring the community together.

I should make it clear that I like Pentax and their vision. That is why I have continued to stick with them. I am also sorry to see them have to make allowances for market pressures that may temporarily dilute the products of their vision. I am hoping for the future, that with the renewed 3rd party relationships, a new sensor chip, and increased availability of high quality glass, that they will be able to increase market share and profitability within this niche they have developed and into the general photographic market. I am also hoping that they take this opportunity to address so many of the issues various people have had with the K10d.


So how can we as a community regain the healthy inclusiveness, respect and support that each of us have grown to love about each other?

First and foremost, we should realize that this is just a period of transition and adjustment. It will soon end, and all this negativity will be yesterdays news. However, along the way, we should strive not to exclude people who might offer something to the community at a later date – if they decide to stick with us.

To those voicing disappointment in the new lineup, I suggest:
1. I realize that you may be upset after waiting X months for what seems like an incremental upgrade, but try to tone down the rhetoric. Particularly attempt not to attack any one person or entity. If you feel let down by Pentax, feel free to mention it, but try to stay away from comments of how Pentax $*cks.
2. Realize that Pentax is a company and is probably trying to do their best to maintain and increase profitability amidst market pressures from both consumers and competitors. They probably also feel a need to prove to Hoya executives and investors that they are a viable, and valuable business to keep in their portfolio.
3. Realize that those people who may raise their voice against you or your post are also human and want to be heard (else they would not have said anything). They also have a right to voice opinions and their opinions just may be rebuttals to your opinions.
4. If you are going to go on a bit of a rant, let the reader know that you are going to do so, either in the title or first line of your post. That way, it becomes their choice to read it or not.
5. Point out that something is a non-constructive and potentially destructive counter-rant if you perceive it. If the original rant was an attack though, don't bother!
6. Somebody construct and publish (with a dedicated domain/subdomain name) a compilation of features desired/needed, along with reasonable explanations of why they should be included, and to whom they would benefit. The forum for discussion of this topic may be be within the existing communities, but the master list should be dedicated and centralized. (ie. Not relegated to some hidden forum thread that will just die out once all that's needs to be said has been said)


To those voicing disappointment in those voicing disappointment, I suggest:
1. Realize that people have a need to express themselves. Sometimes, they need a place to do so. If they are expressing feelings about Pentax and their products, it seems to me that Pentax community forums are an ideal venue for this. Realize that sometimes, they have feelings that override their better judgment in posting. This may happen for those who have just had a glass of wine or are posting in a half asleep daze at 2:30am.
2. Try to discern whether or not the original post is an actual attack. And even if it is, dig deep and ask yourself if it is necessary and constructive to defend yourself and/or Pentax. I'm sure, Pentax at least, can handle it.
3. Attempt to not make your replies into personal attacks. Attempt not to assume that the original poster is a rank amateur. Some very savvy and experienced photographers are just as disappointed as those who have waited for the K20 to be their first camera. Comments about their photographic abilities, their capability to use the equipment, etc are off topic and only serve to elevate the emotional content to an uncomfortable level.
4. If you are tired of hearing/replying to rant threads, and the thread title states clearly that the OP is “disappointed” or “frustrated” or “is ranting”, then don't read the post/thread – and for heavens sake don't post back in anger! Nor is it constructive to say “me too! I'm upset at all these rant threads!” After all, you were duly forewarned.

To those community leaders and forum owners, I suggest:
1. Look into the capability of content filters and community based evaluations. If the community agrees that something is a bit of a rant, they can tag a post with that information. As can the original poster tag her own article. That way any community member who doesn't want to hear/deal with a personal rant thread doesn't have to read it or even see it in the first place. And those who are of similar view can still happily jump into a discussion within that sub-community.

To Pentax, I suggest:
1. Assign an official Pentax ambassador who can address the concerns that are voiced in the online community. This would function to assuage those who are uncomfortable with the perceived direction you are taking and at the same time, allow people to feel that their voices are being heard by someone who counts. Besides that, it allows Pentax to have a little more control over the flow of information both pre and post release.
2. Listen to what the ambassador reports back! This is good venue for market research! I'm sure (I sincerely hope) Pentax in some way monitors these forums. To the ambassador, though, it's a duty to actively bridge the gap between Pentax itself and the online communities of consumers.
3. Realize that these forums are one of THE venues that potential Pentax consumers go to do product research. The sense of community in these forums, and the their information content may be key factors in the growth of your market share!

For those of you who have stuck with me through this essay, you have my sincere thanks for caring enough to read through.


Sincerely,

Frank Fletcher.


01-29-2008, 03:58 PM   #2
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Very good essay and an interesting read. You also make some very good points, though the likelihood of an official Pentax ambassador is a bit far-fetched. We'll have to make due with our self-righteous ones in the meantime.
01-29-2008, 04:42 PM   #3
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You know, the same thing happened last year when the K10D came out. A lot of screaming and yelling about noise high ISO, no ISO3200, the infamous VPN. It eventually calmed down. Some how what happened this year with the K20D/K200D does not surprise me, and the current conflicts will calm down also.

We seem to forget, on these forums, that we are really a very small percentage of the Pentax market. There are a lot of people who never has heard of Pentax Forums, or DP Review, and could care less. Assuming that the new sensor is as good as Pentax claims (yet to be proven), if Pentax markets this properly, they may have a distinct advantage over Sony and Olympus to gain market share. I believe very little will come from Nikon or Canon.

At any rate, the stage is set, the lights have dimmed, and it is now up to Pentax to deliver. Pop Photo has stated their comprehensive review will be in the March issue, due out mid February., so we shall see.
01-29-2008, 05:09 PM   #4
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ambassador?

01-29-2008, 06:11 PM   #5
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I agree with many of the points in your extensive treatise on forum manners. However, in the spirit of healthy rebuttal, I also found it to be a bit condescending in tone. Giving a laundry list of do's and dont's to a mostly decent and good forum membership seems a touch over the top. But that is just my humble opinion which I realize may be rebutted itself and I am perfectly fine with that.

Ted
01-29-2008, 06:24 PM   #6
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Ted, I'm sorry if I came off that way. I did prepend each of the lists with "I suggest...". I don't mean for this to be a anything other than suggestions of how some of us might be a little more civil towards each other. How would you rephrase such without resorting to lists?

And I should state that I am certainly not above each anybody else - I too have voiced some disappointment, and enjoy the forum that allows me to do so. I would be a better community member for following my own suggestions.

In no way do I want to be perceived as stating that people need to do such, that's why I repeated, "I suggest" at least 4 times within my essay.

Anyways - thanks for reading! And thanks for hearing what I have to say.

Frank.

QuoteOriginally posted by Tbear Quote
I agree with many of the points in your extensive treatise on forum manners. However, in the spirit of healthy rebuttal, I also found it to be a bit condescending in tone. Giving a laundry list of do's and dont's to a mostly decent and good forum membership seems a touch over the top. But that is just my humble opinion which I realize may be rebutted itself and I am perfectly fine with that.

Ted
01-29-2008, 06:27 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Frank Fletcher Quote
Ted, I'm sorry if I came off that way. I did prepend each of the lists with "I suggest...". I don't mean for this to be a anything other than suggestions of how some of us might be a little more civil towards each other. How would you rephrase such without resorting to lists?

And I should state that I am certainly not above each anybody else - I too have voiced some disappointment, and enjoy the forum that allows me to do so. I would be a better community member for following my own suggestions.

In no way do I want to be perceived as stating that people need to do such, that's why I repeated, "I suggest" at least 4 times within my essay.

Anyways - thanks for reading! And thanks for hearing what I have to say.

Frank.
No problem, Frank. I believe you meant well and look forward to future contributions from you on this forum.

Ted
01-29-2008, 07:13 PM   #8
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Hello Frank,
Well written essay.
Debate on any topic is something that some people can handle with ease whilst others take it very much to heart and personally.

Its a skill that is either developed very early in life or a struggle that one will carry for ever. Debate face to face is much easier, because it will include facial expressions, verbal tones etc that can change the delivery. Written 'on-line' debate such as what happens here can be very tricky. It will take a long time of watching other posts and trying to pick up on whether someone is serious, light hearted, courteous, up front or what ever that will determine the nature of my replies for example.

If I feel 'comfortable' with a person in this forum I will not hesitate to take the 'mickey' out of him/her ( and expect nothing less in return.... I will probably regret making that public!), as against trying to be very 'proper and correct' with other posters, such as now. The emoticons/smilies are a godsend as they do enable a degree of emotion to be displayed that can change the intent of the written word. Still think there needs to be a pop corn one though for rambles like I'm turning this into.

Throw in then an emotive issue such as a new camera and of course everyone gets very excited and becomes an instant expert commentator.

Your encouragement for everyone to respect each others opinion for what it is.....ie) each others opinion...(nothing more, nothing less) should respected as such.

If we can adhere to that simple principle, then we should be able to partake in quite robust debate without anyone ending up with a bloodied nose....perhaps we also need a bloodied nose emoticon/smilie for those that feel aggrieved by something said.

As for the actual debate on the K20 it was inevitable and on the whole not too bad, I particularly salute Codiac for his brave essay (reccommended reading) on his time alone with a K20D. Similarly I salute Benjikan for his efforts, yes they are all in 'favour' with Pentax but we should not overlook Ben's & Codiacs professionalism (apologies to the others not named) either as their credibility is very much on the line here and I, for one, can not see them doing anything to damage that which no doubt has been hard earned.

Is this all a little condescending as suggested?, perhaps, but then again it is also only an opinion.
Cheers
Grant

01-29-2008, 08:18 PM   #9
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*Latching onto Grant's invitation*

That was very very nicely written and considerate of you Grant, for an Aussie!
01-29-2008, 08:44 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by roscot Quote
We seem to forget, on these forums, that we are really a very small percentage of the Pentax market. There are a lot of people who never has heard of Pentax Forums, or DP Review, and could care less.
Do not mix silent majority with vocal minority... For each person who writes here and there
we have 10-100 more who just read.
01-29-2008, 09:02 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Arpe Quote
*Latching onto Grant's invitation*

That was very very nicely written and considerate of you Grant, for an Aussie!
didn't take long did it!
Don't worry mate, that one's tucked away in the little black book for later
I used to play footy by the motto..."don't get mad...just even"
Cheers. (& thanks)
01-29-2008, 10:32 PM   #12
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*searching for "shaking with fear" icon!!*
01-29-2008, 11:01 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Frank Fletcher Quote
...(snip) For those of you who have stuck with me through this essay, you have my sincere thanks for caring enough to read through.

Are you an elementary/early grade school teacher, Frank? In my experience, few others would have the sheer and unmitigated audacity to come into a forum as a relatively new member and attempt to lecture to many hundreds on how they should or should not behave, or what they should or should not post, much less suggest how owners should operate the forum or how Hoya-Pentax Corporation should conduct its business.

Actually, the fact that a good number haven't posted with less-than-polite suggestions for what you might do with that so-called essay surely suggests the forum members here are a lot more civil than you seem to think.

stewart
01-30-2008, 12:10 AM   #14
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Ah well Stewart, should I take it all back?

I felt like expressing myself in what I had hoped was a constructive way instead of just saying "I'm tired of all you guys bitching at each other and at me!" I was hoping to offer an opinion and an alternative.

I've been following these forums for about a a year now as a lurker/guest. For the most part, I've enjoyed the experience. I used the forums as my own product research resource. And when I finally updated from film to my K10d, I decided to "join in", so to speak. I tend to lurk more than post.

And further, I don't know that somebody who's been around the forum for 4 years, with 10,000 posts should have more right to voice an opinion and offer suggestions than somebody who's been a member for 4 months with 10 posts. I respect that some people have stuck with this community for a long time. However, I don't feel that my voice has decreased worth for being "new" to the forum.


Recently, both DPR and here have been heating up with the K20d announcements and I thought to offer a reminder for some people that it's nicer if we're civil.

In terms of the suggestions, they are just that. Most companies actively seek out suggestions because it's another form of communication with their customer base. Both places that I work utilize optional surveys as well as suggestion forms in order to get just such ideas that may or may not have been thought of within the company "box".

Anybody who truly takes offence to suggestions that they are in no way forced to implement, and in a forum where it is optional to read them, are welcome to continue taking offence. Though, it is by no means intended.

Any forum or forum member who would seek to attack and/or ostracize a poster for making suggestions... never mind, we won't go there. Luckily, as you said, nobody really has.

Thank you to those of you who have mentioned to me that I may come off sounding pedantic or condascending. Believe me, it is by no means my intention to do so, though I realize it came out that way. Sometimes, I tend to write and just keep writing.

Would I take it back? I don't think so - though I might try and word it in a better way. Do I know how to word it better? I'm not sure I have the skills to keep the constructive content of the message and maintain a different emotional, interpersonal context. I guess that is something _I_ have to work on.


No, I am not a teacher.

Frank.
01-30-2008, 12:27 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Frank Fletcher Quote
Ah well Stewart, should I take it all back?

Frank.
Nah, you done good boy!! If that outline of civilized procedure had come from the forum moderator, it would have been accepted and considered as reasonable. I reviewed the content and it made sense to me, well thought out and spot on.

Whether or not the squeaky wheels want to accept it as constructive or not, well that is the way of it. But like it or not, IMHO it was and is a good guideline for approprate behaviour when dealing with others in a forum such as this, if you are that way inclined.

Keep up the good work, constructive critique is always welcome in my opinion, none of us are without fault in being too quick to make emotional comment, without considering that it may hurt feelings, or be taken the wrong way.

Phil
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