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OK - I know this may have been a topic that has been covered before but please bear with me for a moment.
I don't think groups really work here on EPZ but I do think there might be an interesting and dare I suggest simple solution that might just see them really flourish and not work against the rest of the site.
So why don't they work?
I have been reasonably active in one or two groups recently and they are fun and they do work. But they work as a stand alone only - there is very little they do, I beleive, to support any other part of the site - in short they detract from everything else. The reason I think this, is simple. We all have a limited amount of time to spend on site (if nothing else it is limited by our lifespan but more realisticially we all have other calls on our time) if you spend time within the confines of a group you are not contributing or engaging elsewhere - I know because that is exactly what I have done.
Groups also don't work I think because the forum in which they work is primitive by comparison to the general gallery. How can you possibly have an ultra critique group when you can't even upload a mod to explain what you mean?
At the moment there is a discussion thread about the 'Tell it Like It is Group' asking why it has some 70 members but why only about 7 are active. I think the above two factors are important in answering this and in developing the idea of groups and making them really work for everybody and not just 10% of group members who represent about 1% of membership - thats small numbers.
Solution: I don't know or understand the architecture of the site - but how possible would it be to establish groups in the same way as a member portfolio. The only difference would be to somehow allow multiple upload rights from any group member. The group portfolio would have an opening page that can be customised by the group founder to make it more interesting to visiting members in exactly the same way as an individual member customised their portfolio pages. The group would have access to all the bells and whistles and individual member has.
An uploaded group members shot would appear in the gallery and move through just like other images - it could be distinguished by a different thumbnail surround.
I think if something like this were possible the groups would become an integrated part of the site - many more would join in and they would genuinely contribute rather than detract to the good health of EPZ. You would scroll through thumbnails and come across particular group uploads in amongst all the others - truly integrated and part of the body of the site.
Of course it might not be technically possible to do this - in which case please laugh in the face of my misguided thoughts.
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Quote: At the moment there is a discussion thread about the 'Tell it Like It is Group' asking why it has some 70 members but why only about 7 are active.
I agree with everything you've said. The groups I have joined are also suffering the same problem and they are virtually dead but started with a lot of enthusiasm. Judging by the forum posts despite the high EPZ membership numbers only a small amount of members actually contribute regularly to the site forums.
One of the issues with the site before the advent of the `Groups' was that uploads of a specialist nature or particular interest would get lost within the volume of uploads and rarely seen on the front page after about an hour or so (yes you can filter the homepage but this defeats the main purpose of the gallery) and you couldn't `join in' with others of a similar ilk unless you posted a forum thread (and then you couldn't upload images). We have moved on tremendously
I like the idea that `Group' uploads could have `mods' allowed, but I am not sure we should be going down the path of trying to capture everyone in all groups..by their nature they will only meet the needs of the few...but what is wrong with that? as long as it does turn into something that is not accessible by everyone.
I have joined a few groups, left a few, been relatively inactive in one, but fully active in another.....people are still joining (albeit some don't contribute very often - probably because of time constraints).
Sometimes if I see an image in the gallery that meets the criteria of the group I'll invite the poster to join...we are a community and you have to work at it (imho).
There are still a few tweaks that would be desirable but once V5 (?) is fully loaded we may not have so many concerns.......
On a side issue......
Interestingly (to me anyway) I happened to look at one of the tips that rotates through the main gallery homepage (where all the sub groups are duplicated!!!!) and it was dated 2001...possibly lots of it were still relevant but it was written at a time when film was still dominant......I wonder whether these need re-visiting?
@ Cats - I think I didn't do a very good job in outlining what I wondered might be possible and useful re groups.
I don't think group interest would get lost at all but I do think they would become much more integrated. Which is exactly the point, by treating special inteerst groups as portfolio's they work in exactly the same way as the ultimate special interest group - individual photographers. You could use favourites in order to keep track of your special interest groups - indeed everything that you use now on the main galleries would become accessible to groups. It is easy enough to keep track of images uploaded by people you like or learn from or just admire their work - so it woudl be for groups that were of special interest to you. Each special interest group site/portfolio would have its own identity too created by the group founder - that would be really quite cool as a bit of competition between groups began to creep in perhaps.
Groups come and go at the moment - I think one or two poeple are trying to prove this is not necessarily the case and teh exception might be the 'tell it like it is' group but event that once highly vibrant group is struggling at the moment.
So better to have a special interest group that thrives but might be a little difficult to find (which I would dispute anyway) than a special inteerst group that folds after a few weeks - surely?
Quote: So better to have a special interest group that thrives but might be a little difficult to find (which I would dispute anyway) than a special inteerst group that folds after a few weeks - surely?
In the`Reality' group we have had discussion about whether `Lensbaby' shots should be hived off to form their own group, but I think the owners of these lenses feel that it would have a limited life, whereas our topics have diversified and stimulated....sometimes you don't know there is a demand until you try it...but then again....
Seems `Easy Access' is the key....I often visit new sites that I have found but unless I can get in relatively quickly and understand the navigation I don't hang around.....as a comparator, I find the BBC site a little overwhelming....and often need too many clicks to get down to what I want, so apart from the news channel I rarely visit it..(nothing to do with photography, more about web design)
Yep easy access is I think vital - most of use just don't have the patience to hang around and try and work out how thiings hang together and work - so if we don't get it first time then we move on. Th eonly exception I guess is where there is something you know wand want at the other end - some on line ordering sites seem to rely on this and go out of their way to make access less than straightforward but I persevere because I want the item.
So special ineterst group acees could perhaps be massively improved by treatingthem in this way - but the other thing it could do is really let them rub shoulders with other parts of the site.
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