Today, reading a photography forum, the views of many of the members was just downright amazing. The question is more - how are people willing to express views like that allowed to use the internet without parental supervision? Aside from the normal groups that back up whatever the leader says and engage in self-congratulatory back patting and peer adoration, there are people willing to post even more complete tripe.
In some discussion or other that was so memorably important that I can't even remember what it was about, just five minutes later, somebody was seen to be attacking somebody else over their forum name. How pointless is that? It was allegedly a photography forum yet precious little discussion of photography took place - it was more an equipment discussion forum. Perhaps that forum needs to rename itself "Gadgets R Us".
In most "photography" forums, only gadgets are ever discussed. The very minimal photography discussion is generally things that have been read on the backs of cereal packets. Somebody will post a photograph and claim it's theirs and when questioned as to the technique, usually just guesses and gets it wrong because they never took the photograph in the first place.
Another popular thing for photography forums is for cries such as "Woe is us. The sky is falling". Aside from discussions in which people claim it's getting harder for professional photographers (which misses the point totally that such a beast does not exist), claims are made about how a section of the population is ruining it for the rest etc.
Over the past few weeks there have been discussions such as the following...
1. Women are pushing men out of photography because they're so much easier to deal with. An example quoted was "boudoir photography". The writer omitted to note that a male photographer would want a couple of witnesses on his side to make sure that false accusations of impropriety would fall flat in court.
2. Photography is the realm of the professional. How can this be when photography has become so easy that somebody with an iPhone can take a photo good enough to hang on a wall?
3. What will employers think of you if you use a screen name like that? In the unlikely event an employer really did look up somebody that was using a forum, they would look them up with their real name. They would be looking for Benedict Ramsbottom, not their forum name of MissTiggiwinkle. In the event MissTiggiwinkle had Benedict Ramsbottom's website URL in the signature, no link would be proven. As an example www.microsoft.com - because that's in the blog, am I now Bill Gates?
4. With a username like that, who's going to take you seriously as a photographer? Just because somebody calls themself "Noddy&BigEars" on a forum does not mean that they're going around in the real world calling themseof "Noddy&BigEars".
Perhaps the biggest issue facing most forum users is their complete inability to differentiate between fact and fiction; between real life and forum postings. Just because something is written online does not make it true. The moon is green and made of cheese. George Clooney has had a sex change to be a Las Vegas lap dancer. Neither of those are true and only an idiot (or a forum user) would believe otherwise. There's just no ability to discriminate between fact and fiction for the forum users. Thus, best advice is to steer clear of forums.