Photography Talk: Avoiding Trolls

Living way out in the country, I can sometimes feel alone or cut off from the larger photographic community; that is, until I get online. Being a geek, I like to know what's going on in the world of photography; even if I limit my practice just to the 35mm film side of the fence. I enjoy catching articles on the latest camera technology, reviews on lenses, bags and bodies and occasionally jumping into articles on lighting techniques and other technical aspects that I may or may not use. What I like best is to hear discussion on these topics.

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I often grab a huge mug of coffee and peruse a few sites before work each morning - but I am finding it more and more difficult to avoid sites that either:

  1. Are pure click-bait articles (publisher trolls) or
  2. Loaded with discussion that take away from the content (reader trolls)

For the publisher trolls - aka click-baiters - I've just stopped going to their sites all together.

The second group seems like it would be easy to avoid: Just don't read the comments. But more often than not I want to hear what others think on the subject. And sadly, the comment sections are filled to the rim with trolls or people that just want to provide negative feedback - and reading that dribble just brings me down.

It's gotten to the point where I can't even visit sites like PetaPixel or DPReview anymore - nevermind the ones that are like a fraternity fan-boy club where everything is "the best camera/lens I ever used" reviews. For those in the Leica world, you know who I mean.  Don't get me wrong, these sites often post some really good articles (when not spamming with bit of click-bait or random articles just to post "something" that day to look busy) but having an intelligent conversation about the topics is near impossible. A handful of the readers on PP and DPR want to argue and moan quite a bit, the folks on Steve's site want to drool and tell him how awesome he is (which I'll never get), no matter what garbage makes its way onto a page. (Sorry, that was negative).

So where to go for good photography conversation?

For me, the answer is Twitter. I follow a pretty select list of people / companies on there, and these folks are often vetting articles and posting links via Twitter. I'll often respond to the article or to someone else commenting on it (rather than on the article itself) and get involved with conversations that way.  1) Because I don't need to be subscribed to 100 different sites to keep up with the conversations, 2) rarely does someone whine or complain within these small circles on Twitter and 3) they tend to not suck up to the poster.  Maybe it's me, but the conversations seem more genuine there.

I have to say, Twitter is where my best online talks happen (both publicly and through DM) and honestly I don't feel so alone out here.

Where do you find your best conversations on photography?  Post your favorites below in the comments.