The thorny issue of forums and communities or 'chatter shops' as I like to call them has always been an issue for me, since I've never found one that strikes the right tone. They are either:-
'I just love your picture of your cat tearing open the rubbish bags. So cute.'
'Well I really like your picture of the decomposing down-and-out on the park bench. Reminded me of my two favourite street photographers, Cartier and Bresson.'
'No I'm not worthy, the image you posted of your toddler being sick after eating the goldfish is now my new screen saver. Well captured. Love the bokeh.'
'Hi I'm Kim from Pyongyang and I'm a newbie. I'm looking for advice on what camera to get. I'm undecided between the Sony NEX-6 and the Samsung NX2000, though I am somewhat put off by the fact that I may nuke the factory where the second one is made at any time. I'm also trying to organise a photo walk in a local beauty spot called the DMZ. Also anyone interested in a hangout?'
'Hi Kim, welcome. LOL on the nuking. Your photowalk sounds awesome. Is there anywhere to get refreshments or should we bring our own?'
'The picture you posted stinks, your camera stinks, your lenses stink, you stink!! Your wife is ugly, your kids are morons, your house is a miserable shack and you will exist in your dead end job until you die, alone and unhappy. And by the way the used condom is out of focus!! IMHO.'
'So you think the chromatic aberration on your Nikon 50mm f/1.8 is superior to my Canon f/1.8 do you? Well I'm hiring a private detective to track you down, and then a contract killer to kill you, your wife, your children, your relatives, your friends, your neighbours, your workmates and anyone who has met you in the course of your pathetic life. In the meantime I'm posting my 150 page analysis of the two lenses with MTF bar charts (LOTS of MTF bar charts) and graphs(LOTS and LOTS of graphs) and if anyone else out there cares to disagree with me then I KNOW WHERE YOU LIVE!!!.'
Just to say that here at the enlightened end of the photographic internet, if you want to post links to your blog or your pictures on the soundimageplus blog readers group, then feel free. If you start arguing that Hitler was a misunderstood pussycat or Soundimageplus's images stink, he stinks, his cameras stink etc. etc. then you will be unsurprised if I delete them. Plus the group on flickr for your pictures is flourishing, and even though I don't post there anymore, I do enjoy the pictures. There are enough of mine on here anyway.
So, some alternatives to the 'sewing circle' or 'SAS assault course' type forums and two havens of reason, tolerance and intelligent debate that readers of this blog obviously share with me.
To comment join the Soundimageplus Blog Readers Group at Google+
For discussion - join me over at Google+