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Old 2nd August 2017
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Ian Ian is offline
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Re: The 'Age' challenge over at FTU

Regarding the debate about the FTU gallery (sorry not to have responded sooner but I have been out today) I think we need to pause to reflect a bit.

There are different opinions and some disagreements but I want to make some assurances and provide more background information so we can all understand the situation better.

First of all, I welcome suggestions and personal aspirations and preferences. Naturally, when views disagree, I'm going to disappoint someone! Sorry about that. I hope that developments overall can be seen as positive.

Secondly, I don't have a lot of resources so at present I can't afford major coding to customise the sites. That said, the sites uses commercially licensed forum and gallery software as well as open source (free) extensions. I am looking at options to improve some features over at time through code customisation. It will take time, though.

The old gallery software we used from the start was also a commercial product, but the company has ceased business and support and development has ended. It was also difficult to use, even though many members mastered it. This is why I have gone for the Dragonbyte gallery replacement. It's sold and supported by a company based in Scotland and was the only viable gallery package I could find that integrates with the forum. There is room for improvement for our purposes and I have started to request some feature adjustments that will require some programming, which I am willing to pay a small fee for. I hope Dragonbyte will be able to help with this.

There is actually a point of view that says why bother with your own gallery - just let everyone use external services to embed images in forum posts where required. I'm not against that at all - I use this option myself from time to time. We have always had our own gallery and it has been very popular. The gallery here has almost 80,000 images and new ones are added almost every day. There is a tradition of using the site gallery and I have no wish to stop that tradition. There are advantages, too. Members' images are organised here in one place and won't disappear when sharing site subscriptions aren't renewed or such sites close down, etc.

On FTU the salon photo challenge contest was designed around exclusive use of the site forum. Yes, in the beginning it was to provide some incentive to use the gallery. It was the same here until, in response to an evolving view, we realised that the gallery-only rule needed to be relaxed in order to maintain a good level of participation.

This may well happen on FTU, or we'll do a challenge just for linked images. There are lots of options. We're not set in stone! But let's take one step at a time.

However, for now, the FTU salon rules mean only site gallery images should be entered. I guess not every one read the rules! But hey, this is all just for some fun, I'm not handing out detentions But out of respect for those used to how it's done on FTU, I need to be consistent for them, hence the friendly reminders.

The question of limiting image sizes in the gallery is a bit more perplexing for me and I can only voice my personal view. I don't feel posting images that are too big to be seen comfortably on the screen is good. The gallery is not and has never been for posting full resolution images. If you want to show details and use the gallery, do crops. Otherwise, use linked Flickr images or similar. We are not in the business of competing with such sites.

I value all your views (within reason! ) so please keep them coming. I would, however, urge you all not to get too judgemental with each other. I'm kind of honoured in a way that there is a lot of interest and concern but it's not worth getting worked up about.

Ian
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