Is it too much to ask for guidance instead of ridicule?

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TPF Noob!
Jul 15, 2013
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Please move this if it is not in the right spot, or delete it entirely if anyone feels this is too harsh.

I know I am brand new here... I know many have been here longer. I also know etiquette on forums, I'm not new to them. I am also a very nice person and try to be courteous to others. This is where my question comes in and although it should not, I hope it does not cause an argument. This is completely not my intention an not how I wish to start my time here with this group.

Is it too much to ask for guidance instead of ridicule? When I post a picture, I state that I know there are problems and that I am struggling and yet, instead of offering a suggestion as to how to fix an issue or what could be better, I get a bad remark (Sent to me via Private Message). I don't doubt it is warranted, I am no pro nor, will I ever be. I hardly know how to use my camera yet. But the remark, without any suggestion as to a fix, makes it very difficult to improve.

In the end I suppose what I am asking is that we all think a little more before we hammer on someones photo's. Try offering help instead of just a remark unless of course you really can't help and then just stating that you notice an issue would be fine as long as you also remark you don't know how to fix it. I am grateful to those that step up to help and offer a place to learn and to improve. I also hope that those who only offer ridicule will hopefully remember that not everyone here is great at this and many, MANY are still learning.

In the end, I don't mind the comments on my photos, I also truly don't mind if one decides not to help, I just noticed this as an issue and am trying to reach out and ask those with much more experience to remember that they too were new once and learning. No one ever picked up a camera and was great at it immediately.

All that being said, I am grateful to be here and hope that this doesn't come across as rude as that is truly not my intention.

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Hi Misty,

Advice is free and sometimes it is good , other times not so good.

Just got to take what you get when it is a public forum.
I haven't seen any threads where you have been ridiculed
It was not done in a thread, the person was nice enough not to do it there and it's not a big deal to me, just something I have noticed on the threads from time to time as well. I was not offended in anyway, I just wanted to bring up something I noticed.
I haven't seen any threads where you have been ridiculed

This. Since you only have 12, I went and looked at each of your posts, and did not see a single example of anybody even being overly harsh in their constructive criticism, much less offering nonconstructive criticism or badgering you.

Are you referring to somebody else's thread(s)?
I will edit my post to make it more clear that a private message was sent to me. I truly am not trying to cause a problem and I can see that this is apparently going that way. I don't feel badgered, I was just making an observation.
A lot of questions asked here can be answered by spending time understanding, on a basic fundamental level, how your camera works, and by knowing what specific features, functions, and capabilities your camera has.

They included a user's manual to inform the camera owner of the specific features, functions, and capabilities that make/model of camera has. Though dry rather than entertaining, the user's manual is just about your most valuable single resource. Being such dry material, it requires many readings of the manual to get full benefit from it.

Indeed, much more complete and detailed guidance is available outside a discussion forum, which I why I often provide links to that more complete and detail info bit it an online source or a book.
Reading comments in other threads or from other sources beyond TPF can also yield information you didn't know you would want to know.

Artistic concepts and technical photography details you read about that are unfamiliar make great search engine search terms.
@ pinupcollector: Since mind-reading as a skill is generally sorely lacking in the majority of internet users, it helps, if you want to know something specific, to direct the question. As in... I'm trying to do "this", and this is how how I've gotten with the following "result". This is what I have tried. What am I missing/doing wrong?"

When people know where you're starting from, what you have tried, and what results you've achieved, then they can chime in with advice. If people think that a question is being asked without the person asking the question having invested much effort into looking for possible answers, then people tend to think that the questioner is being lazy, or is unwilling to work at it. On the other hand, when people see that some significant effort was put in, it is rare to see any comments that are anything but helpful.

It also helps to know who's giving the answers. There are some people on this forum that are rather acerbic and (apparently) harsh, but they know their stuff very well, and it is worth listening very carefully to their advice. Some others, while appearing informed, are blowing smoke - stating their own opinion as fact. Hanging around on a forum for a while lets you see who is who.

I have been on this forum for a while, and I've gotten very good and sound advice and critiques, and can say that my photography has improved considerably with the input I've received over the years. Sure, some people delight in trolling, but that's an internet hazard, and we usually know what to do with those.

Stick around - the benefits outweigh the negatives.
Ah. Well it's hard for anybody to comment helpfully without knowing what the message was. If it was personally insulting, then just report it to the moderators. If it was fine, but you thought just very harsh, then ignore the harshness and take away what actual useful info you can get, and I'm sure the sender has seen this, so yeah.

If you're actually confused about "am I as bad as the person said?" etc., then you could always post the private message here for people's thoughts. That is, if you can post the content edited to not make it clear who it was who sent it (outing somebody's personal communication, especially when you've made it clear you don't like it, would be rude of course, if not anonymous). Along with whatever photos or whatnot it was referring to, and get second, third, fourth opinions.
Here's my take on the whole "constructive criticism" thing.

Most criticism you'll receive here isn't constructive. It's written with no intent to help in any way. Such criticism comes from those who:

- Rarely, if ever, post photos of their own for critique
- Probably are ill-equipped and overly ignorant to actually try to help
- Are more interested in boosting their own post count, and choose to do it on the heels of someone else's thread
- Are crappy photographers in their own right

Now, do I know all of that to be absolutely true? Well, no, I can't prove it, but I strongly suspect it.

Those who will be the most helpful to you are the people who are working photographers. There are a few of us here, and most of us realize that it takes as much effort to be helpful as it does to be a dick. We simply choose the former.

One of my favorite pieces of unhelpful idiocy is when someone asks a question, and one of the TPF brain trust replies with "Have you tried doing research on the internet?". These people seem to have a very real problem understanding that this very forum is, in fact, a great place for doing research, as there is an absolute ocean of experience here. Unfortunately, there are some who lack not only the ability to be helpful, but also the common decency to STFU when they can't be. They'll waste time and energy telling you why they think you shouldn't even bother answering your question, when it would take far less time and energy to simply answer your question.

If you really think the private message you received was beyond the pale, forward it to the moderators and report it...
It sounds like your problem is with one individual, or perhaps with relatively few individuals. The best way to deal with this is to discuss it with those individuals. Posting it for all to see doesn't help because the few people who are the problem undoubtedly will not respond and the majority of us who are not the problem can't do anything to help.
There are a lot of very positive people on this forum that will always offer upbeat information that will make people feel good about what they are posting, some of them candy coat their responses in order not to hurt feelings. In these cases the critique may not be helpful at all, but the Op is usually happy, they may also end up with mixed messages when a "real" critique is done and it isn't candy coated but truthful. People don't like hearing the truth. As Steve5D mentioned there are working photographers on here that do offer critiques based on their experience and observations, although we don't always agree with each other, the base points are usually the same.

There are also people on this forum that absolutely cannot take any kind of negative comments towards their photos, and it doesn't matter if the comments made are intended to help make them a better photographer. In some cases they hide the camera/lens data so that it makes it very difficult to explain why they look the way they do and how they can be fixed. I believe they hide the data for other reasons. These people will never be happy unless they get glowing and rave reviews on what they shoot, and are always ready with a quick excuse. It's usually better just to ignore the thread and not post any comments.

If the private message was intended to offer some negative advice in order to help, without making a statement in the open forum that is one thing, but if the message is simply intended to be hurtful then it should be reported to the admins.
This may or may not be of interest to you Pinupcollector. I served 29 years in the US Navy, an organization where every single person has at least one and often multiple opinions about every single subject in the entire universe. Some were quite vocal about their opinions. Whenever I would encounter one of those knuckleheads I would just look them straight in the eyes and explain to them that opinions are just like rectums...everybody has one and they all stink. :)

Anyway, this is an excellent forum that can help anyone with a camera who is interested in learning how to use it or learning new stuff. I've been shooting pictures for nearly 50 years now and if I don't learn something new about photography at least once a month here then I haven't been paying attention. If you're going to hang out in any forum on the net you need to have a thick skin and a sense of humor. I've been in forums where I have been made to feel very unwelcome, was treated unfairly by the moderators and didn't gain any knowledge from anything in them. I just joined them with the hope of helping others. Once I experience that type of treatment I leave and I don't return.
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