Guidelines for good fellowship in the fotocommunity

We are all part of one big community

The members of fotocommunity – that means you and every other photo enthusiast who is active in fotocommunity – are part of a big community. The huge number of active users makes fotocommunity a reflection of our society. As in real life, guidelines are necessary for a relaxed atmosphere, which regulate this interaction. All this is not unknown to us, because we live on a daily basis in “real life” according to certain conventions, rules and unspoken guidelines.
But the “virtual space” in which we move around in the fotocommunity brings some special features with it. The mere fact that we can only exchange information in writing and lack any facial expressions or emotions, which provide important additional information in direct face-to-face exchanges, increases the potential for conflict in many cases.  Also, the anonymity of an online platform tempts people to act differently than they would do in real encounters.

We would therefore like to take this opportunity to remind you of a few self-evident principles – principles that enable a better and more relaxed cooperation in fotocommunity.

On the other side is a human being!


The written word…

Communication is difficult and hurtful words are written quickly. Therefore always keep in mind that on the other side sits a person who can be hurt. The choice of words alone can do much to defuse the written word.

Clear feedback rules help to achieve this:

  • Feedback should be formulated in such a way that it is value-free. There is no “bad” – there is only “different”!
  • Feedback should be given from the first-person perspective and not generalize. So avoid statements like “This is bad” or “This is crap!” With formulations such as: “From my point of view …” or “I think that …” the same can be said in terms of content without making a generally valid statement.
  • Feedback should be constructive. A criticism should therefore always be continued with “… because …”. This is the only way the criticized user can understand your opinion and has a starting point for his own considerations.
  • Feedback is good! Not every criticism of your picture or your contribution to the discussion is a criticism of you personally! Feedback is always an occasion to think about oneself.
Discrimination & hate speech

fotocommunity is a global community based on friendship, mutual respect and equality.

Contributions (discussions, captions, comments) in which persons, population or professional groups, minorities or ethnic groups are discriminated against on the basis of religion, gender, nationality, sexual orientation, professional group etc. are not permitted and will be removed.

(See also: How do I report posts in the forum or in comments)

“Hello, I’m the new guy”

Surely you know this situation: You move to a new city, you have to work in a new team and at the beginning you have to arrange yourself in this new situation and make new friends. This process can be fast or long – depending on how easy it is made for you (by the others). In the fotocommunity over the past 15 years, individual communication standards and channels have developed that new users must first experience and learn.

New members are important for the “fotocommunity” as they give new impulses, bring a fresh breeze into discussions and solidified points of view and keep the community fresh and lively. You should therefore make it as easy as possible for new members to get a foothold here.

“The stupid dragonfly/flower/train/nude photographers”

Every photographer has to develop special skills and abilities in order to put his subject in the right light. Be it the nature photographer, who has to know and use the light conditions of nature and who has to wait for hours in a hide for the kingfisher, or the nude/portrait photographer, who has to know how to set the light in the studio and how to communicate with the model. Each photo area should therefore be considered as equivalent, because in each area there are specific tasks that have to be mastered.

Personal dislikes must not play a role in the evaluation of photos. Statements such as: “I hate dragonflies – so contra!” do not bring any profit, as they can neither help the photographer nor otherwise contribute to a constructive discussion.

“Now I’ll show you…”

You have already been annoyed about contributions from others or felt personally attacked? The worst way is to carry this out in public and to publicly denounce or subliminally bully other users. Even subtle hostilities and teasing hurt and diminish the joy of fotocommunity. It is more profitable to react to feedback on your own pictures instead of pouting. You will surely be happy if a user reacts to your detailed picture criticism and a fruitful dialogue is created.

“The photographer – the artist”

You are certainly proud of the photos you present in the fotocommunity. You put a lot of effort into taking the picture, spent hours developing the image in the darkroom or editing it on the computer, and you want the viewers of your picture to appreciate this. In some cases the reaction will be what you expect – but in other cases it will not, because every person is different. It is precisely such subjective processes as the interpretation of a photograph that often bring controversial opinions to light. But this is no reason to pout or to be angry and “hit back”.

The criticism of your photo is a mirror that shows you how other people see and interpret this picture. Feedback on the photo is therefore not an evaluation of your person or your skills. They only show you whether the photo is also perceived by others as you imagined it – or whether it is completely different. And this is again a perfect starting point to think about your own photo and what you could do differently next time.

“The forum – a virtual regulars’ table?”

In the forums of the fotocommunity, the topics are not only about photography, but all the things that concern us in our daily lives or that are important to us personally are also discussed in designated places – e.g. the “Members Talk”. This easily leads to heated debates about which camera model is better, which genre deserves more attention or which political decisions would have been better.

Here again, the same applies: there is a person sitting on the other side! Please make sure that you respect your counterpart in such discussions. Discussions can be tough. But it must not happen that others are insulted, slandered or denounced.

“My statement as a poster”

The fotocommunity is a platform where we all want to discuss photos together. You can certainly understand that pure text messages are not photos and therefore have no place in fotocommunity. But that does not mean that your opinion has no value for us. We are happy about constructive criticism, suggestions for improvement or simply about your mood, if it reaches us exactly where we perceive it: in support.  So please look us up when we remove pure text images from fotocommunity, because fotocommunity lives from images and their motifs

How can fotocommunity support a good cooperation?

We – that means Community Management and the voluntary Community Managers – will pay more attention to whether and how these principles are followed and how the culture of discussion develops within fotocommunity. fotocommunity sees itself as a place where individual users are responsible for their own content; this can only be profitable for all if these guidelines are followed.

Please note: Once the point is reached where we have to intervene, we often can no longer understand how a conflict arose or “who started it”. We will therefore assess the situation as it presents itself to us and reserve the right to react accordingly. Should a user of fotocommunity behave in a way that violates the GTC of fotocommunity or the Community Managers come to the conclusion that the behavior is no longer tolerable, we will draw consequences. This means concretely: warning, admonition, suspension and in the last consequence exclusion.

It is therefore in your own and everyone’s interest not to let conflicts escalate. It’s up to you to make sure that you feel completely at home in fotocommunity.