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lennarts 01-27-2007 01:11 PM

identity crisis?
What is the difference of TrekEarth and TrekLens? Besides that TE is bigger with almost half a million photographs and TL is smaller with less than 200k photographs?

Reading the "about" and “TOS” sections I get the feeling that there should be a difference. In reality - when I browse through the photos in TE and TL, they are almost the same. In TrekLens galleries there are landscape and "world documenting" photos, that would fit perfectly to TE and in TE there are close-up portraits, water droplets, fluffy clouds, garden plants, digitally manipulated images (beyond what TOS p.3 allows) - that would best fit into TL.

TrekEarth TOS p.8 says a few words about common objects and close-ups as better suitable to TL instead of TE. Then I see Adam giving 2 points and “great” to <a href=" "> bubbles in the ice photo </a> - and I don’t understand. (Adam and Olli, please don’t take it personally, this was just an example to make my point).

Perhaps we should define “learning about world” more precisely. Bubbles in ice, fluffy clouds, and garden plants are also part of our world. However, as the uploading procedure begins with positioning your photo by geographic location – choosing a country/region/city, I get the feeling that the photos of TE should be documenting something typical or unique to the geographical location or people or local culture. I’m not saying it is Eiffel tower in Paris, Big Ben in London and Angkor Wat in Cambodia.

If you have one drawer for white socks and the other for black socks, it serves no purpose if you put white socks in a drawer for black socks and vice versa. Differentiation, categorization, classification, sorting things into different “drawers” (or in this case into separate websites of TE, TL and TN) are useful activities as long they are systematic. I’m not pointing a finger at anyone here. In critiques I have written, in some photos I have posted you might well find that I also haven’t been always systematic. However, I don’t think this means I’m not entitled to post ideas on how to improve TE, TL and TN. I used Adam’s critique as an example, because TE was created by him and I assume he was the one who also wrote the rules. Now some users might feel the urge of calling me a control-freak, but hold on for just a moment. I’m not simply talking about “strict rules”, “reporting” and “deleting”. I’m talking about clearer identities of TE, TL and TN - their own “faces”.

I’m suggesting a better definition of characteristics of TE, TL and TN. If there are 3 different sites, it should be made clear how they are different. Perhaps clearer than it is right now. I’m also suggesting a better integration of TE, TL and TN. There are many ways to do it. Maybe the three sister sites should not require separate registration, maybe it should be possible for users to move their photos from one sister-site to another, maybe other users should be able to suggest moving a photo of a fellow member instead of reporting it as a problem, which sounds too harsh for many. What do you think?

… and there will always be grey socks :)
… and room for discussion and argument :)

mortijo 01-27-2007 01:34 PM

Re: identity crisis?
Hi Lennart,
To some extent I agree with you, I myself keep posting photos on TE that could be easily posted on TL or on TN. The main problem, for me, is that I do not wish to log on to three different sites to post my shots, it is to time consuming. So I am in favor for a unique registration for the three sites.

Galeota 01-27-2007 01:46 PM

Re: identity crisis?
You’re not completely right, but you’re not completely wrong either. I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Normandy, in France, but this is what we call a réponse de Normand. I found your reference to Adam’s critique very funny and I’ll allow you one point for that..humm, ok two points. It is important, not to say fundamental, to have some guidelines in a sharing community such as this one. But rather a utopia to pretend they can be followed to the slightest detail. Rules are made to set a standard reference line and not to kill the complete creative process which, by definition, is frequently in transgression with the concept of what should be.

- we are ALL individuals…- I’m not! Photography is about personal perceptions, and so is MY view on the world and MY way of sharing it. Of course, I can do nothing but accept and resign whenever a moderator of the site decides to delete one of my photographs because HIS perception of the TOS would be in contradiction with mine. But the TOS are way too subjective because they appeal to subjective views and behaviours. And that’s from where the interest of this site arises, IMO. There’s nothing systematic in learning about the world through photography. That’s the kind of concept you can find in dedicated MACRO photographs, though. Macros can be systematic, as B&W can be, or any other specific theme which can be completely rationalized in its description. Learning about the world through photography is a much wider subject, fortunately, hence the difficulty to set precisely the frontiers of what fits within from what doesn’t.

The only difference between TE and TL, IMO, is the degree of subjectivity and, perhaps, the fact that you can post process however you like in TL. But then again, I’m not myself a very good reference in complying to the TOS of these sites or reference standards in whatever other community/person I may be interacting with in my life.

jinju 01-27-2007 01:52 PM

Re: identity crisis?
Its not useful anymore to set boundires. I think TE and TL are alike, but very different. Different communities, different relationships. Im not surprised people choose one and stick to it, juggling both would be a full time job.

lennarts 01-27-2007 02:05 PM

Re: identity crisis?
I have never been to Normandy, but I hope I understand the concept of réponse de Normand and I would like to respond to your response with a similar response - I think you’re not completely right, but you’re not completely wrong either :)

I agree "rules are made to set a standard reference line" and I'm completely aware that it would be "a utopia to pretend thay can be followed to the slightest detail" (that's exaclty what I meant by "gray socks" on my first post). However, the "reference lines" can be useful, more useful and not so useful. I feel that at the moment the reference lines provided by TE, TL and TN TOS are not so useful. As on one hand we have 3 separate sites but on the other hand they're all the same.

It reminds me a story from Estonian television few years back, where there was a film about a little bit crazy woman living in solitude somewhere in countriside with her 3 dogs - all named "Karu" (means Bear in Estonian). It's a little bit the other way around here, but addresses essentially the same question of functionality of categorization, labeling and differentiation.

lennarts 01-27-2007 02:18 PM

Re: identity crisis?
I don't think different relationships and different communities is really a good argument here. Of course there are members and communities and relationships involved, but as I read from the TOS neither TE nor TL is a relationship website, they are both first and foremost about "learning more about world through photography".
So if you say they are very different, I'm interested in how they are different in fulfilling that aim.

I agree with Gal Eota, there is a difference in the degree of subjectivity and TL provides more freedom compared to TE. However, if rules are a bit stricter in one site and a bit looser in the other site, but in practice no one cares, we come back to the very question I started with - what is the difference of TE and TL?

james-r 01-27-2007 04:33 PM

Re: identity crisis?
"they are both first and foremost about "learning more about world through photography". "

Actually, Treklens markets itself as "learning about photography through the world". TL photos can include friends, family members, self portraits and heavily post-processed and manipulated images. TE is not supposed to carry such images.

james-r 01-27-2007 04:36 PM

Re: identity crisis?
Many users are active on both sites, myself included.

lennarts 01-27-2007 05:00 PM

Re: identity crisis?
Where do you find TL markiting itself as "learning about photography through the world"?.
Let me quote the very first sentences of the "about" pages in TE and TL:
TE: "The underlying theme of TrekEarth is learning more about the world through photography"
TL: "The underlying theme of TrekLens is learning more about the world through photography"

Sure the TOS of TL is more liberal allowing more digital manipulation, pets, family members, abstract photos, etc.

james-r 01-27-2007 05:09 PM

Re: identity crisis?

"Learning about photography through our world" is the banner headline.

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