MCP Actions recently celebrated six years of business as an Adobe Photoshop actions design and training company.
Sadly, a trend that has taken shape this year is not worthy of celebration. It is consistent with the growing tone of arrogant, mean and insulting language posted across the Internet. Recently, it has infested my Facebook page and even occasionally on our blog comments. I now have no choice but to speak out on the subject.
Recent comments on our pages, directed toward members of our community, lack such maturity and tact. It makes me think of 5th grade when a “mean girl” tripped me in a rollerskating rink and then gathered around laughing with a group of kids. There was no purpose to her actions other than to be hurtful. My elementary school age children tell me similar stories of “meanness” at school. I am aware that the world is made up of all kinds of people and those mean kids often turn into mean adults. Those are not the people I want on MCP platforms, as they detract from the experience of the vast majority of our customers and network.
When you own a online business, you have no choice but to tolerate criticism, unsolicited opinions, and sometimes even “rudeness.” Lately though, non-constructive criticism is impacting photographers and friends who share on my Facebook wall and blog. While some are professional photographers or aspire to be, many just love taking pictures to capture and preserve memories of their families and friends. I personally always invite insightful critique of my photos, business, and site. I don’t welcome bashing and spiteful comments.
Some photographers who send me “bloopers” and problem photos for before and after Blueprints feel hurt, frustrated, and scared because of unhelpful negativity. I have seen comments telling photographers that their photos are horrible, or even that the photography industry is going downhill because of them. Really? Is there anything helpful in those words? No!
It saddens me greatly when I get emails like this: “I wanted to send you a sample of your newborn actions on my photos. I don’t want to post the images on your Facebook page with such negativity from some people.” This person is not alone. Many photographers are scared to post images on our Facebook wall because they are afraid of “mean” attacks. This is sad. I want all photographers, regardless of their status as a pro or hobbyist, to feel comfortable posting to our sites and Facebook page.
If this continues, I will be left with no reasonable choice other than to delete vicious or unkind comments. So, as of today, because “common courtesy” isn’t common enough, I am instituting the following rules for the MCP blog, Facebook page, and other related sites.
Rules of conduct:
- If you can’t say it nicely, don’t say it. Only offer critique when asked and make it polite and constructive.
- No insults. People have feelings. Remember that behind every image is a photographer: some are professionals and some just like picking up a camera and taking pictures. Photo subjects are also people who often have close relationships with photographers and may see nasty comments. This will not be allowed.
- All respectful comments are welcome. For example, if we have a pricing discussion about selling images on DVD. You can say “I do not offer this because…” Or you can say “I charge $X for a DVD of images.” But do not reply with “@___, people like you are ruining the industry.”
- Understand that we serve veterans, beginners and everyone in between. Not everyone is at your level. Not everyone is in the same situation as you or has access to experience and equipment.
- We foster an environment for learning and growing. If you want critique or advice, ask for it when you post. If you give critique, make it useful not hurtful.
- Bring a skin thick enough for respectful, constructive commentary. Do not take comments personally unless they are personal attacks (and those will be deleted – just send us a message). It is easy to be misunderstood online, so if you think something “might be” unkind, clarify the intentions with the writer.
- Just because you have an opinion does not mean you are right. Just because someone tells you their thoughts about you, your photography or your business plan, does not mean they are right either. Use the differences to look at the world and further define your position.
- We feel the best images start with great exposure, strong composition, tack-sharp focus, and excellent white balance. We are also realistic and know the perfect picture isn’t always attainable in camera for a variety of reasons. Maybe you are a new photographer and are still working on the exposure triangle. Or maybe your favorite expression from a subject was the one where your flash didn’t fire. Other times you may take a vacation snapshot and want to print it. And while we help photographers with basic photography skills, we are not a photography company. We are a post-processing company. We educate photographers on using Photoshop, Elements, Lightroom, and tools like actions and presets to enhance their photography.
If you do not believe in using post-processing and think every image should be ideal straight out of the camera, no matter what, you are at the wrong place. MCP Actions exists to help improve all photos.
If anyone has anything to say regarding this post, please add it in the comments. I am willing to listen to any and all constructive criticism and opinions, just not spiteful or rude ones that offer no room for improvement. A friend and fellow photographer once told me “get rid of things that suck your joy.” I hope these new rules will make MCP Actions a better place to learn, share and grow.
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