The value of dissent

The value of dissent
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I ask that the moderators and owner take a different outlook on dissent.

There is great value in people who criticize. They provide valuable feedback. They care. The real problem at NPN are not the dissenters but the ones that say nothing or the bootlickers. NPN does not get better from those members. It’s not my aim to judge anybody. Most, including myself, come here just to look at pictures. No drama. I get that.

All of us are different. We all voice our opinions and thoughts in different ways. If we all met in a room somewhere it would be clear just how different we all are. It’s important, I feel, for the moderators and owner to accept that and take in criticism as it’s given. To give an example: the Golden State Warriors have everyone from Steph Curry to Draymond Green. Draymond voices his opinion very differently than Steph. However, the Warriors management is intelligent to realize that they are different people offering their opinions in a way that they are able to. Nobody tries to make Draymond behave like Steph. I am asking that the moderators do the same. More tolerance is required.

I realize that there are members who are more authoritarian and some who are less. Those who are more authoritarian like a tight ship with less criticism. I would suggest that NPN be tolerant, more accepting of both types of people.

Please don’t comment on this post listing the rules that were broken. I already understand the authoritarian argument.

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I fully understand we are all different and I am actually very open to all sides of differing opinions. I look at things in a very logical manner and try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt when arguing sensitive subjects. That said, there is no place for politics, arguments, and drama on NPN.

There has been a lot of drama in the past week, and a lot more going on behind the scenes, such as personal attacks that you do not see. NPN is a place to come to escape the drama found on other sites and focus on what we all love, nature photography. I will not let anyone make it otherwise and am willing to make the hard choices of letting members that do not agree with this.

The guidelines are in place to maintain the civil, fun, and drama free atmosphere we all love. We are not being authoritarian, we are maintaining this atmosphere that the vast majority of the members want.

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While I don’t have all the details of how your post came to be, Igor, I will say that I appreciate the efforts to make NPN a friendly place. I agree with you that dissent and different perspectives can be quite helpful in stretching a person’s thinking, promoting creativity, and encouraging personal development but if delivered in certain ways, it can be really harmful to a community and individual photographers.

When I first joined NPN more than ten years ago now, a particular popular member had a lot of interesting, contrary views and he delivered them with a heavy dose of meanness and misogyny. This was allowed by the moderators and I think that it really harmed the community and made it less welcoming for women photographers, especially young, new photographers like I was at the time. I didn’t feel comfortable posting photos or questions because of the climate that resulted, which is in direct opposition to the entire reason that a site like NPN exists.

With this personal example in mind, I think that meanness, abusive language, aggressive bluntness, and similar behavior should be discouraged as it isn’t conducive to creating a cohesive, supportive online community. It doesn’t seem like dissent has been the issue as much as the argumentative, aggressive ways that it has been delivered. I personally don’t want to be part of a community where long, angry threads and mean comments are allowed to flourish and am glad that the moderators and site owners are taking the code of conduct seriously.

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I can’t argue with the points you make Sarah. In fact, I don’t wish to argue about it. Certainly if a person was making misogynistic remarks he/she has no place on NPN. And certainly long, mean, angry threads should be stopped. In this case I don’t think either was true. Anyway, what I’m trying to say is some people are argumentative and some get angry at argumentative people. It’s the nature of man. It seems to me that the latter have gotten the upper hand here. There should be room for both types of people. I don’t know how to rephrase this without saying the same thing. Anybody who has sat in a boardroom or a classroom knows that there are some who repeatedly question everything that’s said and others do not. But you don’t fire them for it. I understand that some get miffed by the others but in the big picture all provide in a manner that they are comfortable with. Some people are blunt and some are polite. That’s just the nature of man. Different people talk differently. Like I said, I don’t argue with the examples that you have provided. I don’t believe they are what I had intended when I wrote this.

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@David_Kingham I appreciate you taking those steps. One of the main reasons I don’t really use sites like FB anymore is the general drama and focus on politics.

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David, you have my gratitude and complete support for the way you are managing the site. There is an ethos of kindness on the site that is priceless. It makes it possible to disagree and offer constructive criticism.

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