Fostering A Positive Learning Environment at Pictureline - Online Policy


While the world of online publishing has become ubiquitous and often replacing, in some ways, the world of print publication, it has also opened new doors of individual interaction with what used to be very closed forums.  In the past, if you read an article in the Wall Street Journal, you were limited in your response to a letter to the editor, which had very little chance of being published.  Now, with the very common system of "commenting" on articles, your "one-liner" (however relevant) could be posted directly on the same article online.  You can even use your real name or not.  In fact, the content that you entered may not even be relevant to the article!  This has had a variety of effects on the system of editorial content, some positive and some negative.

In a forum such as this online publication (a photography blog published by a camera retailer, pictureline) we have several objectives:

First, it is no secret that it is published by a retailer, whose goal is to stay in business by showing a profit.  To do this, however, we have certain philosophies that differ slightly from other retailers in photography.

Secondly, we do this by supporting the professional photographers in their craft and by supporting beginning, amateur, and advanced amateur photographers in improving their photography.  We believe that if we assist photographers in getting them to the next level of their skills, we can achieve our other goals simultaneously.  This is a kind of system of karma, beginning with treating people the best way that we can.  This is an important distinction because while you may not be purchasing a camera or lens every time you interact with a pictureline employee, you are more than welcome to call in about how to work your old Hasselblad, about why you are getting an "error" message on your Canon 5D, or even how to perform a technical maneuver in post-processing.

When it comes to providing an online publication, therefore, we should clarify the objectives of this, too.  We are not strictly a "pure" editorial online journal, meaning many items in our content are clearly linked to products that we provide.  Having said that, our goals with the blog match our overall goals just mentioned.

We believe that the first goals of providing online content should support the professional photographers and simultaneously help educate and move the beginning, amateur, and advanced amateur photographers to the next level.  In doing so, we propose that the proper learning environment from both the professionals who are graciously providing time and talents for the rest of us and those reading the content should foster a community of positive learning.   Unlike most forums on the Internet today, we propose that in such a learning environment, civility and decent conduct should be paramount in the forums that follow the articles that are well crafted by the many professionals who spend their time explaining the aspects of the trade.

A recent appalling issue came to our attention that occurred between photographers who disagreed on the comments of one of the professionals who contributed (and very well, we might add) to the pictureline blog.  The language was profane, vulgar, and abusive. We can think of nothing more childish and divisive in a field that fosters creativity and art.  We were more than embarrassed for those involved, and we closed that article for comments.  Negative criticism is welcome, but as with any debate, the more professionally it is packaged and delivered, the more the audience will consider its points.

Please keep this in mind when you interact online with pictureline and the many photographers who interact with the store and each other online.  The pictureline blog will not tolerate divisive language and reserves the right to edit comments that are inappropriate in order to foster a positive learning environment.  We always appreciate dialogue that adds to the photography discussion, including debates and varying opinions, but when comments are mean-spirited with no intent other than to harass those involved, we will remove them. Again, negative comments are welcome, but the pictureline online space should be considered a higher standard when it comes to personal interactions and learning the exciting field of photography.

We have enjoyed the help from top professionals: Michael Clark, Marc Muench, Nevada Weir, Tom Till, Eric Meola, Corey Rich and many others.  We hope you will continue reading it.  We pride ourselves on providing interesting, useful, and diverse information from professional photographers all over the world and from the manufacturers who are constructing the wonderful equipment that we use daily.  If you have suggestions or would like to submit an article for consideration, please email your queries to, starting with the subject "Query: … "

Thank you again for your support.  All the best.

Amy Morby and Joel Addams

August 2012Learning photographyOnlinePicturelinePolicyProfessionalism

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