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DPReview appears to be transitioning into a FStoppers / Petapixel type shithole


Andrew Reid
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It is mindblowing how many external pages/cookies/skripts are loaded on many many websites. I am using uMatrix, I am sure there are many other browser add-ons like that, which show how many pages/cookies/scripts are loaded and from which sites.

This Eoshd thread is trying to load (three external scripts and two external css sheets):

 

www.eoshd.com

fonts.googleapis.com

gstatic.com

fonts.gstatic.com

redditmedia.com

embed.redditmedia.com

google-analytics.com

viglink.com

cdn.viglink.com

 

Not saying there is something wrong with it. Just saying, to know is to care. Load the german news paper Die Zeit and be spooked on how many third party sites are having their fingers in there.

Secondly, yes the internet is fucked.

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9 hours ago, BTM_Pix said:

When your 'economic model' is more or less stalking then you deserve to have it sabotaged.

I would happily pay a subscription fee for an internet service thats free of this intrusive bullshit.

Sometimes 'free' is really way too high a price to pay.

Haha yes when a business model is broken to the point of behaving like the Stasi then it is going to get shut down some way or another, and I'm glad the rumours sites won't be able to ping my Amazon purchases back at me, whilst selling it around stuff they cut and pasted from someone's YouTube channel.

7 hours ago, hansel said:

It is mindblowing how many external pages/cookies/skripts are loaded on many many websites. I am using uMatrix, I am sure there are many other browser add-ons like that, which show how many pages/cookies/scripts are loaded and from which sites.

This Eoshd thread is trying to load (three external scripts and two external css sheets):

 

www.eoshd.com

fonts.googleapis.com

gstatic.com

fonts.gstatic.com

redditmedia.com

embed.redditmedia.com

google-analytics.com

viglink.com

cdn.viglink.com

 

Not saying there is something wrong with it. Just saying, to know is to care. Load the german news paper Die Zeit and be spooked on how many third party sites are having their fingers in there.

Secondly, yes the internet is fucked.

None of those are advertising cookies though.

The reddit one is because there's a Reddit post embed function built into the forum software.

The Google ones are for fonts, visitor counters, some common scripts that speed up page loading and style sheets.

Viglink is an affiliate link enabler offered as part of IP.Board (the forum software) but it is disabled on the EOSHD forum as I didn't want it automatically underlining every camera name with a link to B&H.... Annoying, and penny wise, pound foolish bullcrap.

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I just started to write for Fstoppers as a "staff writer" in July and here is my modest and humble opinion about the situation.

1. Business model: You get what you pay for. DPR, Petapixel, Fstoppers and many other websites are free so the money must come from somewhere. Unfortunately it seems that adding more articles is the way to maintain of visits, views, thus revenues in a depressed ads market. The money problem is general and affects the entire media/press industry. People got use to free news and it's very hard to transition to the payed premium model. If someone has the solution, I'm listening. Many blogger or Instagramers have more followers than the Washington Post and DPR. There is a big revolution going on whether we like it or not and traditional media are loosing grounds. I agree with the dumbing down spiral of internet but this is also a consequence of the society we live in were the average level of education if going down the toilet and we have a generation of narcissist kids subjugated by their selfies and likes. For having experience in the food industry, food writers used to be kings, then they got beaten up by bloggers and now it's all about Instagram. I guess people are too lazy to read a short review now. Cute low resolution images with Fujifilm like filters is what sells. Up to the point were even chefs now design their menu and dishes based on "how good it looks on IG".... And the list of fucked up thing could go on such as the NDA tactics where some brands (mostly in electronic world) slice the disclosure announcement of a product overtime with various release date to maintain the public attention for more than 24 hours until another news killed the previous one.

2. My motivation to become a writer at Fstoppers: I started to write at Fstoppers because I'm very active on many forums and FB groups. When I saw the "job offer" I decided to apply because I though it would be nice to spend some of my forum/facebook groups time on writing actual articles for "real" media. For your information, the money is not my main motivation and it's very little by the way. I'm also tired of endless sterile debate on FB or Forums. I don't have the ambition to change the world, I'm just a small guy and I try to stick to my area of expertise. So far I haven't had any issue with the editors and they always accepted my articles. Actually one of my first article was questioning the Canon conservatism. I'm not sure how long I will do this but for now it's interesting. For instance this "position" allowed me to interview Tom Lowe about Awaken and he gave me a lot of technical info.

3. Type of photo website: To be honest I'm a little bit disappointed by the DPR move because they are known for their depth reviews. But like anybody else, it's a corporation with a bottom line, staff on payroll, server fees, etc. It's own by amazon and the guys at the accounting department probably asked for some change. Personally I don't think there is anything wrong with DPR and Petapixel or even the rumors blogs. I usually check them all and do my due diligence. They all fall in a specific range of information. Petapixel and Fstoppers publish some interesting tutorial and short news (and yes, some clickbait, no one does it right, not even here?). Most of the time the rumors stuff is crap but sometime I find interesting info. Everyone bitch about them but many of us check them out anyway.  Let's no be hypocrite here... many threads and article here were started via rumors dot com links.

4. Repost: after two month at Fstoppers I try to publish original content but sometime I got busy (and yes, lazy) and I decide to do a quick repost. A repost at Fstoppers is not a shameless copy/paste steal, just a short introduction of an article/video to invite the reader to visit the original content. I don't see anything wrong about it. We actually receive a shitload of emails everyday from people asking to repost their work/tutorial/guest article. When I spot something interesting, I do a small repost article.

5. The future of Internet and note to Andrew: Unfortunately I don't think that Facebook or Google care much about what we think. Andrew can demand what they "should do" or how internet should be but nobody care... They are huge international cash machine with advanced corporate tax and legal optimization systems. They are not cool and don't care about values and moral despite some green-washing and PR campaigns to look nice. We can create a 10, 100 or 1000 forum threads about it but nothing will happen beyond our tiny and confidential community. They'll start to something the day it make the headline of USA todays and see some impact on their stock (before that they'll probably spend millions in lobbying to bend the law making process)

Andrew, I sent you a couple of emails with request for interview on Fstoppers. Not that I want to steal your content to get views (I could do quick clickbait repost for that) but because I appreciate your work ethic and deep technical knowledge. You make a lot of valid comments and I 'd like to give you more exposure. Not that you need me anyway but I thought I could help at my modest level.

Regards

 

 

 

 

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Thanks for the thoughtful comments OliKMIA.

I didn't see the emails, were they sent recently?

I was in a similar position to you. I've written for DPReview, had some friends there, but their main editor was a constant road block and the main driving force behind the new click bait led-approach there. I just never saw eye to eye with him. I actually started off writing a bit for DigitalRev before that, but you see - these places are actually making a shit ton of money and they pay writers peanuts. The best thing you can do is to use them as a step on the ladder towards starting your own blog or YouTube channel. The exposure they give you is more valuable than the peanuts they feed you. But eventually you will starve and have to eat something.

When I look at NoFilmSchool, PetaPixel and yes FStoppers I usually find that 90% of the content isn't original. Certainly not in terms of camera reviews. The reviews section reads like a top 10 of YouTube videos. It is outsourced to writers like yourself who aren't paid enough and aren't part of a core team in a building. This is against my principals because I think it's bad business and bad for the internet. There should be more investment in talent like yourself and more campuses in all major cities where these sites invest in space for writers, reviewers and filmmakers.

Perhaps the money required just isn't there, but if Patreon can raise $60m in funding for their site from investors, I am sure a site as high profile as Amazon can invest a little more in what they own - aka DPReview - and give something back to the photography community. FStoppers I am sure is a multi-million dollar business and instead of maintaining a high traffic volume through the current model of curating content, should be writing it in-house from scratch, and Google should be the ones who are curating the content, showing more of an editorial hand by moving good stuff up the rankings by hand rather than relying on clicks and popularity matrixes.

The danger for DPR now is that their front page click-bait is drowning out the hard work of the core team such as Richard Butler and his original articles, reviews, technical pieces and opinion. It will attract a different audience and kill their core audience stone dead. The clicks will all be heading towards the reposts and sensational gimmickry, and away from what made them such a respected authority on cameras.

As creators we are also users. I am a consumer. I'm a visitor of several other blogs and sites. The general feeling whenever I surf the net these days for camera news is sheer disappointment in the standard of content and I actually often come back to the EOSHD forum instead and ask a question or reply to topics, because you often learn more from your own community than you do from the broader industry one.

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37 minutes ago, Andrew Reid said:

Thanks for the thoughtful comments OliKMIA.

I didn't see the emails, were they sent recently?

I was in a similar position to you. I've written for DPReview, had some friends there, but their main editor was a constant road block and the main driving force behind the new click bait led-approach there. I just never saw eye to eye with him. I actually started off writing a bit for DigitalRev before that, but you see - these places are actually making a shit ton of money and they pay writers peanuts. The best thing you can do is to use them as a step on the ladder towards starting your own blog or YouTube channel. The exposure they give you is more valuable than the peanuts they feed you. But eventually you will starve and have to eat something.

When I look at NoFilmSchool, PetaPixel and yes FStoppers I usually find that 90% of the content isn't original. Certainly not in terms of camera reviews. The reviews section reads like a top 10 of YouTube videos. It is outsourced to writers like yourself who aren't paid enough and aren't part of a core team in a building. This is against my principals because I think it's bad business and bad for the internet. There should be more investment in talent like yourself and more campuses in all major cities where these sites invest in space for writers, reviewers and filmmakers.

Perhaps the money required just isn't there, but if Patreon can raise $60m in funding for their site from investors, I am sure a site as high profile as Amazon can invest a little more in what they own - aka DPReview - and give something back to the photography community. FStoppers I am sure is a multi-million dollar business and instead of maintaining a high traffic volume through the current model of curating content, should be writing it in-house from scratch, and Google should be the ones who are curating the content, showing more of an editorial hand by moving good stuff up the rankings by hand rather than relying on clicks and popularity matrixes.

The danger for DPR now is that their front page click-bait is drowning out the hard work of the core team such as Richard Butler and his original articles, reviews, technical pieces and opinion. It will attract a different audience and kill their core audience stone dead. The clicks will all be heading towards the reposts and sensational gimmickry, and away from what made them such a respected authority on cameras.

As creators we are also users. I am a consumer. I'm a visitor of several other blogs and sites. The general feeling whenever I surf the net these days for camera news is sheer disappointment in the standard of content and I actually often come back to the EOSHD forum instead and ask a question or reply to topics, because you often learn more from your own community than you do from the broader industry one.

Hi Andrew. No problem, I sent you two emails. One last month and one late august/early September I believe. You probably just missed them. Could you send me a private message here on the forum so we can get in touch directly?  Or drop me a message on FB/Twitter/Instagram if you prefer at @oliverkmia

Beside that I agree with everything you said. As for Fstoppers, I enjoy it for now, I don't know if I'm getting abused or not. I have a ton of other stuff to do on the side so it's cool.

Cheers

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The problem with the 'real' (old) media is that instead of standing their ground and weathering the storm against 'new' media and actually upping their standards, they shit themselves and joined in.

You only have to look at the websites of traditional newspapers in the UK to see whats happened as they are culling more of their content from social media and trying to sensationalise it.

You regularly now see what 20 years ago would have been a disagreement between two anonymous people in a small town elevated to national 'news' because its so easy, cheap - and natural - for the new crop of journalists at these publications to source these stories and amplify them.

We now have a situation where there is a generation that hasn't grown up with any real depth or quality to the media that they are exposed to.

If 'real' media is now just a randomly compiled, delayed and watered down version of 'new' media then why the hell would anyone pay for it anyway when you can get the other stuff for free?

The future of online might actually be semi-offline for many of us as we seek higher quality of everything from journals, to music, to films but we will have to pay for it directly and properly.

If we want people who are providing the content to be serious then we have to be too and accept that we'll have to pay for it.

I think it is actually doable and the burnout that a large number of people are feeling about the internet could make the timing of it not far off.

The great thing about the internet can be that there is no filter between creators and consumers but sometimes we need to accept that that filter sometimes wasn't a bad thing.

These days, everyone wants to celebrate that the big corporate monsters of print, broadcast, music and film have been bypassed but to my mind they've now been replaced by corporates that are far, far more sinister.

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The disaster artists at DPReview have a new headline article for us today.

dpr clickbait.jpg

And the main takeaway from the repost is this:

As for capturing the photo itself, we asked Hofman if he would like to share anything with our audience of photographers directly. This is what he had to say:

"The thing I would really like to tell photographers is to a) Listen to your gut and b) Don't worry so much about gear."

*Shrugs*

So yes, this is DPReview telling us after 1000's of in-depth reviews to not worry so much about gear after all.

Not that this message runs counter to their overall purpose as journalists and camera reviewers, nooooooo

Not that by placing this clickbait front and centre on the home page distracts from their core business of reviews and puts off 90% of their existing readership, of course not!

pr.jpg

Once the novelty of q-tip holding seahorses, microscopic close-ups of peacock feathers and tips on shooting macro photos of boiling water* wears off, maybe we will get to why we browsed to the site, maybe a review or 2...

After all it is called Digital Photography Review, as is about cameras.

So I did a small sample of one day in September, yesterday in fact, it was a real vintage day for content at DPReview with 12 articles going out and only 2 of them were reviews. So now we can conclude that DPReview is approximately 10% reviews and 90% seahorse pictures, with the readership currently 90% looking for reviews and 10% for seahorse pictures.

What I assume DPReview wants to achieve is to switch that readership to 90% looking for seahorse pictures because who the fuck doesn't like seahorse pictures?

Suddenly DPReview is going to explode into the mainstream with more clicks than they can handle... Just look at the CUUUUUTE little seahorse!!!

* actual articles on DPR

On 20/09/2017 at 4:51 PM, BTM_Pix said:

The problem with the 'real' (old) media is that instead of standing their ground and weathering the storm against 'new' media and actually upping their standards, they shit themselves and joined in.

Yes even the BBC and they are publicly funded!

They have a special place reserved on their main news home page for clickbait, it's the 4th square across under the main headline of the day.

The seahorse picture is right up there with a journalist reporting from a war zone.

It's what people want.

Quote

You only have to look at the websites of traditional newspapers in the UK to see whats happened as they are culling more of their content from social media and trying to sensationalise it.

Yes they love a good controversy generated out of nothing. PewDiePie on YouTube owes 70% of his popularity to the Wall Street Journal.

Quote

You regularly now see what 20 years ago would have been a disagreement between two anonymous people in a small town elevated to national 'news' because its so easy, cheap - and natural - for the new crop of journalists at these publications to source these stories and amplify them.

We now have a situation where there is a generation that hasn't grown up with any real depth or quality to the media that they are exposed to.

And we see the results in their voting and consumption behaviour!

Quote

If 'real' media is now just a randomly compiled, delayed and watered down version of 'new' media then why the hell would anyone pay for it anyway when you can get the other stuff for free?

The future of online might actually be semi-offline for many of us as we seek higher quality of everything from journals, to music, to films but we will have to pay for it directly and properly.

If we want people who are providing the content to be serious then we have to be too and accept that we'll have to pay for it.

I think it is actually doable and the burnout that a large number of people are feeling about the internet could make the timing of it not far off.

I really hope this happens. I hope people get so burned out by trivial, repetitive junk content that there comes a golden age of the internet where the amount of content drops massively and the quality of each piece skyrockets.

It would do us all a lot of good to go on a digital diet.

Quote

The great thing about the internet can be that there is no filter between creators and consumers but sometimes we need to accept that that filter sometimes wasn't a bad thing.

These days, everyone wants to celebrate that the big corporate monsters of print, broadcast, music and film have been bypassed but to my mind they've now been replaced by corporates that are far, far more sinister.

This is an interesting point, because the corporate influence is so much more personal and subversive now. They are able to influence which friends we interact with, which ones we see the updates from and which ones we don't, the machines are acting as a filter rather than us.

I think by and large machine algorithms are even influencing which articles get written and which don't, despite their original purpose to filter for quality.

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Corporate internet needs you to spend as much time as possible looking at as many ads as possible.  And click bait articles work because they target the mass. 

I have never seen an algorithm optimized for quality, probably because there is no objective method to train them on. It is much easier to use clicks/views which in turn creates these shitholes. 

That being said, fstoppers seems to offer better quality articles than dpreview, so I am guessing they still have an actual human editor :) 

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4 hours ago, Andrew Reid said:

Suddenly DPReview is going to explode into the mainstream with more clicks than they can handle... Just look at the CUUUUUTE little seahorse!!!

I'm not sure whether you might have misread the photograph. This is about plastics pollution of the oceans.

I personally wouldn't mind if people used their camera gear to give visibility to urgent - and otherwise abstract - issues (...instead of shooting the n-th bokeh test video...).

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Such a patronising tone cantsin, ffs.

That's the whole point - an environmental cause has broader appeal than a camera review, so they are going after the clicks with this kind of bait instead of putting the hard work in and doing the reviews. And it is happening everywhere, to the real detriment of ORIGINAL content and original journalism.

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Interesting article found via Daring Fireball / John Gruber (well known Apple blogger):

‘The Real Story in This Mess Is Not the Threat That Algorithms Pose to Amazon Shoppers, but the Threat That Algorithms Pose to Journalism’

Maciej Ceglowski, demolishing a “news” story [from reputable Channel 4 News in the UK] that spread around the world claiming that Amazon’s suggestions were helping people make bombs, when in fact they were helping people conduct high school chemistry experiments:

Quote

 

"The real story in this mess is not the threat that algorithms pose to Amazon shoppers, but the threat that algorithms pose to journalism. By forcing reporters to optimize every story for clicks, not giving them time to check or contextualize their reporting, and requiring them to race to publish follow-on articles on every topic, the clickbait economics of online media encourage carelessness and drama. This is particularly true for technical topics outside the reporter’s area of expertise.

"And reporters have no choice but to chase clicks. Because Google and Facebook have a duopoly on online advertising, the only measure of success in publishing is whether a story goes viral on social media. Authors are evaluated by how individual stories perform online, and face constant pressure to make them more arresting. Highly technical pieces are farmed out to junior freelancers working under strict time limits. Corrections, if they happen at all, are inserted quietly through ‘ninja edits’ after the fact.

"There is no real penalty for making mistakes, but there is enormous pressure to frame stories in whatever way maximizes page views. Once those stories get picked up by rival news outlets, they become ineradicable. The sheer weight of copycat coverage creates the impression of legitimacy. As the old adage has it, a lie can get halfway around the world while the truth is pulling its boots on.

"The real story of machine learning is not how it promotes home bomb-making, but that it's being deployed at scale with minimal ethical oversight, in the service of a business model that relies entirely on psychological manipulation and mass surveillance. The capacity to manipulate people at scale is being sold to the highest bidder, and has infected every aspect of civic life, including democratic elections and journalism.

Together with climate change, this algorithmic takeover of the public sphere is the biggest news story of the early 21st century. We desperately need journalists to cover it. But as they grow more dependent on online publishing for their professional survival, their capacity to do this kind of reporting will disappear, if it has not disappeared already."

http://idlewords.com/2017/09/anatomy_of_a_moral_panic.htm

 

 

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1 hour ago, Andrew Reid said:

 

"The real story of machine learning is not how it promotes home bomb-making, but that it's being deployed at scale with minimal ethical oversight, in the service of a business model that relies entirely on psychological manipulation and mass surveillance. The capacity to manipulate people at scale is being sold to the highest bidder, and has infected every aspect of civic life, including democratic elections and journalism.

Together with climate change, this algorithmic takeover of the public sphere is the biggest news story of the early 21st century. We desperately need journalists to cover it. But as they grow more dependent on online publishing for their professional survival, their capacity to do this kind of reporting will disappear, if it has not disappeared already."

 

The really sinister bit, of course, is that even if you wrote the story then to get it out there you've got to play along with the very same game.

At the end of the day, its fast becoming true that the only difference between the two organisations pictured here is that the Stasi didn't have break out areas and football tables to make it all look fluffy and innocent.

 

stasi.jpg

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