Why I'm leaving the pixls.us forum

(Gord) #21

@Elle, if you’re still out there, I’m sorry to see you going. To be honest, many of your posts have been beyond my knowledge level…but I could see that they were well written and covered good subject areas, and I have a goal to go back to review them and improve my knowledge level when I have more time. I’d love to have more to study…

(Mica) #22

I think you’ve inadvertantly hit on part of what makes communicating via the internet difficult at times. It wasn’t clear that you were being sarcastic, and those who understood found the comment to be in poor taste.

Blanket statements about groups of people are not the kind of statements that are not tolerable here, in jest or otherwise. Calling the natives of America Indians is disrespectful and in poor taste, as are your Gypsy comments.


Although I am new here, I am kind of not surprized about this.
It is a great pity that a woman leaves this community since there are so few women who are interested in open source software, don’t you all think so?

(Colin Paul Adams) #24

Yes. Also @elle introduced me to Pixels.us in the first place.

(Thomas) #25

Please stop dividing people into good citizens and “them.” I am European and especially on the basis of European history I have no understanding at all for “imprisoning” or excluding groups of people.

(Pat David) #26

@Elle - I haven’t heard back from you and it’s been almost 24 hours since your post. I don’t want to be seen as not honoring your request to unsubscribe from the forum.

I’ll hold off a couple of more hours and after that I’ll do as you requested.

(Roel) #27

Please @patdavid, if you could give @Elle a little more time to reply that could be worthwhile. Although this has been a well prepared statement by her, it also reflects a state of intense displeasure. It may take more than 24 hours to even consider looking back to see how your ‘farewell’ was received.
If there has been no reply within a week, I think it’s safe to say we truly lost her…

(Damon Lynch) #28

I cannot speak to the specifics of any individual here. So the following remarks are truly meant to be of a general nature. My goal in making them is certainly not to “call anyone out”, but rather, to help us think through situations of this kind as they invariably pop up in life.

The root problem of community conflicts like these can be not the community, but the individual who makes a big show of leaving it. Specifically, the person leaving can have an inflated self-will that inevitably poisons their interaction with others. In other words, an out of control ego. Or to be more specific, and to use the terms favored by many psychologists and psychiatrists, a blend of communal and covert narcissism.

Again, to be clear, I’m not saying that is the case here. I’ve not met any person involved. What I am saying is let’s keep it in mind as a community so we can adapt and thrive.

A psychology professor explains the forms of narcissism recognized by her discipline here: https://youtu.be/_uJs0iGQN0M

(Now speaking as an anthropologist, allow me to point out that classifications these are not scientifically neutral. They’re informed by the social conditions and the modern culture in which they’re developed. They’re an attempt to systematically classify phenomena that insightful people have recognized as destructive for literally thousands of years).

But one does not need to turn to academic disciplines to recognize the problem. I’m fond of an image a teacher of mine shared more than two decades ago (it obviously resonated):

In Kerala we have a giant, fierce-looking plant called elephant nettle. You have only to walk by for it to stretch out and sting you. By the time you get home, you have a blister that won’t let you think about anything else. My grandmother used to say, “A self-willed person is like an elephant nettle.”

My teacher went on to say:

That is why the moment we see somebody who is given to saying unkind things, we make a detour. We pretend we have suddenly remembered something that takes us in another direction, but the fact is that we just don’t want to be stung. Whenever I complained of a classmate I did not like, my granny would say, “Here, you have to learn to grow. Go near him. Let yourself slowly get comfortable around him; then give him your sympathy and help take the sting out of his nettleness.”

I do believe this community is acting compassionately in this situation. Which is fantastic and mature. But life being life, these kinds of things will occur again in future. Sometimes the person in question will be well-meaning. But sometimes they will not be. They will be concerned only with themselves even as they make a show of being concerned with others. They will make people feel bad, and that will be perfectly fine with them. In fact they’ll be like that elephant nettle, deliberately reaching out to sting. Their primary concern is themselves, not anyone else.

As a virtual community that’s tough to deal with. Highly self-willed people can come and go at any time. My advice is to keep acting compassionately, with the intention the person will end their damaging behavior, all the while keeping in mind they probably will not. Then our community will continue to thrive, and deal constructively with the damage caused by highly self-willed people without having good people burn out.


wow, so many likes, that is a record :smiley:
(however, I wonder: if there are some misogynic people here, what might be the reason?)

(Elle Stone) #30

My apologies @patdavid for not responding to this thread in a more timely manner. I’ve been at the hospital with a family member.

(Pat David) #31

:anguished: Oh no! I hope they are ok!

As @Thanatomanic mentions earlier, I’m happy to leave this thread for a week and let things settle down.
If you come back and let me know differently in that time I’ll leave your account as it is.
If not, I’ll do as you asked.

I sincerely hope that your family member is/will be ok! :frowning:


I’m not a programmer, coder etc just a photographer who enjoys this amazing FOSS. I followed Pat Davids excellent articles over the years and finally got to meet him a couple of years ago. We have a lot to thank him for.
I didn’t see the articles refered to but have seen these types of spats on other forums, its an inherent risk on the internet. I’ve winced at some of the responses here, often due to English not being the first language.
If someone wants to leave then fine, no one is being forced to stay. I believe that exit statements should be addressed to the admin people. A bit like an issue in the workplace - you take it up with management.

So for what its worth, Pat David and Pixl.us are doing a tremendous job - long may it continue.

(Elle Stone) #33

I introduced a topic that I think members of this forum need to think about. I was hoping to start a discussion with something like the level of thoughtfulness and intelligent input that characterized the discussion of Eggleston’s photographs, from which I learned so very much. The actual result was rather appallingly different.

A couple of people have registered complaints about my use of the word misogynist. So try these words instead: Condescending. Sexist. Silencing.

Why did I start - try to start - a discussion of photographs of naked people and the social/etc implications of same? We have @damonlynch posting a photograph of an upside down lady with her legs spread apart - artistic? maybe? We have an “interview” article - I think the very first such interview article posted to pixls.us - featuring sterotypically young pretty passively posed women staring moodily off into the distance or at the camera. And we have a new member on our forum who’s personal portfolio features perfect female bodies in standard “oh look another beautiful naked female body” poses (yes, I’d seen his website before I started the thread).

Taken collectively there is a certain “same old same old” about these images, and I think it needs to be talked about. I don’t have a problem with photographs of naked people. But I do have questions about what ways we as a community are seen portraying naked people. So far there isn’t any diversity at all in these images. If pixls.us is a place for displaying naked people - a question that maybe also needs to be discussed, then I think there needs to be diversity and a consideration of social responsibility for the messages conveyed by any such images posted on pixls.us.

Hmm, I’m tempted to assume that you mean right now I’m not demonstrating maturity and reasonableness. If so, I disagree. I think under the circumstances - all the circumstances - quitting the forum is the best thing I can do.

My understanding of the Creative Commons license under which I made my posts is that the license requires that my posts be attributed to me. I don’t understand why you think it’s necessary to remove my name from my posts just because I’ve decided to quit the forum. This seems like more silencing.

But if you plan to steal my contributions - that’s sort of what it amounts to if you remove my name from my contributions after my account is closed - then that’s a choice that you’ve decided to make. Or maybe you will say it’s the forum software’s fault. Whatever.

I’m appalled that I actually have to ask an admin to close my account.

Believe it or not, I’m also trying to advance the cause of Free Software. I think my record of time and contributions to free software should speak for itself.

May I suggest that you all spend some quality time at LGM and in this forum thinking about and talking about how to reach out to women photographers and encourage them to join the forum.

You people who keep talking about bad behavior when quitting a forum - instead of dismissing my words as some sort of egotistical hissy-fit, maybe you could spend some time trying to figure out what I’m actually trying to say. I’m not normally prone to use words like misogynist, condescending, and sexist. It took me two trips to the dictionary to get the spelling of “misogynist” right.

For me this forum is no longer a place to temporarily put aside all of life’s stresses and talk about photography. Instead it’s just another source of stress. It was stressful before I started a thread on photographs of naked people and it’s only gotten worse. The only way I can see to remain a member and avoid stress is to silence myself and only talk about technical stuff. That’s not a path I’m comfortable taking.

Those of you who’ve privately or in this thread expressed support and understanding, thank you, it’s very much appreciated.

@patdavid - please do close my account.

(Alan Gibson) #34

Many thanks, Elle, for your contributions. I particularly admire your communication skills, both on technical matters and wider areas.

I also thank and admire the folk who run this forum. Creating and maintaining space for everyone concerned with the wide-ranging aspects of digital arts isn’t easy, and ensuring that everyone is comfortable with all the content is impossible.

(Pat David) #35

Your account has been suspended per your request.

You’ve been on this forum for over 3 years now. I do wonder why this is the first time I’m hearing of these concerns from you.

It’s oddly coincidental that this comes almost directly after your argument with someone else in your nudity thread.

Condescending - I have not been able to find a good case for this in past posts. Quite the contrary when people acknowledge the breadth of your knowledge on technical aspects.

Sexist - Again, I do not actually find any evidence of this being the case.

Silencing - It’s odd that you feel silenced. All I can find in reference to this is when I accidentally closed a thread when you were responding. I realized my error and apologized as soon as I found out.

I hope nothing but the best for you in the future.
Feel free to contact me if you have any other feedback (you have my email)
Bonne chance!

[edit] - @Elle made a small mistake and mentioned @damonlynch as posting a particular image, when she meant @Stampede. She reached out to Damon already and apologized for the mix-up and asked us to clarify.

(Damon Lynch) #40

For the record, this statement is completely untrue. I have posted only screenshots of my program Rapid Photo Downloader here.

I categorically reject any notion my work in any way is sexist. Anyone is welcome to look through the entire body of my photographic work on the Internet or in print to determine if there is a single photo that could be construed as sexist.

(Shreedhar Inamdar) #43

I think Elle meant the second entry of this submission of @Stampede


This user is suspended until Jan 8, 3019 11:00 pm.
Reason: by request

See you in a thousand years. At 11 o’clock.

In my career, one which involved constant intercommunication, I learned that most newbies take things straight to the heart and emotionally so. Seasoned pros glean what they need and bypass getting stuck in the mire. Over time they have experienced those newbie growing pangs, learning that which is wasted on drama wastes away at your work. The bleeding heart hardens, but it takes experience and more communication. If one takes issue with another, it is resolved by requests for clarification, just in case there is the chance that another was misunderstood—always adding to the convo and not shutting it down. If you have a point, it won’t win over the others if you hold it in until you’re ready to slam the door on everyone.

Now allow me to quote from the 13th Clause of the PIXLS.US Terms of Service

  • If you wish to terminate this Agreement or your PIXLS.US account (if you have one), you may simply discontinue using the Website.

I have no idea what went on besides reading this thread over the past few days. Things that seemed like they violated your personal rights, reputation, or the TOS should have been flagged right away.

(Stefan Chirila) #45

Well it’s unfortunate that it came to all of this; but yeah, things like this happen in the real world, where good people sometimes do bad things, or can at least be perceived as such, and where consequences can be very final.

Reading all this hit me like a brick. Yes I know that there are very opinionated people out there, who will be harsh and not care, even think themselves justified as long as they consider themselves right, and that there are people who can get highly affected by it terribly, whether justified or not. I’ll stop being vague now.

I don’t know @Elle personally but it is sad that things ended like this, rather than this being a success story of recovery from a touchy situation. It is what it is in the end, a good lesson on how fragile of an eco-system we have here, and how our priorities when engaging in conversation with others matter. Our paramount priority needs to be to deal with issues, even confrontations, in a way that doesn’t drive people over the edge, otherwise our community as a whole is at stake. I trust that we all learn from this most sad situation, and that our respect for one another will be increased as an effect of this, as well as the realization that leaving, when a conflict ensues, will never fix the issue we wish to fix.

I’ve personally had a very lovely experience as part of this forum. I’ve enjoyed most conversations I’ve had with members, and I’ve rejoiced on multiple occasions at the fact that this forum keeps going in spite of being a conglomeration of people of many different walks of life, of many different interests, and as it turns out very varied political and social opinions. Variety is good; and figuring out how to live together without turning on each other in conflict is the key to have a small society that can aspire to nobler purposes, such as making the world (of software, in this case) a better place for everyone.

We have a good thing going on here in this forum, I hope we can keep it up for a long time to come. :slight_smile:

(Gustavo Adolfo) #46

We could also think of this not as an act of covert narcissism but an act of open activism, it really depends from where one analyzes it.

(DISCLAIMER: to me it’s an act of activism)

At first, I got the same exact feeling as you brilliantly described in your post. However, as I started remembering the ruthless treatment she got from some people, I changed my mind.

Was Elle strongly opinionated? Yes, she definitely was!

So what?

Was she right in her opinions? I don’t know, and I think that’s not the point.

I’m sorry colleagues for reviving this subject, but, as @stefan.chirila, I also felt like I was hit by a brick, and I have to take some time to recover.

One thing is for sure: narcissism, be it communal, covert or open, is something that I want to be far, far away from.

Good night to all.