Feedback Forums: Your Voice In The Photo/Imaging Community

Now that the Shutterbug Forums have been online for the last six months I can honestly say that they have been a success. We tried various topics and categories (and we're always open to your suggestions) and have honed them down to what we consider essential areas of interest. The feeling of success comes not so much from our creating the Forums but in how you, the readers and writers, have participated and contributed. In our preamble to the Forums we stated that we wanted to create an online community where each reader and participant could contribute what they could and learn what they needed to learn. We have found that making a space where constructive criticism and collegial discussion and debate are the rule has made the Forums so successful. We also invited our contributors to take part and I want to thank each of them for doing so with such good spirit.

Now we want to introduce another aspect to the Forums--a feedback area for your experiences with manufacturers, service departments, and retail mail-order companies. We do this in the same spirit as all our Forums, a place where constructive criticism and debate are welcome. We do this in order to better serve the community at large and to help improve all aspects of it, from suggestions on what users would like on the next generation of digital SLRs to how a particular pro service department helped save the day to how retail mail-order companies can best serve their clients.

Each of these Forums is placed under the general category of Feedback Forums. There will be a Forum for Manufacturers, Service, and Retail Mail Order. As with the current Forums we will give you the ability to begin discussion threads, which could be about a specific make of camera, a service you received, and about a specific experience with a retail mail-order company. We also invite manufacturers, service departments, and retail mail-order companies to participate in these discussions so that the communication is a true two-way street. Our aim is to provide the photo/imaging community with a place to speak their peace and to resolve issues, create dialog, and to inspire a creative path for improvement for all concerned.

As with our current Forums, we will not allow gratuitous insults, slander, or negative "vibes" to permeate any discussion. We do encourage lively and rigorous debate, but rancor is best left outside the door. We recognize that issues will be raised that might be uncomfortable for some, but feel that confronting some in good spirit will help everyone improve and make for a better community overall. We also think this would be a great place to give someone or a company a well-deserved "pat on the back" so that others can emulate their best practices.

If you have suggestions on how we can improve the Forums, or want to initiate a thread within one of our Forum topics, just log onto our website at www.shutterbug. com and click on the Forums logo to enter. Sign up--it's free--get involved, and make your voice heard within the photo and imaging community.

On another note, we begin the show season with PhotoPlus Expo in New York, the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, and the Photo Marketing Association Show in Orlando on our calendar in the coming months. Just what these shows reveal about the state of the art in the photo industry will perhaps, once again, redefine how we are being prompted to capture, store, and communicate with our images. We're bound to see new digital SLRs, software changes, and increased emphasis on more convenient and higher quality ways to make prints. As always, our intrepid Shutterbug team of reporters will be on the job, bringing you the latest news and tech changes coming in the year ahead.