Dude, you know how much I respect you, your wisdom and your passion for photography. You are a big part of the heart and soul here.
You also know that I left this site for a few months for the very reasons you're talking about... but I disagree.
This was really one very serious mis-understanding over some very questionable actions (in which I took part)... all were regretable. There was a related little skirmish too that spawned a few protest threads but all in all it was just a little snit which frankly, I thought was kind of amusing (I'm probably a bad person for that, but it's true).
During all that, I participated in several threads that were purely about photography, lighting, scanning and optics... and I skipped over a number of threads that were also mainly about photography.
To me, this is a social groupwhere I can interact with photographers, we share other interests as well and freely discuss them when they come up. Some of us are freinds and some are mutual antagonists... and some of our freinds are freinds with our antagonists. That's actually a pretty cool setup that you rarely have with your regular, in person freinds. Have I been mis-spelling friends this whole time? Damn. Anyway, being a social group there will be social behaviors and among those are the skirmishes and arguments that stem from mis-understanding, failure of communication and incomplete information... they just happen. What's interesting to me is that it happens as RARELY as it does when you consider that practically all the communication is via typed words scattered about thirty or so active threads frequently without context unless you read the whole thread in chron order. It's a testament to people's desire to get along.
I think internet forums as busy as this are virtual organisms with dramatic mutation rates. Each thread has it's own little brief lifespan... and life without conflict isn't worth living, life needs to struggle in order to grow. The thread skirmishes are spice, the stuff that sticks to your bones is photography, modeling and styling... it's art.
I finally came back when Don and DeAnn hoodwinked me and took me up on a dare (related to the 'Lawnmower Woman' shot) and I had to post a thread to fulfill my end. The fact is though, I missed the social scene here. I checked a lot of photography forums and only three have the class of people I'm comfortable with MSP, RetouchPro and GG. Lately GG is where I've been hanging out regularly, but I move around and go dormant pretty regularly. These are some of the best people to learn about photography from on the whole damn internet, not just the shooting but the business, publishing, philisophical, interactive and humorous aspects of it.
I probably like a good fight more than some folks (I'm a Bama redneck, what can I say), but I'm aging and becoming more mellow.. I enjoy watching more than fighting now... especially if I get to toss a firecracker in the ring every now and then.
You know, if you weren't around here, I might think differently about what I just wrote... but then same goes for [shudder] Don!
Ps. This is my semi-serious response, had I been in one of my giddy moods I'd have given you grief about being confused and advancing age, beautiful woman induced dementia, etc. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/tongue.gif[/img]