Introducing the New Phase of PINAC; Forums and Advertising

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The Photography is Not a Crime forums have finally arrived, providing a platform for all the awesome contributors that have become part of the PINAC community over the years.

They are so new that I haven’t even had time to create new discussion topics, so I’m hoping you can guys can give me some ideas.

I do plan on adding new topics over the next few days and we’ll eventually get it down. They can be accessed by clicking on “forums” above the header picture.

The most important section will be the “Breaking News” section, which is where I hope readers will contribute articles, links and videos to the types of stories I normally write about.

This way, the stories can be discussed and even voted up or down depending on interest, relevance and priority as is done in Reddit. And from there, I can take the stories and expand on them on the main section of the blog.

But even if I never get around to doing that, the stories remain archived on this blog, which is the whole point of it all.

As it is now, readers submit stories through email, Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus and many times, I don’t get a chance to write about them, even though many are very newsworthy, so they end up getting bypassed and never making it on this blog.

The Breaking News section will also be featured in the top right-hand column, enabling readers to see what is hot as soon as they click on the home page.

Registration is required to contribute to the forums, which I know will turn some readers off, but is the norm for forums on any site. However, registration will never be required to comment on the stories I post.

We’ve also introduced a new advertising plan with very competitive rates in the hopes to fund the site. Because of heavy readership, bandwidth costs are more than $200 a month. And because we’ve been trying to keep costs down, sometimes the site tends to crash. I’m hoping all that will end with the adjustments we have made.

I also owe the guys at Splotches, who built the forums, more than $700, so if you would like to make a donation towards this cost, it would be greatly appreciated. I am grateful for the work they put into this over the last few months.

I am also very grateful for David Van Rood, who has been reading this blog since 2007 and who also put in a lot of work into making this happen.

Van Rood, who used to post as Genewitch, lives in Southern California while Pascal, Adam and and Andrew of Splotches all live in Europe, so many sleepless nights were spent coordinating with each other to bring the forums to life.

These guys didn’t put all this time into the forums for the money. They did it because they believe this is an extremely important issue.

Right now, donations can be made through this link because I’m still trying to figure out the system that the developers included at the top of the site that would allow readers to make reoccurring payments and be part of the donor wall.

It also appears as if all the readers who were subscribing by email will have resubscribe because the list has been completely wiped out. I know that has had to be done several times over the last few months, which is frustrating but hopefully this will be the last time.

The whole point of all this is to make this an even more interactive community, so I really want to hear from you guys.

What topics should I include in the forums?

About Carlos Miller

Carlos Miller is founder and publisher of Photography is Not a Crime, which began as a one-man blog in 2007 to document his trial after he was arrested for photographing police during a journalistic assignment. He is also the author of The Citizen Journalist's Photography Handbook, which can be purchased through Amazon.

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  • fred_dot_u

    I’m looking forward to the new forums. Will they be accessible via RSS in the same manner as the blog? If yes, a blanket RSS link as well as individual group links?

    • Carlos_Miller

      If it’s possible, then I don’t see why not. My goal is to make this site as accessible and as user-friendly as possible, so anything that can be done to meet that goal will certainly be considered.

    • Pascal Scheepers

      Here’s the RSS feed: http://photographyisnotacrime.com/forums/feed

      If you want individual topic feeds just paste ‘/feed’ at the end of the url

  • http://freedomsphoenix.com FascistNation

    I hope you get more than a few ads. A great place to advertise everything photography/videography, hidden cameras, low light cameras, audio recording and attorneys-at-law: Especially criminal defense and civil rights litigation specialists.

    • jimmarch

      Yeah, Carlos, we don’t mind the idea of ads within reason. UNreasonable would be the kind of fraudulent crap you see on ThePirateBay or the like…scams that push malware, dick pills or the like. And we trust you won’t go there. :)

      • Carlos_Miller

        There won’t be any scams here. It’s all about transparency.

  • REALConservative

    I have an interest in a forum feature where people can share descriptions of their gear, especially their in-car setups.

    • Carlos_Miller

      Yes, that is on the agenda. In-car set-ups as well as a separate forum topic for smartphone apps.

  • jimmarch

    One possible option is one sub-forum per state? Get a state volunteer to research the current state of camera laws – you be the one for FL. I’ll take Alabama if you want. Post the basics as a sticky that never goes away.

    We need a “gear forum” of course. And definitely a “general hang-out” where everybody goes first.

    Past that, I don’t think you want too many sub-forums. You don’t want to divide the community too far.

    Consider ads from lawyers!

    • bj

      Just a reminder that PINAC has non-US readers and contributors too :)
      Perhaps country by country threads would be handy so we can connect within our own nation states?

      • jimmarch

        As volunteers to sort out the basics of the laws sign up, sure. I expect Canada and the UK to start more or less immediately.

      • Carlos_Miller

        This would be the perfect opportunity to do that. Many times, I ignore issues in other countries because most of my readers are based in the U.S. as well as the laws in those countries differ, but this would be an opportunity for residents of those countries to educate us about their laws.

        • Pascal Scheepers

          It will be good to get a dutch subforum yes

    • Carlos_Miller

      Good idea. I think a forum topic titled General Discussion where anything can be discussed.

  • io-io

    Very good start. I would suggest a section where items can be archived, like links to the DOJ letters to Baltimore, outlines on 183, items on giving the police the finger/”f**k” as items of free speech, so that there is a cache of “legal” outlines, that can serve as a reference base.

    • Carlos_Miller

      Yes, that is something I’ve been wanting to do on a page, but a forum thread would make it easier for readers to keep it updated.

  • Hamlet

    Congrats Mr. Miller! Please keep up the good work.

  • bj

    Great work Carlos.
    This is sort of related to what io-io suggested in earlier post; how about a thread with court outcomes. We often hear about the arrest but hear much less about settlements and court findings. Understanding case law is obviously very important.

    • Carlos_Miller

      Good idea. Many times I never get around to posting updates on the stories.

  • $22798478

    Carlos,….how about a section on recording devices that upload to a secure cloud. Bambuser.com U stream etc; (Tips) Some cops nowadays will either try to erase the footage or just remove the camera card. If the footage of a “BAD” incident is caught then you can bet that the footage will disappear.

    • Pascal Scheepers

      That would be something I’d most definitely be interested in writing about

    • Publius Federali

      I downloaded the two of them the other day, they were linked on CopBlock. Signed up for accounts but have not used them yet so I don’t know what would happen if I was taping and a cop did something like try to erase.

      I absolutely think it’s necessary to tape every interaction with LEOs after having a bad experience. Don’t think for one second that a cop is going to tell the truth to you or in his report. I was stopped for concealed carry, had my rights violated and then when I got the report it was the biggest bunch of lies imaginable. Nothing but cherry picked information to create a false frame of the interaction. If I had a recording I could have pushed a case along or at least rocked the boat a little. Without it, it’s my word against an upstanding cops word.

  • Publius Federali

    Donation has been made. Thanks for all the hard work Carlos.

    Anyone with a PayPal account, please consider donating, just $5, $10 or $20 for each of us who comments and reads the blog regularly should help cover a large chunk of the hosting costs. $5 is skipping one coffee at Starbucks, $10 is skipping one crappy Hollywood movie. You get a double benefit, help Carlos and strangle the corporate beast at the same time.

    How about we contact one of the sellers of the car video mounts and see if they will give a percentage for each purchase made from the site? Although it’s not cash up front, if they have a section on the forums that review a few of the set ups and links to purchase it should put a few coins in the coffers each month.

  • scruffylookingnerfherder

    I realize your blog has become more varied over the years, so please dedicate a section solely to actual photography and laws.

    Fewer broad categories are better than several specific.