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When Did “Mean” Become Popular?

Free Photoshop Actions and Lightroom Presets by MCP™

When Did “Mean” Become Popular?

MCP Actions recently celebrated six years of business as an Adobe Photoshop actions design and training company.

Sadly, a trend that has taken shape this year is not worthy of celebration.  It is consistent with the growing tone of arrogant, mean and insulting language posted across the Internet. Recently, it has infested my Facebook page and even occasionally on our blog comments. I now have no choice but to speak out on the subject.

Recent comments on our pages, directed toward members of our community, lack such maturity and tact. It makes me think of 5th grade when a “mean girl” tripped me in a rollerskating rink and then gathered around laughing with a group of kids. There was no purpose to her actions other than to be hurtful.  My elementary school age children tell me similar stories of “meanness” at school.  I am aware that the world is made up of all kinds of people and those mean kids often turn into mean adults.  Those are not the people I want on MCP platforms, as they detract from the experience of the vast majority of our customers and network.

When you own a online business, you have no choice but to tolerate criticism, unsolicited opinions, and sometimes even “rudeness.”   Lately though, non-constructive criticism is impacting photographers and friends who share on my Facebook wall and blog. While some are professional photographers or aspire to be, many just love taking pictures to capture and preserve memories of their families and friends. I personally always invite insightful critique of my photos, business, and site.  I don’t welcome bashing and spiteful comments.

Some photographers who send me “bloopers” and problem photos for before and after Blueprints feel hurt, frustrated, and scared because of unhelpful negativity. I have seen comments telling photographers that their photos are horrible, or even that the photography industry is going downhill because of them. Really?  Is there anything helpful in those words? No!

It saddens me greatly when I get emails like this: “I wanted to send you a sample of your newborn actions on my photos. I don’t want to post the images on your Facebook page with such negativity from some people.” This person is not alone.  Many photographers are scared to post images on our Facebook wall because they are afraid of “mean” attacks. This is sad. I want all photographers, regardless of their status as a pro or hobbyist, to feel comfortable posting to our sites and Facebook page.

If this continues, I will be left with no reasonable choice other than to delete vicious or unkind comments.  So, as of today, because “common courtesy” isn’t common enough, I am instituting the following rules for the MCP blog, Facebook page, and other related sites.

Rules of conduct:

  1. If you can’t say it nicely, don’t say it. Only offer critique when asked and make it polite and constructive.
  2. No insults. People have feelings. Remember that behind every image is a photographer: some are professionals and some just like picking up a camera and taking pictures.  Photo subjects are also people who often have close relationships with photographers and may see nasty comments. This will not be allowed.
  3. All respectful comments are welcome. For example, if we have a pricing discussion about selling images on DVD. You can say “I do not offer this because…”  Or you can say “I charge $X for a DVD of images.” But do not reply with “@___, people like you are ruining the industry.”
  4. Understand that we serve veterans, beginners and everyone in between. Not everyone is at your level.  Not everyone is in the same situation as you or has access to experience and equipment.
  5. We foster an environment for learning and growing. If you want critique or advice, ask for it when you post. If you give critique, make it useful not hurtful.
  6. Bring a skin thick enough for respectful, constructive commentary. Do not take comments personally unless they are personal attacks (and those will be deleted – just send us a message). It is easy to be misunderstood online, so if you think something “might be” unkind, clarify the intentions with the writer.
  7. Just because you have an opinion does not mean you are right. Just because someone tells you their thoughts about you, your photography or your business plan, does not mean they are right either. Use the differences to look at the world and further define your position.
  8. We feel the best images start with great exposure, strong composition, tack-sharp focus, and excellent white balance.  We are also realistic and know the perfect picture isn’t always attainable in camera for a variety of reasons. Maybe you are a new photographer and are still working on the exposure triangle. Or maybe your favorite expression from a subject was the one where your flash didn’t fire. Other times you may take a vacation snapshot and want to print it. And while we help photographers with basic photography skills, we are not a photography company. We are a post-processing company.  We educate photographers on using Photoshop, Elements, Lightroom, and tools like actions and presets to enhance their photography.

If you do not believe in using post-processing and think every image should be ideal straight out of the camera, no matter what, you are at the wrong place. MCP Actions exists to help improve all photos.

If anyone has anything to say regarding this post, please add it in the comments. I am willing to listen to any and all constructive criticism and opinions, just not spiteful or rude ones that offer no room for improvement. A friend and fellow photographer once told me “get rid of things that suck your joy.” I hope these new rules will make MCP Actions a better place to learn, share and grow.

Thank you,


MCP Actions


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  1. April 27, 2012 at 8:53 pm —

    It’s a pity you had to do this, but I think you’ve been very diplomatic and fair. Besides, it’s your house, we have to play by your rules!

  2. Rae Higgins
    May 22, 2012 at 2:17 am —

    Great article!

  3. Tapio Kukkonen
    May 31, 2012 at 9:40 am —

    Thank You very much for great rules. They should be self-evident to everyone, but they aren’t. The same behaviour has been seen on different forums here in Finland too – ‘if you don’t agree with me you are wrong and stupid’. Sad, really sad…
    I wish You a blessed trip to Australia.

  4. May 31, 2012 at 11:26 am —

    I have recently found this site and I’m really enjoying it. Thank you for the information you are providing.

  5. Juanita
    June 1, 2012 at 2:20 am —

    Finally,, Thank you so much, I rarely comment in blogs, but read them a lot, and I find it so so sad, that people feel that they have to hurt, be disrespectful and down right nasty, to others. Not sure why they do this, one thing I am positive about, is that they certainly would not be able to take it. Bullies tend to be as weak as.

    It’s time every company, every person who has a blog, no matter where it is, took the time, and expended the energy to take your action. Well done, and I very much appreciate and respect what you have chosen to do.

    Enjoy your trip to Aussie land, most of us are really nice people, and I am sure you will love it here.

    Cheers and thank you


  6. June 13, 2012 at 9:49 am —

    Thank you SO much for sharing this! I have a photography studio and have photogs in my group and if you don’t mind I’d like to share these rules with them! Thanks again for addressing a sensitive subject with such class.

  7. Andy
    June 13, 2012 at 11:01 pm —

    “Some photographers who send me “bloopers” and problem photos for before and after Blueprints feel hurt, frustrated, and scared because of unhelpful negativity …”

    I don’t mean to be ‘negative’ here, but I think you’ve taken some sort of personal remark you’ve seen posted and extended it to some sort of threat to personal safety or ‘safety’ on the internet. If someone is ‘scared’ that someone may not approve of, or compliment, their work – and therefore need special rules and moderators to make sure there work is ONLY complimented and praised … they need to see a therapist.

    • June 14, 2012 at 7:44 pm —

      Andy, constructive criticism is great. But attacking another person’s work is not. People don’t like being told they suck – that is not useful. They want to know how to do it better. There is a huge difference.

  8. June 29, 2012 at 10:05 am —

    Back in the “old” days all this was done in the dark room and no one saw you do it. Exquisite photos just appeared on paper. Now we use Lightroom, Photoshop, etc… instead of chemicals and light. Other than not getting cancer from the constant use of chemicals, I don’t see the difference. Keep up the good work.

  9. June 30, 2012 at 7:04 am —

    Jodi, you have addressed a sensitive subject delicately, and with a level of diplomacy rarely seen these days. Photography takes time and effort to learn, it is an ongoing process… I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to help pay my bills doing something I love for over thirty years now, but learn something new almost every day! It is a process of improvement and growth for anyone who is open to the exciting experience. Nobody is BORN knowing photography, we are all at different stages in that journey, and what a wonderful venture it can be! Love your actions, I’m just learning to use them (another adventure!) to give even a wider range of ‘looks’ to my photographs. Thank you for making it clear that this is a NICE place, and that all people who want to BE NICE are welcome to participate freely. The rest may wish to spend their time elsewhere…

  10. Jean
    July 4, 2012 at 4:29 am —

    Great article!

  11. Heidi W.
    July 4, 2012 at 5:22 pm —

    I think we are so lucky to have such technology that allows us to make these changes so people feel good about sharing photos of themselves. Substandard photos will get tossed or shoved in a drawer never to be seen again. Everyone is certainly entitled to their opinions about photography & editing. My opinion is that I’m grateful to have access to such fabulous options. We all know that no matter how good your photography skills, your camera isn’t perfect and doesn’t always duplicate what your eyes see. Certainly using different lenses and filters changes the look of a photo. How is that so different than making edits after the shot??? Besides, it’s not like you changed their eye color or altered their bodies. And removing acne is essential if the person wants that. He won’t have acne forever and if he was a girl, he would have covered it up with makeup. What’s the difference? Thanks for sharing!

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When Did “Mean” Become Popular?