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Old 12-08-2008, 08:37 PM   #51
John Craft
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 238

Originally Posted by Mike B.
I don't enjoy doing anything unless it's challenging and the harder it is the better. I apply that to all my hobbies and they become more like work than fun, which is fine with me. I don't want to do something that is easy and become complacent which would make me bored and ultimately leave the hobby. Most people who railfan are just looking to have an enjoyable time and don't take it seriously. When I offer my opinion to these people about their work, they don't understand because enjoyment is more important than the result (photograph). We clash and we both put our hands in the air in frustration.

A couple of things, Mike:

hob⋅by - 1. an activity or interest pursued for pleasure or relaxation and not as a main occupation
If you're not enjoying it, by definition it's no longer a hobby - it's become something else. The pursuit of excellence does not require turning your hobby into work - it's quite possible to be very good at both your work and your hobbies without turning either into humorless drudgery.

2) Constantly criticizing others' results has nothing to do with your view of your hobby, and everything with your view of THEIR hobby.

3) If I know my opinion is going to lead to useless conflict ("your date is ugly"), my normal course of action is to keep my mouth shut. The possession of an opinion does not confer an obligation to share it, and opinions are valued far more when preceded by "What do you think?" than by "Here's what I think."

4) "I hope you're f*****g kidding" is not an "opinion," or a valid critique of a photo. It's an insult, intended to provoke a reaction. You know it, I know you know it, and the appropriate response is an apology. Stubbornly insisting that grits ain't groceries, eggs ain't poultry, and Mona Lisa was a man looks pretty stupid unless your name is Little Milton.

5) Your opinion is just that - your opinion. I have my opinions on social and political issues that spring from the values I developed growing up - but that doesn't make me "right." And my good friends, who developed differing opinions based on their own values, aren't automatically "wrong" because they disagree with me. People who equate their opinions with what's "right" and "wrong" tend to be perceived as self-righteous, because that's pretty much the definition of the word:

self-right⋅eous - adjective

1. confident of one's own righteousness, esp. when smugly moralistic and intolerant of the opinions and behavior of others.

Origin: 167080
If you want respect for your opinions (and that's something everyone wants), start by showing a little respect for the opinions of others, and get into the habit of waiting until you're asked. And try to find something nice to say, no matter how inconsequential, because if someone consistently hates my work, I'll stop asking.

I suspect there's a little more to it, though, and you tipped it with your "prepare to be disappointed" remark. It's as if you're expecting others to insult your photos (possibly because they have), so you get the first dig in as a defensive measure. That's actually a natural impulse, but if you suppress it you usually find people are nicer than that. And in fact, it's a good shot.

As for the rest, the ones who feel compelled to insult you? Tell 'em to come post here, and we'll fix 'em right up.

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