Announcing Changes to the Photo Critique Forum

Discussion in ' Site Help' started by services_photonet, May 11, 2002.

  1. We are pleased to announce a number of improvements to the Photo Critique Forum. The purpose of these changes is to make it easier to submit a photograph for critique and also to facilitate responding to those requests.
    1. The first thing that you will notice is that the presentation of the forum has been changed. Thumbnails for recent requests are presented, as before, but the list of photo categories, which was previously hidden at the end of the long list of requests, are now given prominence in a list of links to the right.
    2. Clicking on any of the categories, or on "Last 7 Days", will take you to the Photocritique user interface, which will be familiar to those users who have tried the "Rate recent photos" and "Rate folder" features. This interface streamlines the process of rating and critiquing many photos during a short session. The photos presented are those in the category for which members have requested critiques during the last 30 days.
    3. When the Photocritique interface is used for responding to Critique Requests, the photos with the highest number of ratings are presented first, and if two photos have the same number of ratings, the one with the higher rating takes precedence. However, once a photo has 20 ratings, it drops to the end of the list. This means that the most frequently-rated and higher-rated photos work their way to the front of the list, until they have 20 ratings, whereupon they give way to photos with fewer ratings. The "Last 7 Days" photos work the same way, except that the list consists of all photos for which critiques have been requested, without regard to the categories, and only the last 7 days of requests are included.
    4. The "Rate recent photos" feature, which also uses the Photocritique interface, has not been changed. It still presents an editor's selections from one day's worth of photo submissions. The order is random, more or less, although patron's photos get an advantage in the order of the photos.
    5. In the Critique Requests forum, you can still see a list of all the requests, with their titles and the name of the photographer, by clicking the "List" link next to the category or "Last 7 Days".
    6. When you display a photo for which a critique request has been made, the text of the request is displayed as the first "comment" in the photo. The critique request message is displayed even when you have navigated to the forum from somewhere else in the Gallery. This is helpful sometimes in understanding comments on the photo which refer to the photographer's critique request.
    7. You can still submit a photo for critique from the Critique Forum; but you can also make a critique request from your "Workspace" page or from the Photo page for a particular photo. These links are disabled if you have exhausted your quota of critique requests. (The quotas have not changed.)
    • We hope that these changes will make it easier to request and make critiques, and we invite your feedback.
      -- for Services Photonet, Brian Mottershead
  2. Thank you for all your work and I look forward to participating in the photo critique forum. I enourage my fellow netizens to give it a chance.
  3. One question -- would it not be er helpful to put those with the fewest critique/ratings first -- else won't the ones that get rated first always get the attention and the others will be ignored ?
  4. Alan, the reason the photos with the highest number of ratings are first is that we wanted to make it attractive to rate and critique photos as well as to submit photos for critique.

    We would like the critiquers to have a rewarding experience so that they will come back frequently to rate and critique photos. This suggests that the first photos to be presented should be the better ones, so that the critiquers are drawn in and rate more photos.

    Hopefully, excellent photos will rapidly get their twenty ratings and drop to the bottom of the list, letting other photos take their place. Some photos may take longer to rise than others, but each photo is in the list for 30 days.

    During the time we were testing this interface, I was delighted to discover how many great photos there are to be critiqued in the Photo Critique Forum. They were somewhat buried. Now, they come up right away.
  5. I have only browsed through a few photos since the changes, but I really like them so far. The algorithm of best with less than 20 ratings sounds right on to me. One other request - would it be possible to see the photographer's request/comment on the photocritique page? There is frequently good insight into why the photo is up for critique at all, yet it is missed unless you actually click into the detail.

    Thanks for all the improvements!
  6. Greg, that is a good suggestion. There has been some discussion about tightening up the graphical "look" of that page, and perhaps we can fit in the critique request text.
  7. Not sure if this is the best place to comment, but the "You've already rated and commented on this picture" page has a broken link for the "click here if you want to move on to the next photo to rate." choice.

    Once again, thanks for the effort.
  8. Greg, thanks for the bug report. It sounds related to the changes that were made today. I'll fix it right now.
  9. Greg, the problem is fixed. Thanks again for reporting it.
  10. I can't get the new system to work at all. There are no thumbnails, and clicking on any entry in the list of "questions" brings up an error message asking for a photo_id. Is this a bug, a temporary maintenance outage, or a case of dyslexic user?
  11. I like the changes you've made - any chance theres room for other changes? Here are 2 I'd like to see:

    1) When you go to the 'add comment' page it'd be very cool if the image came up alongside or above the dialogue boxes so you can refer back to the image for making specific points; as it sits now, I can do that by hitting my browsers 'back' and 'forward' keys to move between the two, but if a thumbnail was integrated, that'd make the process much easier.

    2) For the list versions of the photos (by category), is there anyway for PN to give us a set number (say 50 items) with a 'next 50' option rather than the entire list of photos for the whole category?

    Minor niggles really, but fixing these would go a long way to making this system really user friendly (in my opinion of course).
  12. It is a major improvement.<br>

    Some suggestions:
    I think it would be nice if there was an option to see a page of random thumbnails of the pictures. Some times just seeing an image makes you what to comment on it.<br>
    This is a bit tricky: if you could mark people from the users "interest list" in a different color or maybe change their bgcolor it would make the concept of the “interest list” much more powerful.<br>

    Thanks again - vonsh
  13. I can't get the new system to work at all Actually, what I should have said is that the link from the home pagegoves erronoeus results. The link from this page is OK.
  14. Many thanks for all your efforts.
  15. pmj


    Brian, first of all thanks for the time and effort to improve this forum!
    You can still submit a photo for critique from the Critique Forum; but you can also make a critique request from your "Workspace" page or from the Photo page for a particular photo.
    The link from the "Photo page for a particular photo" does not seem to work. It links to, which results in a 404/not found. (The photo_id is obviously just an example). I think that should be
  16. pmj


    A suggestion as well: if a photographer has uploaded quite a few photos to, but not requested many critiques, the first page of the request critique pipeline will contain many images. This may cause a long delay (especially for modem users) and possibly a high load on the server.

    Maybe it's a good idea to have the photo selection go via listing the photographer's folders (and their contents if he/she clicks on one -- just like using the "manage your portfolio" links) and only offer the complete list of images-available-for-critique as an option?

    Obviously, if you want a specific image critiqued, you can now do so on its display-page, but this may be helpful nonetheless.
  17. Paul, there are actually two different problems. The "Critique" links on the home page were not updated for the new critique format; they should have been but the page is somehow locked and I can't change it; so the changes didn't go in.

    As a result, if you click on that link, you are seeing the Photo Critique forum presented as a straight "Question and Answer" Forum, which doesn't know how to present the photos correctly. If the home page link were working, this wouldn't be an issue. However, I've fixed that, and I hope later today we can get the home page updated.
  18. Patrick, the problem with the link on the Photo page is now fixed;
    thanks for reporting it. Your point out a valid concern about the first stage of submitting a request: it will put quite a load on the server and result in somehat of a delay if the user has a lot of photos. Perhaps we can improve this on the next pass.
  19. Paul, I think the problem on the home page is now fixed. It was just a question of being persistent and catching it when the server was not serving it.
  20. Brian (and others): thanks for the big improvement - your efforts are appreciated.
  21. Christopher, over the next two months (before I go on vacation), I'm hoping to be able to implement as many improvements as I can, and which the community agrees would be good. I'll be starting a thread soon to solicit inputs, although this thread wouldn't be a bad place to start the wish list.

    As an extra bonus improvement, check out "Add a comment" on a photo.
  22. I'm confused -- I tried the submit photo for critique from workshop and it failed with link being bad -- was this not fixed or is it another problem or ?
  23. Alan, if you mean Workspace, the link seems fine. Perhaps you need to
    refresh the page in the browser. The link should be .../bboard/pc-post-new/topic_id=1481
  24. <p>Hi Brian and all the others behind,
    First of all thanks a lot for your work!!
    I have one more suggestion: There seem to be a lot of images in the category architecture, that should not be there. I think this is due to the fact that the default setting when submitting an image for critique is 'architecture'. I would propose to change the default to 'uncategorized'.
    Another thing I observed was, that when I tried to submit an image via the link on the images page itself, the URL was:
    note the %20 in there: It comes from a space in the link source code, probably caused by a little mistake in a script. Anyway, from the image page, I had to correct the URL manually to get to the submission page (Is at least the case for 2 of my images I checked).

    Otherwise, thanks again. I think the changes are great.
  25. Philippe, I implemented your suggestion. There is now an "Uncategorized" category, which is the default. It is currently empty so clicking on it isn't very satisfying.
  26. Dude! thanks for making that change to the 'add comment' dialogue...! you're working overtime on this stuff - great enthusiasm and thanks again!
  27. Brian, I don't know if it's a bug or deliberate, but when I click on
    the individual catagories I don't get a list of images I get the first
    one - i.e. I jump straight to the process of rating individual
    images without getting any overview of all the images in that
    catagory, not even a text listing.

    I can see that this might be a way of encouraging people to rate
    lots of images, but I invariably back out and don't rate any, much
    less comment. The inability to get an overview of the submitted
    images, or to browse them visually, is the singest biggest thing
    that stops me getting involved in rating or critiquing images here.
    You may not care, but I suspect I'm not alone.
  28. Struan, I gather that what you'd like is to be able to see thumbnails of the images that you are being invited to rate so that you can pick which ones you will spend time on.

    I would like this too, and in fact there is a very primitive interface like this that is used by the person who selects the images for the "Rate recent selected photos", which I've done a few times. The main problem that I can see with it is not a user interface issue, since it would be nice, but rather the impact that it might have on server load and bandwidth, since fetching thumbnails is a lot more expensive than fetching text.

    I can see arguments both ways: on the one hand there would be a greater impact from fetching the thumbnails, but on the other hand, people wouldn't be fetching larger size images that they were unlikely to critique and rate (or like).

    We'll have to put some serious thought into your idea.
  29. Oh, another point concerning Struan's comment: you can still get a text list of the images in the category by clicking the "(List)" link next to the category name.
  30. Ah. Thanks for the 'list' link, I should have moused around a bit
    more :)

    I can see that serving lots of thumbnails might overload the
    server, but if a balance can be found I think it would be popular,
    and even useful. Can/does the server cache thumbnails, or is it
    generating them anew every time?

    In general, I feel that it takes too many clicks to see images here,
    both in the critique forum and when browsing the lists of members. I have some ideas, but will wait until you
    invite suggestions rather than drag this thread off topic.
  31. <p>
    Hi Brian,
    I've got another little suggestion, after just commenting a photograph: As one now directly gets to the image with the rating menue (what I like), one has not seen the technical details when directly continuing via the 'add comment' link. Often I read them just as a kind of reflex. But since now they are not immediately there anymore, I was missing the information once I was on the comment-form page (that now nicely has the image on it).
    It might be an idea to give some technical fields on the comment page as well. Also, it could be a great option to give ratings directly on the comment page, even though this could be in conflict with the already before shown rating menues.
    Sorry, your work is great and I don't want to overload your nights, but it just came into my mind.
    Thanks again, Philippe
  32. pmj


    Brian, one more thing I noticed. The links in "My workspace", section "Your Questions" seem to be broken. That is, the links to questions posted in the Critique forum. They seem to miss a value for the photo_id:
    The same applies to the Critique forum links presented here:
    Note, I still think you're doing a great job for us!!
  33. Patrick, I'm a little embarassed at having missed these; you're obviously more familiar with all the little corners of than I am. Anyway, those two problems are fixed. Thanks again for reporting them.
  34. Perhaps I'm being redundant, but I'm not seeing any thumbnails coming up, nor am I seeing the list of categories to the right. This is at 1300 hours Mountain Standard Time (1600 hours Eastern Daylight Time), 13 May 2002.
  35. Christian, you might have the same problem as I had at the beginning: I was accessing the forum via a bookmark that was old. Try once to access the forum via the dropdown menue on top of this page (community > Forums > Photo Critique). This solved the issue for me.
  36. Christian, Philippe is probably right. If you are accessing the Photo Critique forum with a URL that looks like this:​
    then you will be displaying the forum as a simple "Question and Answer" forum. This should sort of work, but you won't see any thumbnails, or the new category links. But to access the forum presented in the new style, you need to access it through a URL that looks like this:​
    The easiest thing is to navigate to the forum through the regular pages and bookmark it again.
  37. I decided that probably quite a few people will have the sort of problems that Christian is seeing with bookmarks to the old Photo Critique forum. I've added some logic so that the old URL's do the right thing (I hope).
  38. Actually, I was using the link from the drop-down menu, but apparently it has since been fixed.
  39. Three cheers for the new critique/rating system, I agree that the ordering algorithm based on number of ratings will indeed help to surface the most interesting pictures and give more pictures a better chance at getting exposure. There are two suggestions I´d like to make:

    1. On the rating page (the one with the radio buttons that walks through the list of pictures giving ratings) it would be very useful to have a summary of image information, such as Title, Critique request text, Place and Technical Comments. A title or the place frequently provides a different viewpoint for understanding a picture, and the photographer´s request for critique tells us what he/she wants to find in our comments.

    2. As the system currently stands, on the display page of a photo, one has to first click on ´Ratings´ tab to have the page reloaded with the rating menu and then rate. I believe this extra step discourages users from rating an image at many cases, I know that it does discourage me, who have ended up rating only pictures I feel strongly enough about to bother loading a couple of extra pages for it. If the rating menu were on the default page of each photograph, I guess there would be more ratings... Of course, you might actually want to avoid this effect, preferring to get ratings mostly from people who feel strongly about an image, and not casual "lemme-stick-a-number-here" ratings... That is for you to know and decide.

    Thanks for a great service, and for your dedication at constantly improving it.
  40. I continue to get these messages from time to time, on 2 different computers, while rating photos. I get to the ratings process from the main menu, Forum, Photocritique. Happens immediately after clicking the 2 required radio-buttons:

    This is an unexpected error logging for debugging: Error for gallery/photocritique photo_user_id , rating_type random photo_id 758922, new_photo_id , comment , aesthetic 7, cleverness 7, folder_id , skip_photo_p

    I think I'm not doing anything wrong ...

    Hopefully someone can address.

    Thanks -
    Lyle Stavast
  41. Lyle, if you are able to reproduce this problem with any consistency, I would appreciate it if you would send me an e-mail the next time it happens. Once it shows up, does it go away immediately, or does it stick around?
  42. I think Lyle's problem is fixed; it helped to be able to study it knowing the user-id of a person who had experienced it.
  43. Brian the biggest problem in critiques I see is aesthetic.
    The photos are displayed in the limited Windows sRGB color space which is unavoidable as the browers only function in this realm. Most users edit in Adobe RGB with photoshop. The save for web command does NOT fix the color space mismatch.

    But to make matters worse we're viewing the images against a bright white background. This changes the apparent gamma by shutting down the eyes visual feedback system. The net result is colors, especially dark colors and shadows get washed out. Replacing this with an 18% grey level or black background, at least where the photos are displayed would fix this. See the way net does it. Many submitted photos have had the saturation cranked beyond belief to get around this problem. A poor solution at best.
  44. Brian, thanks a lot for the good work! After a few days of use I must say it's a HUGE improvement on the old system!

  45. If unrated photos drop to the end of the list, then almost nobody will see them and they'll remain unrated. Would it be better to intermix high rated and unrated photos?

    Moving the picture up on the screen would reduce the amount of scrolling I have to do. I would still have to scroll for large pictures, but that's unavoidable.
  46. Michael, the unrated pictures don't drop to the end of the list; actually, it is the pictures with 20 or more ratings that drop to the end of the list. I've been monitoring it, and what seems to be happening is that pictures cycle up the list, some faster than others, as I expected. Some photos do languish near the bottom of list with only a few ratings, not climbing fast enough to stay ahead of the new pictures coming in. But the higher-rated pictures do seem to make their way to the front of the list within a few days, especially if they pick up a few ratings from other places in the system.
  47. Just a minor suggestion - I understand the reason for putting photos with a higher number/value of ratings up front in the list is to present the good (better) ones first; however, it also makes photos that have no ratings from other places on languish at the end, unreached by all but the most persistent critiquers. How about presenting photos with say 4 and fewer ratings in random order (it would be consistent with not showing ratings for photos that have fewer than 5 ratings on in general)? It would make it a bit easier for photos with none or one rating to start to move up the ladder.

    Just a thought... (may help one of my photos with one rating :))

  48. Peter, it does seem that photos with no ratings are languishing near the bottom of the list for a long time, unless they get help by being rated in other parts of the site.

    It is true that the Photo Critique forum is intended in part for photographers who need exposure, since the people who are already established on don't have much difficulty getting ratings in other venues within the site. Perhaps we have also tilted the PC too much towards displaying good photos, making it less useful as a vehicle for new people to gain recognition.

    It is somewhat of a dilemma because a lot of weak photos are submitted to the PC forum and I doubt that critiquers' patience would last long if they were compelled to click through a long series of them. If we presented the photos with fewer ratings higher, a few lucky ones would get some ratings; but overall there would be fewer ratings, I believe.

    Personally, I find the new system a delight as a viewer because I get to see a lot of great pictures that I wouldn't have otherwise seen, but maybe we need to take the interests of the less established photographers a bit more into consideration.
  49. Brian,
    Why not have an alternate list in reverse, make the one you have now the default, and the alternate (reversed order) one just be offered via a link for those who want to see the the non-rated ones first?
  50. how about continuing to show from the higher rated pictures list, but have every other one be a low rated one - would you not accomplish visibility for both sets of interest ?

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