Changes to Rating System

Discussion in ' Site Help' started by services_photonet, Jun 23, 2002.

  1. The photo ratings system at system serves two major
    purposes. Together with the comments, the ratings provide the
    photographers who submit photos with sought-after feedback on their
    work. For other users, the overall rating averages provide a
    mechanism for finding photos that may be of interest to them, and
    ratings underpin many of the most popular features in the

    However, low ratings that are unaccompanied by comments advance
    neither of these goals. They provide no useful feedback to the
    photographer who submitted the photo. On the contrary, they tend to
    be frustrating and discouraging and frequently lead to fruitless
    disputes. And low ratings do not play any useful role in helping
    users to find good photos.

    Accordingly, today we are introducing two reforms to the rating

    First, it will no longer be possible to give a rating lower than 5 in
    the Photocritue User Interface. This user interface makes it too
    easy for people to give large numbers of low ratings without due
    consideration of the photo.

    Second, it will still be possible to give a rating lower than 5 when
    visiting the Photo page, but only if one has previously made a
    comment on the photo, which presumably will explain the low rating.
  2. Great. Now we'll get anonymous, quickly set-up hotmail accounts with their "detailed" comments. ("This sucks", "1") This solves nothing. Good try but you're still just pandering to people who actually think ratings mean anything. Just let those people find their way to photosig where they can cavort to their heart's content in meaningless ratings madness. Ratings may be "popular" but IMO right about the time the ratings system was instituted here is when started it's decline. This site used to be high in substance and integrity. Now it's full of too much fluff and meaningless banter. I think there's a direct correlation. I say remove the ratings system all together. Then those who think ratings mean anything will leave and maybe, just maybe,'s magic will return.
  3. oxy


    I think the change is great. Now change the "originality" rating to something less ambiguous and everything will be all right :)
  4. Richard, we aren't pandering to the people who think the ratings mean something. We believe the ratings mean something.
  5. This may be a good idea but I have noticed a lot of very high ratings lately with no explanation. Perhaps any rating of 7 and above should also require explanation. That way high ratings would also be beneficial to the photographer. :)
  6. I think the changes are good, but suggest one further change - and that is to make it such that before a person can dole out a rating, they too must be able to be rated, or, as it would be, have images of their own posted in public forums.

    In this manner, it may serve to weed out a few more of those meaning no good, and also serve to make those, who do mean the best, apply a rating of thoughtful consideration.
  7. Why not just do away with the critique system altogether. Your never gonna please over half the people. People will still get around new rules. They will still get pissed when they get bad reviews. Do away with the critique forum and save lots of dasd space and bandwith. It will also reduce the number of "I got a bad rating on my picture, boo hoo hoo" post. Just my opinion.
  8. Where all the images are above average...
  9. No, Ethan. The consequence of this change is that only the above average images will get a lot of ratings. This will mean that some below average images won't get many ratings at all, but they might get some comments. Besides people will be still able to make low ratings; it will just require a comment. That does not seem like a problem.
  10. I agree, the demand to leave a comment before posting low ratings is a good thing. It may not solve the problem entirely, but will certainly help. We can continually seek to improve the ratings system, but let us institute what new measures we can to help now.
    A few suggestions are that we comment for any rating, not just low or high, and that those who do rate must also have public photos available... not for retribution but to show they truly have a desire to improve and grow, and not just upset people with unusual ratings.
  11. Okay, I won't argue about limiting the "aestheticics" to 5 or less without trouble. However, why limit the "originality" rating in the same way? There's nothing insulting (or even the least bit troubling) about getting a 1 or 2 for originality if you're doing normal macro pictures of flowers, etc. It seems that you're cutting off the majority of review (after all, most of our photos are unoriginal) with this...
  12. I think you are thinking. The fuss has been about low ratings that are seen as spiteful, arbitrary, and capricious, or retaliatory. Forcing a comment to justify a low rating seems a reasonable way to keep down the discontent. Who could argue about having to explain a rating of 3,or 2, when the mean is certainly higher.I think its the golden rule thing to do anyway. I am surprised PN Services chose number 5,but I expect it was done with some analysis of the stats. Never numerically scored a picture.And never got a really hot e mail either,yet. Although a few thank yous and some visits to my portfolio to see who this here bozo is I expect:) I can't bring myself to assign a number to originality and aesthetics. Might as well ask 'Does It Work?,'from 1 to 10?Blecch. I like seeing some photos on photonet. So you are dealing with the distractive fighting one step at a time. Good work Brian.
  13. The only thing this change does is to effectively constrict the scale from 5-10 instead of 1-10. It will make us all feel good, since we get such nice and high ratings on our photos, but ultimately the feedback only becomes even more useless. I for one have stopped submitting photos for critique because the only thing I get back is a random collection of numbers - nothing that will help me become a better photographer.

    What I would suggest is that the ratings are expanded to convey something more meaningful. For example, if there were four ratings: subject, exposure, lighting and composition, the numbers would start to tell me something. Let's say I find a photo with a strong subject, which is underexposed, but with ok lighting and good composition. I could quickly rate it "8, 3, 5, 7". Those numbers would say a lot more than an aesthetics rating of 7 and an originality of 8. Furthermore, those four ratings invite the user to take a more critical look at the photo - a critical look that might invite the user to explain his ratings by adding a comment. And comments after all, are much more helpful than the ratings. Finally, it can be done without breaking the rest of, which has several features that depend on those ratings. Just average the ratings (5.75 in this example), and you can still have a top-rated page and a top photographer page.
  14. As I recall, the original system was set up for rating 1 through 5. When it was expanded from 5 through 10, I criticized it as being "anal".

    What's the difference between a rating system that is 1 through 5 or a system that is 5 through 10? why not just go back to 1 through 5 and require ALL images to have at least one comment, even if just a word.
  15. This change is just a patch and is by no means ideal or intended to be be final. The current average is 7, and the ratings of 4 and below are too low compared to the averages to be meaningful to anyone; they only cause trouble, especially without comments.
  16. I'm fairly new to and I didn't read the comments above so I can't promise this hasn't been said but on one of my photos I got low rating and I sent out an email to them asking to tell me why. Only one out of three wrote back. I say, "get rid of the ratings." Correct me if I’m wrong but photography is an art. Art cannot be rated because art is subjective and not everybody appreciates the work. Comments are great if they are not the type of comment that I am sadly guilty of (ex: great photo, POW, etc). These offer no help in improving the photographer’s skill. Thanks for hearing my opinion.
  17. I cannot really say I like this change. I understand some people don't like the low ratings given, but not all good photos are above average in both aspects. I don't like the 4 I got either but what if my photo deserved it?

    I would appreciate if everyone read Phil G's primer on how to rate. He has no problems giving a nice but not creative photo a very mixed rating. In order to follow his wishes for how the rating is supposed to work we need to comment on every single photo just to give say a 4 for originality while it still deserves a 9 or 10 for aesthetics. Even if the reason for such a mixed rating might be so obvious no further explanation would be needed.

    Sych ratings would not imply a bad photo, just because it's nice doesn't mean it has to be as origninal. Many times simplicity is best.

    The ones that really love giving out 1/1 ratings will only create more fake accounts.

    I personally only rate photos that I like, it's my way of giving the photographer a pat on the back saying: "Nice work!" -I feel this change will brin an inflation of positive ratings.

    This change closes the community more, making it more troublesome to rate peoples photos with the effect of fewer ratings. If it ain't broke don't fix it.
  18. On the page of every photo, add a check box "I like it". Once a user click on it, his/her member page is added to a list associated with this photo. The member has the option to remove his/her name from that list later. On the member page, there is also a list of the photos he/she likes. The cross links between photos and users indicates the popularity of the photos and the preference of the users.

    It is something like what does in its book review pages.
    I think it is more useful than rating from 1 to 5, 1 to 10 or 5 to 10.
  19. I think this is a good move on the right direction, but it is not enough. My two cents:
    1. Why the comments should be forced only for ratings above 5? Instead, make a comment mandatory for each vote. We will have much less votes but more meaningful.
    2. Let's split the originality/aesthetics in more values as Fabian suggested. I would suggest subject, originality, technique, composition, but it just an idea. Probably there should not be more than four items.
    3. Let's give people the ability not to give some ratings: for instance I could vote subject and technique, but not originality and composition (I found that I often gave a pair of equal votes - for instance 7/7 - when I had ideas about only one of originality/aesthetics topics).
    4. Only at the first time a new guy puts his first vote, you could force the display of the page of explanation about the rating system - I think that most people doesn't read that page.
    5. Finally, reduce the range from 1-10 to 1-5; or let's define a mnemonic scale at least for some items. For instance originality could be: not original at all, somewhat original, etc (my english fails here in giving the proper terms of the scale). I found myself rather embarassed in giving 1 or 2 for originality, even if, as Jon said, this should be an usual thing. I prefer to rate a work "not original at all" rather than 1.
    • Thanks to the Services Photonet staff for their work. I would add the suggestion to support the site with the 25 bucks subscription: we will give the staff more resources to improve their work. I did a few days ago. Bye.
  20. From a statistical viewpoint, this is obviously meaningless, as it will simply remove most of the below five ratings (which should constitute about half of all ratings). It will simply move the threshold for a good average up by a couple of points.

    Force comments on all ratings or none. Nothing else makes sense. Not that I care much. I expect to upload some pictures eventually, but I couldn't care less about the numerical ratings - the more numerical rates a picture gets, the less meaning it gives, much like the length of the emperor of Chinas nose.

    The numerical ratings don't help the photographers, only the comments do, once in a while when there is some thought put into one.

    As for other functions like galleries of the most popular images, that could in fact be solved without ratings. For instance the number of comments can serve as indication of the quality or "interest factor" in an image, or there could be a simple button for voting for images as worthy of extra exposure or not, with the number of pro votes determining the popularity (pro as in yes, not professional). That would leave only difficult ways for individuals to seriously alter the "rating" of a photo one way or another, and no really sensible way to affect it negatively.

    Again, I don't care about the ratings, and so I don't care about changing them, but from a mathematical/statistical viewpoint, this patch is just plain silly. It will simply shift the weighted center of the scale - and probably result in a lot more fives being dealt out.

    In fact, now I think about it, it will do more than that. For instance a very boring picture, that doesn't inspire anyone to say why they think it's bad will get nothing under five, but of course a few ratings above (there's always someone to like a picture), while a more interesting and generally better liked picture will inspire people to explain why they think it's only worth three after all, and will consequently get a lower average than the worse image.

    One of the reasons I don't rate pictures is that I should rate all pictures or none, if the rating is to give a correct view of how good I think pictures are. If I only rate pictures I like, the data is worthless - particularly if everybody else does the same. But this method will cause people to primarily rate pictures they like, even if they previously tried to rate everything.

    Of course, there is a fairly simple way of ensuring reliable ratings. It would be simple, and absolutely correct to discard ratings from anyone with rating averages far from five either way. If a person has a rating average of 9, it is fair to say, that his/her ratings are of little value to anyone, and the same goes for a rating average of 1. Where to put the limits is another thing, and not so easy to determine.

    How good for me that I don't care about the ratings, that must be the reason I spend so little time writing about them...
  21. Here are my pair of cents worth:

    1. Have the ratings go from 1 to 16.

    Anything 5 or less


    14 through 16

    requires a comment (a sentence or two?) before the rating is posted.

    Along with the rater having several photos posted on photo net.

    2. You all will require a 'spell-check' for the all the one-word comments that can adhere to a photo rated lower than the 5 score you are attempting to create as a 'mean.'

    Good luck...
  22. S LIU has hit upon more or less the system I am planning to implement. I'm glad at least one person is going to like it. Meanwhile, the requirement of a comment on a low rating will help to prevent the many thoughtless (or deliberately provocative) low ratings.
  23. First of all, thanks to Brian and everyone else doing all the great work to keep this site up and running. To the point - I think <5 is too high to require a comment. A low cutoff of <3 would be much more appropriate - I have quite a few photos whose average rating is between 4 and 5 and I think most of them deserve it. Especially for originality - a photo can be nice yet still deserve no more than 2-3 for originality.
  24. Brian, you had told me in a couple recent emails that you were planning on designing the option for users to disable all ratings for their pictures. Is this still part of the master plan for the silly number game?

    Curious, J.A.S.
  25. John, yes I am still planning on doing that.
  26. Brian -

    I'd just like to throw out an experience I just had. One that I think shows the OTHER side of what can go wrong in the ratings system.

    On the front page, I saw an image under the "Critique" heading. It was, in no way identifiable as a photograph. In fact it looked wholly like a piece of computer generated art. Very abstract. There wasn't a single element identifiable in the image as having come from a camera.

    While the debate of "what is a photograph" is a long and on-going one, this was clearly an example of extreme manipulation. To the point of making one wonder if the person owned a camera!

    I posted a comment where I simply questioned why this was up for critique as it appeared to be a piece of CG art and not a photo.

    In response I got a nastily-toned e-mail from the author. In it, I was told that " accepts my work" (didn't know we had a filtering system...) and that "If you do not like artwork, please , do not rate it." Along with your standard harange.

    The author of course was totally mistaken in thinking I rated the "photo". I didn't.

    My concern though is the statement "If you do not like artwork, please , do not rate it."

    That is a loaded statement. People should NOT view the ratings system as ONLY a place for platitudes. Personally, I try to say what I think would make a photo better. We are all trying to learn here after all.

    I would though like there to be a concious effort to make people realize that this is a critique and not a love fest. While I have no doubt that you probably have a similar opinion, I worry that the reaction by many people to the "1-1" crowd will be to expect "nothing less than a 9-9". Obviously the person who e-mailed me feels that the only feedback they should get should be positive!

    Perhaps a primer of some sort of how to give feedback? I dunno. I just hate the idea of the ratings system being a tool for spammers on one hand, or a love fest on the other where dissent is met with dismay.
  27. Ivar, the average is already 7, as I said. All the comments about originality just convince me that we'll never agree on what it is supposed to be and how to rate it, and we would be better off without it.
  28. I find that I don't pay as much attention to the ratings as I do the comments. This has, IMHO, dramatically improved my photos and the comments of my later photos are more positive than my earlier photos. The fact is that the comments allow us to more clearly and accurately express our opinions of each others' work--and since photography is an inherently subjective medium, I think there is plenty of room for any constructive opinion. I seldom see any thin-skinned Prima Donnas on, but there are a few. They don't last. Instead, I hope that serious photogs at every level make serious use of the comments to help each other understand how to improve their photos, develop new techniques, or expand their ability to communicate through photography. can change the ratings all they want, but please please don't get rid of the comments!
  29. I like the change to expand the ratings to other categories. I also support the notion of forcing a comment to explain why you are giving a particular rating regardless of the number. I want to get feedback/critique from my fellow photographers not just ratings.

    I would also add a provision so that if you are a current paying supporter you can vote...otherwise...thanks for coming by.

  30. Sorry, Brian, but...
    (1) Add comment to photo; (2) Rate photo as low as you want; (3) Go back and delete comment - low rating stays. All done in about 20 seconds. I tried it (on myself). Works like a charm...
    Granted, this change will make it harder to bomb a photo with a no-comment skunk score -- but not that much harder. A thick skin will still be the best defense.
  31. Yup, Dave. The comment only has to be there when you give the low rating. However, the end state (low rating after June 23 and no comment) is a dead give away and if someone has more than one or two cases like that, won't have to spend very much time trying to discern a "pattern" of abuse before zapping all of the person's ratings. I don't quite get the insistence on low rating when (a) it doesn't help the site classify the photos; and (b) it doesn't help the photographer. Nobody is asking for raters to surrender their integrity and rate everything higher than they think is warranted. Just don't rate them or leave comments.
  32. Comments are certainly more valuable than ratings. This change, however,
    reflects an annoying truth about these forums: most people who post their
    photos and ask for comments and/or ratings really only want POSITIVE
    comments. They get annoyed when you don't give them good ones.

    I think the best change is to require a comment with rating, not simply to pander
    to these people by pushing the 'numbers' up.

    Besides, Phil's ratings guideline article suggest some pretty harsh rules...I was
    definitely under the impression that the goal of the site was not to produce high
    ratings. The vast majority of photos on the site (mine included) are probably
    pretty average.
  33. While I'm relatively new to PN (OK, really new), I'm not new to surveys, samples, and statistical analysis of results. In brief, Ivar is completely correct. Eliminating low ratings will not help PN determine which photos are worthy of wider exposure. Most likely, the mean scores will converge, and fewer photos will be statistically above average, to the extent any serious statistical analysis is done. Having a self-selecting population do the rating and using loosely defined criteria are both problematic, if you're trying to be serious about this. But maybe you're not...and maybe there's no need to.

    I agree with previous posters that the text comments are quite helpful. One individual was kind enough to provide comments on four of my photos and I found it very useful. Personally, I would bag the numeric ratings and (gasp) suggest (although not require) more structure around the comments. For instance, a comment structure that provided space for lighting, composition, exposure, etc.

    It seems that there are three problems PN is trying to solve: photographers want meaningful feedback on their work, PN wants a way to identify photos of above-average interest, and PN wants to reduce unnecessary flaming (which is quite different than necessary flaming, of course).

    On problem number one, I sense some consensus that text comments represent the most helpful form of feedback. On problem number 2, while the current system presents a false sense of statistical validity, it has the merit of being relatively simple. I certainly wouldn't make it MORE complicated, because you won't gain any statistical validity for your trouble. On the third point, many boards rely on moderators to manage the useless flamers.

    My $.02.
  34. I do agree that comments are the most important. Especially when they educate. I have improved many of my photos simply by asking "How is the crop?" The feedback I got on one image turned it from a so-so picture into a GREAT picture (well...I think so...). That is where the system shines.
  35. Blessing to all of you. Comments are the key to growth.
  36. I'm not comfortable with the idea of applying quantitative ratings to photos, but I don't really object to others doing so. I think the rating system encourages some interaction among visitors, and I think that is a positive thing. However, I think there are dimensions to the rating system which may not be explicitly designed, but which nevertheless are useful indicators. For instance, while I don't place much importance on the ratings values or averages, I do pay attention to how many people viewed my photos, and how many found them sufficiently interesting to assign a rating or to make a comment. Those things provide me with a sense of the "impact level" of a photo regardless of any numeric values or averages.<br>&nbsp; &nbsp;
    I also think it is worth considering the unstated, but implied agreements which are inherant in both the numeric rating system and the comment system. For instance, my agreement is that I will review the portfolios of anyone who rates or comments on my photos. If I find pictures I especially like in the course of that process I will compose a comment explaining in some detail what I find of value in the other person's work. I think this type of agreement is recognized and adhered to by many participants.<br>&nbsp; &nbsp;
    So, for me the rating system is not perfect, but it does have some value and I have no problem with how others may use it. I place a high value on the opportunity to exchange views with other photographers whose work I admire, and I am very appreciative of the large amount of work that I know goes into maintaining this site.
  37. I'm sorry but I wanted to add this earlier and forgot.

    Currently we rate on aesthetics and originality. I believe aesthetics as a catagory, while all encompassing, is too far to broad. I wish we could seperate things like lighting, use of color, composition, choice of perspective/lens, aspect ratio, etc etc, from things like exposure and contrast, color shift, dust, scratches, fingerprints, focus, etc. I find the former group more "aesthetics" while the latter is more "technique".

    It would be good to have a "technique" catagory, as we do see otherwise good images that are made with poor technique, and vice versa. Rating on aesthetics, technique and originality would help me give fairer "number only" critiques.
  38. All I can see this change doin, is reducing the scope of ratings that one can give a photo. Instead of rating from 1-10, we will now be rating a BAD photo as 5 and a good photo as 7-10.


    I personally don't mind at all people rating photos of mine lowly, if that is an expression of their opinion of the picture. At least that way I know their own impression of the picture.

    For people who ARE bothered by getting low ratings (firstly get over it) Secondly the best idea I can come up with at the moment, would be an apeals process, which could be a volunteer program (perhaps for an icon next to a persons name etc) Whereas people who believe their picture has been unfairly rated, may submit an appeal (like a photo critique) in which the low-marker will be emailed for an explantation + will be judeged on that response, with the volunteers having the power to REMOVE that mark if they find that action justified.

    Just a thought.,
  39. Comments should be mandatory if you want to gove a rating. Comments themself should be given a 'rate'. Go to,, and see every review has a relevance tagged by people reading the review. That's very efficient and helps alot sorting through the crap (and fake reveiws)

    That way, anybody leaving a (1,1) rating with comment like 'I don't like it' will hit a relevance score (or call it a helpfulness value) of 0. Can even summarize average comment score on user area pages so you can see who give helpful (or not) comments.

    I know, it involves programming and change in the database. I know has no money, no time, no nothing...

    Just my $0.02
  40. I think the easiest would be to give an A-D grade. A would be exceptional, B above average, C average, and D below average. Then, also we could have the comments to allow critiques on originality, aesthetics, or whatever the particular viewer wishes to comment on. This would have the benefit of putting into context what the writer thinks is good originality/aesthetics etc. If a picture got a lot of D's....its probably below average. Alot of C's, that's not too bad....its just average. Overall impressions are about the only thing one can hope for when given the quick once-over most people grant.
  41. There are obviously 2 issues:
    the first one is whether ratings without comments are useful. I think they are, but I don't really want to elaborate on that...
    the second one is how to improve the rating system. It turns out I've been thinking about it a bit, and here's my take on that topic. Quite clearly a 10 from someone rating every picture a 10 is worth much less than a 10 from someone who gives on average a rating of 5. The situation is clearly the same for low ratings, but due to basic human psychology, this has already been pointed out. So what I suggest is that besides the "raw" ratings, each picture gets a "renormalized" rating, calculated as follows:
    for each rating, substract the average rating given by the user who rated the picture (and possibly divide by the variance of its ratings). This will result in positive ratings (above average) and in negative ratings (below average). This measure is much more robust than the current one with respect to being biased by someone with a few accounts giving extremely high (or low) ratings.
    just my 2c.
  42. I really see this as sad commentary on the state of this site. One of my favorite things to kill time used to be to sit down, pull up Photocritique and rate photos for two hours. Rating a couple thousand photos I averaged just a shade over 5/5. Sometimes I left comments, most times I didn't. I learned a lot about photography rating others photos, I learned to look deeper, to try to see why the photographer would go through the trouble of posting a shot. I often was within a point or two of the average, when I was way off, I would go back and try to discern if I just missed it, or if I just felt differently. Often times I missed it, I learned a lot from those misses. I learned just as much from those who just rated my shots as from those who left comments. Ratings give a sense of mass appeal, comments hone in on aspects by those who are stuck, either positively or negatively by something in my photos. I've gotten 1's on perfectly average and above photos by people who just are playing games, I've gotten 10s on so-so photos by people who don't know any better. They tend to cancel each other out. Guess what that's life, get used to it. So now the Photonet 'Government' who already sanitized the 'Top Rated Photographers' list, now sanitizes the ratings as well. We'll certainly be better off for that. Just like the 'we can't keep score' crowd in Little League we now can all feel good about rarely getting below a 5. Maybe we could have a smiley face check box instead of 'I like it', that would make me feel much better about myself and surely enhance my photography. I personally applauded the long overdue removal of individuals who were degrading this site, even though it took way too long, but now you must protect us from everything, oh boy. This site has major problems.
  43. 1-10, 5-10, 1-5, 1-100, A-E; they are all the same. If you use 5-10
    and I keep getting 5s, it means people do not like my photos. It
    will be just like I am getting 1s or 2s.

    Forcing people to make comments, doesn't help either. 95% of
    comments in PN are short and brief one or two word sentences.
    Nice. Perfect. Pretty. Very good. Love it. Or, too digital, etc. The
    only long comments that I have found in PN are usually negative
    comments; and most of the time, it is not about the photograph,
    but something personal. Comments long or short are not
    helpful. To be helpful, they have to be intelligent critiques. It has
    to be thoughtful, thorough and tackle originality, composition,
    lighting, etc. But how many people can actually do this? Maybe,
    one percent of PN members? Less?

    My advice: just tell people, not to take things too seriously.
  44. Not that I give a rats ass about the ratings setup on (I haven't ever spent time getting or giving ratings here). It sounds like a good idea to either force the people voting to leave a comment about why they liked/disliked the particular image. Yeah, it's easy to get around brian's setup, but oh well. Real jerks are always going to find a way to piss people off. At least this way a photographer might get a few more constructive comments.
  45. The only thing this does is move the scale. Now we all get a false sense of the quality of the work presented. Something really poor gets an average of 4 instead of 2 originally. It's like the Olympics, a really bad score is 9.1 and a really good score is 9.8 or 9.9 so then the crowd does some niffty mental calculation, drops the 9 and we are back to a 1 to 10 system again. Another thing this does is throw off any comparative values for all the thousands of excellent already uploaded photos rated 7, 8 or higher and now indicates them as average. Huge waste of time in my opinion trying to coddle the less talented!
  46. The ratings system as it stands is not perfect,but its not bad.I personally dont rate any photo which i think is below average,i pass on to the next one.Having to comment on below 5 has its disadvantages.
    Logging onto the site yesterday,i found my portfolio had been "bombed" with 1/1 ratings & abusive comments.I was really pissed about it because all the other ratings were high.I try to keep the standard of my portfolio as high as possible.If a photo doesnt receive any ratings then i remove it.Too many people adopt a scattergun approach & upload everthing they have,much of it dross. should be somewhere for everyone to learn something & thus I think the ratings & comments must be constructive.It really requires everyone to use the site as intended.Also no upload then no access to ratings.I logged on today with the intention of doing something about the "bomber" & lo & behold the powers that be have banned him for abusive comments!!FULL MARKS TO PHOTO.NET 10/10.
    As a final comment I think the system should remain essentially the same but a rating must be accompanied by a comment of more than one word not just good/bad/naff/???? etc.
    Thanks to all at for all the hard work on a site that gives me immense pleasure.
  47. The change is a step in the right direction. I see a lot of complaints in the replies. Clearly, the system is never going to be perfect; but this is certainly an improvement. How about one overall rating? Possibly doing away with the originality rating completely.
  48. The purpose of this new approach is not to compel people to rate photos higher than they think the photos deserve. It is to require them either to leave a comment explaining their low rating or to not rate the photo at all. Very bad photos that warranted a 2 won't start getting 5. They will either get no ratings because people can't be bothered writing comments, or they will get fewer ratings but with comments. Or (best) perhaps people will just write the comment and skip the rating, since rating a very bad photo serves no useful purpose.
  49. Brian, et. al., I do not wish to add confusion to this thread, but I do have some views on the matter at hand. 1) I feel that only those with a few photos of their own subject to ratings should be able to rate the work of others. 2) I would like to see another catagory for ratings called TECHNIQUE. A superbly executed photograph may not be esthetically pleasing, or even creative, but still be a fine example of mastery of the art of photography. 3) Of course you could always reduce the system to only one rating... for EMOTIONAL IMPACT. After all, the simplest definition I have heard of what makes a GOOD photo is it's ability to elicit an emotional response in the viewer. I really DO like the feedback that the ratings and comments provide, I just wish that those who don't like my work would refrain from rating or commenting at all. FINAL NOTE: The only really low ratings I have received were from people who had not posted a single photo. Keep heading in the direction you are going...
  50. I think this is an improvement over the savage ratings we got here. One further improvement to reduce rating inflation would be to request a comment to justify also 9s and 10s. So we'd have "normal" photos with ratings ranging from 5 to 8, and beautiful/awful shots so compelling to request a comment and benefit from a complete scale.
  51. I think the ratings are somewhat arbitrary, but they can only be. An extreme rating on either side, will only make the rater look bad.

    What does a rating of 5 mean? What about 1 and 10?
  52. I think it's a nice step forward. I also agree with the posters who insisted that everyone who rates the photos should have at least one photo uploaded. For example, I get 20 ratings. 19 of them are eights , nines and tens. And then there is one user who rated my photo: aesthetics - 3, originality - 2. The first thing I would like to know is "is that man a good photographer?" Is he competent? Maybe the 19 other users were wrong rating my photo so highly. So I go to this guys page and see "no uploaded public photos". Further more I see that he has rated , let's say, 450 photos with average ratings of 4.53 aesthetics and 2.88 originality, and didn't make a single comment. What's the point of that kind of rating?
  53. What brought about this change? Was it member complaints? I'm just curious. I think that the ratings are very useful to gather input on mass appeal, which is important. And *I think* this new system will really discourage rating at all and/or will cause the photographer to need to sift thru multiple meaningless comments to find the comments that actually give constructive input.
  54. Brian - you've got at least two people supporting it now, although I'd copy photosig and go with more than just a yes/no alternative.

    The interesting thing about photosig is that ratings are then driven upwards generally by how popular the photo (or photographer) is. People that contribute get a quid pro quo in their photograph ratings.

    Ends up being a rating system that rates both the photo and photographer, but hey, nothing wrong with that in my book. People that pour their energy into the community should get a reward. People that do great work should get a reward. That type of system does both.

    Of course, you'll still get people who bitch and moan - but hey, at the end of the day, you're trying to do the right thing for the greatest amount of community members.

    Don't let the bastards get you down.
  55. We can't even agree on a ratings system, let alone HOW to rate, or what even constitutes a photograph -- so how can come up with a system that's going to make everyone happy? Damned near impossible. I think the requirement for comments with the rating is definitely going to help. There will always be some sourpuss trolls who are childish enough to slap a very low rating on a photo, no matter how good it is. At least this way, if someone has to justify why they've rated a shot the way they have, then what they've posted will give you some clue as to where they're coming from. Hopefully commenters will be encouraged to give some constructive hints and criticisms. Anything to try to get things back on track towards a positive participation on this site is a welcome change.
  56. I'm not a big player in the ratings game - I've got a few pics posted and I rate a few pics from time to time (usually with a comment)- and I have never pleaded for a revision of the system, because it just doesn't seem that important. However, if the creaking machine is getting an overhaul, the question of raters having to be posters deserves another look.
    If this is too obscure, I mean, the requirement to have at least one image (or 3, or x) posted before one is allowed to rate others. I was against this idea at first, because in the real world, the best critics are not the best artists, and vice versa. In the world of, though, I have concluded that this distinction need not bother us. There is a real problem of irresponsible or malicious rating going on, which, if nothing else, upsets a lot of people. I think many of these antisocial raters would disappear if they had to post images. If we lose a couple of world-class critics along the way, that's a price I'm willing to pay.
    The new rule of forcing a comment with low ratings is also a good idea.
  57. pmj


    Would replacing the numbers (1-10, 5-10) with descriptions ("Average", "Good", "Excellent") help? You could then leave out obvious negatives like "Bad" or "Terrible." If you don't like an image, you can then either shut up, or post a comment -- but you could no longer rate it low.

    Internally, you could still represent the scores with numbers, compute the average and plot it in a small graph (from "Average" to "Excellent") when displaying it to users.

    Just a thought.
  58. Misty asked: what brought about this change? We weren't going to do anything because we are working on a more comprehensive reform of the system. (Many of the comments and critiques in this thread are interesting in light of this). However, we were getting just too many people giving up on posting photos in exasperation at the behaviour of a few low raters.

    As I have stated already several times in this thread, ratings that are consistenly lower than the norms serve no useful purpose. In theory, neither do ratings that are much higher than the norms, but at least they don't discourage people, unless they see a lot of them on *other* people's photos and none on their own. Maybe we should have done something about both, but it seemed more urgent to deal with the low ratings.
  59. You should promote Critique Requests forum to the front page so that more people could see it and rate/comment those photos.
    Furthermore, I think only the photos in that forum are worth rating/comments because these are the photos that the photographers themselve like and want reviews.
    Based on the assumption above, I suggest disable all photo uploads instead of those to the Critique Requests Forum. And the current restrictions on that forum should be enforced. By this way, we would have a small quantity of high quality photos rather than a large quantity of low quality photos. This will save time and resource for everyone. is a place for photography learning and information exchange, not a free online gallery for people to show holiday snapshots.
    That is just my opinion.
  60. It seems like this debate on how to institute the ratings could go on forever, but I haven't heard anyone mention this:

    How about making it mandatory that anyone who submits a rating or comment MUST have at least 5 photos uploaded of their own for public viewing? I also like the idea that a comment must accompany the rating first. I am new here, but have posted about 5 galleries so far, hoping I would get some creative comments on how to improve my photography, not necessarily for a pat on the back (though its always great when someone appreciates your work). Instead I have found that no matter whether a person rates my photos high or low, there are rarely any comments accompanying their rating. Many times I will click on the member's name to see what kind of work they do as well, only to find that they have not uploaded any photos of their own. Usually these folks also have very low average ratings (of the work of others) and a very high number of photos rated. Recently I posted a gallery and within minutes found that a particular person had ramrodded through my entire folder, and rated every photo as a 5 or 6, so I went to his page and found that he had no photos uploaded, had rated nearly 200 photos in one week of membership, and his average ratings were 5-6's! I agree that this type of abuse must stop, and it seems like this may be the real issue-to stop those "trigger happy" crtics who only belong to the site to chastise the work of others.
    I agree that real art can't be valued by numbers, but for those of us who seek to improve their technique and knowledge of light I think the ratings may be useful to some of the people on this site. If a photo is up for a rating and it is poorly framed, exposed, uninteresting etc, I will give a lower rating than a 5. On the other hand, if the photo is worthy of a high rating and some compliments, I am not afraid to say so either. I do like the new method of mandatory comments if one is going to leave low rating-if they are respectful and honest! It helps others to understand how to improve their own work. And whats the big deal? If you feel the need to rate someone's work as a 2, then why shouldn't it be required that you tell them why you felt it was so deserving?
    Also-I think their are many folks who seem to habitually give high ratings to the "style" of photography that they personally do, and low ratings or negative comments to genres that they do not usually do. For instance, I have read many comments by members who like to throw in the old "Well, if it wasn't posed, then I would like it better". Whether a particular shot was posed, or pre-conceived should never be an issue on the value of a photograph. Their is just as much skill needed to capture a candid moment as their is to dream up a scenario then bring it to life in a "posed" shot. I am for any changes that need be done to help us all to co-exist as a unit of artists who lend support, rather than a den of vipers who feel the need to show our fangs every time our egos are damaged. Peace to all.
  61. Hi!

    Ok, just another change, and you Brian have just said that's not final. I keep waiting for a more stable solution... :)

    I come here to improve my photgraphicals skills, so the name of the game for me is FEEDBACK -of any kind. Good or bad, doesn't care, I need to know the truth. But after almost an year participating actively arround here, I find myself a bit discouraged. It's very hard to get ANY honest feedback. The only chances I had, used to be two:
    1- my shot were selected for the daily rotation. I have no control on this selection, but it's good enough cause generally the feedback is much more honest and impartial.
    2- I could request a critique, but only on a very limited basis of 4 by month. That's not too much. The additional limitation was that if the shot wasn't good enough, it surely would receive very few rates and comments... Now not even that!

    The final result: with more than 200 shots on my folders, I get only a handfull of comments a week, including my best shots. That's getting this really boring, at least for the posting issue. I wont quit, by now way!! There's a lot of good photographers here from whom I have a lot to learn. And the forums, and the size of the community, etc.

    An idea: just give me a maximal quota for postable shots on a dayly/weekly/monthly basis, and I'll administrate it according to my needs.

    And for the people that doesn't like the rating system as it's now, an option could be to add in our personal profile a configurable option, where we can choose what each of us want for our shots:

    a.- comments and/or rates (just like it's now),
    b.- only rates,
    c.- only comments w/out rates,
    d.- nothing at all (this would be nice for the people that only want to show there shots, w/out ANY feedback).

    This configurable format could be also extended to other stuff.

    Thanks for trying to improve the services!
  62. about the last suggestions: in that way, each photographer would assume the consequences about what they receive as feedback too...
  63. Brian said "ratings that are consistenly lower than the norms serve no useful purpose. In theory, neither do ratings that are much higher than the norms". So, the only ratings that serve a useful purpose are "norms".

    This only re-inforces the ealier-raised notion of the "I like it" check box. It says, quite simply, I like this enough to be bothered to hit the check box.

    Brian, maybe PN should publish a statement on what it intends Rating to be for. Is it to foster a sense of "involvement"? Or, to give photographers a simple idea of what their most popular photos are? Or to give casual visitors a chance to see recent "good stuff"? Or to help the community discover the gems hidden within? I could go on, but it seems you guys should brainstorm this, not me.

    If you want to put some finesse into the rating system (of course, 1-10/A/O was supposed to have finesse...) maybe you should offer up a set of Categories (the Critique set) that the photographer can assign to their photos. This would allow the community to see favourite recent pix as voted, by category. It would save us sensitive souls from the deeply depressing flower macros and sunsets:) A minor tweak, but I think it would make the "Photo critique top-rated pictures" page more enjoyable... Of course, it's open to abuse, sigh, but then the whole Internet is.
  64. The "average" photograph should get a rating of 5 because that is the midpoint between 1 and 10. Comments should be required for any rating below 3 and above 7.
  65. Why not just tell everyone their work is great and have done with all the arguments and other BS.
    Would "It's crap" be enough of a comment to rate an image as a "1"?
    Despite the efforts of the well intentioned it's doubtful if you can please everyone. Even pleasing anyone would be a victory in this case. Does anyone else remember the "Dennis Moore" sketch from Monty Python?
    Moore: Don't worry, I've... I've brought you something.
    Male Peasant: Medicine at last?
    Moore: No.
    Male Peasant: Food?
    Moore: No.
    Male Peasant: Some blankets perhaps... clothes... wood for the fire?
    Moore: No. Lupins!
    Male Peasant: (exploding) Oh Christ!
    Moore: (astonished) I thought you liked them.
    Male Peasant: I'm sick to bloody death of them.
    ...and so on...
  66. You can't please everyone but it's useful to (try)and reduce the level of "pain." For those gentlepersons who want to set upload qualifications blah blah, I only add that a voluntary 'cash upload' to pay the electric bill aint so bad an idea. He/she has the right to criticize who has the heart to help...GS
  67. The esential element of any free, public access, rating scheme is KISS. Once you get a set of rules comparable to the IRS code seeting out in detail who can and cannot critique an image and specifying the rating range they can use unless they have previously qualified themselves via some arcane ritual or wtitten a 100 word essay, you're lost. The fact that you even have to consider doing such things tells you there's a basic problem with the system.

    Three boxes. Good (I like it), Bad (Why even bother) and Mediocre (Been there, done that, hasn't everyone). Never, ever, use the word "average" since it means so many different things to different people.

    No numbers, no ranking list, ratings total only visible to the poster of the image. Images submitted for critique posted without attribution to the photographer. No egos to boost = no problems.
  68. Ego is the power supply for many great works,
    in many cases, it is even better than money.

    If you hurt someone's ego, problems start.
    That is the reason why you should say good words when
    it is good and simply shut up when it is not. (Some people don't
    shut up because bad words boost their own ego. They have to
    admit it.)

    Positive ego increases productivity and promote peace.
    Negative ego causes war.
  69. I belong to those people who have learned from comments more than from numbers, so I vote for mandatory comments on all ratings.

    My half cent worth (considering the length of my response).
  70. Photosig places photos into categories, which fosters a sense of community and has shown to be very effective. Their rating system is based on -3 to 3, where 0 is neutral. After getting a rating from someone, you can check whether or not the rating was useful. Look, I don't care whether I get a high or low rating, as long as I get some good advice. Maybe you can force people to give a text message along with their rating. When people have to type something they tend to be more honest and text feedback is much more useful anyway.
  71. That is the reason why you should say good words when it is good and simply shut up when it is not
    Absolutely not. When an image is poor, the photographer needs to be told.
    However it hurts much less when neither the critic nor the photographer know who each other is. Opinions will be more honest that way since there are no personality issues to deal with, no axes to grind and no egos to be delicately preserved. It would also tend to cut down on the hate mail.
  72. Hats off to the elves for at least trying something in the interest of reform. This new policy directly mirrors the suggestions several of us have made during recent months.

    Frankly, I also believe *high* ratings should be accompanied by comments. If I upload a photo I'm honestly unsure about the merits of, a 10/10 without comments doesn't help much. I'd rather read comments than ratings.

    It could be argued that this system will only lead to a trend of rating everything 6/6 or 7/7. Guess what? Most folks already do that anyway.

    The new policy may at least cause raters to think about specific reasons why a particular image doesn't cut it.

    As for turds who set up ghost accounts specifically for the purpose of harrassing others, there's not a thing that can be done about that. Not worth worrying about. Few folks are that desperate for a cheap thrill.
  73. "1-10, 5-10, 1-5, 1-100, A-E; they are all the same. If you use 5-10 and I keep getting 5s, it means people do not like my photos. It will be just like I am getting 1s or 2s." - Godi Gutierrez
    "The "average" photograph should get a rating of 5 because that is the midpoint between 1 and 10. Comments should be required for any rating below 3 and above 7." - Mark Erlenmeyer
    Godi and Mark are right. Changing the 1-10 scale to 5-10 is pointless. For example, if you look at the supposed 1-10 rating scheme for camera equipment, 5 should be average, and anything below 5 is below average, and above 5 is above average. But apparently 7 is really bad and 10 is good. 8 or 9 might be average. It seems that numeric scales like this are arbitrary. Just like rating a person on a scale of 1-10. I never hear of people being rated 2s or 3s, even when they should be.
    "Would replacing the numbers (1-10, 5-10) with descriptions ("Average", "Good", "Excellent") help?" - Patrick Hudepohl
    "On the page of every photo, add a check box "I like it". Once a user click on it, his/her member page is added to a list associated with this photo." - S LIU
    As others have metioned, an alternative to a numeric scale would be preferable.
    "Logging onto the site yesterday,i found my portfolio had been "bombed" with 1/1 ratings & abusive comments." - Peter Nixon
    I also think that requiring justification for a rating is a bad idea. I might post pictures, and people might add stupid, meaningless comments like "crap," or "bad" just so they can give a bad rating. I would rather have poor ratings on my photos without idiotic comments like that.
    "How about making it mandatory that anyone who submits a rating or comment MUST have at least 5 photos uploaded of their own for public viewing?" - V. Hayes
    Instead of requiring comments, I prefer the idea of requiring members who wish to comment on or rate photos to have photos of their own posted.
    Anyway... thats my overview and two cents on this. Hopefully not too redundant.
  74. YAWN...I give the concept a 3, but appreciate that someone is working on it.
  75. clearing up my explanation of one point on my previous post, I think requiring justifications for ratings is a bad idea because, lets say that your photo is rated poorly by many people. If this were to happen, you could end up with many pointless negative comments on your pictures just because people wanted to rate your picture poorly. Assuming that the bulk of these comments will not be constructive or helpful, in my opinion, they would be much worse than simply having your picture rated poorly.
  76. We all know that hundreds of photos are uploaded to PN every
    day. Most photographers expect attention to their photos.
    However, under current system, only the randomly-shown, staff-
    selected photos have high visibility on the front page. For
    ordinary uploads (and those for critiques), only some recent
    ones (about 7 or so) get some visibility. The majority of 339,188
    photos are hidden in the database.

    Is it possible to modify the system to show the uploaded photos
    (or at least those for comments) as pages of thumbnails (you
    can decide the best size and navigation tools) so that people
    have an easy way to go through them? I don't know how the staff
    manage to view 700 photos everyday. Can you open this system
    to other users? I don't think this would add too much burden to

    The current system forces me to rate each photo in the list
    instead of showing thumbnail page and discourages me from
    viewing more photos efficiently.
  77. As an ameteur and beginner in photography, I would love some kind of critique panel. Maybe a group of pro's or top rated photographers that I could submit my work to and receive comments/suggestions from. I'm sure something like this would be difficult as it would require volunteers and it would probably be flooded with photos so much that it would overwhelm them. Maybe one could submit one photo a week or two a month...something like that. You could still keep the member rated areas, but when I have a photo that gets rated, I usually look at the ratings, pick the highs and lows and go look at that photographer's work. That determines how much weight a rating carries for me. It's fun when I receive a nice rating, and that photographer's portfolio blows me away. Any thoughts about a panel?

    Thanks to everybody at My work has come a long way because of all your hard work.

  78. So much goodness has been captured in this thread, I don't even know where to start.

    But even a first semester undergrad taking a statistics course would be able to tell you that this approach is whacked.

    Not that this is a democracy, but wouldn't it be a great idea to post proposed changes and seek feedback from the marketplace rather than make your sweeping changes in the ivory tower???

    Sure, you'll never make everyone happy. The old system was not that bad. But, at the very least, this process should be clear, consistent and statistically rational. This isn't rocket science boys and girls. But, this change is a whopping thud.
  79. If the users of are TRULY interested in HONEST critiques of their photographs (instead of pat on the back 'nice photo' comments), then here are several ideas that I feel would greatly help the rating system.

    1. Only paid subscribers of ( patrons) can numerically rate photographs. This simply requirement would probably do more than any other suggestion to filter out meaningless, inane, mean spirited or overly generous ratings. Everyone else could still leave a comment if they desire, but limiting the numeric ratings to those who have a paid account would greatly reduce all the shenanigans that go on with the numeric ratings. (Note: all users would still be able to upload their photographs for free)

    2. Give those who upload their photographs a choice on how they would like to have their photographs critiqued. Choices such as: A) Either a rating and/or comment, B) Ratings only with a comment attached, C) Comments only – no ratings.

    3. Rate the critics. Give the community at large the ability to rate those who rate the photographs. Have the critics be rated on a 1 to 10 scale based on the THOUGHFULNESS/QUALITY of their comments and ratings. A rating of 10 would be given to a very thoughtful reviewer. A rating of 1 would be given to an asinine troll. Then (here’s the best part of this suggestion), a reviewer’s numeric rating of someone’s photograph could be WEIGHTED based on the reviewer’s overall quality rating. Hence, those critics who take the time to make thoughtful ratings and critiques of other users' photographs would be rewarded by having their ratings count more, and the photographers would be rewarded by having their photographs’ ratings be based MORE on the opinions of conscientious reviewers than on inconsiderate trolls. A win, win proposal for everyone involved!

    I know that what I suggest above would greatly reduce the amount of ratings that a photograph on would receive, but I strongly believe that the ratings and comments that each photograph would receive would be of a much higher quality.

    - Peter
  80. To me the opinions of learned photographers are many times greater than the opinions of someone with no uploaded material.

    Presently a photo's rating is just the simple mean of all the ratings given - irrespective of who gave them. A weighted average is a more fair number for ratings.


    You upload your photo and request that it be rated.

    Person A rates your photo as a [5] and they themselves hold an average rating of '8' over 100 individual ratings throughout their portfolio

    Person B rates your photo as a [1] and they have no photos uploaded

    Person C rates your photo as a [7] and they have a rating of '4' over 10 individual ratings throughout their portfolio.

    Then the "weighted average rating" for your photo should be:

    W = ( ( 8 x 100 x 5 ) + ( 0 x 1 ) + ( 4 x 10 x 7 )) / ( 840 x 10 )

    = 5.1

    So then the more skilled ( and more prolific ) photographers are given a "bigger voice" - which to me is a good thing.
  81. It would be helpful if we could rate, and comment on the photo in one process, and on the same screen.
  82. Brian,

    I think this "solution" solves little while statistically distorting current and past ratings. A few other commentors had a different version which I would much prefer.

    "The 'average' photograph should get a rating of 5 because that is the midpoint between 1 and 10. Comments should be required for any rating below 3 and above 7."

    More importantly, I would love to see catagories so I don't have to look through hundreds of images when I am only interested in specific genres of images.

    Lastly, I am a little puzzled why this is being discussed AFTER the fact. Makes my comments seem a little worthless.
  83. I have found the rating system useful but frustrating. Some of my own pics I have personaly rated above average but they have scored low (in the ratings), others that I have thought mediocre, have scored surprisingly highly.

    The frustration is that when 20 - 30 people have scored your work at say 8/8 and one person scores it at 4/5 you feel justified in thinking that they have either got it wrong or that they operate on a higher level of understanding.

    Sadly when you then look at their work, to reference their judgement, you often find a very low offering and hense the frustration.

    Anyone giving a low mark should be challenged to justify it or change their rating, and the pic's author should be allowed to challenge the critics low mark.

    I would also suggest that anyone found to be consistantly low marking, when compared with other marks for the same piece, should be precluded from the opportunity to rate work for a period of time.

    This is additional administration and costs in both time and effort, a resource that I feel would be better spent on the positive elements of this wonderful site.

    At the end of the day let the 'low markers' get on with it, true snappers will take it with a pinch of salt and keep submitting some remarkable work. The low markers will attempt to abait lifes frustrations by offloading onto others pics (that's fine by me I can take it). I for one enjoy the feedback as I have learned so much with the help of this community.

    The challenge is for 'low markers' to submit feedback with their mark so that the works author can understand their point of view and respond to the ctriticism
  84. so many wonderful suggestions...and such awesome attention
    to it's members..applause to you Brian and all the staff.
    i enjoy making comments about photos that i like and or ones
    that either intrigue me in some way or just simply catch my eye. i
    very seldom give a numerical equivalent to my emotional
    response of any one particular photo. the main reason is i find
    the two completely un-related. as at least one member pointed
    out..for them, and for many others, photography is an art form
    and it is difficult, nay...near impossible... to deduce (and reduce)
    the value of an art piece by assigning a mere number. and
    sequential reasoning does not always aid a photographer in
    developing an understanding as to how they could improve.<br>
    as fabian suggested, there needs to be an expansion of the
    'rating categories'....there is a definite need for a technical
    assessment. in many instances, proper application of technical
    skills (or the tweaking of them) can vastly improve aesthetics,
    and a better understanding of composition and basic elements
    of visual design may even be practiced to help achieve a more
    original image.<br>
    although no photo seems to be original anymore, there is
    always a new angle to look at things, a new take on subject
    matter is always right there in front of one's camera and themes
    that move people can always be presented in a fresh
    i have refrained from posting any pictures here for two reasons
    mainly....1) i have no access to a scanner...and 2) i am not really
    interested in a critique on any individual photo as they are but
    one part of an artistic process for me...3) i have found that the
    way the present 'critique system' is established causes people
    to 'judge' a photo and the value of a critique is lost in the fray.<br>
  85. The first comment is dead on and bears repeating in the sea of responses:
    Great. Now we'll get anonymous, quickly set-up hotmail accounts with their "detailed" comments. ("This sucks", "1") This solves nothing. Good try but you're still just pandering to people who actually think ratings mean anything. Just let those people find their way to photosig where they can cavort to their heart's content in meaningless ratings madness. Ratings may be "popular" but IMO right about the time the ratings system was instituted here is when started it's decline. This site used to be high in substance and integrity. Now it's full of too much fluff and meaningless banter. I think there's a direct correlation. I say remove the ratings system all together. Then those who think ratings mean anything will leave and maybe, just maybe,'s magic will return.
    -- Richard Sintchak [ Patron] , June 23, 2002; 02:06 P.M. Eastern
  86. Perhaps better than Terry's weighted average suggestion, how about a different weighted average scheme: people who rate all 1/1 or all 10/10 (or thereabouts) are weighted less than people who have given average ratings of 5/5? The closer to a 5/5 average rating given by the rater, the more weight that individual's rating has.

    Actually, this would be extremely difficult to implement, requiring constant recalculating of the ratings as they rate more photos and their overall averages change. But it's a thought and would be a big improvement.

    IMO, the current rating system is only a smidgen better than entirely useless, and the best way to go would be to eliminate ratings altogether. Sorry, Brian.
  87. Two major ideas, stated by others but worth re-stating:

    1) the 1-10 scale is too easily misinterpreted and abused.
    Academic grades are generally on a 0-4 scale and sometimes
    on a 0-5 scale. The problem with the 1-10 scale on, in
    addition to openness of misinterpretation, is that malicious "1s"
    can really throw off an average. Make the darn thing something
    like "1-5," with a simple statement along the lines of "1" is a
    complete failure, "3" is average, "4" is well-done and "5" is

    2) don't allow ANYONE with an @hotmail or @yahoo, etc.,
    address to vote; don't allow users who maintain anonymity to
    vote; don't allow users who don't post their OWN images to vote.
  88. Considering Richard has rated over 600 photos on this site...I would guess that he enjoys the rating system. Seems a bit strange to me???

    I think the rating system is a great tool. 10 years ago, people would have "died" for something like this. If there were no rating system, we'd all be browsing through hundreds of mediocre shots just to find something that inspires us. Just my two cents.

    Thanks to all that make this site run so smoothly.
  89. Brian,
    in my opinion this is the first step in the right direction to correct the rating system.I saw many interesting suggestion to follow right the one of Terry Mah but I think there are two thinghs to be done in the near future:
    1)Anyone who has not uploaded "x" number of pictures (5 to 10) must not be entitled to rate or make comment.
    2)To every rating there should be a comment which explain the rating(even for the highest ones) and it should be something different from "I like it!".
    Anyhow continue in this direction,discouraging the useless low ratings was the first thing to be done.
  90. TR, you joined the site a month and a half ago. I've been here as a registered member for over 2 1/2 years and lurked here for about 6 months before that. was very much different even as little as 1 year ago. When the ratings system was first implemented (using a scale of 1-5, not the current 1-10) it seemed like a good idea, and most of my ratings are from the past (although occasionally I have set down a few ratings recently as well). Since it was implemented there have been ratings scandals, serious abuse of the ratings system (to be the highest rated on the site, and to knock others off), flame wars, personal email wars, etc. All over low and high ratings. Bottomline is I find it useless for my own photos. I could really not care any less what a load of mostly anonymous people think of my photos if all they want to do is leave a number. And I feel the type of photographer that DOES want number ratings are mostly ones who say they want ratings but all they really want are high ratings, and as such they are not that serious about their art or improving their craft. Go look at, where ratings are king. The place is dripping with sickly sweet "oh! this is SO nice!" triple-thumb comments on mediocre but "pretty" shots (many with obvious flaws). That does nothing to help anyone improve their work or even begin to speak seriously and intelligently about the technical and artistic aspects of photography. It's a circle-jerk of people who only want to feel good about themselves even at the cost of substance and integrity. The same types who buy vanity press books with their photos inside to place on their coffee tables and brag to their friends.<p>Shame is used to be GUSHING with intelligent and substantive discussions of photography and of posted images. People actually wrote more than simple one or two liners when answering forum posts or critiquing images. Then the ratings system started. This attracted many more people and the site became even more popular because of (or in spite of?) it. But IMO it was at a big cost in quality and substance of the site. The noise-to-signal ratio went through the roof. If it's noise ("popular"?) the site wants, they got it. <p>The signal is still here but can barely be heard above the din.<p>TR, you said, "I think the rating system is a great tool." How so? Especially versus all the problems it seems to have caused. Please elaborate instead of adding another simple one-liner to the din. <p>You also said, "Thanks to all that make this site run so smoothly." How do you know only being a member since early May 2002? I have great respect and really appreciate all the effort the people have put into the site. But one thing this site has hardly ever been accused of is running smoothly. It's growth has been robust but definitely has tripped up numerous times along the way. <p>And if you love it so much why have you not pried open your wallet and given a measly $25 to the site?
  91. Well, I've been here for 4.5 years and I agree with Richard.

    However I think we have to face reality. Then was partly a research project of Philip's, needed no external funding and was run out of MIT. Now has to stand alone and pay for itself. For that you need lots of bodies. Quality is nice but quantity is even nicer. I'm not saying that's a good thing, just the way things are.

    My opinion is that individual photo critiques are close to useless, but clearly that's not the majority opinion. Unless you want a minority site which can't sustain itself and will eventually die, you have to go with the majority.

    Of course you can always totally ignore the whole photo critique and ratings system. In fact if we simply opened up a "ratings critique discuission forum" and deleted every ratings critique thread from the photo forums, maybe everyone would be happy. The question of whether the resources poured into trying to make the ratings system work is the optiumum expenditure of effort for the site is a decision those directly involved have to make.

    Unfortunately you can't go home again. will never be what it was when it was small and well focused. I just don't think you can run a commercial site which operates in that mode.
  92. I once saw a photo of someone's cat, apparently shot by a toddler, that received an average of 7.6 for aesthetics and 6.8 for originality. Give me a break.
  93. I completely respect your response Richard. However, you seam to almost "hate" this site? And I can't quite understand why you would hang around if that were the case...just curious.

    I've been around much longer than a month (behind the scenes.) So I have been around long enough to respect what this site provides me as a photographer. To answer your question, or to provide more than a one-liner... When I first submitted photos several months ago (I deleted my old account for reasons of my own), I was shocked that my ratings SUCKED. But, it made me look beyond the average photo, and truly study my subjects and how to capture better images. I think the comments are priceless, but the ratings really give me a guage also. Granted, there are a few people out there that throw in a 1/1, and a 10/10, but I can certainly weed those out in my own mind. The final rating, to me, is not a contest score. It's a simple guage for my own use. As far as which is better - ratings from 1-10, or 1-5...I think that is a non-issue. 1-10 is simply a broader scale which, in my mind, doesn't attract any more abuse than a 1-5, etc.

    Regarding other PUKE sites that offer nothing but "back scratching" advice...I AGREE COMPLETELY. This is the only site that people almost enjoy bashing, more than they do praising photos :) I wouldn't have it any other way. I've learned ZERO at those other sites.

    I do still believe this site runs very smoothly. Not that I'm an expert, but I've learned 90% of what I know about photography from this site, and it's articles. There are a few things that could be improved. And I'm sure it will happen.

    Lastly, your right about the $$$...I'll have to donate soon.

  94. I'm a somewhat low rater - I try to follow Phillip's guidelines and I generally only rate photos that "interest" me. My average rating (of others) is 5.78/5.9. The highest rating I have ever given was 9/9. To my way of thinking, giving a "10" is something you would do only once in your life.
    Since p.n already calculates "average rating given," how about normalizing the ratings based on that? If someone has an average of 8/8 and rates a photo as 7/7, that becomes 4/4 (normalizing around 8.) Of course, you'd use a more mathmatically robust algorithm in real life.
    I've often thought there's a really good masters' thesis just waiting to happen on normalizing community-based ratings...
    Disclaimer: I have never uploaded a photo for critique because after about 500 rolls, I still see my photography in the 5/5 or 6/5 range and there's plenty of that already on
  95. Unfortunately you can't go home again. will never be what it was when it was small and well focused. I just don't think you can run a commercial site which operates in that mode.
    Bob is right. I am a member of PN since January 2001 and I saw how the rating system degraded. The problem of PN is to try to have two opposite goals exist together: quantity and quality. Being a 'mass' site, that is a site opened to many thousands of persons, everybody can say everything and everybody's opinion counts as much as a pro's opinion even if he is a dog (do you remember the old comic strip about Internet in which a dog was teaching another dog how to chat and was saying "On the Internet nobody knows you're a dog?" :).
    OTOH one goal of the site is to teach and have people learning. This is one of the most valuable things. And it's obvious that people starting from scratch is not able to judge a photo, so the first things that they can say are "10/10", "Wonderful pictures", and so on. I myself did this in the beginning, since I moved around the site and acted by imitation. I learned that so silly critiques were useless by reading comments of a group of people that I consider the gurus photog of this community.
    A good approach could be to segment people, to be able to differentiate absolute beginners from intermediate photog and pros. We could prevent the first group from giving ratings. But how can we judge people? Subscribers should start in the first group, unless they give some kind of credentials stating they are a pro (but would PN staff be able to deal with a possibly large amount of credential submissions? And what kind of credential could be given? Open problems.)
    Then people should find their way to the more advanced groups. Here I don't have but fuzzy ideas. Somebody suggested to use the average ratings of a member's photos to judge it. I don't think it's a good idea for four reasons:
    1. I think people could achieve high photos ratings by cheating (shadow accounts or using friends and so on);
    2. Most of people doesn't have access to a scanner;
    3. We are saying that ratings _now_ are not working well, isn'it? So how can we trust a not working system to judge people?
    4. I think that there could be members that give great critiques but by themselves are not great photog.
    • Since we can assume that people learn in PN by reading stuff, such as senior members' critiques and so on, we could require that a member reads a good number of others' critiques before being allowed to enter the next group, the intermediate group. Now they can submit critiques/ratings and we can evaluate them assigning a score.
      Final thought: I think that all of we're discussing about demands for more resources and resources do cost. I think that the access to the most advanced features should be reserved to paying people. Nothing runs at zero cost. And if rating were accessible only by paying members, we would be able to reduce the 'shadow' accounts problem.
      Summing up, taking into account other people's suggestions, I try to describe my (rather crazy?) rating system:
      1. Only people who pays the 25 bucks are allowed to critique;
      2. You can give ratings only if you add a comment (if you later delete the comment, this will delete the ratings too);
      3. Members are partitioned in (say) three groups: beginners, intermediate and smart.
      4. Members are assigned do each group by evaluating a 'score' (the score starts from zero so novice members are first assigned to the beginners group);
      5. Beginners are not allowed to give ratings;
      6. Pros who submit good credentials are granted an initial score that places them right into the smart group;
      7. Beginners can increment their score by _reading_ others' comments (I assume that in PN we learn by imitation);
      8. Intermediate and smart members' ratings are weighted according to their score;
      9. Members who receive comments/ratings evaluate them saying if they are completely useless or extremely valuable with a scale 1-5;
      10. comments/ratings evaluation contributes in increasing or decreasing the score of each member.
      • The basic idea is: new members are rookies and we don't consider their ratings; they can learn by reading others' comments and after a good bunch of readings we can try them as intermediates: only at this point they can start giving ratings. If they are good they can get to be considered 'smart'; otherwise they can be pushed back to beginners again. It is like the score-based license drive in many countries: you get the license drive passing an exam, then if you violate laws too much you have to do the exam another time.
        Another added value is that with this system you can get feedback not only on your photos, but on your ability to critique too.
        It's quite late here and I don't know if I explained well myself; I also don't know if my proposal is KISS - let me know what you think. I also apologize for the long post. If somebody thinks my ideas are not so bad I can clarify them.
  96. What's the point of a "score". I thought we were photographers, not soccer players.
  97. Ahhhhh, damn straight true protical. Duz anyone eva' go out an' bust
    a cap in?
  98. For the time being I don't have time to play with my scanner. In a nearby future when I will post new pictures, I would love to get comments from people. However, I don't like to look at a meaningless numerical rating. One of the main reasons why I post pictures on is to receive constructive comments in order improve my skills. I want to know if my pictures are rubbish or masterpieces but I mostly want to know why.

    Lets abolish the numerical rating to create a place where people talk to each other. A place where we exchange advices. A place where we take time to look at pictures to analyse them.

    A logic focused on scores is incompatible with art. A logic based on money or earning grades kills the community spirit.
  99. When I first got low ratings for my photos, I was a bit annoyed. But as I looked through more and more photos in the same categories, I could see generally how the really high rated photos captured elements that were lacking in my own. I don't think elaborate schemes trying to normalize or get everyone to rate things higher or lower is going to solve anything. Everyone is different and hence, the ratings are going to be different.

    With this in mind, and the focus being on being able to compare and contrast one's own works with other people's, I suggest the following.

    Instead of ratings, have a menu that allows one to add this particular piece/photographer to a personal favorites list. There could be an A list, B list, and a C list. The computer could keep track of which photos/photographers consistently show up on different photo.netters lists and compile them by ranking. So, I can pull up the top photographer's in the A list....and ask for top 50. Look at them, and compare. Then pull up top photgrapher's in B list, and look at them and compare. This would allow me to judge for myself where in skill/technical/originality/whatever criteria I fit in best.

    Keep the comments, get rid of the ratings. Do a favorite's lists, (which I think also does), so if we see a talented photographer's works that we enjoy/learn from, we can see who they admire or are influenced by as well. Less readily abused system as well, I think.
  100. Just being able to say "I like this photo" would be enough. No way to diss a photo, can be used as a list of "bookmarks" to photos you like, etc...
    • I do not like the change, this only constricts the scale.
    • I do not think that present system was so bad. All ratings were not fair but in average the feedback more or less was.
    • All these macros of flowers, cats, sunsets, rocks of the Grand Canyon can be aesthetically OK, but they are not original.
    • If then there should be must to comment any photo I comment -- not only weaker ones.
    • If somebody gives me any rating then it would be great to see what she is worth herself and I can see it only if she had uploaded photos herself as well.
  101. Keep a numerical rating system if you want, but have individual ratings *invisible* to all other posters *including* the owner of the photograph. Like most other photographers I could care less about individual ratings from Fred Corncob in West Virginia, but I do have some interest in an over-all total for an image over a period of time.

    The only data field publicly viewable should be the mean average, which is all Photo.Net management is looking for anyways to pick out the best portfolios. This would also encourage more meaningfull commentary, since the 'O/O' middle finger effect wouldn't be in play.
  102. It bugs the hell out of me, whenI submit a photo, nobody rates it or comments on it. Good or bad. Just tell me something.
  103. George Day's suggestion to prevent folks with Hotmail addresses from participation. I've had a Hotmail account for years and have no plans to change. It works better than my ISP's mail service.

    One's address on the internet is no more valid an indicator of that person's values and integrity than one's physical address, whether downtown, the 'burbs or the "wrong side of the tracks".
  104. Bob Atkins wrote: "Of course you can always totally ignore the whole photo critique and ratings system. In fact if we simply opened up a "ratings critique discuission forum" and deleted every ratings critique thread from the photo forums, maybe everyone would be happy."
    Well, at least I'd be happier--but then, I'm someone who doesn't at all understand why an average score based on input from disparate individuals with quite different understanding of the metric makes any sense at all.
  105. It doesn't.

    However if you MUST have a scoring system and you don't like a few lowball scores, simply drop the bottom and top 10% of ratings and average the rest. Limiting who can give what "score" to an image makes little sense and just makes things even more complex. K.I.S.S. applies here.
  106. The new proposal would reduce at least some of the following: the vicious rating that is delivered too easily and without explanation, the casual rating that does not give enough consideration to the photo before making the rating, the "cruiser" who comes through and decides to rate the worst picture in a folder and never bothers to rate the better ones, etc.

    There is no cure-all, but this proposal makes a lot of sense and I doubt would hurt anything. Why not give it a try?
  107. I like this plan. I agree with the suggestions that in order to rate you should have some of your own photos posted. Only fair.
    Further, I'd like an upper threshhold that would require comments too. If people describe what they like when rating 8 or above, then others can learn what makes the good images successful and try to incorporate those techniques into their own work if they wish to emulate a style.

    I was on the verge of either trying to start a movement or unilaterally rating 1/1 those images that are 5 times the size that is specified for submissions. "Read the recommentdations on how to submit an image!" will now be my comment. I will also feel more comfortable now giving low ratings to computer generated "art" that does not belong on a photo site. Just because the word "Photo" is in the name of the software you use, doesn't make it a photograph.
  108. whether or not i am a photographer or not has very little to do
    with my ability to critique a particular photo....especially on the
    basis of Aesthetics and Originality. i happen to be one, and so i
    can give a qualified view in regards to the use of technical skills
    applied. in many cases this would seem quite simple. in many
    more cases this would be irrelevent as i have no idea of the
    'intent' of the photographer. maybe they underexposed on
    purpose...maybe the underexposed 'effect' helped create the
    'atmosphere' of the image. how am i to know this without some
    input from the person submitting the photo.<br>
    if i were to want a critique on a photograph i made, i think i would
    ask for onethat specifically addressed my own issues. and then
    again, there is always the surprising joy that one receives when
    someone just likes a photo (or an image) and they don't really
    know why. one can still learn through positive reinforcement.<br>
    as more than a few members have stated, the numerical system
    is not (and cannot be) a good tool for giving a proper critique. it is
    a quick fix and can never be as valuable as a dialogue between
    two people. the internet is fast. perhaps too fast to cater to
    everyone's individual needs.<br>
    BTW...i give 10/10 ratings based on my own standards of what i
    believe a 1-10 scale to represent to me as an artist, as a human,
    as a photographer. someone else could come along and
    average out a rating based on their own personal taste by giving
    a 1/1 rating. it's like comparing apples to oranges. period.<br>
    one more question in regards to the term 'beginner'. a beginner
    photographer or a beginner photo.netter?
  109. As an active member of since June of 1997 (5 years) I have seen many changes. In 1997 was used as a forum based site to answer the many photography questions we all had. It was THE major site in the entire world (still is) for pooling information. A sharing of IDEAS about photography. Gradually, people started submitting pictures with the questions, or asking for critiques. This worked. And the site was blazingly fast! An incredible site.

    Then some members began clamoring for more. A place where they could display their images and have them critiqued. This in turn led to the nonsence of rating pictures. A numerical way to go to the top of the heap. And the downfall of as it once was.

    And so we have 341,000 images to look at. The vast majority of which are pretty bad. If one were to look at 34 images a day (whew!) it would take 10,000 days. That's over 27 years of non-stop viewing. I would die before I finished. Consequently, many, many pictures never get rated or commented on. has become the giant photo album in the sky.

    The cure: 1-Limit the number of photographs a photographer can have on the site. 50 should be more than enough. Keep your images updated and rotate the bad ones out and better ones in. 2- Return the site to those who are, or want to be, serious photographers. Get rid of the tens of thousands of family albums. 3- Dump the rating system. 4- Select top portfolios by the total number of comments. Think about this for a minute. A few negative comments would be plenty for the photographer to get the idea. Positive comments would of course be appreciated. Many, many comments would say that many, many people took the time to respond to the image. Hence, an excellent indicator of the interest a photograph garnered and a way of "rating" that neither praises nor insults the photographer. Instead of "best" photographs, we now have "interesting" photographs. 4- Seperate the photographs into catagories. Please!!! If I want to look at scenics, I don't want to see nudes. And vice-versa.

    Photographers who would like to save time looking through 340,000 photographs (or who do not have the required 27 years) could go to the photographs with the most comments. Then they could browse through the catagories that interest them the most. Imagine being able to pick "people" and getting to choose from the most commented-on people photographs.

    Steve Bingham
  110. Back when I was an amateur photographer and was part of a camera club, it used to frustrate me when the "judges" would rate one
    of my pictures (whether a good rating or not) and made no
    comments about it.

    I personally don't give a horses patotie whether _anyone_ likes my personal work and I only have to please my clients in my pro work.

    So, I don't understand why PN even supports the idea of assigning a numerical rating to photographs. What does it achieve? Is a picture rated a "7" somehow better than one rated a "6".

    I say ditch the numerical rating system entirely. Simply have two choices "liked" and "didn't like" and _require_ that someone post
    a comment if they selected one of the choices. And if people are really anal about having some sort of numerical score, PN could
    post the number of "likes" and dislikes"

  111. Brian wrote: “The photo ratings system at system serves two major purposes. Together with the comments, the ratings provide the photographers who submit photos with sought-after feedback on their work. For other users, the overall rating averages provide a mechanism for finding photos that may be of interest to them, and ratings underpin many of the most popular features in the Gallery.”
    I wonder if the two purposes that Brian cites are well served by the existing system.
    Feedback, the first purpose, is very clearly best provided by comments.
    Numerical ratings on this site are meaningless, except in the full context of the standards, experience, and understanding of the rating system that are brought to the task. Is a “9/10” provided by someone who discovered both and photography in recent weeks any more—or less—meaningful than a “7/6” rating offered by an experienced photographer who is his own best critic, or a low rating (say, a“5/5” chosen to avoid Brian’s cut-off) slapped on a landscape photograph simply because a viewer despises Velvia? On, they are the same. Given the misguided statistics, such ratings cannot provide meaningful feedback. A rating system subject to the myriad and Machiavellian abuses that have plagued is worse than useless.
    If comments are provided, the numerical rating is unnecessary, except to attempt to serve Brian’s second stated purpose: To find interesting or, perhaps, “better” work. It may be that photos given high ratings in the present system are “better”, somehow, than much of the other work offered for critique. However, the mechanism used to separate the wheat from the chaff is so flawed, and has generated so much ill will, that I think alternative means must be strongly considered.
    One option would be to reduce the chaff. Make a place where only stringently limited examples of one’s very best work can be submitted for critique each year. Dramatically reducing the number of allowed submissions would similarly reduce the need for a sorting device to find quality work: Each photographer would pre-filter his own submissions. Anyone who is impressed by one of the, say, four submissions allowed a photographer in a twelve-month period might wish to peruse that photographer's folders of additional, un-rated work.
    I suggest that strictly limiting submissions for critque would reduce or eliminate the need for a numerical rating system, and written comments would be a much more useful means of feedback.
  112. I absolutely agree that comments are good enough for the feedback and
    we don't need ratings for this purpose. Nor I desire any kind of
    'ranking' among photographers, that was the major cause of the arise
    of devastating egoes, flamewars and so on. But I think that we need some kind of scoring to find out better pictures, at least to distinguish pictures above average from bad pictures or point-and-shoot photos or family albums, that, as other said, are unfortunately the 80-90% of
    the 341,225 pictures on this site. The idea of the "i like/i don't like" could be a way to simplify things, but can again be exploited
    to cheat (if I want to bring down somebody I will just bomb his photos with "I don't like" instead than using 1/1). I am also skeptical about counting the comments on photos, since most comments are the infamous "Wonderful", "Good Work", "!!!" and so on.

    My proposal (and I'm not advocating it, maybe it's useless, maybe it's too complex, I'm just brainstorming) went in another direction: the try to evaluate PN members not as 'how good photographer they are' but 'how fine critiques they are able to give'. If I see a "you didn't apply the thirds rule" in a comment, I would like to understand if the guy who says this is just a beginner that just learned the rule reading from a book and would evaluate in that way every single picture in the world, including Ansel Adams', or if it is a somewhat experienced guy and I should really consider what he says...
  113. The idea of Steve to keep only a certain number of picture for each photographer is great.I saw many portfolios with 200 pictures uploaded and I think it makes no sense expecially because noone will look at all of them.Even when you have to show your portfolio to a customer you go there with your 15/20 best pictures.
    I disagree with you Steve when you say that top portfolios should be the ones which get the most number of comments:we should look also at the quality of the comments.Once I had one of my pictures commented by three members with 1)"Wow!" 2)"I like it" 3) "Beatiful".Do you call them comments?I know that rating could create many problems but at least gives you an immediate feedback of how a pictures looks.Eliminating the possibility to give low ratings without a serious comment to the pictures will improve the system.
    Just let the staff to give a try.
  114. I'm unhappy with the new ratings system. I rate as honestly as I know how, relative to my personal experience, taste, and point of view. In the past 9 months I have rated over 1000 shots, and I am averaging 6.14 and 5.9 for aesthetics and originality. That fits with how I see things on this site. With the new system I cannot rate as I used to as I routinely rate honestly at 4, 3, 2, and very rarely 1, without entering a comment. Ratings are a short hand for comments and a way of saying how much I like a shot, not just whether I like it or not. I am dissapointed, as I am a paying memeber to see things go this way. I prefer how things worked previously, even with its drawbacks. If this downward trend continues I will soon be ignoring this site. A pity since it was good and very instructive to me for a long time.
  115. gib


    I did not read every comment posted on this topic. My perhaps not so wise comment.

    What I have noticed about ratings:

    I see others'photos and mine receive low ratings as well as high ratings. The same photo may receive a 2 and a 9. When I feel like looking at the photos of the person giving a 2, often they have not posted any photos. Sometimes they have and the photos are in my opinion nothing special or quite special.

    What I do with ratings:

    1. I generally rate photos that I like, that catch my eye. I generally ask myself "do I wish I had taken the photo" and would I like to see an enlarged print on my wall". In terms of aesthetics, I respond to the "story" of the photo, what does it tell me, do I wish I was standing where the photo was taken. Does the portrait tell me about the individual as well as add something to a universal impression of mankind. Sometimes I notice technical elements that are not quite as I would like them.... composition - framing.

    Do I look for a photo to be "perfect"? No, I used to be a perfectionist, but I wasn't a very good one, so I had to stop.

    2. about öriginality ..... I generally match the number for originality to the number for aesthetics. Sometimes if I think that the shot is a good but flawed attempt then I will rate the originality at say 9 and give a lower number for aesthetics, something like 6 or 7. By doing this I am trying to communicate that it was a good try but needs another attempt. More specifically that the photographer needs to take ä second look.

    I rate the photos I like and I rate usually 6-10. I believe I have never rated below 5.

    If I think something is below average, below fair, poor or even lower than that, I just pass by and leave no rating. It is the responsibility of the photographer to see their work first. To look carefully and evaluate.

    What I have noticed about comments:

    There are many kind and generous and positive comments made. There are some that zero in on some very, very perfectionist type points. From the context of writing workshops, where I have sat more or less face to face with the person whose work is being critiqued, I have found it valuable to say that my critique may often have more to do with how I would write what they have written, not so much to do with how they have written it, but still an alternative approach is a variable, an idea, to use or not use by the "maker" of the piece of art work.

    A lot of times it seems that people want short cuts almost. The attitude of the critique forum is sometimes, "tell me what is wrong, so I can fix it, since I don't know and I don't have time to think about it, to reflect more about my own work." Sometimes.

    I had a photographer who had posted a remarkable portrait email when I gave his photo a 10.10 to ask me why, since I had offered no comment. So, I went back to his photo and looked again and wrote about 300 words and posted it as a comment on his photo here in It helped me probably more than him. He sent back an email thanking me and said that I had seen more in the photo than he had when taking it. He told me a little about the choosing of the pose and I learned a little bit more. His photo had received only one rating.

    As for the revisions, I am in favour of them.

    I enjoy looking at the photos people post in I am very glad I found this site.
  116. Occasionally when I notice someone has given a particular photo (whether mine or someone else's) unusually high or low ratings I look at that person's average and comments, if any.

    Last night was one of those occasions that just makes me scratch my head. A fellow rated someone else's photo 2/2 and commented "Not very interesting." That's it.

    Granted the photo wasn't terribly interesting to me either. But it hardly merited a frankly insulting and disrespectful 2/2. That simply showed a total absence of thought and integrity on the part of the person giving the ratings.

    The photo was technically competent. In my opinion that automatically puts it above 2. I've stated before that I'm hard pressed ever to rate a photo less than 5 for aesthetics when the image is technically competent. Ideally there would be a distinct category for competence of technique but lacking that we'll have to make do.

    OTOH, it was a mere snapshot and didn't tell a story or convey much information. A 2 for originality may have been appropriate.

    Now some folks would shrug and say, what's the difference? 5/3, 2/2, both ratings stink. Well, double those numbers and reconsider. Most of us have seen ratings of 10/6, which shows serious thought given by the rater, and 4/4, which tells us nothing at all, for the same image.

    When I first began rating photos here I did indeed occasionally give ratings of 7/7, 9/9, etc., often with reluctance. Had I really considered the images carefully enough? Or was I more concerned about the feelings of the photographer? I decided if I was going to bother with ratings at all I'd better give my standards more thought, and offer some useful commentary.

    (BTW, I'm not equating individual ratings of equal numbers to a person's *average* for each category being equal or nearly so. My own average is typically around 8/8, despite the fact that I seldom give individual ratings of 8/8. I think the average simply reveals our tendencies to rate photos either as average or above average, nothing more. And the occasional foray into 1/2 or 10/9 territory can throw our averages off for a while.)

    I strongly recommend that the ratings software be tweaked to pop up a message to the effect of: "Are you certain that you have given due consideration to this photo?" whenever a person tries to enter ratings in which originality and aesthetics are given equal numbers.

    If nothing else, frequent brain-dead raters will enter different numbers for each category if only to circumvent the annoying pop-up message. With luck, however, they'll actually begin to think about what they're doing.
  117. ...from now on when I see preposterously and idiotically low ratings left on other's photos I'm going to make a public statement about it. At one time I believed others were entitled to their points of view and should not be challenged. No more. That goes against the fundamentals of rhetoric and undermines the value of polite, if spirited, debate.

    We should, and must, challenge one another to improve our abilities to view images with a *skilled* critical eye.

    Therefore I will no longer sit idly by when I see ratings such as Adam Szymanski has thoughtlessly dumped upon another's image, a 3 for originality in this lovely, if flawed, photo:

    Unless Mr. Szymanski can cogently and persuasive defend such a rating by showing, as I wrote in my commentary on that page, that this image is as common as photos of the family in front of grandma's house, he and his type deserve nothing but disdain and censure.

    Therefore, he and those who ask for attention to their own photos while showing little more than disrespect to others' should be ignored until they demonstrate they have given some serious thought to the ratings and commentary process.

    And, while it should not even be necessary for me to say so, lest someone mistakenly interpret that I'm advocating gratuitously higher ratings, that is the last thing I would say. Simply be prepared to intelligently and articulately defend your ratings and critique. That has always been the test of character and integrity in debate.

    Finally, while again it should not be necessary for me to say it, let us please refrain from posting retaliatory ratings or commentary against these misguided souls. It will aggrieve them enough simply to be challenged to support their dunderheadedness.
  118. I can recall a psychology study from my time in Philosophy classes where it was discovered that a rating system with 5 choices would always produce a higher result directly in the centre. In the case of, this means the average will be a '7'. A better system, in terms of these findings was to provide 7 choices, which allowed the case subjects to still sit on the fence in the middle, but indicate their dis/agreement slightly to either side, enabling a truer result.

    I think a 7 choice system would be more useful.
  119. Paul, I'm familiar with the studies that show that seven choices generally provide the most accurate results. got it wrong both times: the original five choices was too few, and the current 10 choices was too many. By the way, in the current 10 choice system the average has turned out to be 7 also mostly due to the effect of non-anonymous ratings. Keeping the 10 choice (for a while) and making 1-4 a bit more cumbersome will probably not change this much. In fact, prior to the change less than 5% of the ratings were in this range. So far the change has more or less eliminated the 1-4 ratings, but has hardly affected the averages at all. (In any case, it is not a permanent change. We just got fed up with remonstrating with people who felt that it was their right to give 1's, even though this was about 4 standard deviations lower than the average.)
  120. And now we have our photonet faithful instructing us what we can and cannot rate photographs. How unbelievable that someone could just not like a photograph (which isn't even true in this case as the photo in question above was rated 3/6) and rate it as one feels it should be rated. Obviously individual opinion is meaningless and if we don't conform to the masses we should now be shouted down by the do-gooders who will be standing on every corner. Read Phils ratings tutorial, take from it what you can, and leave the rest of us the hell alone.
  121. Tim, the rating system isn't set up so that people can get some kind of weird satisfaction from handing out low ratings to the photos they disdain. And the ratings are not intended to be the means for the raters to let the photographers know just how pathetic they really are, in the raters' opinion.

    People submit their photos voluntarily, and the ratings are supposed to be a service, a gift, from the rater to the photographer and the site. As several people have proposed, I'm planning on eliminating the current rating system, and replacing it with a system whereby people select the photos that they like, with probably some way of further selecting the ones they believe are exceptional.

    While I am implementing this, we still need a way of classifying photos and people still want the feedback; so the rating system goes on.

    You can even still rate a photo anything you "want". You just can't use a rating that is at least two standard deviations below the average, and which is used less than 5% of the time by the rating population on, WITHOUT LEAVING A COMMENT SO THE PHOTOGRAPHER LEARNS SOMETHING FROM THE RATING.

    You also have the option of JUST NOT RATING (what a concept!) photos that don't rise to your obvious high standard. Or don't rate any photos at all, if not being able to give low ratings without comments takes all the pleasure out of it for you.
  122. "due to the effect of non-anonymous ratings."
    Yes thats right. People now inflate their ratings to avoid getting hit on their own photos. So we now have an average rating of 7. How useful is that. What does it tell you about your photos? Does it provide any useful feedback? Will it help you improve?

    "We just got fed up with remonstrating with people who felt that it was their right to give 1's, even though this was about 4 standard deviations lower than the average.)"

    Yes an average that is already inflated because people feel they can't give their true opinion. So you had a few that wouldn't knuckle under and rate regardless of the retaliation.

    I've gone back and forth on this, but have finally come to the conclusion that the ratings system should be scraped. It's broke and I don't think you, or your entire team can fix it.
  123. I'm sorry Brian, but everything in your response is just so wrong.
    'People submit their photos voluntarily, and the ratings are supposed to be a service, a gift, from the rater to the photographer and the site.'
    This is just incredulous to me. I never submitted a photo here looking for a gift, good lord, all I ever wanted here was to get as much feedback as possible, good feedback makes me feel all 'happy in side', crappy feedback makes me more critically evaluate my stuff, it works, its the way the world works, people have different opinions and believe it or not, some of the opionions are outside of two standard deviations from average, and you're not required to have an explanation to have a differing opinion. Where is the balance on the 'frigging wonderful' side, it's not there. If you want to go 'any rating of 1, 2, 9, or 10 requires comment, then I'd be more supportive, but a feel good photography site is worthless. With the thousands of photos I would guess submitted daily, I'll take ratings without comments, it's what I can get. Comments were wonderful, but ratings worked, at least I got something and I usually got it at a 10 to 1 ratings to comments ratio. The greatest thing about low ratings, and ALL photographs should have them, is it helped me identify what audience I wasn't impressing at all. Low and behold, almost all of my low ratings come from a certain genre of photographer, our styles are opposite. I should just discredit their opinion and allow them no voice? They didn't need to comment, I can see it in the trends, it's really not alltogether difficult. Now I'm supposed to figure out how to evaluate 'non-ratings'...ok...hopefully there will be a tutorial ;-). Photonet served me well for probably two years, but its value is deflating quickly. Once again, I'm sorry Brian, but this attitude the site is taking is a giant step back in allowing photographers to get meaningful feedback and negative feedback is meaningful. If you can't take negative feedback and use it constructively or are offended by it you better not be out there actin' all hot stuff, stickin' a F-5 in a homeless persons face.
  124. Just an interesting observation. In the latest Pop Photog there's a review of some website or other (not this one) which has images and ratings. Pop Photog considered it a plus that you could get back at people who gave you low ratings by giving THEM low ratings in return.

    Ah yes, the new sport of photography where nobody ever wins.
  125. Tim, I feel that you are the one who is not getting it. We are debating whether you should be allowed to give ratings in the range of 1-4 without a comment. The reform does not stop from you giving ratings in this range; it only requires you to make a comment.

    The problem with the 1-10 scale is that it is too broad. With a nominal average of 5-6, that makes 1-2 two standard deviations below average. Only a tiny fraction of photos are that bad, and nothing is served by rating them. SOmething similar could be said of 9-10. When the average is 5-6, 1-2 and 9-10 are so far below and above the norm that they are effectively meaningless from the point of view of providing feedback, and they tend to defeat the accuracy of the system.

    This is one of the reasons (non-anonymous ratings being the other main one) that the average rating has now risen to 7. With an average of 7, 9 and 10 become meaningful ratings, but 1 and 2 become even more meaningless and 3 and 4 start to be highly questionable as well. As it stands only 5% of the ratings are in the 1-4 range, with most of those being 4's.

    A more logical reform would have been to make a 1-7 scale and recompute all the existing ratings. However, I am working on a system for the Gallery visitors to "select" photos not "rate" them, and I wanted the easiest-to-implement reform that would stop people from giving thoughtless and useless low ratings, which cause the admin volunteers no end of trouble.
  126. Brian - following that logic, why not just make the scale run from 4 to 10. If ratings below 4 are meaningless, dropping them should not be an issue. So just delete all 1-3 ratings and make 4 the lowest score you can give. A scale running from 4 to 10 has 7 as the mid-range and since you say "7" is the average rating, all will be well and you don't have to recompute anything.

    If the lowest score you can get is a "4", people won't get highly pissed off when they get a "4". After all, it's much nicer then getting a "1" right? With a 1-7 scale you still have the problem of sensitive users being offended with "1" scores.

    Yes, it's totally artificial and anyone with a brain can see it's just a sham, but that's not necessarily a reason not to do it. We're not dealing with logic here.

    I still think the whole idea of ratings is flawed, but if you must have one keeping people happy is much more important than attempting to make it "accurate" or "scientific". It doesn't have to be fair, it just has to look fair.
  127. Brian, I do get it, we just have a fundamental difference in philosophy, you see the new system as 7+, I see it, at least conceptually (as it has not been implemented and I will give it a chance to see how it serves me) as a 2. Look at that, we can both approach the same subject with good intentions and come to completely different conclusions. As an administrator, I respect your right to implement whatever policy you see fit, but I must admit I don't feel this will enhance my experience. Possibly I am wrong, we will see. Interestingly enough I got a 3 originality, 8 aesthetics rating today, a comment was left, it actually enhanced the positive rating and said nothing about the 'negative' rating. I found, even without the comment, it to be a very informative rating, my mountain pic was very pretty, but not all to original. I wish more people would leave ratings, just superficial first impressions I'll take, some I will take with a grain of salt, some will open my eyes a little more. I emailed my 'negative' rater and thanked him for his honest opinion.
    I find Pop Photog's position on retaliatory ratings rediculous.
  128. There should not be a problem with giving or receiving low ratings. I have received and given my share. Each time it has made me think "why does someone not like this shot". It has helped make be a lot more critical of my own shots - I now see flaws that didn't occur to me before.

    It should be quick and easy to rate a shot - right now we have to tab over one. Minimizing the number of mouse clicks to rate would be an improvement.

    Here are some suggestions for the scale - that IMHO would be best:
    1 - below average - or do not like
    2 - average
    3 - above average - like it
    4 - outstanding shot - love it - one of the best of the site

    1 - below average -some noticable technical flaws
    2 - average
    3 - above average or outstanding technical example

    1 - common subject & composition
    2 - average
    3 - very original.

    All this adds up to a score out of 10 and is more meaningful to me.

    For the purpose of an average rating for the top-list, etc, just drop the highest and lowest scores to get a bit of balance.

    Would be glad to discuss. Let me know.

  129. this truly has gone from the sublime to the ridiculous. the ratings always have been fairly meaningless. But now when you look at a photo that could have been taken by a monkey that's rated 7.9, it just is absurd. personally, it has discouraged me from even bothering with posting or critiquing.
    I've looked at photo recently where the horizon wasn't square, the subject wasn't in focus, the exposure was off, and it get ratings like 9/9 and comments like I really like the effect here. I guess I'm becoming a curmudgeon.
  130. Perhaps the people who used to like to "monkey" with the ratings by giving good images a low score have discovered a new game. After having ther low score efforts thwarted by the new software their new method of attack is to seek out the worst images and give them high ratings!

    That, or perhaps we have an unusually large number of monkeys online at present?

    Clearly more work on the software is needed to stop this, perhaps by requiring a 100 word essay on "why I like this image" for any score except a 5, and by requiring proof of species before registering users.
  131. How do you prove your "professional" status? Send a copy of last years tax return? Some "amateures" (sic) are much better critics than "professionals" anyway.

    If people don't like your images they have a perfect right to give them a low rating. They don't need to justify their ratings. If you like your work, why would you care anyway?

    The more complex the system, the more ways there will be to screw with it. Everyone should be able to rate any image with any rating they want to, with or without a comment. Then drop the high and low 10% of all ratings and "problems" with "unique" opinions vanish. Make ratings and images anonymous and you remove the personal conflicts too.
  132. How do you prove your "professional" status? Send a copy of last years tax return? Some "amateures" (sic) are much better critics than "professionals" anyway.
    This is indeed a problem of the scoring proposals.
    If people don't like your images they have a perfect right to give them a low rating. They don't need to justify their ratings.
    They have that right, but we also have the right to understand how skilled and experienced is anybody who gives us a rating.
    If you like your work, why would you care anyway?
    So what is the rating system for? I believe that most of us likes most of our photos; but we are interested in a more objective opinion!
    Then drop the high and low 10% of all ratings and "problems" with "unique" opinions vanish.
    Yep, but what if you get zero ratings? Out of my latest three requests for critique, 2 ratings and one critique... I'm thinking again if the effort to upload is worth while.
  133. Yep, but what if you get zero ratings? Out of my latest three requests for critique, 2 ratings and one critique... I'm thinking again if the effort to upload is worth while
    That will always be the problem unless you are prepared to PAY for critiques. There will aways be 100x more people wanting advice than people prepared (and qualified) to give it. If each of them uploads 100 images, you're screwed.
    If people were limited to one image upload for critique per month, maybe there'd be a higher probability of actually getting one. However if you upload only 1 image per month and everyone else uploads 100, you're screwed even worse.
    See this for a theoretical treatment of similar situations.
    The critique system won't ever work unless it's torn down and rebuilt on a sound foundation, something I think it currently lacks. That's the result of legacy, like building Windows on top of DOS!
  134. mg


    I was wondering whether you received my e-mail about all this... And besides that, I just thought I would drop by to add my 2 cents here more directly about your original question.
    Yes, I do think that the new system is an improvement compared to the old one. I also agree with Bob to say that a complete reform would be even better of course, but for the time being, it's certainly a good thing... now people have to justify their low ratings... How can that be bad ?
    I suppose that a 2 / 3 without a word was just plain useless. If critiquers now want to piss people off, they can't really succeed... If someone leaves a 2 / 3 ratings with an empty word as critique, it will now be clear that he was just trying to piss the photographer off, and the photographer will know what to do with this info - just disregard the critique. So... Good job, Brian !
    Another thought came to my mind today, as I saw a technically PERFECT image - which to me was also excellent in many ways -, by a photographer who already had his POW on, and who is obviously not a nobody...
    I found this picture had an average of 7 / 7, which seemed a bit low to me, and I went to check the ratings it had received. Most were good - 7 and above... And there was a 1/1 - of course...
    So, the ideas I had were:
    1) Why not implement your reform retroactively...? Meaning: why not somehow put up the long list of all ratings below average which received no comment in the past ? I guess the computer would manage that easily, no ? Then, maybe, could publish the resulting list, and ask all the low raters to return justify their ratings with a comment (within 30 days or so, failing which the rating will be deleted). If the list is too long, maybe it could be limited to the ratings that were way below the other ratings this particular picture received.
    I'm not too sure how exactly you could do something like that in practice, but I think you get my point: there are a lot of old pissing contests - revenge ratings, etc - which have discouraged decent people to post critiques and pictures... The idea is to first get rid of all the old agendas...
    2) Why not introduce the notion of deviation from the average as soon as possible...? Meaning that if a picture is rated, say, an average of 7 / 7 after the 11 first votes, ratings from 5 to 9 (deviation of 2 points) will be ok, but any rating deviating by 3 points or more will need a written justification - maybe even a justification of 3 lines minimum... Here again, I'm not too sure whether this would be possible or not... just an idea... The same principle would then apply all the way... An interesting sophistication to this could be that each picture uploaded would be presented anonymously till it reaches 11 ratings... That way, pissing contests would just be impossible...
    Does this make some sort of sense ?
  135. I've just sat and read a lot of what has been said here and
    it's obvious that everyone will never agree, but will put my
    thoughts about it on here ...

    I'm still at the bottom of the 'learning' totem pole with my
    photos and for me, both the ratings and the comments work well.
    My photos aren't all that great and to expect someone to have
    to "comment" on WHY they rated it good or bad, is a little much
    I think. If it's an 8, they think it's good ... if it's a 5 they
    think it's average etc. etc. It only takes a minute to go to that
    persons portfolio and see what kind of work they have on here and
    it pretty much tells you if you should take what they rate or comment
    seriously or not.

    It's always nice to have the comments with the ratings. I have learned a lot on here from those comments. I had a few that made me want to throw my camera away, but it wasn't long before I noticed that those harsh comments were sometimes the ones that I got the most out of ... but only when they were done by someone that I knew what
    they were talking about, by the work that they had on here, which leads me to what I think IS wrong ...

    If you don't have photos on here ... you should NOT be able to comment
    OR rate!! It's nice that people can come on the site and look, but if
    they have no photos, then why on earth should they be allowed to!
    Whenever I see the 1's ,2's and 3's it's almost ALWAYS someone with
    "0" photos uploaded. To me that seems to be the biggest problem.
  136. It continues to puzzle me why so many put so much importance into whether a person has photos online and using that critieria to decide if that person is qualified or has "the right" to comment/rate photographs. I guess people want to have some kind of measurement tool to try and understand a person's background but in my opinion a person's ability as a photographer does not necessarily mean they know how to critique or discuss photography. Does a top-notch movie critic have to know how to make a great movie in order to know a good movie from a bad one? Does an expert art museum curator have to be a great artist himself to know what good art is or to discuss it intelligently? No! Of course not. <p>Having photos online at and whether they themselves are good or bad is not an indication that one is adept at critical discussion of photography. One of the best U.S. photographers in outdoor photography, in my opinion, must be one of the most boring persons to talk to about photography, and many other consider him an awful teacher as well even though he is a fantastic photographer himself (he shall remain nameless, but you get my point).<p>What good is this really? That you will see a critique that "hurts your feelings" and then you'll go and see if YOU think they are a good photographer or not, and then use your personal opinion of them as to whether you should discount or accept their criticism? What if their photography is a very different style than yours? What if you think it's bad (after all we ourselves are not experts, right?) but others think it's good? And I'd hazard a guess that there are many good photographer's and/or people who know photography very well who have not uploaded images to for a variey of reasons. In my opinion this is not a good way to "judge" your critics. When someone begins to judge the comments they themselves receive using this method they lose most if not all of the value of the whole idea in the first place, and it becomes more and more meaningless.
  137. Can't say as I agree with you Richard, but that's OK ...
    Like I said in the beginning, we'll never ALL agree on
    this subject.
    You think yours is right and I think mine is, etc. etc.
    etc... ;)
  138. mg


    Just saw this critique on a picture: "Her best shot. I agree! That's why I rate it at 2/2."
    That's the entire critique, not just part of it... and the person who wrote this hasn't uploaded anything...:)
    I thought that the person who wrote this left a written comment, after all, and therefore was entitled to leave a 2/2... and I thought, that this critique might raise a few questions...
    The question that came to my mind was: "Is such a critique actually acceptable for ?". And if so, then what's the point of changing the rating system at all ? And if not, what does intend to do or what CAN do at all about this kind of written critiques ?
    Just thought, that this example would be interesting for further attempts to improve the system... because it looks as if what would need to improve would mostly be the attitude of certain members...
    Suggestion: what about yellow cards and red cards ? Since it often looks like a football match, why not after all ? :)
  139. Like Richard, I’m also very puzzled by the suggestion made by
    many who have uploaded photos onto that they only
    want people who have also uploaded photos to be the the only
    ones to rate their photos. Well fine, if they strongly feel that way,
    why don’t they just state that request on the comment field of
    their uploaded photo. I, and probably others, who choose not to
    upload are photos to would gladly oblige. But then
    don’t come back and start to whine why hardly no one rates your
    photographs like someone on this thread already has.

    There are variety of reasons why many photographers on have not uploaded photos. Many probably don’t have
    access to a film scanner. Others don’t have the time. Others, like
    me, don’t particularly care for’s terms and conditions of
    use in regards to uploaded photographs. Specifically, I don’t
    care for the statement that by uploading a photograph that I
    “grant a perpetual non-exclusive worldwide royalty-free
    license to modify, publish and reproduce that material ...” In
    particular, I object to the words “perpetual” and “modify” in that
    statement. So I probably won’t upload any significant photos of
    mine to But does that make me unworthy to rate other
    people photographs? I would like to think that my thirty plus
    years as a serious amateur photographer, and for the past five
    years, as a serious art collector of high quality fine art
    photographs, that I could add some value to by giving
    my honest appraisal of other people’s photographs. Silly me.

    It’s pretty obvious that many people who upload photos to just want a “pat on their back” complement about their
    budding photographic skills -- not honest feedback. I and many
    others have tried to give people honest feedback through
    comments and ratings of their photographs. Yet anything less
    than a 7/7 rating causes dismay among many of these

    I’ve greatly reduced the amount of feedback I give to
    photographers in since the requirement of a comment
    for “originality” ratings below 5. Come on now... is full
    of photos that I would have no problems at all giving ratings of
    7,8,9, and 10 for the photograph’s aesthetics, but I would be
    VERY hard pressed to rate these same photographs higher than
    a 4 for originality. Why does anyone need to leave a comment
    when they rate photograph low for originality? A low rating for
    originality is self-descriptive -- the rater thought the photo was
    unoriginal -- what more needs to be said?

    Did some people abuse the old rating system? Of course they
    did! But any open rating system will, sadly, have people who
    choose to abuse it. I think my suggestion on my previous post to
    this thread to have users rate the raters could help
    weed out the abusers. Another simple way to weed out those
    who abuse the rating system would be to have the
    administrator simply suspend the rating capabilities of those
    who choose to abuse the ratings feature of

    The current “reform” in the rating system is a big step in the
    WRONG direction. It makes the ratings of the photographs even
    MORE meaningless by discouraging honest critiques of the
    uploaded photos.
  140. mg


    Just to make one thing clear... I have absolutly no objection, from the start, about members with no images uploaded on the site, and who rate other people's work - WHEN THEY SAY WHAT THEY THINK ABOUT THE IMAGE ITSELF. It seems to me that you are doing just that, Peter, so please don't believe that anything in this thread is directed against people like you.
    The problem we are here addressing, and that Brian's reform was, I think, trying to address - among others - is different.
    Suzanne wrote this : "If it's an 8, they think it's good ... if it's a 5 they think it's average etc." That's exactly what I call a wrong assumption, Suzanne. I can guarantee you that there are people here who don't rate images according to what they think of these images... but rather based on a) Whether this picture is taken by their friend or not b) Whether they have or not a personal agenda with the photographer c) Whether they like or dislike this or that photographic genre - I hate PS, or I hate flora photographs, so 1/1, and such attitudes.
    Part of these people with no pictures uploaded were going around the site playing God and distributing 1/1 ratings (even to obviously good or very good pictures) with no justification whatsoever. Now they have to write something, and I believe it's a good point.
    The sad part of the whole story is that decent critics with no uploads are affected as well, though they aren't the ones targetted by the new system. Fakes, manipulators, and critics with agendas are the targets.
    Maybe, Peter, you should look at all this from the bright side: this will help to minimize the manipulations and to identify the mean spirited people. As a side effect, you might now, yes, need to write something if you want to leave a rating below 5. But don't you think, that doing so is also just fair to the photographer...? I mean, put yourself in a beginner's shoes, for example, when he receives a 2/2 rating with no comment... Is it really such a major problem for you or anybody else to be a bit kind and to justify your rating by a few words...? People who have no pictures uploaded should continue rating images as they wish, but should also, like all of us - no more & no less -, get used to explain their opinions - which is educational and courteous.
  141. Marc,

    While my little rant about the rating changes covered a number
    topics, I think you missed one of my main points -- the
    requirement to add a comment when one wants to rate a photo
    lower than 5 for “Originality”.

    I don’t mind having to add a comment when I rate a photo lower
    than 5 for aesthetics (I usually have done that in the past). The
    photographer ought to know why he or she received a low
    aesthetics rating - how else can the photographer make sense
    of that rating. But it’s totally pointless to have to add a comment
    when rating a photograph low for originality. As I wrote before, a
    low originality rating is self-descriptive -- no additional
    comments are needed.

    Maybe the Originality rating should be eliminated altogether.
    People seem not to use it for its intended purpose. Instead it
    seems most raters seem to use it as an addition vote to double
    the score they gave the photo for aesthetics. As Richard
    Sintchak memorably wrote in another thread a few months back
    “It is NOT just a chance to vote twice.”

    Still, I think there are better solutions to this ratings dilemma
    than the one currently implemented. Why doesn’t
    administrators simply disable the ratings capabilities of users
    who have clearly abused their rating privileges? I think this
    would be a quick and easy solution to implement and more
    effective in improving the ratings system here at
  142. I see all this squabbling about good ratings bad ratings etc. I have been a photographer (amateur) for about the last 15 years. I was told about this site just a week ago and think its a great way to just get exposure of my work. Ratings or not I now have a means to display my work on a global scale to this I thank you
  143. I think all we can do is to keep improving a system in light of our experience. Decent people will make use of the system. Bozos will continue abusing it. After all, isn't that life? One learns to go on in spite of the clueless people throwing spanners into the works. I think this new rating system is a good idea. The same should be applied to ratings above, maybe, 8. I am least interested in medians and averages. A few sensible opinions/advices are all I care about.
  144. leave the originality rating alone.... I like working to make a neater
    photograph. It helps me keep my photo clients happy with neat and
    interesting photos. I am a firm believer of a great photo getting a low
    originality rating. If all it comes down to was point and click.... whats so
    original about that. That is one thing photosig does NOT have going for it. I am
    a firm firm believer in the rating system. I like this new change. <P>
    Now vote adding is another issue. However I believe this.... if the person
    thinks they deserve a higher rating and decides to pad their vote, let them.
    Come time to sell their photos or actually make some money they are going to
    come to some harsh realities from people who will REALLY critique their pics.
    <P> But please leave originality as it is....
  145. Oh boy! I do not envy people like Brian who have to face this avalanche of heated opinions, but I envy them for their patience and resolution in trying to solve some of the problems. It took me more then an hour to read all this thread and I would really like to summarize it in order to put some order in this sea of ideas (for myself and possibly for others).

    Let’s start with the facts.

    - is an international site for the lovers of photography.

    - is interested to have as many members as possible.

    - is supposed to be the home of “the art of photography”.
    This doesn’t necessarily mean that all good photographs are
    artistic photographs.

    - uses English as a means of communication with its users and between users.

    - Not all members master the English language to the level of intelligent and articulate English speaking person.

    - All the members have some interest in photography.

    - The age, experience, photographic abilities, talent, tastes and favorite genre of its members varies wildly.

    - Some members love the rating system to the point that without it would give up their membership.

    - Some members think the rating system creates animosity among the members and should be abolished altogether.

    - Most of the members agree on the drawbacks of the present rating system.

    - All members disagree with each other regarding a specific rating system.

    - The stated purpose of the rating system is to classify the photographs, in order to allow other members to filter the photographs that are worth the time of the viewer.

    - In order to properly criticize (anything, not only a photograph) one needs, first of all, time.

    - Time, “nowadays” is a commodity in short supply.

    How can anyone solve this impossible puzzle?

    I think, this goal can be attained, by eliminating the conflicting “facts”. I won’t get into details because this would initiate another thread of heated but fruitless debates.

    I will finish with a question.

    How can two numbers quantify the quality of a photograph? Books were written about a single work of art and you expect an average amateur to summarize and classify it by two simplistic numbers?
  146. mg


    I read above that there will always be people to abuse the rating system, and that this is life, or such. I disagree. It isn't life, it is a negative usage of positive tools. Like atomic energy isn't a bad thing in itself, but a bad thing if it becomes a bomb. Will there always be people to abuse any situation ? Yes, of course - IF WE LET THEM, IF THEY MANAGE... I see no reason to give up on something simply because some people abuse it. Could a rating system based on numbers ever be useful ? Yes, I think so. If well adjusted, it will help to find better pictures, and it will give photographers an indication of how much a viewer liked the shot.
    I went through this thread much earler this month, and sent a proposal to Brian. Not sure whether he got it or not. I received a message saying it couldn't be delivered. So, I'll post it here today. I started from what I saw in this thread that was constructive and tried to build on it. Here's the result. It is very long and written, as you would expect, in a quite poor language - since I lack vocabulary in English...
    This rating system seems to have polluted for quite some time now. I found Brian's latest ammendment to the system very positive, but I thought the system was still in the need for improvements.
    Answer to Brian Motterhead's initial question:
    "I don't quite get the insistence on low rating when (a) it doesn't help the site classify the photos; and (b) it doesn't help the photographer. Nobody is asking for raters to surrender their integrity and rate everything higher than they think is warranted. Just don't rate them or leave comments." said Brian Mottershead.
    Agreed 100% - which is why this change you made can only be for the better.
    Another important post by Brian: "Ratings that are consistenly lower than the norms serve no useful purpose. In theory, neither do ratings that are much higher than the norms".
    Agreed 100% - unless a good written critique is posted to justify the rating of course. Now if such "out-of-norm" and probably biaised ratings are useless, why keep them at all ? This leads me to part of the proposal, that you will find at the end of this post.
    First of all, here are a few messages previously posted in this thread and which have caught my attention... and my reply to them.
    Appeal system ? - If Mark Duke's idea of an appeal system can be made easy, then I like it... Worth thinking of easy ways to set it up... if there are any.
    Critiquing critiques ? - Good idea, but I've just experienced such system lately, elsewhere, and it was abused as well... Who said that someone critiquing a critique would be more honest than critiquing a picture ? :) And anyway, no longer necessary with the changes proposed here below.
    Re-normalized ratings ? - "Quite clearly a 10 from someone rating every picture a 10 is worth much less than a 10 from someone who gives on average a rating of 5. The situation is clearly the same for low ratings, but due to basic human psychology, this has already been pointed out. So what I suggest is that besides the "raw" ratings, each picture gets a "renormalized" rating, calculated as follows: for each rating, substract the average rating given by the user who rated the picture (and possibly divide by the variance of its ratings). This will result in positive ratings (above average) and in negative ratings (below average). This measure is much more robust than the current one with respect to being biased by someone with a few accounts giving extremely high (or low) ratings. just my 2c." said Olivier Pelletier.
    To me, clearly the best idea in this thread !! WHY NOT JUST DO THAT ? Or is it too complicated ? I have basically proposed here an amended version of Olivier's idea... I feel it would all need to be refined, but the solution is somewhere there imho...
    A single overall rating ? - "How about one overall rating? Possibly doing away with the originality rating completely." said Ken Talheimer.
    Makes sense to me IF the rating categories I propose below are impossible to implement. Why does it make sense ? Because the originality rating is being understood differently by everyone. To just be different doesn't mean one is being different in a smart way ! Many shots I see are different from the norm, but to me, have no concept at all, or a very poor one... So, is it an 8 in originality in such case, or a 2 ? My way to rate such shots was to give the picture the benefit of "my-doubt-about-the-originality-rating", and assign the shot a 6 or 7 or so...:) I feel the originality rating I assign to images is always stupid. I can't manage to rate well on originality. Add to this that of course a standard picture of a flower isn't original, but it isn't a crime either, in itself... So give a wonderful flower shot a 2 in originality will deprive you from finding this wonderful shot easily with the high-rated pix filter. Lately, we also see an increase of the amount of digital work in the high-rated pages. It is normal. Because originality is easier to achieve with a photo-montage or an abstract, than with a pure photograph. That seems to be very unfair to pure photographs. If we could add categories about images like fauna, flora, fashion, portraits, digital art, etc, then, the originality rating would no longer be necessary anyway... Yet, I remain convinced that the 5 rating categories / criteria I propose are the most accurate way to rate a shot.
    Should members with no uploads rate other members ? - "everyone who rates the photos should have at least one photo uploaded. For example, I get 20 ratings. 19 of them are eights , nines and tens. And then there is one user who rated my photo: aesthetics - 3, originality - 2. The first thing I would like to know is "is that man a good photographer?" Is he competent? Maybe the 19 other users were wrong rating my photo so highly. So I go to this guys page and see "no uploaded public photos".... wrote Dejan Kosanovic.
    Of course, this is true... But every abuser can upload an uggly shot or 2, or 5 - what difference will it make ? And a bad photographer can well be an excellent critic. And please note that Olivier Pelletier's suggestion of a "renormalized rating", or my proposal above, or any similar system, would actually help people in that sense as well... If someone has no picture uploaded, and if PN doesn't want to deprive him from participating, this will help as it will minimize the importance of any faceless harsh rater - faceless raters with no comments being often (not always admittedly) abusers... Not taking into account ratings that deviate too much from the other ratings a picture received, would help.
    "There is a real problem of irresponsible or malicious rating going on, which, if nothing else, upsets a lot of people." wrote Brian Southward. And then this: "I think many of these antisocial raters would disappear if they had to post images. If we lose a couple of world-class critics along the way, that's a price I'm willing to pay."
    I agree with the fact (1st part). I also agree that it would discourage a few, but not many. After all, what's the problem with uploading 5 shots before being nasty...? And no, I AM NOT prepared to loose a few world-class critics along the way... So, why wouldn't PN accept people with no pix uploaded ONLY IN CERTAIN CASES... PN is entitled to decide that SOME will have the right to rate but with a comment, whereas the rest would just be banned from ratings. What's wrong with that?
    "Three boxes. Good (I like it), Bad (Why even bother) and Mediocre ? -No numbers, no ranking list, ratings total only visible to the poster of the image. Images submitted for critique posted without attribution to the photographer. No egos to boost = no problems." said Bob Atkins.
    I could agree with that, but in the end, good, bad, mediocre is not a useful information, not for the photographer, and not to make the best pictures more accessible to the public.
    Then, why not 5 choices, rather than 3, and this available separately for each of these 5 rating categories I propose: 1) Concept 2) Light 3) Colors/tones 4) Composition 5) Overall technique. I think that would serve your purpose, Bob, and still carry a lot more information, which are both useful to the photographer, and to make the best shots easier to find... No ? For example... One search could be about the "Best technical shots", another one about "Best lighting", etc... And there could be (or not be, too) an "Overall best-rated images" - NOT photographers... Then this search could even, ideally, be available for each category of images: Fauna, Flora, fashion, Portraits, Still life, Digital manipulations, etc... How do you like that ?
    "Say good words when it is good and simply shut up when it is not" said S Liu ? -
    As Bob said, "absolutely not. When an image is poor, the photographer needs to be told..." I used to agree with S Liu, but no longer... Since I came back to, I noticed, that an incredible number of truly average shots get sky high ratings... That, to me, is the end of learning. It also deprives us from finding some of the really great shots in the high-rated pages. Low ratings are necessary too if a rating system is in place.
    Bob said "However it hurts much less when neither the critic nor the photographer know who each other is. Opinions will be more honest that way since there are no personality issues to deal with, no axes to grind and no egos to be delicately preserved. It would also tend to cut down on the hate mail."
    I'm very prepared to agree, BUT... Don't we need to know, not WHO, but HOW GOOD the photographer who rated us a 4 / 2 is ?... So what about this: Every picture uploaded has no author name visible on it till it gets to, say, 25 ratings, or such...? That would abort biaised and mean ratings based on agendas all together, no ?... OR, a different idea all together would be that we could ONLY KNOW OUR RATER'S GENERAL RATING PROFILE, BUT NOT HIS NAME. A rating profile would tell us how many pictures our rater has uploaded, what's the total number of views his work has attracted, what's the average rating he received for the whole of his work. That's enough for us to know roughly who rated us. Knowing more is not only un-necessary but leaves the door widen open to abusers.
    Thumbnail pages ? - "The majority of 339,188 photos are hidden in the database. Is it possible to modify the system to show the uploaded photos (or at least those for comments) as pages of thumbnails (you can decide the best size and navigation tools) so that people have an easy way to go through them? I don't know how the staff manage to view 700 photos everyday. Can you open this system to other users? I don't think this would add too much burden to system. The current system forces me to rate each photo in the list instead of showing thumbnail page and discourages me from viewing more photos efficiently." S LIU
    Yes, yes, yes, and yes !!! :)
    Rate and comment on same page ? - "It would be helpful if we could rate, and comment on the photo in one process, and on the same screen." said Mubeen Mughal...
    Rating scale 1 to 5 with worded definitions attached ? - "The problem with the 1-10 scale on, in addition to openness of misinterpretation, is that malicious "1s" can really throw off an average. Make the darn thing something like "1-5," with a simple statement along the lines of "1" is a complete failure, "3" is average, "4" is well-done and "5" is top-notch." wrote George Day
    The "2" was forgotten - probably something like "Below average" - but this was another good idea imo. Might not solve problems, but would be clearer at least.
    Deleting extreme ratings ? - "if you MUST have a scoring system and you don't like a few lowball scores, simply drop the bottom and top 10% of ratings and average the rest." said Bob Atkins.
    YESSSS !! Almost perfect to me... But rather than top and bottom 10%, I'd suggest the 10% of ratings that are most deviant from the picture's standard average.
    " Reduce the chaff " ? - "Make a place where only stringently limited examples of one’s very best work can be submitted for critique each year. Dramatically reducing the number of allowed submissions would similarly reduce the need for a sorting device to find quality work: Each photographer would pre-filter his own submissions. Anyone who is impressed by one of the, say, four submissions allowed a photographer in a twelve-month period might wish to peruse that photographer's folders of additional, un-rated work." Brian Walsh
    I like the idea but... Let's rather say, since we learn from bad pictures as well, that each pototog would have a "Portfolio" limited to 30 or 40 of his best shots, and a "New uploads" folder - each could be divided in categories like Portraits, Scenics, etc. Up to the photog to keep and delete what he wants... but the maximum total would be 50 pictures (if 50 isn't enough to some, people could pay to post more). Here's my take on the rating issue, basically a rough proposal for a new system.
    1) What are the problems ?
    a) Some people leave low scores with no comment, and people are tired of such practices.
    b) People can't identify whether the low scores they get from some users are sincere or just plain mean.
    c) People are sometimes creating fake IDs, it seems, to carry on with personal agendas.
    d) Some people seem to be getting "score support" from family & friends who rate their stuff sky high.
    e) A picture that gets hit by low scores a few times leaves the "high-rated" pages and will receive far less critiques after that. Therefore, mean hits affect people's chances to receive real feedback, therefore piss people off.
    f) There are more pictures on PNet than one can ever hope to see.
    g) It is a bit difficult right now to find new photographers we'd like - though not impossible.
    h) Imo, the manipulations by ego-driven mean raters have resulted in many pictures getting to the high-rated pages though they obviously (to me) didn't deserve the ratings they had. As a result, many good pictures proposed by people who don't manipulate the system disappear in the depth of the lost pages. And the quality of what's easily accessible is lowered.
    i) People are scared of by manipulators. If they tell what they think, retaliation could occur, etc. Consequence: most ratings are not really sincere.
    2) The fix
    a) Limited number of pix on the site for each photog. "Portfolio" folder & "New uploads" folder. That way, many worthless pictures will disappear after a while, and good pictures will be easier to find.
    b) Pictures separated in genres. This way, PN will help us to find what we like best, but will also minimize the competition that's going on here nowadays. Mean people will mostly do their manipulations in their category - and spear the rest of the site...
    c) Ask each member to pick 3 genres which are his "specialties" and 3 genres he knows quite well - or any other number you like. He will then be able to upload in other categories, but his crits will count at a scale of x 3 in his specialties, x 2 for the critiques in his quite well known genres, and x 1 only in others. Or something like that.
    d) PN could assign a special value to a certain number of critiquers and, for example, decide that Photographer X, Y and Z's critiques would count more than others - basically setting up a scale for ratings. Nobody would know who PN's selected critiquers are... Nothing's wrong with that imo. Best part would be, that the scale of each rating we receive would be visible to us, but the names of critics selected by PN with a scale of x3 would not appear. So, basically, those who would hate to receive a 3 / 3 by an unidentified critiquer at a scale of x3, just wouldn't know whom to hate...
    e) Take the standard average of the image, then delete the ratings that are deviating far from this average (after 20 critiques or such). Example: A picture has 20 times 7 / 7, with 1 time 2 / 2 & 1 time 10 / 10 . Majority rules and the 2/2 and 10/10 ratings are deleted - or not counted. A threshold must be determined here, meaning that if the rating on a pix gets more than X points difference compared to the picture's standard average, it gets deleted, unless we find Y ratings similar to this one. When we are voting to elect a president of our country, and he gets 52% of the votes, he is not given 52% of the trone !! :) Basically, not counting in ratings that are too far from the picture's average would be a great addition to discourage abusers and give less importance to the minority... [ Abusers would need to create more fake IDs to really continue to abuse the system effectively, and will be a lot easier to trace if they do so... ]
    f) Force EVERYONE to write comments for each picture they rate - no matter what's the rating. Ratings with no comments could be allowed, but would have a scale of x0 - meaning they wouldn't be counted in any calculation...:) Or maybe a scale of 0.5 or 0.25 - basically so low that it wouldn't really matter much...
    g) Break the present rating system in 5 rating criteria instead of 2. I feel that the categories we need are: 1) Concept (includes originality) 2) Light 3) Colors / tones 4) Composition and angle 5) Overall technical quality. If that's too complicated to implement, I'd take Charles Barcellona's suggestion of 3 categories for ratings -Aesthetics, Technique, and originality as 2nd best.
    h) Implement the re-normalized rating system proposed in this thread by Olivier Pelletier or something similar.
    i) To finance the costs incurred by all these changes, open a pay-feature whereby any member can buy detailed critiques by photographers picked from a list that PN would propose based on their knowledge, keen eye and good will. If I want 5 pictures of mine critiqued by these 10 critiques, I'd have to pay 20 USD for the 50 critiques I would receive. Out of which PN would keep at least 10 USD, while the rest will be shared among critics, or such. (See Chris Prouty's request in this thread: obviously there is a demand...) I offer my contribution to write critiques if such a system is set up, and I expect nothing in return.
    Conclusion: Let's have a stronger critique section on this site, with a few pay-features. Let's not abolish the rating system, which many are attached to, but let's improve on it by implementing a strong control over abusers as described above. Let's partition the site in categories of work... Let's set up 5 rating criteria (or at least 3) instead of our 2 "Aesthetics" / "Originality" system. Let's work on the best way to implement a certain anonimity for the ratings given - see my comment on rater's profile above.
    I'd be glad to hear what you all think of this proposal. Don't you think this could actually work ? If it needs raffinements - and I'm sure it does -, please tell us which ones. Regards.

  147. We need a system that promotes good images and constructive technical
    criticism. I suggest we rate the raters by putting a little tag or
    icon - whatever they're called - after your name if you have, say,
    ten highly rated images. A highly rated image is simply one that has
    been flagged by ten or more people as being deserving of placement on
    the highly rated page for a period of time. Nobody benefits by low
    ratings, so don't allow for them. If you want to offer constructive
    criticism, offer it, knowing there is no way for the recipient to

    You would encourage people to visit your gallery by responding to
    their requests for critique and/or a positive rating. If your name
    gets attached to too many lame images that clutter up the high rated
    pages, people will stop rating you because of your lack of
    credibility. Limit the number of images you can flag, show a list or
    gallery of your selections on your page.

    There should be a limit to the number of images in a personal gallery.
    High rated photographers may upload a greater number. Those that
    offer constructive criticism could also be tagged as a recognized
    'judge' and might draw more interest and/or allow for more uploads.

    miscellaneous ideas. . . . use pages of smaller thumbnails, not a
    slow loading list, for selected daily uploads. . . . separate highly
    rated images into three categories: B&W, color, and manipulated (see These two ideas will allow for a far greater number
    of easily viewable highly rated images. Thirty is no where near
    enough. Discourage or prevent multiple similar images from appearing
    on the highly rated page. . . . perhaps only two images per
    photographer at any one time
  148. My suggestion:

    Get rid of number ratings. Each person rates on a different scale anyway.

    Ratings seem to have two intended purposes:
    1) Provide a way to find the most liked photos on
    2) Provide feedback to the photographer.

    So why not address these separately. For 1, here's a suggested system: let each user nominate a photo as an audience favorite. Someone can nominate a photo once per week. Also each week, all the photos with 2 nominations are displayed in the gallery for everyone to see. Of these, let everyone select 1 (maybe 2) favorites. The 3 with the most votes will receive commendation. There could also be 5 runner-up photos selected.

    Now for the other part. Numbers don't help much anyway. Often, a photo has a critical flaw that lowers the rating. Other times, something wonderful about it raises the rating. So, why not expand the feedback system. Written comments are great, but perhaps more people would comment if there was the option of a short "questionnaire."

    A couple of ideas for fields:

    Strongest point: tone/composition/emotion/originality/color/interesting - have choices, and then a line to explain "other".
    Weakest point: similar

    Have radio buttons or maybe even check boxes for multiple selection. There could be other fields.

    This could provide much more interesting feedback to people who really are interested in feedback.
  149. ;) What matters? Lots. Health,Family,Friends and Fun.

Share This Page