Number of ratings reported do not match no of people.

Discussion in ' Site Help' started by WJT, Feb 10, 2005.

  1. WJT

    WJT Moderator

    While going through my folders I noticed that on some of my photographs the number of ratings that are reported in the DETAILS view do not match the number of people who have rated the photograph. I clicked on the number link in order to see the ratings distribution. If I total the ratings from the distribution chart they match the number of people, but not the number in the DETAIL view. An example of one of these photographs is this one.There are 88 members listed but only 87 being reported.
    I though at first that it was just an abuse deletion process that was working but that does not seem to be the case. I clicked on each of the members names listed under the distribution chart and each one of them is an active member; in other words, no banned accounts. I have noticed this with a couple of my photographs. It seems to be a discrepancy of only one rating on each of the effected photographs. It is not really a problem, but I am curious what is happening. Regards.
  2. If you add up the ratings in the distribution you will find that it matches the number of names listed. However, not all the ratings are counted in the overall rating count and average scores. For a while now, we haven't been counting all the ratings in the total count and averages scores. For example, if two people exchange a relatively high number of 7 ratings, then their ratings of each other will no longer be counted in the overall averages, even though their names will be listed and shown in the rating distribution. It is interesting that nobody noticed the discrepancy until now.
  3. They were probably too busy complaining that doesn't do anything about those damned mate raters . . .
  4. Well, it seemed rude to interrupt the discussion.
  5. What a cleaver idea :) I don't think it's going to slow down those
    remarkably interesting discussions about the rating system though,
    because the rating on the top rated page seems to average all of the
    ratings regardless.
    Please don't get me wrong, I don't care, I'll never get near the TRP
    anyway but I wondered if it was an oversight.
  6. Intrigued by this new twist, I took a look at a few of the top-rated photos to compare the number of ratings to the number of raters. Some of them did indeed exclude the filthy "7 exchangers." Unfortunately, the top-rated photos still had high scores from a large number of people who weren't exchanging 7s. Can anything stop the madness?!??!??!!
  7. Sure, if people want to consider the ratings system to be a game that you can "win", then they should know in advance that it is Calvinball: there is only one person who knows all the rules and I can change them any time I want. It is better not to treat it as a game. At present, not very many ratings are disqualified, but there's no telling when that might change.
  8. Actually, I think I was wrong.
  9. WJT

    WJT Moderator

    I understand. One more question. Is this being done automatically via a program or is there moderator intervention?
  10. "there is only one person who knows all the rules and I can change them any time I want. It is better not to treat it as a game. At present, not very many ratings are disqualified, but there's no telling when that might change"
    Go Brian, go!
  11. Walter, I appreciate your interest, but consistent with the rules of Calvinball, I'm not going to say how it works. For those who don't recognize it, Calvinball is a reference from "Calvin and Hobbes". Calvin plays a ball game with Hobbes, and since he changes the rules all the time, he always wins.
  12. WJT

    WJT Moderator

    Well is your game board, but we are trying to play on it as well as we can. I am not sure if this is a good solution to the problem or not.
  13. I assumed this was another post regarding bot rate deletions. I'm glad I was directed to it. Brian, what an ingenious idea. No one can argue the rules since we don't know them. I'm eager to see if this approach yeilds some success. It'll sure be fun watching.
  14. Concur! Thank goodness, too. My fingers were getting tired on that other thread.
  15. I can see the bogus accounts making a comeback. Lets hope I'm wrong!
  16. "It is interesting that nobody noticed the discrepancy until now."

    How long has it been going on Brian?

    Just checked a few images. Looks like it is clipping 2 or 4 ratings on some of the image in the TRP. Instead of 40 7/7 they get 38. Still a 7/7 average. Just not noticeable enough I guess for them to bother bringing it up to you.

    It's impossible Brian. Just forget it. The same names are still there in force. Some with 2,3 or 4 images in the 3 day. I have no idea how it could be fixed and even if I did, some would find a way around it.

    The way other sites have done it is to tie subscription into ratings or even using. Most of the mate raters won't pay for service, they just move on as is evident by other sites history.

    Food for thought: There isn't one (not one) paying member in the first page of the 3 day TRP. It think that is criminal.

    I guess its futile. What a crying shame...
  17. WJT

    WJT Moderator

    If I understand Mark's comment correctly, he is saying that certain members will compensate for this action by creating phony accounts. That could happen and snowball. I think I am going to subscribe to the Keith Laban School of Rating Methodology from now on. In other words, I quit.
  18. WJT

    WJT Moderator

    I agree Dave. The worst will float to the top as the rest of us continue to sink. Reminds me of an old vulgar truism. Regards.
  19. Don't quit Walter. Send the assumed accounts to abuse Mark and lets fight the battle with management. The fact that something is started is very good news. We would all hope Brian, that it's something that can have a meaningful effect. Thank you.
  20. WJT

    WJT Moderator

    I reread my comment referring to Keith and how he rates photographs (he usually does not). That comment could be misunderstood. For the record, I respect Keith quite a lot. I "rate" him very highly. Oh no! Now I've done it. I see another rating deletion. Maybe I'll give up commenting too.
  21. WJT

    WJT Moderator

    I just meant quit rating. They'll have to pry me off this site with a crowbar (paid up for three more years). Aloha!
  22. Boycott the rating system.<BR> It's corrupt and corrupting.
  23. Thanks Brian. Hope this helps, at least in the short term.

    In the long term, even this can be gamed. Calvinball or not, your rule changes will have to be logical, and any such system can be messed with. Ideally, the only solution is to (1) reduce the reward and/or (2) ration the reward.
  24. Unfortunately, I think this new "technique" is flawed. I hardly give 7/7 and my nightrider shot is the only one with a substantial amount of them: yet, the details say 62 ratings but there are only 61 names listed and a total of 61 when I go through the ratings chart.

    Is somebody's name hidden, or this there another explanation?
  25. Mark, I suspect a rate was deleted because it was posted by a notorious Mate Rater, not necessarily because you exchanged high rates. I checked one of my recent posts. It too has had a rate eliminated. One rate out of 78 will hardly make a difference. If it was posted by someone who hands out high rates across the board, I'm glad it has been deleted. I know it isn't because I've exchanged 7/7's with that poster. I've only posted 4 7/7s since joining the site and they were on images of 4 different photographers. I for one have no issue with losing some high rates posted by those just looking for reciprocity. My image is better off for the deletion. I personally encourage more agressive deletions. There's a list of people I would prefer never post rates on my images because it's become clear they're only looking for reciprocity. If I have a photo make it to the TRP, I want it to be on it's own merit.
  26. There are other heuristics being used to disqualify ratings from being used in the overall average score (which is what drives TRP). I haven't described all of them. The high-number-of-exchanged-sevens heuristic is only one of them, and that one would partly depend on the photographer's behaviour. But there are others. For example, if I find an account where too high a percentage of the ratings have been given to one person, those ratings are disqualified as a too likely to be a sock-puppet account or a friend/relative.
  27. Brian, while we're on the subjects of deletion, two prominent members of this site, along with a whole host of what I in the past had reported as bogus accounts, were deleted. I always knew the two were related.

    Without naming names (obviously, as if you would!), out of curiosity and perhaps as a warning to others, why were they deleted?
  28. Brian, is the script done running on old images? I have lost 3 or 4 ratings total I think. Just wondering if this will be going on for the next few days or if all the old 'legacy' rates have been dealt with?

    Pretty neat idea actually.
  29. Mark, if it is the two of whom I am thinking, they were banned because of the large number of bogus accounts which they had created. I don't automatically ban people who have created bogus accounts: I'll just delete the bogus accounts and their ratings, and hopefully people will take the hint when they discover they can no longer log in under their sock-puppet accounts.

    But if it is really egregious, or if the bogus accounts have been used to slime other photographers' work in addition to pumping up the perpetrator's ratings, then the person will be banned.
  30. Thanks for responding Brian. I thought that was the case. I reckon that between them they had at least 30 bogus accounts (am I right?). They even went to the trouble of uploading a couple of photos into some of them for added "realism" and some of the names were unintentionally hilarious.

    Good riddance I say.
  31. Brian, thanks for sharing the info as I've been wondering about it myself the past month. Hopefully this will deter other potential abusers.

    Vincent, wow, the links and the numbers you mentioned are pretty telltale. I hope however that this thread doesn't get deleted (copy and paste to save as we speak.)

    Good read!
  32. Actually, Mark, in that particular case it was over 130 different accounts on different IP addresses. However, they made certain mistakes that tipped off which IP addresses to look at.
  33. How the heck were they able to manage 130 accounts! Seriously nuts-o!

    I agree with Laurie that I'd rather have an image on TRP, or anywhere at all, based entirely on its own merit. Loosing a rate here and there is no sweat. BTW, Brian, about Dave N.'s question above, I'd also like to know if this is going to continue for couple more days, or indefinitely.
  34. 130??????? Holy cow. That is pretty sad.
  35. Wilson, I can't tell you how long it will go on. Or, I could tell you and then change my mind. It's Calvinball.
  36. Brian, of course, silly me. Whatever you call it, I think you're doing a good job!
  37. In response to someone who criticised me when I first tried to bring managements attention to the above issue - yes, I will have some more cheese with my whine.
  38. My question wasn't how long it would go on. I hope forever. I was wondering if all the legacy ratings have been gone through.
  39. can you stop deleting 1/1s? I have a recent photo that may have the lowest legitimate average ever posted, and you knocked out one of the 2 1/1's it got. Cut it out!
  40. I thought I understood what was going on here. Basically if there is evidence of 'mate rating' then the number of ratings reported will be less than the number actually shown. Then I looked at this wonderful picture which has 320 ratings reported yet on the TRP for the last month only 308 are stated.
  41. Dave, yeah, I have had a bunch of ratings removed also and I don't think I would fall into the mate rating catagory with 1150 images rated after 3 years. Not sure about this, I guess that's the way Brian wants it though.

    How a person who has rated no images could be considered a mate rater is beyond me.
  42. As I said above, if you exchange enough sevens with someone the exchanged sevens are disqualified. It doesn't necessarily mean you are a mate-rater. If two excellent photographers who merit sevens on their work rate a lot of each others' photos, they might overstep the limit and their mutual seven's would not be counted. On the presumption that they are indeed excellent photographers, it shouldn't matter much, because there will be plenty of other people to rate their photos who they haven't exchanged sevens with, and their overall ranking will be the same. (Or higher because they won't be competing against mater raters.)

    Of course, all mate-raters will claim they are in this category. But for them excluding the mutual sevens has a big impact on the overall score, since the sevens from people with whom they are exchanging sevens represent a big component of their average score, without which the average score is much lower.

    I experimented with an algorithm that only disqualified mutual sevens when they had a big positive impact on the score. But this is quite complicated and time-consuming to calculate, and I discovered that the method I'm using, which is much simpler, produces more or less the same results.

    By the way, the exchange-of-sevens heuristic is not the only one that causes ratings to be disqualified. For example, if there is an account which is excessively concentrating its ratings on one photographer, all the ratings of that account are being disqualified. Those ratings aren't reliable. They might not be from a sock-puppet. But they are apt to be the ratings of a friend, or someone who was requested to rate one folder or portfolio by its owner. Even if you are not the beneficiary of those concentrated ratings, you might have received ratings from a rater whose ratings have been disqualified. Indeed, disqualifying them might cause the photo's average to go up, since this heuristic might remove the lower "window-dressing" ratings that a sock-puppet was trying to use to disguise his/her dishonest ratings.
  43. mg


    Brian, thank you.
    Glad to see you did not fall asleep and actually prepared back home - and probably for quite some time already - the nicest possible joke ever played here against mate-raters...
    I'll soon have to admit you are a genius, just give me some time to verify it...:)
    Anyway, and more seriously, I'm really glad you are doing something about all this. I can't really see the results yet in the TRP, but I assume you know what you are doing...
    Smartest thing of all being... not to tell us the rules of the game...:) Keep it that way - be it just for your own peace...:) Thanks again for that bit of refreshing humor...
  44. mg


    By the way, your last paragraph in this last post of yours made me wonder whether for example my many high ratings to Tony Dummett, Ian McEachern and Emil Schildt (who never rated my work, and who surely couldn't care less about all this) would have disappeared...
    If so, well, be it... no problem, just curious...
  45. Marc, I am figuring yes as I think that is why I have lost rates both given and gotten also, and agree, so be it. This would explain the example David M. gave too.
  46. I have noticed that I have lost several photos in the count of "highest rated photos" (those being rated 11 or more times). Two of those occurred today.

    Is this a result of these actions? I never mate rate deliberately. If it should turn out to be the case that my honest evaluation results in someone's inference that I have been doing that, then I think that someone is out of control.

    Is there any remedy for THAT problem?
  47. Some professionals will have a natural fan base simply because people appreciate the consistent quality of their work. Marc and Emil for instance. Plenty like Dave, some myself and quite a few others, even plenty of non-professionals. It would make sense if the program you are using could be smart enough to recognize this and not penalize professionals, well for being just that. The mate-rater crowd is unlikely to have that type of unbiased fan base so to speak. So then, those having several people interested in their work could be penalized in such ways that would not be necessarily fair, or in harmony with the purpose of the mate-busting system here. Just a thought.

    I for one would not mind losing a measure of honest ratings IF it meant the site as a whole really benefits from the cleansing process. Just might be more effective if it had some codes built in considering some of these other factors.
  48. Lannie, you cannot read an accusation against you into the fact that ratings on your photos are being disqualified. It is possible that you have received ratings that were disqualfied and that the result is that some of your photos have fallen below the 11 threshold. But the fact that there are disqualified ratings on your photos does not imply anything about your behaviour. You merely benefitted slightly from the behaviour of someone else who has since been determined either to have been misbehaving, or at least, to have given ratings that are not worth considering.

    The only case where your own behaviour could trigger any effect on your photos is if you gave someone a lot of sevens and the other person gave you a lot of sevens. If that happened, all those sevens, both your seven ratings of Mr X, and his of you, would have been disqualified from being included in the photo averages, although not deleted. I don't know if this case applies to you, but if it did, then on the presumption that you and Mr X's many exchanged sevens were honest, then it shouldn't make much difference since your photo would have received high ratings, including sevens, from others with whom you did not exchange numerous sevens. The only way it could really make a difference is if for some reason you had photos that were rated with sevens by people you happened to be rating with sevens, and for some reason these photos did not attract sevens to the same degree from other photographers with whom you were not exchanging sevens.

    My analysis of the data shows that there is no difference in the overall preferences of high-rated photographers versus less-high-rated photographers, once you factor out reciprocal ratings. So that scenario is unlikely, and it is much simpler from a programming point of view to ignore it.

    Of course, it is also more than possible that you benefitted from the dishonest behaviour of someone else without being dishonest yourself. Someone might have given your photos a lot of sevens without enough regard to their merit in order to get you to reciprocate. If you did then reciprocate with seven ratings, it may have been because you honestly thought that the other person's photos merited them. The other ratings you received on your photos from people who weren't fishing for high ratings might not have been so high. For example, many people honestly thought that AP 's photos were excellent, and objected to being characterized as mate-raters when they gave her high ratings. But it is also pretty clear that she benefitted a lot from being very generous with high ratings. (Although to be fair, she didn't do this as much as some people accused of her doing, and not as much as some other people.) Her ratings have actually long ago been deleted, but if they hadn't been, the new "Calvinball rules" would have removed her over-generous seven ratings on anyone who reciprocated her generosity by giving her photos sevens, even if the latter were honest.
  49. It appears that overly enthusiastic fans are being reined in as well, even if their frequent high rates are reciprocated. I agree with this. Nobody learns a thing when you say, in effect, oh, I just love ALL your images.

    What this process doesn't seem to address is the short term benefits that mate rating has on images. Once mates put the image on page one and provide the halo effect, their job is done, and deleting those rates will not change the overall visibility of the image.

    So what exactly is the purpose of "Calvinball"? I would hope it would be to achieve a broader distribution of image views (and photographers).
  50. Vincent, it shouldn't make any difference. If your photos are better, then they will be rated high by everyone, not just by the people with whom you are exchanging sevens. The only people who will see an impact are those who have photos which are given sevens proportionately more by those who are receiving sevens from them than everyone else. That sounds like a reasonable definition of mate-rating to me.

    For example, lets say I have a photo which has been rated by people with whom I have exchanged sevens, as well as by other people. Call the first group A, and the second group B. If I haven't been mate-rating, then both groups should have the same average rating. If the "A" group (the one with which I've been exchanging a lot of sevens) has a significantly higher average than the "B" group, then that is mate-rating, and disqualifying the seven ratings from the A group is going to make the average of the photo go down, AS IT SHOULD. If the two groups have the same average ratings, then disqualifying the A ratings on the photo will have no effect on the overall average.

    Perhaps you are saying that only other professionals are able to fully appreciate a professional photo and that professionals exchanging a large number of sevens *isn't* mate-rating, even when it happens that the rest of the world doesn't turn out to appreciate the professional photos as much as the other professionals do. If you are saying that, I don't agree.
  51. Is everyone equally qualified to evaluate "originality"?
  52. People will judge originality in different ways. It doesn't matter much anyway, since the overwhelming majority of originality ratings are within 1 point of the accompanying aesthetics rating. The originality scale was a bad idea, which we are now a bit stuck with. But that is a different discussion.
  53. Sorry Brian, wrong in both situations. That is, wrong in what I was attempting to say. What I was trying to ask was since (let's use Dave N. for example) a professional like Dave has almost 500 people interested in him, many simply because he is a professional who's perfecting his craft, and not due to a mate rating circle. You mentioned earlier that if a photographer has rated Dave's work in what you might consider a "disproportional" number of times (even if Dave does not do the same in return) that these ratings could be given the axe because they perhaps represent sock puppets, friends etc. In actuality they may be following him simply because he has some outstanding work. Same with Emil, Jorge, Richard Van H. etc. None of these rate others by the way. So if I like to rate say Richard Van H. each time he uploads, to disqualify my ratings on his image would be in fact penalizing him simply because he has work good enough to attract people in larger numbers... who in fact would be rating his work in a "disproportionate" manner but certainly not a dishonest manner.

    In other words why penalize the photographer for having a fan base that follow his or her work? Especially if they do not rate others.
  54. My reading of the recent discussions suggest that people want a change in TRP content, not just the process
    which "Calvinball" is designed to improve. When they keep referring to "same old, same old", that's "originality" by definition.
  55. Brian, If you deem it not against the rules......can you reveal how soon after a photo is posted do you start playing Calvinball? Just curious. I understand if you decide it's against the rules to reveal this.

    Vincent, I'm not challenging your assertion that some professionals might lose genuine rates because they have a large following. That being said.....If I admire someones' work so much that I visit often to review their work, I would post a comment vs. a rate. Also, if the professional has 500 people visiting often, it's unlikely all 500 are visiting him exclusively so not all the rates would be disqualified, likely only a handful. With the high number of total rates on such images I suspect it wouldn't make a huge difference in the "average" (if any)unless those rates were 7's and the rest were 1's. As you stated, these are folks who have reached a level that they're not likely to get many low rates. Besides, the rates stay...they're just not included in the average (if I understand this correctly). These photographers probably care less about rates and more about comments from the other professionals that visit their work.
  56. My reading of the recent discussions suggest that people want a change in TRP content, not just the process which "Calvinball" is designed to improve.
    So let them start their own photo rating site where they can dictate what gets featured. If the majority of people who participate in rating photos really wanted a change in the the TRP content, then their altered ratings would result in a change.
    Brian has made changes to prevent mate raters from unduly influencing the TRP content. His thanks? Just like every time changes are made to address problems, people immediately start whining about those changes. And tacking on complaints about how things still don't suit them!
    If you feel so strongly that your tastes are what should be reflected in the TRP, nothing is stopping you from starting your own gallery. If your views really are shared by so many people, your gallery should take off immediately, leaving in the dust.
  57. "Brian has made changes to prevent mate raters from unduly influencing the TRP content . . "

    How do you know that was his motive? . . especially since there are ways to accomplish that more effectively.

    And what do you care? . . . . since you've offered a grand total of eight gallery comments since 1998.
  58. Carl, since you're obviously far more qualified than Brian is to design a photo critique site, and your design would give everyone (including you) a much better place to offer and get really meaningful critiques plus suppress all forms of cheating, why don't you design and publish your own site? Face it, your excellent suggestions will just fall on deaf ears here, so you're pretty much wasting your time trying to show those in charge the error of their ways.

    You can purchase basic gallery and review software for about $100 which can easily be modified to your liking, and hosting charges would be under $100/year until you really build up your traffic.
    Is $200 too much to pay for the perfect site? If it is there's even totally free open source software (PHP/MySQL based) you can use and modify in any way you want. Clearly this isn't brain surgery. Anyone with 1/2 a brain (or more) can do it.

    Perhaps we should take up a collection to start you off. You'd be doing a service for all of us and perhaps you'd become rich and famous in the process. You wouldn't be constantly frustrated by the inability of others to recognize your excellent ideas. How can you lose?
  59. Ok Bob, you can sit down now, and no more runs to the coffee machine this morning, we've got work to do....
  60. I don't drink coffee. It makes me irritable...
  61. WJT

    WJT Moderator

    I have already mentioned above that I am unsure of the efficacy of the 7-7 heuristic in solving the problem at hand. This is mainly for two reasons. Foremost, I view it as being unfair. On the surface it appears that the innocent are paying the price for the abusive actions of a few. Perhaps, in time, a more positive change will become evident from its use. <p>
    Beyond this, I think those abusive few will continue to circumvent the controls that are being implemented. The first comment from Mr Lucas in this thread expresses this concern: that bogus accounts will increase. Also, Carl's above mentioned hypothesis of the short term benefit of mate rating is very plausible.<p>
    Try as I might I can not, however, arrive at a way to stop what is happening. A possible solution that I agreed with in the previous thread produced considerable acrimony.<p>
    In spite of that, I have one other observation. This site does not have that many members and subscribers who are willing to take the time to intelligently critique another member's work. Those who are qualified and do take the time to critique should be considered as PhotoNet assets and not belittled and asked to leave. It is easy enough to lose one's temper, I should know, but in the end the best course is to keep a strong center. Regards.
  62. Mike you and Bob must be spending quite a bit of time together. You both sound alike... old, grumpy and very boring.

    I agree with what you say Laurie, comments are better, deleting rates won't hurt the professional photographers that much etc etc. I was simply "suggesting" that deleting a persons ratings on the sole criteria of *proportional* issues, may very likely be deleting very honest ratings. Especially in the case where the photographer does not rate in return. There area quite a few people that appreciate specific photographers posting on this site. And they are not mate-raters. A little extra programming just might be able to factor in some of these added circumstances. That's all I am suggesting.

    As I added above, no big deal, just a thought. No harm in asking.

    Carl's point has merit. If despite all of the changes going on, the mate-raters images continue to be plastered all over the TRP pages, then there will still be quite a bit of complaining along the way and down the road. However, I certainly do believe in giving the system time here to see what happens, to let Brian make adjustments as he sees are needed, and to see how it looks a bit down the road. I do know this, when he put his attention to the lowballers, he absolutely cleaned house and fixed that issue thoroughly. There is no reason to believe then that this will not be successful as well. It is a different animal in many ways, but nonetheless remedies are in the process. And THAT is some pretty good news to hear!

    I will be happy now to get out of these forums for a while now and back to the business side of things. I'm sure I speak for many when I say, thank you for addresing this matter Brian. Let's hope for the best!! Aloha and goodnight!
  63. Ain't no matter however you shake it. Calvinball is all cool. In the end, what matters are the images themselves. Be your own judge, kick back, and enjoy. If they work for you super. If they stink, move on. Have to say some seriously awesome work by you all and hate to see the artists getting p.o.'ed and move elsewhere. I have favorite photographers I keep tabs of and I'll continue to rate and comment as I feel just and please based on images' own merit. It's suppose to be enjoyable and not so stressful. I'll let Calvin do what he does and meanwhile I'll do my part best I can.
  64. PS- I have never heard of Calvin Ball by the way. I have no idea what in the world you people are talking about regards Calvin Ball. And quite frankly couldn't care less about Calvin Ball. Perhaps it's something Bob and Mike can go play together. Of course after they are done being grumpy...

    Does Calvin Ball rate images? Many 7s??
  65. Mike you and Bob must be spending quite a bit of time together. You both sound alike... old, grumpy and very boring.
    Nope, he lives on the other side of the planet. I'm not particularly grumpy, either--I actually find the absurdity of the masterberators quite funny.
    If despite all of the changes going on, the mate-raters images continue to be plastered all over the TRP pages, then there will still be quite a bit of complaining along the way and down the road.
    Ahhh, the good old mate raters! It was nice to blame it on the bots for a couple of weeks, but when you found out there really weren't many bots, the good old mate raters were there to take up the slack. And even now, when the mate ratings are stripped from the averages, and the top-rated photos are receiving their high rates from a large number of different people--people who aren't engaged in reciprocal ratings--well, they're still a bunch of filthy mate raters!
    What you absolutely, positively refuse to accept is that the vast majority of people participating in the ratings have no interest in your complaints, don't care whay you think they should be rating highly, and are enjoying the images that they, the masses, have chosen.
    Frankly, I think most of the top-rated photos are trite and boring. But I don't actually expect the popular vote from thousands of strangers who may or may not have any experience or taste to reflect my opinions, and I don't think the system is screwed up when the popular opinion doesn't match mine. If I want to see images I think are interesting, I visit museums and galleries or look at books, magazines, and websites that appeal to my tastes. Seriously, do you guys go around haranguing shop owners if the images in their postcard racks aren't up to your standards?
  67. WJT

    WJT Moderator

    Yes, I find it hard work but someone has to do it. But seriously Mike, if everything is so perfect on the TRP why is Mottershead so busy? Were those 130 deleted sock-puppets just a lot of BS that I just didn't pickup on? And I think even a novice hacker would agree that it only takes one well-written bot to do the trick. Regards.
  68. I never made the claim that everything is perfect. I noted that, despite their claims, the constant complaints of a tiny but highly-vocal minority are not a true indication that the system is fundamentally flawed. There are obviously some who have tried to subvert the rating system to their own end. Rather than congratulate Brian on his efforts to stop them, however, the constant complainers continue to do what they do best. From my seat in the peanut gallery, it looks more and more like the complainers aren't upset that a few people are subverting the system so it fails to reflect the view of the majority of users--the complainers are upset that the system isn't being subverted to reflect their particular views.

    As to why Brian is so busy: it's a big, dynamic site. There are many things that need to be done to keep it running smoothly (and I doubt that catering to the whims of poeple who are going to bitch and moan no matter what you do isn't that high on the list of priorities).
  69. So, I will start to ignore my favorite photographers here, since I already *like* them and would have a tendency to give a higher percentage of high ratings, I guess I am one of those "Mate Raters" eh?

    Sorry to people whose work I like, I will refrain from doing the evilness of giving an honest rating and will seek out work that I think is mediocre and focus on harping on its mediocrity. Since the "ideal" is to make sure that a bell curve is used when rating here, it is no wonder than problems exist. Bell curves have been discredited in education, why are they still considered important here?

    Ahh well, maybe its time I started using another site for critiques...seems that the photo club mentality has won...
  70. mg


    Please... Make sure not to help Mike Dixon convince himself that he's right...:) In other words, stop bitching and think for a moment, and observe what's happening and will happen on the TRPs. Give Brian a break, this time... He's obviously trying now to do something for the better, and the way he went about it, as explained here, is absolutely logical. Those who are still complaining at this point just fail to realize how the measures described by Brian will indeed help the TRP greatly to get rid of mate-rating.
    Let Brian proceed with the adjustments he will see fit, and wait some time before drawing any conclusion.
    What's sure is that A FEW HONEST ratings may indeed be deleted in the process, but that FAR MORE DISHONEST ratings will be deleted in the same process. And this, once regulated properly and adjusted over time will undoubtedly make a great difference. Wait and see... I certainly trust Brian to be able to sophisticate the system to a very high level of perfection once he has decided to take care of it.
    People should now stop focussing on the few ratings they lost and start focussing on the overall effect the Calvinball will have on the TRPs.
  71. "Oh, I've lost 4 ratings too, whinge, whinge, whinge".

    Agreed Mark, this needs some time to see how things develop.

    No matter what is done to rectify matters some will still moan because thats just human nature and some love bitching just for the sake of it.

    the old adage holds true "Some people would moan if their arse was on fire and you peed on it to put it out"

    Good work Brian! drink plenty of liquids!
  72. Marc, that is exactly my point, if I rate honestly the way that I often rate (I don't waste time looking at things I don't like, life is too short, so I tend to have a ratings curve that is far from a bell shape), I am a "mate rater." I tend to like certain people an awful lot (their work, that is), and tend to look at it because, errrm...well...I like it, and I don't feel that viewing/rating their work is a waste of time.

    Oh, I'll still post now and again, and rate now and again, but I will be focusing energy on another site. The fundimental paradigm that the ratings system is based on is flawed, fundimentally flawed. It tends to create a sense of competition one way or the other (to be perfectly honest, I don't give a rip if my shots are on any top rated photos pages, it is meaningless...the focus on it is bizarre, but to each his own).
  73. I think we need to give Brian a chance, too, to see if this will be the solution we are all looking for. It sounds like a lot goes on behind the scenes that we are not even aware of and that gives me confidence that someone cares and is working on it. If nothing changes, I will still be around, finding the hidden treasures on PN, and learning and growing as a photographer.
  74. Brian, thanks for the explanation.

    I guess Calvin ball can succeed depending on who is playing it. I am just afraid that it might set a precedent, and before long there won't be any rules for some irresponsible raters. Even so, I suppose that it is worth a try, since we are already being overrun by such people. My larger concern is the possible unintended side effects of Calvin ball, but, if the result really is (as Marc said) the cleaning up of the site with the loss of a very few valid ratings, then it it is probably worth a try.
  75. For those of you advocating the wait and see approach, you might want to see what happens with the new, improved FAQ that Patrick will be working on this weekend. That should tell us a lot about where we're going.

    . . . and do try to rate 'originality' more honestly.

  76. Alton, if you rate more than a couple of favorite photographers, you don't have to worry about your ratings being disqualified. We're talking about accounts that basically only rate one photographer. As for the exchange-of-sevens heuristic, that only applies if the people to whom you give sevens give them back. In that case, the ratings are disqualified if there is a large exchange. This would make a difference to you (and them) if the only sevens you were getting are from each other. In that case, you are a mate-rater. If you aren't a mate rater, then it isn't anything to worry about.
  77. Brian, how about if you gave a photographer a 7 a long time ago, or with a time difference - say he gives you one this week and you rate one of his with a 7 in 2 weeks? Just curious as to how this works.
  78. reading this thread, the terms professionals and followings turn up in a discussion about the configuration of the feedback system. to me, the discussion implies the desire for a "fair" ratings system because of a business use of the site. this concerns me, and the site's implicit bending to this desire concerns me. brian for a long time you said ratings were for the site not the members. yet i see for the past year that you are VERY responsive to most postings about ratings, including your present calvinball game, but i've not seen any attention paid to encouraging and incentivizing the dialogue between participants about their photos. i agree tha there is ratings abuse; i do not agree that it should take a disproportionate amount of the site's attention and time. please clarify the site's policy about business use of the site. and please, i would greatly appreciate, finally, your thoughts about encoraging and incentivizing dialoguing on the site. thanks.
  79. to be fair, yes, in the past year, the critique forum was provided, which i think has for a variety of reasons been of mixed success; hence my urgings over the past six months that the site do more within the present system. look forward to your reply, brian, thanks.
  80. Ben, thanks for reminding us that the quality of the "dialogue between participants" is at least as big a problem as the ratings.

    Here are the latest verbal assaults against me in the guise of being critiques of one of my photos:

    One of these two fellows also leveled a false accusation against Asier Castro, the winner of this week's PoW. The other is on his second crusade to convince me that I am not a good photographer.

    I already knew that.
  81. i started a new thread on "enabling dialogue in an international community" because i realized the second part of my message might be seen as pulling too far off the point of this thread, and welcome everyone's participation in that thread on the subject raised. i would appreciate a clarification on business use in this thread though, as i think it is on point given the discussion above.
  82. many of the people who participate in what is called the mate-rate game really cannot understand that it is possible to post a photo and have someone leave a comment that is negative without a hidden agenda. Lannie is unfortunately too prone to leave enthusiastic comments and ratings on very, very average photographs and photographers, and consequently seems to draw a lot of bland praise from some prime mate-rate gamers on his many photos. With all due respect, the comments he seems to think warrant removal by abuse@net are mild compared to what he would hear if he showed his portfolio to any qualified reviewer in a juried event. I've always thought posting here implied a readiness to have any and all people, from intelligent published photographers to kids with a camera leave comments. Some are good, some are bad. Some are inteligent, some are stupid. It has never even occurred to me to ask Jeremy to ask to remove any comment anyone ever left me, even ones that I thought were plain dumb. This site is a great resource precisely so that you can get a reaction, not so your photos have an unbroken string of "great tree Lannie". To me it's real evidence why the mate-rate game is bad. Even those who are largely on the outside of the game, like Lannie, seem disinclined to accept anything short of praise on their photos. Get a grip and learn something.
  83. Andy, I don't mind the most severe criticism of photos. I do mind the sarcastic and biting attacks on persons. I come from the tradition of political philosophy, where rather severe disagreements are commonplace, but where persons agree up front to avoid ad hominem arguments. I have sufficient grip never to confuse an ad hominem attack with a rational critique, be it of a photo or of an idea.

    By the way, the things that we discuss in political theory make disagreements about photos rather mild in terms of potential for abuse, but most of us have learned to take the high road, even when we must deliver a devastating critique. In "real life," I will call a liar a liar. When I do philosophy, I will simply say that the person in question is mistaken. It is a formal role that I play as a discussant or teacher, perhaps a reflection of the kind of person that I would like to be all of the time--but am not.

    There are many truly civil persons on this site, of course, but there are those who have to get that last little line or phrase in that denigrates or insults the person. I say to them, "Grow up!" and I mean it. They are kidding themselves if they think that they have to attack the person in order to offer a valid critique of a photo. That little "dig" that many people feel compelled to add (usually in passing or at the end) would be for me an admission of failure that I could not factor out my revulsion of the person from revulsion of the idea or photo being offered--and I hate to fail in my sense of self-control in such a way, not least of all because thirty years in a college classroom teaches one rather quickly that the true teaching mission is never promoted by humiliating a student, and the same is true at professional conferences. I teach Spanish now, and only write in philosophy, and writing is good discipline for purging all the bile through good rewrites before trying to publish.

    I don't like rationalizations for hostility, which is what I see in the ad hominem comments. I am not always rational or benign, but those are ideals towards which I aspire in all interpersonal interactions. I actually have a rather fiery temper, which is why I must try all the harder to maintain command of my emotions, and I despise myself when I let my negative emotions triumph over my rationality. Writing is good discipline, and even these fora on PN can be good opportunities for discipline in that regard, which is one reason that I enjoy participating in them. We all still have some rough edges that we could smooth off without becoming milksops. I doubt that anger and sarcasm ever accomplished very much, and I say that precisely because I am capable of great excesses of anger and sarcasm, and they have never helped my cause or won me any points in discussion.

    When I write, here or elsewhere, I can momentarily be the kind of person I aspire to be. One last point: I don't typically engage in a lot of vitriolic controversy here for yet another reason. I get enough of that in my line of work, where I have been known most of my life as an acid-tongued controversialist. I come here to relax and have fun--in short, to recover. Photography for me is not a profession. It is my escape from my real profession. Again, however, when I write here or elsewhere, I have found that I REALLY CAN make my point just as well in a civil manner. I often walk away from controversies here because I have bigger fish to fry--and I fry them, preferably with logic rather than sarcasm. I do manage to get it said if it needs to be said.
  84. The infantile comments that I reported to are gone. Very weak criticisms remain, but they are very civil. What was there two hours ago was garbage in the guise of critique.

    Try not to judge me, Andy. I can be just as abrasive as anyone on the site. I simply choose not to be, to the best of my ability. As for pompous art critics, they are probably a lot like some prima donnas in academe. We all have our crosses to bear. . . .
  85. WJT

    WJT Moderator

    Regarding the comment above about appreciating Brian's efforts, I unequivocally state that I do. I have said that in past posts and I will say it again...thank you, Brian, for the work that you do. Perhaps this is the solution that will work. I have already stated my reservations.
    Regarding taking a wait and see attitude, well, what other choice is there? It's his game. Regards.
  86. I think that the best that any of us can offer is a qualified endorsement until we see what happens. Brian's "Calvin ball" comments suggest that he is not locked into any single strategy for dealing with these problems, and that he is pretty careful as to what the impact is. I was afraid that some of my friends' comments and ratings might have disappeared, not because they are high (I rarely get a single seven), but because I am a bit nostalgic about the exchanges I have had with some people since I started posting photos in February, 2002, three years ago! (I think that Perry Shillinglaw and Bill Gibson offered some of the first comments that I received.) Fortunately, those seem to be intact, and some of those early exchanges are dear to me. (I know, "Get a life!")

    Oh, well, PN is both reality and fantasy at once--a world unto itself, addictive at times, annoying at others, but not typically boring. I wish sometimes that we could have a PN Convention, where we could all come to meet one another and share ideas and prints. It would be interesting to see whether persons in the flesh were at all like the persons that we imagined from reading their comments or looking at their photos.

    Who knows but what PN will become the sine qua non of photo sites. I know that it has changed a lot since I first started browsing it in the fall of 1999. Maybe there will be a Photo Net Building in Boston some day, and even a Photo Net Photo Marketing Association meeting. (Not all of us like Orlando.) Maybe the number one college team will someday be determined in the "Photo Net Fiesta Bowl" (gag).

    Well, whatever happens, there will be change, and we will someday look back at these days as being the old "days of yore." Already Marc and some of the "oldtimers" are complaining that it just ain't the same as it used to be.

    I say, enjoy it while it lasts. It will change, come under new management, or whatever, and someday we will indeed wonder what happened and why. All good things must come to an end.
  87. All that may be fine and good, Lannie, but I'm afraid I don't buy what you're selling; in law there is an old adage, res ipsa loquitor that applies to your asking for negative criticism to be deleted, I'm afraid. From what I recall at least one of the comments you successfully got deleted told you you failed to get your message across to your audience-- isn't that preciselythe type of comment everyone claims to want to get on this site in the guise of getting better? Another comment you got deleted accused you of having thin skin since you reacted badly to an initial comment hat your photo was underexposed-- well, yes, that shoe seems to fit, doesn't it? I don't really mean to pick on you as you seem like a pleasant fellow, but I distinctly recall the sh*tstorm you put up when George Peterson left some critical remarks on your and some other people's photos last fall. George had a lot of intelligent things to say-- maybe he didn't say them in the falsely obsequieous voice you apparently want-- but I got to tell you, he was a hell of a lot more perceptive and made a hell of a lot more sense than 99.9% of the people who leave you the comments you seem to find acceptable.

    I just don't buy the notion that you can only accept "civil" criticism. The ad hominem line you peddle makes no sense-- a photograph IS a personal statement and criticism necessarily goes not to the digital image on the screen but to its maker. Of course it's your perogative to call any negative comments "abuse" and aparently PN will heed your wishes and delete tham, but to me it just looks like an ego problem.
  88. well, at least I'm not the only one whose had gallery photo comments deleted that were not ad hominem, but to the image and the failure (is use of that word ad hominem?) of an imperious maker to fool this naive observer of his 'clotheless' photography (not 'nude', if you get the allusion) into buying in to a nonsensical association between image and verbiage.
  89. Brian: Good Job. The results are visually noticeable.
  90. "Some professionals will have a natural fan base simply because people appreciate the consistent quality of their work.
    sad but true. true because we are conditioned by society to worship 'heroes' and assign to them 'role model' status, but they really have no direct relevance to our real photographic lives... sad because worshipping these same 'heroes' is more likely to stunt one's individual growth as a photographer. the distinction here is this: I am a baseball fan but I cannot (and could never) play the game nearly as well as the professionals do. not ever. compared to most pro photographers I probably lack only the means and the commitment. that's not to say I can't learn from them (and many who are not pros). but be one of their 'natural fans'? nope.
  91. Andy, there were ad hominem comments mixed in with the criticisms of the photo. The very same criticisms about light are still there on the photo in question, put there by persons who confined their remarks to the photo, abstaining from harassing and personal remarks. I did not ask that those remarks be removed, since they were to the point: criticisms of photos, not persons.

    Howard, no offense, but I still think that your photo would be better without the pasted eagle.

    Cheers. Now back to the pleasant side of pictures.
  92. Oh, and Andy, I do remember "George Peterson," the mysterious man who never told us his real name and posted one photo. Our memories differ, but I recall his arriving and leaving on the kind of storm you describe, one of his own making in each case.

    Andy, at the risk of psychologizing myself, are you possibly still smarting because I said that you should learn to frame and focus, and because I said that your PoW was the worst picture of a bubble-gum-chewing teeny bopper that I had ever seen?

    Ah, beauty is all around. Let me see if I can find some. . . .
  93. When abuse is ad hominum, hence potentially libelous, it should be deleted. I've never asked to have negative comments or ratings deleted from my Gallery photos because I believe feedback is valuable, even when it is utterly stupid. And, for the record, I've had NO stupid verbal feedback on my work in Gallery--mildly negative on a few shots, but well considered. The only time I'd insist on negative criticism being deleted that wasn't out and out slander would be when an attack seemed like a group effort and consisted of vague insults rather than concrete criticisms. To wit:

    A. Another stupid street shot. Use your expensive equipment for something better.

    B. Ouch! (Tee hee).

    C. Yeah, stop wasting bandwidth and sell vacume cleaners, you troll.

    B. Ouch! Ouch. (Tee hee.)

    D. Abababa.

    B. (Hee. Hee.)

    Outside of something like this, I prefer stupid verbal criticism to drive-by ratings that are obviously the result pavlovian responses rather than reasoned thought. But even these numerical slobbers are useful because they remind you there a lot of slobbering idiots out there who think they are brilliant critics. Some these (not infrequently) become featured critics in otherwise intelligent publications.

    In my life outside of this website I am a writer of non-fiction and fiction. In that world you have to deal with rejection slips (a lot for fiction), loutish, obtuse and commericially crass literary agents (most of the lot), cowardly or money-blind publishers (whom one learns to instictively identify and avoid) and, sometimes, idiot editors (99% of my editors have been great to work with). Since accidently falling into the American fiction market a few years ago (a story in itself) I had my share of rejection slips, some abuse (very little), publications of varying status, including short stories in two anthologies, and an honorable mention from the O. Henry Awards. The response I've gotten in Gallery more or less reflects by experiences as a fiction writer in the American scene (Japan is another story). I have also done political writing, for which you need a very thick skin. Debate can become down and dirty and utterly childish: good preparation for life in some of the Forums here. I'm also an academic. It is a life where you have to expect smiles up front and daggers at the back.

    The nice thing about Gallery and the Forums is that while your ego is always in danger of assault, neither power, social success nor money are ever issues. However people decide to regard your photography it makes you neither richer nor poorer--nor famous nor infamous as far as the real world goes.
  94. Brian, thanks, I understand how you are going about it now. However, I *still* think that the fundimental concept on which the current rating system is based is one that is prone to creating a desire for abuse (errr, I have avoided putting links to other sites here, but has an interesting take on ratings, although it has its own inherent problems, it doesn't seem to engender the sense of competition which is absolutely insane in the arts--completition is fine in business and in football, which is my official request for season tickets to the Bowl, but this competition does little positive for the arts, other than make 'em more commercial).

    What I think is happening psychologically on the other site is that because people are giving from a central pot that doesn't run dry (unless someone chooses to be a member of a subgroup where the pot DOES run dry), and there is no maximum number of points a shot can get, people are less inclined to give low ratings for petty reasons (and I can imagine that getting insanely high ratings would get old after while thus naturally limiting the fake accounts created simply to add points to a shot or shots).

    Hmmm, I wonder if a multi-tiered system here wouldn't make more sense? I do notice several things here that frustrate me in addition to what I see as a fundimental flaw in the ratings system (errr, off topic, and not fixable, so I won't harp, lol). Having a way to cordon off the people who are mainly interested in ratings, having a middle group of people who are intersted in ratings AND critiques, and having a third group interested primarily in comments and critiques...each group being only able to rate members of that group, and having the lowest group pretty much a free for all, with the highest group policed pretty harshly for mate/revenge rating?? Might actually make admin easier in the long run as you'd be limiting the areas where you had to expend energy policing

    Personally, another one of the reasons that I am doing far more on other sites is that I actually get useful feedback...the photo critique forum USED to generate useful feedback, but now bascially generate ratings and very little feedback (errr, for comparison...a shot posted here got 1500ish views in 2-3 days, 6-8ish ratings, and zero comments; same shot posted on another site...35 views, 4-5 ratings and 3-4 comments/critiques--the second site is far more useful to me...). Commentless ratings are less than useful, although I am as guilty as the next guy here for giving them, which gets me thinking about WHY I comment on the other site when rating, but not is because the rating selection and comments are displayed together, with my name...there is a sense that comments/ratings are the same, and equally important...maybe its a UI thing, the fact that I have to go to two different places, one to rate, another to leave a comment, that makes me less likely to comment/critique here...hmmm, hadn't thought about that...
  95. No Lannie, I'm not "smarting" from anything. I'd forgotten you even had an opinion about my pic. Frankly I think it sucks too, and have said so, many times. Why would you even bring that up? You've left me any number of comments on my more recent photos over the past year in which you were very positive. Do you think I am nevertheless holding some kind of grudge because of something you said a year ago? Do I sound like a total idiot? Please, do get a grip. With the exception of maybe 10 photographers here on PN (and you are not one of them) I am utterly indifferent to opinions about my photos.
  96. Ah, Andy, I went looking for beauty on your site and found myself pulled back to your PoW, in hopes of finding some new great source of beauty in the young woman's static dancing image, although, alas, she still seems to be looking around for the bubble gum that she lost.

    Marc G summed up the contribution of your PoW thus: "If this is great, what isn't?" Now, you might not be able to factor out that kind of criticism of the photo from a criticism of yourself, but the distinction between a criticism of the work and the criticism of the person stands--even if you cannot fathom it, even if you vehemently deny that it is real and meaningful.

    Of course persons take criticisms of their work personally, since they invest themselves in their work, but taking that kind of criticism personally is precisely what they must not do if they are going to benefit from good solid criticism. Ego tends to stand in the way but cannot be allowed to, if we are to improve. Lawyers are masters at pushing persons' buttons to get them angry on the stand. I should think that the goal of valuable criticism is, to the contrary, to make persons think rationally rather than to get angry. When anger comes welling up, rationality goes out the window--and that is the single best reason to avoid the ad hominem at all costs, that is, precisely so that the criticism can be constructive rather than destructive.

    To paraphrase my most critical true hero on this site, Marc Gouguenheim himself: "Thanks to all who came to learn and share." Marc made (and makes) enemies in his direct, blunt criticisms, but making persons angry has never been his goal. He sincerely wanted and wants to help persons become better, but he was and is often hated for his greatest virtue. He never attacks persons or their "egos," as you attacked mine. He is always to the point: this photo has such and such flaws and would be better if thus and such were different.

    I recommend that you emulate him. He has a great deal to teach, and a genuine desire to teach it. If he is not always tactful, at least he is never vicious. Much to learn there, indeed. . . .

    I'm no saint, Andy. I can get as steamed as the next guy, and, yes, I can push the buttons, too, as when I sent you into that tornadic fire storm that you have characterized in less appealing terms. I'm truly sorry for that, and sorrier still when I do not live up to my own teachings. I still maintain, however, that we should STRIVE to do better, and I do not see how that is possible if we do not recognize the force of a distinction between criticism of the work and criticism of the person.

    Psychologizing about motives as photographic criticism is for the birds, and, yes, I know that I, too, can be a bird brain at times. Here's to a more constructive conversation between us in the future.
  97. Andy, it seems that we crossed paths, both writing at the same time.

    "Get a grip. . . ." There you go with the ad hominem at the end, the stinger in every one of your rejoinders. In the other one it was--at the end--a reference to my "ego." How's your own "grip" doing these days? How's your own "ego" holding up? I hear that lawyerly psychologizing and button pushing once again.

    As for photos, it is not the "dancing" girl that puzzles me. It is the stuff you are doing now, in the same way that you said that you could never understand why I shoot the subjects that I do.

    Surely we can agree to disagree on what is worth shooting and how best to shoot it. Surely we can above all agree that sniping at each other's psychological frailties is the least productive path that we could possibly take.
  98. I read the thread and comments before they were deleted Lannie. With no axe to grind, and no issues with you (that I know of) I thought you were far out of line. That was just my honest opinion. From what I read they did criticize the photo, and not you UNTIL you started telling them to go elsewhere, were not welcomed. That was not right either.

    Now, bringing that image/issue over here, what was the reason for that?? This thread had nothing to you with your issues. That too was unnecessary and really unfair as well.

    You continue on, with telling "Andy" to act like Marc G. Well, I think Marc has some nice qualities, but would not make him the "role model for critique on". You have quite a bit of nerve actually to tell anybody how to act.

    If it's true that you did say: " I said that your PoW was the worst picture of a bubble-gum-chewing teeny bopper that I had ever seen?"

    Then this would be far more offensive behavior than what the two gentlemen visiting your work said earlier. The fact those comments were deleted does not mean the they were inappropriate, it means that whoever you whined to and sent in to, didn't feel like worrying or hearing about it anymore. Easier to zap than listen further. Again, I thought those comments were perfectly legit. The image is dark, very dark. It's nice you like it, but if you post one that dark, count on some strong negative comments. I'd be surprised otherwise.

    This was my fav of yours today;

    " I often walk away from controversies here because I have bigger fish to fry--and I fry them, preferably with logic rather than sarcasm. I do manage to get it said if it needs to be said."

    Well I am sure you must feel like "The Man" since (in your mind) your powerful logic can fry those bigger fish. Bet you think you are humble too...

    Looked to me, from what I have read today that your two visitors on your image, and Andy above (here) did a little frying themseleves. How's it feel to be on the menu Lannie??

    Guess my mini retirement from the forums has to wait another day...just couldn't resist. You really set yourself up.

  99. I admit that I am new to PhotoNet and probably do not have a complete understanding of the process but I have experienced enough and witnessed enough to know that there is something fundamentally wrong with a critique and rating system that creates this much heated debate.

    In my humble opinion I believe that in any organized, well-intentioned structure there are always those that are willing to shoot it down. That is to be expected and that is what is happening here. In addition to the above-mentioned mate rating and manipulation of the system to impact the TRP, POW, etc there is also bots and malicious low ratings. None of this is very satisfying to serious photography professionals or new photographers attempting to improve their skills.

    Now some would say that ratings are not important and you should just ignore them. Others want to throw up their hands and walk away. Other still would say that if their seven ratings are taken away then no harm done. I say that ratings are very important. I for one want to know when a photographer that I admire views my images and feels good about them that he/she can express a 7 rating without fear, retribution of nullification. If I feel the same about their work I want to be able to give them the same feedback. This is how I will improve. On the other hand, when a member is using my image to accomplish an agenda that has little to do with the quality of my work then I have every right to get angry. I also feel very offended when someone gives me a 1 rating and provides no explanation. In this environment I can?t even ask why without fear of retribution even if I knew who the rater was. In addition, whether it is my work or others, there is no rational for an image getting a dozen ratings of five or more and then have some yahoo rate that image a one. The same applies to images that get nothing but fours and below and then up pops a pair of sevens.

    So, why are these things happening in the first place? I believe it is all because of the rating system currently in use. It is fundamentally flawed and should be replaced immediately. With this rating system PhotNet is not only providing abusers with weapons but they are passing out the ammunition. Look at it. What does it really have to do with a good photography critique? I am not an expert at this but I thought a good rating or critique should include a few of the basics. Is the photo technically correct? Is it in focus? Does it have the right DOF? Are the colors appropriate? Is the composition pleasing? Is the subject treated respectfully and in good taste? Is it creative or a clich鿠Is it cropped properly? Is it the proper perspective? Does it have emotional appeal? Does it use the rule of thirds? Does it break all the rules and still stand out from the crowd?

    Not only does this rating system do nothing for the serious photographer but it encourages juvenile games to be played and offers the offenders a psychological reward for their abuse. If you get angry with someone or want to hurt someone it is to easy to place a 1,2,3 or even 4 rating on their work that spells out in simple graphic terms, VERY BAD, BAD, Below Average, or Average /Fair. With these kinds of subjective ratings the rater isn?t even challenged to defend their ratings and that is rightly so. This rating system reflects subjective feelings. Feelings do not have to be justified. . Plus, it is so easy to do. Just Click. A single click that can demoralize, de-motivate, discourage, and anger for no good reason.

    For those who wish to manipulate the system using BOTS the numeric rating comes in handy also. After all, that is what computers do best is manipulate numbers. To me, photography is not now, nor will it ever be, best judged using numbers. Leave those to the scientists and mathematicians. Photography is an art and should be judged as art.

    It is for these reasons ( and others if given time to think about it more) that this rating system should be based on a system that (1) helps members improve (2) encourages everyone, (3) minimizes the rewards for abuse, (4) discourages abuse, and (5) is based on objective versus subjective criteria .

    It is for these reasons that I also wish to make the following proposal. I would like to see a panel of well-respected senior dues paying members appointed to recommend a new rating system for management consideration. I think several members of this forum would be very appropriate. I think their collective talents can come up with a new system that would provide solutions, make for an easy transition and be cost effective.

    I would also like to propose for consideration that the computer continue to select the Top Rated Photos but before a final decision is made that a rotating panel of volunteer judges sort and rank them. What success would the bots have if they were policed by people?

    I hope that my rant has made some since. I apologize in advance if I have offended anyone. I thank those who have taken the time to digest this and perhaps give it serious consideration. Also, even if nothing is done, I like this site and will live with its weaknesses for a while. In the meantime, I will go back to my photography. My best to everyone.
  100. Vince, I didn't bring these issues up. Ben S. brought them up, I responded, and then Andy responded, and I responded to him. (Check the thread.)

    As for the deleted posts, I know when I am being harassed, and Jeremy seconded my opinion by deleting the posts. Jeremy obviously could see the larger context as you cannot, nor do I expect you to. (The harassment continues as we speak, by the way.)

    I do know that I come here to relax so that I can return to my writing, which is very draining.

    I love, but few if any issues on are life and death issues. The issues that I deal with in my writings are life and death issues. (Check me out as J. Landrum Kelly on and decide for yourself.) It matters somewhat if I get those larger issues right, although I do not overestimate my signifance to the history of social thought. I just do the best I can.

    I'm sure that you do the same in your own field.

    By the way, I have always admired your work.
  101. "By the way, I have always admired your work."

    I that case I take back everything I said!....

    Seriously, in my opinion, you may have just had an off day. Like I said above, I've never had any negative experiences with you. Generally you are a very nice fellow, and most all of your comments that I've seen are rather kind hearted. When I first read the thread you posted earlier today, I felt you were perhaps just being a little more sensitive than I'd seen before. Still, not compelled to say a word since these forums have taken a toll...(is why I want to get out..for a while if not for good).

    The "fried fish" and then "Marc G" comments for some reason brought out the good-ole boy side, so what the heck. It's nice to see you take that with a grain of salt.

    PS- I also read about your recent hospital visit. Sorry to hear that. I hope you are doing much better. My best to you and yours! v.
  102. Thanks, Vince. No, I wasn't super cool today, to be sure. Nor was I last August when Andy and I had our little "go 'round" when George Peterson came to the site. I thought that George was a bit pretentious, as did Carl, but Andy liked him for a number of reasons, including his capacity to speak honestly and his willingness to go beyond technical questions to larger issues. I respect that, and George and I finally made an accommodation of sorts before he quietly disappeared in early September. He came to the site in July or early August, and so he wasn't with us long. I did say those things about Andy's PoW and street photography, but I was not serious, just looping back something he threw my way--pretty infantile, but not really vicious, I hope. I actually like Andy's style of work now. So it goes. . . .

    As for requesting the two deletions, those are very unusual for me. I hate censorship, and I usually ignore trolls. I think that I have written only once or twice before, and I have been posting here for three years. One time was about a guy who was attacking Marielou Dhumez, and then started in on me for no discernible reason.

    What could not have been obvious to you or Andy was that one of these two most recent trolls has been on my case for some time, and the other suddenly hit me today in a very clever way when he got into a twist over my challenging his claim that Asier Castro (PoW winner) was using some pretty terrible light-enhancing software. I fully concede their right to dislike the photo and to say so. It is dark, after all, and can only profitably be viewed when the lights are off, and with a black background. That said, I rather like the effect, but I might well be the only one who does. (Then again, I took the shot, and so it means something to me personally.)

    Actually, put in perspective, none of this amounted to a hill of beans, even though one of the trolls (the second one) is already back on my site (on the same photo) posting inanities. I can live with that. Most of the postings on the site are arguably inanities.

    I certainly was not trying to hijack the thread when I posted the URL to the picture. I had no idea what I was starting or I would not have done it.

    As for being "fried," well, we all know that the stakes are typically pretty low around here. A lot of people pull away from the site when things get acrimonious, and it is funny how things can blow up out of nothing--but that's the web, not just Most of us could walk away and suffer no pecuniary loss, but I would miss the site, and it is curious that we can get so emotional at times.

    Marc? Well, I owe a special debt to Marc since he sort of took me under his wing when I came here at the age of fifty-six with virtually no real knowledge of photography, even though I had had an SLR since 1977. Yeah, Marc can get on my nerves, too. Most of us have that ability, I have found. I still don't know much and don't have the kind of time to learn what I would like to learn. "At my back I always hear time's winged chariot drawing near. . . ." I have a lot of unfinished projects on ethics and terrorism that compete with my desire to become an accomplished photographer. "Growing old is the biggest surprise." I don't know who said that but I have to agree.

    My apologies to Andy, you, and anyone else I have offended today. I wasn't trying to get people mad. I just seem to have a gift, as my ex-wife will tell you.

    Thanks for writing back. I wish that I were doing what you are doing rather than burying my head in books all the time.
  103. WJT

    WJT Moderator

    Why is it that every time I start a thread around here it ends up like one of my family's weddings that I went to as a kid. Thay all started out with everyone having some fun and ended with the cops being called to a prevent a multiple homicide. Let's get back on track here.<p>
    Guy, you are right about the rating/commenting system. But the proposal to have a panel of judges to sort through several thousand photographs every day does not seem tenable. Regards.
  104. Actually, Walt, Vince is going to find a horse's head in his bed tomorrow morning. "I have always admired your work" was the line used by Tom Hagen (Robert Duval) when he said goodbye to the Woltz (the director) in "The Godfather." I have connections in Maui, or is it the big island? Wherever Vince is, my people can reach him.

    As for the panel concept, or any other scheme involving actual humans reviewing ratings patterns, it becomes pretty clear why Brian wants a system that it at least partially computerized: the time costs are simply too overwhelming. I'd like to know how many hours Brian has spent on "Calvin ball" so far. (I would also like to know whose ratings got axed.)

    Sorry for the extended digression. At least nobody got killed--well, not yet, anyway. I'm locking my deadbolt anyway.
  105. Actually, Hugh's contribution to the picture in qustion is very, very funny. Too bad it will get deleted.

    Apology accepted Lannie, no need, I am not psycholgically invested. I understand your position better. But no, I will not strive to be like your hero Marc. I've always found him to be a pompous, bloviating blowhard with way too much time on his hands, shmaltzy taste, and a thin skin stretched tight over an outsized ego.
  106. I would love to get everyone who has commented in this thread in one room and see what happens. I would anticipate a lot of hand-shaking and intelligent discussions taking place, actually. The typed word tends to be very cold sometimes, without expressions to accompany it. I've seen more conflicts at work when people only communicate by email. It gets to the point where I have to sit people down with each other in person and it's amazing how quickly the hard feelings disappear! I think that's why some people tend to put the "lol" and emoticons throughout their typed comments (which, personally, drives me nuts, but I understand why!). Nothing is worse than spending a lot of time thinking what you want to say, then it getting totally miscontrued and out of context. You're all a great bunch and have a lot to offer.
  107. Walter, a good example of what Kim is saying right here.

    "But the proposal to have a panel of judges to sort through several thousand photographs every day does not seem tenable."

    I've proposed this panel on several occasions and every time someone puts down the idea, they present a distorted version of it, as you have.

    For openers there is no way that someone should be able to offer multiple images on a daily basis for consideration for what we'll call
    "The 21 Images Selected For Todays Discussions." If you search today's 24-hours / photographer's highest, you'll come up with 240 which includes non RFCs, multiples by the same photographers who got the same average, and images with only one rate. A computer can presort daily uploads any number of ways in order to give the panel a larger or smaller number to pick from.

    And Bob, the reason I don't set up a site of my own elsewhere is that only on would a panel have access to several hundred daily uploads that are worth discussing, not to mention hundreds of egocentric critics to make the effort a success.
  108. since site management fancies heuristic computer sort techniques to solve problems (calvinist hobbian gaming to achieve blind justice?) then why not appeal to the site editor's methodical penchant to achieve a "photos of the day for discussion" type sort? it would have to be limited to photos that are uploaded to the request for critique queues since these are done by category. since currently there are 25 categories (the categories can be revised or fine tuned later) that should be enough to fill out a 15- or 18- or 21-image page. perhaps the sort can be by most comment characters in the previous 24 hour period. it would certainly eliminate the need for some committee of so-called experts. and though not all of the sort-selected images would be ideally interesting to discuss, at least several would be.
  109. Walter, when I click on Gallery, Top Photos and select by week and average, the highest rated photo is by Jim McConnell Moth 12-Feb-2005 Canon DIGITAL REBEL Ratings=6 O= 6.67 A= 6.83. This is what I would consider the popular vote. The members rated it and the computer tracked it and presented it along with 499 other images as the best photo of the week. I don?t understand why you say sorting though thousands would apply. IMHO this is a great photo and perhaps it should stand as this weeks top popular photo. There is, however, always a chance that this photo could have reached the top because of mate ratings, bots, etc. If it was determined not to be legitimate then a panel of judges could make that determination and strike it down. In that case it would be a service to the community and all should be pleased.

    Hey, what would be wrong with establishing two categories? The first as judged by a popular vote and the other by a team of judges perhaps referred to as the Blue Panel Award for POW. I would expect this would be easy enough because only once a week, from a pool of 500 pictures or less a panel could select the POW. I think this method would offer an opportunity for serious photographers to get feedback from both sides of the fence. The popular vote would normally be the best judge of an images potential commercial success while the Blue Panel award would satisfy a photographers need for professional appraisal since the judges would have to provide a critique. I would love to compete for the Blue Panel Award and I believe that this would offer senior members an opportunity to work together in a positive manner to improve this experience for everyone.

    In either case, there is a need to change the rating and critique system. Isn?t it a shame that Jim?s moth image was rated only 15 times? Compare that to Bill Owens Polar Bear 09-Feb-2005 Canon EOS 300D Ratings=63 O= 6.73 A= 6.60 with 63 ratings and yet they both are included in a search result for top rated photo of the week. Doesn?t this discrepancy demand human intervention to sort this out? They are both great pictures.

    Carl, I am pleased that you support this concept even though we may have different methods as to how it should be implemented. That indeed is the reason for appointing a panel to sort it out. The bottom line is that there are simple solutions to the frustration that we all experience and the cops should not have to be called. After all, we are family.
  110. a computer generated sort of images in each critique request category would have a number of good features going for it. no one category can dominate, not nature, not landscape, not portrait, so variety would reasonably be guaranteed. if done by comment characters (the maker's own can be excluded) it would exclude popularity via ratings votes in favor of a comments-type sort indicative of what would be "interesting" images to discuss. if done by 24-hours of critique requests it would guarantee turnover once each day.
  111. Guy, some of us are not interested in the "top popular photo". Are you interested in learning about images that explore ideas that go beyond popular taste?

    The highlights are blownout in the moth image, so it is unpublishable.

    Two-thirds of the ratings on the image were removed. Do you understand why?

    (And yet it's still in the top spot for the week - thought those images needed a minimum of ten rates . . . hmmmm. I know . . . . give it time . . . )
  112. Ad hominem to the end, eh, Andy?

    Carl, what if the Top Popular Photo were picked by a panel of judges, with no popular input? Yes, I recognize the incongruity of a popular photo that is not chosen by the public, but are we not making a first step in that direction?

    By the way, how and when will we know whether Calvin ball is working or not? I'm all for waiting and seeing, but exactly what are we waiting for, and how will we know when we see it?
  113. WJT

    WJT Moderator

    Guy, I am sorry if I misundertood you. My vision is getting progressively worse and it is increasingly difficult to read through these threads (let alone use my camera, Hah!). It seemed untenable to me because I was trying to view it from the likelyhood of that ever happening here. Even with 200 or so computer selected photographs, do you see Mottershead going for the idea? Therefore...untenable.
  114. Carl, this is in response to your comments. Yes, I can understand that not everyone may be interested in the ?top popular photo?. That may be especially true of top professionals like yourself who perhaps it has already been proven how your work is received by the public. That, however, does not apply to all of us who are PhotoNet members. I would love to know what the popular response to my images are if could be assured that they were legitimate. You for instance would not rate the moth picture highly but the general public may. That is an important difference to me. You may not ever want to have a saturated image on a postcard but I may. But, I might also envision my image one day displayed in a gallery.

    You ask if I am interested in learning about images that explore ideas that go beyond popular taste. The way you asked that question I find a tad insulting but I will overlook that. The answer is a resounding yes. I am attracted to images on multiple levels. The reason for my interest in images that explore ideas beyond the popular taste is because it is only those photographers and artists that push the limits of the envelope that I get a peek at true creativity. It is these images that inspire. I find that there is not a shortage of these images on this site. To state it another way, I am the guy taht buys the postcards but also lingers in front of a work of art to try to understand the intent of the artist.

    By the way, your comments on the moth image are a perfect example of why I am contributing to this forum. It is your professional and experienced eye that took in all the aspects of an image that I personally found to have a high level of aesthetic appeal. It took someone like you to point out the highlight problem and the resulting issues with publishing. I rarely find this type of critique on this site. I believe in a Blue Panel forum this type of information would be forthcoming. You also know that two thirds of the ratings were removed on this image. How do you know that? No, I do not know definitely why they were removed although I would like to. Email me if you do not want to express this publicaly.

    Your last paragraph points out a flaw in the system that appears to be a technical one. I really do not understand how this can happen.

    Finally, I nominate you to head up the panel to help resolve these issues. I base this on your outstanding portfolio, your seniority, your bio, your experience and your frank comments. Just think how much value there would be in the collective thoughts of you, Victor, Walter, Lannie, Kim and the others. Thanks.
  115. Walter, Mottershead has a choice of being part of the problem or part of the solution. In any organization it would appear that management benefits from feedback from within. I am confident that he wants a solution to this as much as we do and that the right thing will be done. He will be much more likely to make a positive change if IMHO there is less bickering and more collaboration among respected members. Besides, it is hard to deviate from the status quo even if it is for the betterment of the situation. Time and reason are on our side.
  116. Yes, Peter, but in Calvin ball the rules keep changing. . . .

    Actually, I think that your point is well-taken, although I don't think that anyone has referred to Brian by his last name with the intention of conveying disrepect. I get called "Kelly" all the time in a variety of social contexts, but maybe that is because my last name often is a first name. On the other hand, my best friends at the end of my freshman year were called Brockman, Patterson, and Hart. Sometimes the use of the last name in a male-dominated context implies respect, not aggression, at least in the U.S.

    "Brian" seems friendlier to me in this context, if only because it tends to bridge the social divide that any inequality of power places in the way of human communication, and I know of no other community quite like, even on the web.

    Brian gets fed up, we get fed up, and complaints are typically the order of the day--the amazing thing is perhaps that we cohere as a community at all. If Brian and some of the rest of us were not at least a little abrasive at times, then someone would think that something might be wrong with us.

    In spite of it all, most of us trust Brian explicitly to run the site, and there are not that many people whom I could say that about. Even Calvin ball doesn't trouble me on the ratings issue. Somebody in power who has no axe to grind has got to get a handle on it. We have to have someone whose judgment we can trust, and I think that most of us do trust Brian, even if don't always agree with him.

    At least we don't have a Southerner running the site: "Hey, how y'all doin' this mornin'? Good to see yuh. Why doncha let me stab ye in the back?" (Standard Southern Baptist Greeting--one reason I had to stop teaching part-time at these two-year colleges around here: no national searches, incestuous social relationships, syrupy viciousness, etc.)

    I don't know much about Australian culture, but in the Northeast and North Central states in the U.S., a certain amount of curtness and even gruffness is the norm in many settings. Whether than carries over to differing modes of address I have no idea. Interesting sociological question you have raised. . . .
  117. mg


    I thought ad hominem attacks were NOT allowed on Well, I supposed so a LOOOOOOONG time ago, at least... In the mean time, I have learned that M. Kochanovski is way above's terms of use. This is probably why he took the opportunity, once again, to write the following line about me:
    "I've always found him to be a pompous, bloviating blowhard with way too much time on his hands, shmaltzy taste, and a thin skin stretched tight over an outsized ego."
    Lovely, and shows a great mind was at work behind the scene...
    You may also note that I took absolutely no part in this discussion between Lannie and K., and yet Kochanovsky is back on my back...
    Now please,, is it perhaps time to take some action against M. K...? Or should all photonetters leave if he doesn't like them...?
  118. Forgive me, Marc, but in calling Andy a "rude idiot" you have also just used an ad hominem expression.

    Now I am going to duck out of here before I get killed in the crossfire. . . .

    Where is Rodney King when we need him?
  119. "...a thin skin stretched tight..."
  120. I think you all need to be taking photos instead of arguing moot points on here, guys! We all share the same passion for photography and it seems a shame to let personal feelings get in the way of that.
  121. It's funny that some people spend more time and effort talking about what the site should do (and complaining that it won't do it) than it would take to simply implement many of their proposals themselves. You want to have a daily discussion about a particular image? Select one, post a link to it on the General Forum, and let the discussion begin. You want thoughtful critiques among a group of photographers who are genuinely interested in improving? Form a Critique Circle. In short, stop expending your efforts running your mouths about what other people should be doing (or should be appointed to do) and actually do something yourselves.
  122. Get a clue, Mike. Critique Circles died two years ago.

    Everything looks so easy from the outside. I notice you're not doing any of the things you think are so easy for the rest of us. The biggest waste of time are posts like yours from people who really have nothing invested in this sort of activity at all.
  123. Hmmmm, why did the Critique Circles die, Carl?
    Everything looks so easy from the outside. I notice you're not doing any of the things you think are so easy for the rest of us.
    Now there's some irony for you. Are you really the same guy who's been posting how much the site can be improved if the administration will just do things the way you want them to?
    Believe it or not, there are people on this site displaying pictures, exchanging honest comments and critiques, and sharing their common interests in photography. If you actually participated in the People, Street & Documentary, Wedding & Event, and Leica forums you'd know this. There is a community of photographers on, and while moderators do have to break up the occasional brawl among them, that community doesn't give a rat's backside about being in the TRP or getting high ratings from a bunch of unknown strangers.
    So to answer your implied question, I'm not doing the things I recommended because I'm not the one constantly bitching about how useless the site is for people who have an interest in photography and who want to improve their images. I also have the good sense to realize that the administration cannot force people to have such an interest or desire.
    You have numerous options available (both on and elsewhere) for promoting photography. Is that your interest, or are you more concerned with constantly haranguing the administrations because they won't do the work to turn the site into what you think it should?
  124. The value of a thread at a given moment is inversely proportional to the square of the length of time that has elapsed since its inception.

    Welcome to the morass, Mike.
  125. Peter, I can assure you that I meant no disrespect for Brian and my statement was certainly not intended to convey aggression. On the other hand I agree that it was rude to use his surname in this manner. I failed to keep in mind that this is a multi-national and multi-cultural site. I apologize.
  126. Whoa, Guy! I just checked out your portfolio. What a great body of work! I'm fading fast now, but I intend to do some serious browsing in there when I get the time.

    You have just refuted Kelly's Law with a single counterexample. Sigh~.
  127. I have been distant for months from this feedback forum ... may be I should continue this way... may be I am getting too old for those endless and quite puerile discussions <p>obviously more interesting things to do while on earth.. dont you think so ?!<p> :eek:((
  128. yep! agree with u Peter... TRP is not the Shangri-La!
  129. Mike, if you want to know why the Critique Circles died, go through the archives and you'll find that there is one person who has discussed them from the standpoint of future revival and why they failed the first go round.

    I have posted to W/NW a few times, but you obviously haven't looked at my portfolio or you wouldn't suggest wedding, street, Leica, People, etc. as a regular alternative.

    You suggested picking one image and posting it in the general forum for discussion. We already have the POW, and the whole point is to give people a choice, but still concentrate the number so most critics will be guaranteed a discussion and most photographers will get their work looked at in depth occasionally, if not daily or even weekly.

    You can join Picture This if you want to shoot assignments. (you probably don't even know about them.)

    There are 129 posts to this question, so you can stop blaming me for sustaining the debate. Mostly I feel compelled to post to these questions to correct misconceptions from people like you.
  130. I was shocked this morning to find that a group of demonstrators had gathered in front of my house. They were chanting, Rate This..Rate This?Rate This.
  131. WJT

    WJT Moderator

    This thread is dead. You can tell when a thread dies when even its originator has forgotten why it was started.<p>
    For the record, hoewever, I would like to address the comment regarding the use of surnames. I don't think The Brian gives two hoots in hell if I say Mottershead one time and the next I say Brian. I use both forms interchangeably, sometimes just to avoid confusion when other Brians or Bryans are posting. I won't deify him but I will say that anyone who has taken over the work of Greenspun rates pretty high in my book. For those of you who may not have heard of Doctor Philip, may I direct your attention to this URL: and also here: . It is a good read but well over my head. It gives an indication of what is behind a site like this, and what kind of person it takes to run it. Not to mention having to put up with us. End of thread.
  132. I have wondered about some ways that might give a little more parity and control in the ratings system. I have often wondered if maybe ratings of 1,2, and 7 should be required to enter a critique as well defending their opinion of the image. This would allow the artist as well as others to understand what makes an image fantastic in the eyes of the viewer, or explain and defend their horrible ranking of someone else's work. I have no problem with people rating images badly if they feel that need, but they should be required to explain what element of the work makes the image so poor. Poor ratings without criticism or accountability does little to uphold the idea of what posting here at is about.
  133. I think that's a good idea. Surely if you feel so strongly about a photo where you feel it merits a 1,2 or a 7, then it shouldn't be that hard to write a few lines explaining why.
  134. So how many hours per day are you guys volunteering to spend to delete all the "critiques" (and associated extreme ratings) that say, "Great!" "sucks," "7/7," "1/1," "boring," "awesome," "..," etc. (which are exactly the kind of comments that were generated when used to require comments with the highest and lowest rating choices)?
  135. We had precisely that system for several months, and what Mike says is exactly what happened. That isn't just speculation. Of course, you could say (and some people have), well you could require a minimum length comment. What prevents people from cutting and pasting? Well you could require that it be different from every other photo comment they've written. How many different ways are there to say he doesn't like the over-saturated colors? Well, you could require that he not use the same comment more than once per day, Etc, etc. Instruction creep.

    If people want to comment they will comment; if they don't want to comment, they won't comment. If you try to force them to, people will either get pissed off and stop rating, or if they are trolls, they will figure out how to circumvent your set of rules. Except for the trolls, if people don't want to comment, the site still wants their rating, in order to help rank the photos. If a photographer can't abide ratings without comments, there is an easy solution: don't submit photos for rating. Personally, I think this particular complaint is disingenuous. Nobody ever complains about a 6 or 7 rating without a comment. "He gave the photo an excellent rating, but the jerk didn't have the courtesy to tell me why he thought it was excellent." For some strange reason, we never get that complaint.
  136. I just read this thread and went and checked some of my recent images. It seems that the few and far between sevens that I received are not counted on certain images. They are listed in the detail but not in the thumbnail total. At least the numbers don't add up. If my understanding of this situation is correct, I am being penalized for a global problem in which I am an unwilling player. Furthermore, the unspoken accusation is that I have been doing something wrong. I thought I have been a loyal paying customer of This situation is confusing. Here is another point, if you check my numbers you will see that I always comment no matter what the rating, at least in the last 6 months or so. I do not feel appreciated as a customer by site management. I care about my work and care deeply about the friends I have made in over the last 18 months. With that said, the site has become too political where the rules change in the middle of the game and were winning is more important than having integrity. Perhaps it is time for me to take a long vacation from Since that is a serious decision to make, I'd like to hear your thoughts?
  137. aaaaaaaaaaagh ... what a great discussion again ... it resonates so well with my favorite pre-school memories ... yeah, Howard you poor bas*ard you've been victimized and nobody gives sh** about you ... that must hurt so friggin' much ... Brian do something for this man, I am cryin' here. ok, sorry ... you may nuke my comment now.
  138. There is no unspoken accusation. Ratings are disqualified for a variety of reasons, and it does not mean that the recipient was dishonest, or even necessarily that the rater was dishonest.

    If a rating is disqualified, it just means that it fit some set of criteria that I decided reduced the value of the rating in determining the overall score of the photo and its rank in the TRP. For all you know, disqualifying the rating made your average score go up. Or it could have been that you received too many ratings from someone who looked like he concentrated his ratings on your photos. You might have been the first person he rated, and then he got bored and never came back. This looks like a sock-puppet to my software, and I disqualify the rating. I don't actually care whether it is a sock-puppet or not, because even if it isn't, it probably is still not a rating that is worth much. I might decide to disqualify the first 50 ratings that everyone gives when they join the site because (a) new raters are more likely to be trolls; and, anyway, (b) their ratings tend to be all over the map until they kind of calibrate themselves to the site norms. I don't say I have done this, but I might. Or you might have a friend that doesn't usually rate photos, and you asked him to rate a folder. The ratings might have been totally honest, maybe even hard on you. They still might be disqualified, because a rater who has only rated one person is not very helpful in determining the ranking of photographs across multiple photographers. And so forth. So far I have disqualified about 2% of the ratings for a variety of reasons, and people shouldn't take it personally. Correction: not everyone should take it personally.
  139. With respect Brian, is that heuristic still running or is it periodical? The reason I ask is that there are several, but one person in particular, who has had a lot of exposure recently and exchanges a large number of 7's. All of their ratings tally up, whereas several of the more honest raters have seen ratings disappear. I know you've said that it can be for different reasons, but surely 7 exchanging should be the main priority as it does more to skew the TRP?
  140. Calvin ball, Mark, Calvin ball. It only works if you don't know the rules. Brian knows but he ain't tellin.' As far as I can tell, nobody has gotten seriously burned on the ratings by these actions. Since I virtually never get sevens, I just sit back and enjoy Calvin ball. It's a hoot.

    It seems to me that there is one guiding rule behind this particular version of Calvin ball: irresponsible ratings are constantly in danger of being zapped by whatever method Brian can devise. For some reason I find that comforting,.
  141. Howard, Please do not take a vacation without inviting your devoted followers (you may not even realize how many so called mates like your work). Note after all rates I'd given were deleted (due to one low rate and a feeble minded member report of abuse), I have no desire to play BrianBall unless Rajeev gives me a BigBat to strike back using my rules.

    I truly enjoy reading Howard's plentiful prose.

    Oh gosh maybe it wasn?t just one members complaint, perhaps some 7s and 6s I gave returned some 6s or 5s and we were declared mates by undeclared rules. If so I am sorry for calling one member feeble minded ? however my comment on his photo was deleted at the same time all my rates disappeared.
  142. Arghhh, Forgot that you can't cut and paste from Word without getting question marks instead of other normally valid punctuation.<p>
    While it's on my mind did anyone like my pictures of Question Mark from "? and the Mysterians" at Detroit Winter Blast? He long ago changed his real name to the single character ?! How's that for valid punctuation? 96 Tears was their big hit in the 60s. And after that I must ask did anyone read my tearful comment on RE's Tiger Swallowtail?<p>
    The following excerpt from that famous song might or might not describe viewpoint of some PN administrators:<br>
    You're gonna cry cry, cry, cry<br>
    Ninety-six tears c'mon and lemme hear you cry, now<br>
    Ninety-six tears (whoo!) I wanna hear you cry<br>
    Night and day, yeah, all night long
  143. What intrigues me is the total number of 7s that is given. Surely, there can't be that many outstanding images... When I first came to this site I might have been too generous, but because of my own growth as a photographer I have gotten more selective with my ratings. In the end, commenting is really what triggers my own learning and growth as well of that of others. A good (or a professional quality) image isn't neccisarily an excellent one. Most of us know how to saturate a photo ( - tongue in cheek warning -), few know how to create impact, emotional response and afterthought beoynd the obvious with their images.
  144. Well guys, its official. I'm outta the critique forum. I know, don't let the door hit me where the dawg shoulda bit me, but the quality and level of comments/ratings has gone far beyond absurd commedy (errr, I know what a 1 or 2 shot is, I also know what a 6 or 7 shot is, its the 3,4,5 area that gets a little gray for me) I looked at the comical "Great Leveling" that seems to go on here, I realized that I want no part of a system which inherently seems to generate the amount of bad will that this one does. At one time, there were good comments given, but I see that a couple of people who had given me great critiques (errr, on and off have had their accounts cancelled, and with them gone, it seems that NO ONE comments (errr, that must be the mate rating thing, well...I guess mate critiquing must be bad too, eh?). This is the second time I've deleted everything here, and I figured I ought to re-post and give more time. Well, I have given it more time, and it is going nowhere but downhill....the forums are excellent, and I will continue to participate, but the "critique" (errr, ratings farm) forum is in my opinion as usefull as milk-producing-mamary glands on a bull :)...
  145. As a German PN-member who learned English 50 years ago I am not able to read all notes above. But IMHO I would say the best way of rating and commenting is that only members who have uploaded min. 1 picture per 3 months can rate or comment other pics. Users without own pics in the forum should not be able to do it. The rating should not be anonymous so each can see what rating is from which user. I think it is the fairest manner to rate. All ratings must be counted for the top ranking.
    I think it is the best way to continue the high level of PN and stops the stay away of some top photographers like Baldur Birgis and others.

    Please excuse my "bumpy" English
    Greetings Otto

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