is UN-Balanced

Discussion in ' Site Help' started by dougityb, Jun 11, 2003.

  1. Several days ago I noticed something interesting about many of the
    photographs that are showing up in the top rated pages search engine
    (TRPSE) and other places in the gallery at large.

    What I noticed was especially alarming with regard to those pictures
    that I would consider mediocre. My observation was that many of them
    only contained two or three ratings values, mostly just 6's and 7's,
    and that some of them even had no opposing commentary. Even in the
    POW you get opposing commentary and a swing of ratings across the

    Well, I think I figured it out.

    Average to below average images don't reach the TRPSE because of mate
    rating and inflation, as is commonly believed. Instead, they reach
    the TRPSE because no one opposes them.

    What I concluded was that a critical element was missing in these
    images, and that element was, in my opinion, BALANCE.

    Mediocrity is a value judgement, that's true, but is this the reason
    why images of ridiculously low quality are reaching the TRPSE with
    scores in the mid 6/6 range? Because there is no one out there
    anymore willing to speak up and say: "In my opinion, I don't think
    this image is worthy of a 6/6 rating and I'm using the one rating I
    have on this image to make sure my meaning is clear."

    Where is the balance?

    What have we done to
  2. Are you suggesting then that rather than continuing with my usual practise of only rating what I believe is good and not wanting to upset people that I really should rate the pictures I think are not so good.
  3. I think the TRPSE should display photos sorted by the number of words of comments (!) they got. Not the number of comments, as a 6/6 or 7/7 in place of a comment as often seen are of no value - not to the photographer nor to others looking at his work - but the number of words.

    This sort order is not less valid than the number of ratings (remember, the TRPSE sorts by default by the NUMBER of ratings, nothing else), and at least when one gets to such a page, one is more likely to find something interesting to read and to consider. I've seen many pictures with dozens of ratings where not a single comment adds any value ("wow", "you did it again", "great capture" and the likes). On the other hand, some pictures have very interesting discussions and it's not always obvious to find them when one has not visited the page for other reasons.
  4. I think one needs to practice discernment as illustrated by two examples.

    An image appears in the gallery, or the default TRPSE (D-TRPSE), which sorts by number of ratings. The image is of average quality and you recognize the photographer as new and inexperienced. A low rating will do relatively little to encourage this photographer. Leave a comment. If the image is good, leave a rating and a comment, or one, or the other, as you would normally.

    An image appears in the gallery, or the D-TRPSE. You recogonize it as of medium quality. The photographer you also recognize as one who's either experienced, or has appeared frequently on the D-TRPSE default page. The image is mediocre, but has very high ratings. Rate this as you think it deserves, and leave a comment if you feel the need to explain your rating.

    I think what happens is that, in example two, members pass up the opportunity to rate one of these inflated photographs because they are afraid of backlash. So, they step aside. The image rises and rises, finally reaching 20 or 30 ratings with a score of 6.this and 6.that, when in fact they believe it deserves less. Who bears the ultimate blame for it reaching the top?

    The 20 or 30 friends of the photographer who gave it 6's and 7's? I don't think so. Don't we all tend to be more generous to our friends? Yes, we do, whether by a little, or a lot.

    The photographer themselves? I don't think so. They have only one vote.

    Or is it the membership at large, me for example, who watches quietly and inactively from the side, convinced that my one rate will make no difference? Or afraid that the cost of getting yelled at, or bullied is not worth it.

    I'm not at all suggesting revenge, or vendetta, or even reform. There is no way in cyberspace that a ratings system can be fair without being overly complicated.

    I'm calling for anyone who has refrained from rating out of fear of abuse to realize that they are not alone, that there are hundreds of fellow members all around that are feeling the same thing, and are equally cautious because of the possibility of backlash. I'm calling for everyone who is disgusted with mate rating and inflation and a ridiculous TRPSE to get their hands out of their pockets and get involved.

    My point is that the system will never be able to control ratings abuse, but that an apathetic membership is certainly no help, either.

    My point is that there are members complaining all the time about ratings inflation and a poor system and so on, but who stand by with their opinion in their pocket while poor work is exalted.

    My point is that it's not mate rating and inflation that are to blame for people's concerns over the quality of the TRPSE. It's the fact that everyone is standing around watching and not doing anything about it.

    Don't you see? It's not the proliferation of 6's and 7's that are responsible. It's the lack of anything else.
  5. To Digital Doug (*.*)
    Besides the fact that I haven't been able to get the TRPSE to work for the last week, I am in agreement with your opinion.
    But I think you have unreasonable expectations. It would be nice if people didn't have big egos, that photographers didn't practice self gratification, jerks didn't retaliate for low ratings, and cliques didn't exist. Unfortunately, this is PN reality and as the site grows my guess is that it will be more difficult to achieve balance.
    The comments mean a lot more to me but unfortunately, this is a numbers game. If you want to see photos selected by the TRPSE, you need high numbers. High numbers generally provide more comments. If you have 20 or 30 friends who give only 6's or 7's, and occasionally someone else provides a rating of 3,4,or 5, the low rating will have little impact. I would love to see more of my photos in the top 100 but I am not that good and I don't have the fan base of those who are consistantly at the top. That is frustrating to me and others. I don't have all the answers. Perhaps the critiquing circles are the way to go.
    Let the circle nominate a certain number of photos for the TRPSE. That might improve objectivity.
  6. I suggest that Doug be officially nominated as the Low Rater, whose job it is to go around and give low ratings to ALL the mediocre pictures that would otherwise clutter up the top rated images area.
  7. This is an addendum to my previous comment.

    Perhaps Brian Mottershead(who loves to quote statistics)could do a statistical analysis of the top rated photos over the past three months or so to see who consistantly gets high ratings and who is consistantly giving the high ratings.

    Perhaps a critiquing circle could be created to reexamine the top 100 rated photos and make appropriate comments with no ratings.
  8. Stuart: YES. But....
    Culturally some people are seem to be taught "if you can't say something nice don't say anything". So you get something mediocre which a few people give 6/6 to and no one puts another side. I got involved in some time consuming stupidity with someone by calling a spade "a spade" (OK calling a soft porn pic "porn"). The person who took me to task was clearly offended because I'd said - in effect - that he liked porn. I've had flack from someone who shoots "postcards" - and sells them - because I said one of his very pretty pictures was a bit of a cliche. And I won't even talk about the fuss I caused when I said someone had made a good picture by re-using something which was unimaginative.
    Have you noticed how people seem to tie Aesthetics and Originality - I've got a spreadsheet with all my scores in. 58% have the same score in both categories. 39% have the same score +/- 1 and only 3% are +/- 2. How come ? Why can't people say "its clever, but horrible to look at", or "Beautiful, but I've seen it 1000 times before" ... what we get instead is "I like that ... 6/6".
    And statistically people are twice as likely to tell me they like a picture than why they don't. No one who has scored a picture 3 in either category has said why. Not a good basis to improve my pictures.
  9. It boils down to this.

    Anyone who rates on a different basis to the way you rate is wrong and therefore should be restricted from rating.

    Doesn't matter who you are or how you rate, this is the way a lot of people see things.

    "The only way to win is not to play the game" - War Games
  10. Bob, you're making these statements as an illustration of the way people think, correct, and not at me in particular, right?

    Well, I couldn't disgree more vehemently with this idea that to not play is to win, and if people see it this way, then I sincerely feel very sorry for them. These same people should keep their mouth shut when it comes to verbalizing what's wrong with the TRP, too. This philosophy might work in tic-tac-toe, and nuclear arms build-ups, but it doesn't have to work here. At least I hope not.

    Speaking for myself, I don't care how people judge an image. I don't care whether they rate it because the love the photographer, or hate the photographer. I believe every certified member should be able to rate according to their own conscience, if they have one. I don't care if someone hates an image I love, or loves an image I hate. That's not the issue.

    I do care, and very much, that many are not rating and commenting on rising images they dislike out of fear, or frustration, or fatigue, and that these missing rates are the reason for ratings inflation, the success of mate rating in general, and the deterioration of the TRP's into fan club scrapbooks.

    People can choose not to play, that's fine, but I'm taking a stand against being pushed off an image by snide remarks, retaliations, insults and the like. I'm allowed, even encouraged, by to rate according to my conscience and my asethetic values. If they're wrong, then past and future ratings will out weigh it. Brian has preached this for months and months.
  11. mg


    Let me try to be smart too...:) How about this ?
    "The only way to have a good gallery is to have no gallery at all." - The Looser's Philosophy, chapter 1, page 1, line 1.
  12. Bob,

    I think Doug's comments are worth bearing in mind, or at least reading at a level beyond that of the response which you have offered.

    This is one aspect which dissuades me from taking up a subscribing relationship with, or 'freeloading' any images for that matter. As much as I respect Doug's stance against the politics of in-groups on, I wonder why the weight of honest critical appraisal should influx on from a bottom-up approach, as opposed to top-drawer-to-bottom-approach.

    And yes, I have tired of seeing the underwear drawer on the top rungs too.

    Kind regards,
  13. Easy now young stallions!
    I was at first incensed by Bob's comment, too, but then I looked carefully and I believe (hope) that he is merely trying to sum up the mentality of mobs and crowds in general:
    "It boils down to this [so Doug, don't waste your time. If you low-rate an image, then the photographer posting that image will think] Anyone who rates on a different basis to the way you rate is wrong and therefore should be restricted from rating. [You're wrong. My image is worth more. You shouldn't be here.]
    [Doug, it]doesn't matter who you are or how you rate, this is the way a lot of people see things."
    The war games quote seems pretty much not to apply, since this isn't tic tac toe or nuclear strategy.
  14. For over a year people have been bitching about low ratings to the point where they harass people into giving up on ratings. So fewer and fewer people ar egiving out low ratings. I'm not talking about unjustifiably low ratings. Have a look at the POW page. most of the times when someone leaves a negative comment they won't rate, but if the same person leaves a good comment they will rate.

    Yay! Glad to see we're at least making people feel better :)

  15. What I mean is that if you get upset by ratings, the only way to win is not to play the ratings game.

    I have images on the site. I get ratings and comments. Some of the images have made it onto the "top" pages (at least for a brief moment). However I don't really worry too much about whether the ratings I got were "fair" or that images I like a lot didn't get much attention, or that some people didn't like them. I don't play the ratings "game". I don't have "rating buddies", I don't selectively rate only good or only bad images. I just don't get hung up on numbers and visisbility. My guess is that vast majority of gallery users think this way too. Not the ones who post here of course, since if you don't think it's all a big deal, you'd have no reason to post.

    This is a sociological issue, not a numerical or photographic issue. Sure things aren't "fair and even", sure some people will find a way to "cheat" no matter what does.

    Sure there will be brief moments when "top" images appear which have only 2 or 3 ratings, but they will fade.

    My advice to "not play the game" is to not get caught up in the hype. Take pictures, post them if you want to, enjoy whatever attention they get, don't worry, be happy. There aren't any prizes. Nobody "wins" anything.

    Maybe once we have all the harware issues sorted out with there will be time to look at the rating system for the 3,975th time and come up with scheme #3,976 which will be absolutely fair and even, allowing only the very best images to ever appear in the top images list, and totally preventing any rating manipulation by anyone - while of course preserving all existing scores, ratings and comments, and correcting for any time related "rating inflation" without getting anyone pissed off with the changes.

    It may take a while....
  16. I don't find the ratings very useful at - What I really look for are the comments, but even there it seems that a lot of them are not really involved with constructive criticism. Too bad, but what is out there is still very interesting.<p>
    Looking at the ratings of the small bunch of photos I have myself uploaded the last two weeks or so I noticed that aestethics and originality are very closely correlated. This indicates to me that they aren't really separate judgements, but rather the same reflection to the question "how much do I like this picture?"
  17. It's not the ratings that are bothering me. It's the NOT ratings.

    But your advice is good, Bob. Thanks for clarifying. Unfortunately, I'm one of those that wants to play the game. There are many, many, many of us that want to play the game, but are not because of this or that reason.

    The 3976 ratings revision will only lead to the 3977th, and so on. It can't be fixed because not everyone is using it and what administration is doing only addresses those that do use it, that is, those that rate 5's, 6's and 7's.

    The answer is in those of us wanting to play coming out into the field. It's not a spectator sport.
  18. Young stallions, Doug? Tossing my mane in the air I still think has failed to penetrate the issue (top-down). Perhaps I am insisting with the stubbornness of a mule, if only because the carrot at the end of the stick are the ramifications for the nature of this "community" in the longer run (Is this explicit passivity really the community which is destined to become along its development?)

    If so, what is a young photographer to think? Thus far and no further. Artistic development in a community aborts itself when it practices avoidance - precisely that form of "not-knowing" which renders critique spiritless in either its numerical or qualitative form.

    Kind regards,
  19. First, let me disabuse some of you of the notion that no matter
    what changes are made to the system, it will continue to be
    broke and therefore no time should be wasted making

    I have an image with 99 ratings - my highest. The average is
    barely more than 5.0. That never would have been possible in
    the days before the number of ratings default page. My images
    tend to get what they deserve because the people who respond
    are quite random because I'm not out there showering people
    with praise trying to gain favor. If I say I like something, I mean it.
    If I offer constructive criticism, I do so because there is
    something I like about the image that makes commenting worth
    IMAGES A LOOK IN RESPONSE. There are exceptions and I am

    Doug, You're asking us to spend time trying to fix the averages,
    but it's the number of rates, not the value that I use to find
    interesting images. As far as I'm concerned, AVERAGES DON'T
    MEAN ANYTHING. - it's all about getting enough visibility through
    ratings - ANY RATING - so that someone who cares enough to
    comment will know it's there.

    So no, I'm not out to correct funny numbers, although I agree with
    your analysis entirely. If you want to fix the system, visit the
    people who treat it right.

    You can give me a 4/4 anytime you want, and you'll be doing me
    a favor. (The people who comment without offering others the
    chance to join in the discussion by not rating it don't understand
    the realities of the current system.) . . . . . . . . . . . .
  20. The basic problem is you can't please all the people all the time.

    You have "newbies" who just want someone to tell them that their image would be better if uncle Joe didn't appear to have a lampost growing out of his head. Then you have those for who the whole thing is a giant contest and their goal in life is to get the top rated image while ensuring absolutely fair an impartial ratings.

    Now you can get the second by using draconian restrictions on who can give what rating to who, anonymizing everything, analyzing logs for evidence of rating conspiracies, limiting the number of "7"s, making people rate every image they see, making people take and pass a "ratings test" to make sure they know how to score properly and other such complex and involved schemes. All it's going to do for the newbie is confuse them and make them look for another website with friendlier rules. It's also likely there are a lot more "newbies" than competetive top photographers.

    So what do you do?
  21. What would be the down side of limiting the number of high
    rates you can give to any one person and/or overall during a time
  22. The worst part is... in the beginning if you got a low rating, without a comment, from a photographer whose work you liked or oppinions you respected you could usually email them for clarification and get a decent response. Now most people think you're just complaining about low ratings because of what's happened so many times it's rare to get that and people are even offended when you ask.

    I've done the same in the past when someone has asked me to clarify a rating. But I guess people aren't really looking for your reasoning, just hoping you made a mistake. I guess they want to hear "Oh I didn't look at it close enough, or I was having a bad day, let me go change it." Because what usually seems to follow is that they go through your portfolio and look at a photo that they can justify giving the same rating to and only rate that one or usually more than one.

    It's quite funny and sad at the same time.

    I remember one time when someone rated a whole bunch of my photos with a variety of different scores. I was suprised at some of the ones he liked and some of the ones he didn't so we had an email discussion and he went through a lot of them and told me what he liked and what he didn't like. He also had interest in doing similar work so I went over what I liked in those photos and why I thought some were better than others as well as some info on how they were done. Things like that used to happen fairly often.
  23. Which would you rather see: An interesting image with no comments? Or a somewhat interesting image with terrific comemnts? In the last 5 days I've been involved in the best discussions over completely average images. Why? Because I spoke out, and someone else spoke out, and someone disagreed, and someone disagreed again, and someone disagreed with the third person, etc. The images are almost, but not quiete irrelevant to a quest for interest. It's the reactions that are interesting. My opinion only.

    The average number of ratings images show up for a while and then vanish. Three days. After that, I believe, images are retrieved based on quality of rating, is that not true?

    I'm not asking anyone to fix the system. I'm asking people to use the system.
  24. The worst part is... in the beginning if you got a low rating, without a comment, from a photographer whose work you liked or oppinions you respected you could usually email them for clarification and get a decent response. Now most people think you're just complaining about low ratings because of what's happened so many times it's rare to get that and people are even offended when you ask.

    I've done the same in the past when someone has asked me to clarify a rating. But I guess people aren't really looking for your reasoning, just hoping you made a mistake. I guess they want to hear "Oh I didn't look at it close enough, or I was having a bad day, let me go change it." Because what usually seems to follow is that they go through your portfolio and look at a photo that they can justify giving the same rating to and only rate that one or usually more than one.

    It's quite funny and sad at the same time.

    I remember one time when someone rated a whole bunch of my photos with a variety of different scores. I was suprised at some of the ones he liked and some of the ones he didn't so we had an email discussion and he went through a lot of them and told me what he liked and what he didn't like. He also had interest in doing similar work so I went over what I liked in those photos and why I thought some were better than others as well as some info on how they were done. Things like that used to happen fairly often.

    I agree with Carl completely. There is no fix for the ratings system. And I wouldn't call all of it abuse I just don't think there's a good way to do something like this fairly. The only solution I think will work, will be to eliminate the emphasis on ratings in some areas of the site.

    For instance, the ratings and ratings critique queues shoulding be ordered by highest ratings. Most people don't manipulate ratings for high ratings. They want the exposure, to get the exposure you need the high ratings. So as long as ratings dictates so much exposure there will be people that obsess over ratings.
  25. Ah but Stefan, inasmuch as I agree with you that the ratings qua ratings are of limited value from the standpoint of assessing the worth of photos, they do have significant ramifications for what we can and can't see on the site. Like it or not, the TRPSE (using Doug's acronym)is the primary vehicle for a person's work to be seen by the wider PN community. Doug's points, to me, are valid because the sum total of the practices Doug decries is the swamping of many images in the maelstrom of these practices. I freely admit that I too have succumbed from time to time to the urge to be merely courteous, rather than entirely honest. It has called into question not only my ability to follow my conscience when rating the works of others, but indeed also (and perhaps more selfishly) my ability to truly gauge the worth of my own work. Translation: I have lacked courage and courage is what the artistic endeavor is all about. Courage means laying your efforts on the line and to accept the praise and the blame for those efforts with equilibrium. Likewise, it means being true to your conscience and principles when meting out the praise or the blame to others, and doing so in a manner that is candid and respecting of the others' dignity. That's what we all have to learn in a hurry if we want the site to be a viable means of testing our craft in the forge of public scrutiny. If we don't learn, then people whose gifts are waiting to be accepted by this community will remain locked out and left in the cold obscurity of the back pages of this site. I'm no longer religious but its just a sin to quash the hopes and aspirations of those people who want to try and find some manner to express themselves through the joy and challenge of capturing light in a box by practices that will ensure no one sees their efforts.
  26. If I may say so, neither of you understand the system, and if you
    don't understand it's nuances, given your intelligence and
    experience, then much of Brian's work to fine tune the system is
    largely wasted.

    do you explain by image with 99 rates with barely a 5.0 average?
    I have quite a few in the low 5s that have 30, 40 50 ratings.
    Check them out.

    Do these show up on the highest rated page? Well, it depends
    on which of the many search criteria you use. It is true that some
    long term searches do require a minimum of 20 rates, but that
    only underscores my point. It's the number, not the average.

    Doug, you can use 'number of rates' for any time period you like.

    So I ask again, why are so many concerned with what a
    particulat set of search criteria returns, given that we now have
    so many options.

    To answer your last point, I do enjoy finding a good discussion
    on an image, but I'd prefer to find one where the maker is an
    active and willing participant and preferably someone who
    doesn't already have more than their share of visibility.
  27. Yes, you may say so, and you may even be right, and I have no idea how to explain the phenomena going on in your folders. To save my research staff their valuable time, could you post links to the images you are talking about.

    Even so, my gripe is not primarily concerned with visibility, nor with ratings averages, etc. These are secondary benefits, or ancilliary results, whatever that means.

    My complaint is that people don't rate because they are afraid, and others are using intimidating tactics to discourage the balancing influence on their images. As a result, they recieve inflated values. It's simply not fair. It's not Brian's fault. It's not the software's fault. It's your fault for not stepping forward with your rate. It's my fault for being a coward. It's the fault of everyone who is doing nothing.

    Let's think of it this way.

    When I see an image with 30 ratings, I'd like to see that it has an accurate average. If I think it's rated far too high, then why don't I offer my opinion? Why should I feel timid about it?

    Have you ever seen an image in the TRP that you felt was ridiculously rated, yet you didn't do or say anything about it? What about anyone else reading this? Any of you seen a horribly overrated image in the TRP and instead of rating it you just shook your head and clicked somewhere else?
  28. " . . . I have no idea how to explain the phenomena going on in
    your folders. . . ."

    The default page, and others turn up images with the most rates
    even if they don't have very high scores.

    "My complaint is that people don't rate because they are afraid, . .

    . . . . or because they've done that and discussed all the issues
    that make these image, trite or lame, kitschy or whatever.

    " It's your fault for not stepping forward with your rate."

    A rate - any rate - will give it even more visibility, so it's

    "When I see an image with 30 ratings, I'd like to see that it has
    an accurate average."

    According to whose tastes? Yours and mine, but not the 'popular'
    vote that sincerely likes them. The change in behavior that would
    help the site the most is to leave that stuff alone and concentrate
    on images that deserve attention.

    Here it is:

    You can also click on my name and browse through the
    'single'and 'B&W'' folders with the 'view ratings' on. Note that the
    images that fit the earlier description were uploaded after the
    change in default pages.
  29. What I think is funny- is that none of the top rated photographers bother to leave rates at all, opting only to leave comments under the guise of "comments being better than rates". However this conveintly keeps anyone else out of the top-rated pages.

    Just my two cents.
  30. Let me re-phrase that:

    Very few of the top-rated photographers bother to leave rates at all...
  31. Unless things have changed, the critique request queue works something like this: Photos are ordered by rating, once the photo reeives a cretain number of ratings it get pushed back so that lower rated photos have a chance as well. It's relative to the other photos in the queue. My biggest compliant was that the critiques request used ratings in some fashion for sorting. It's prioritizing people who want to view nice pictures over people that want to get help with their photos in my opinion.

    Carl, I just took a quick look at your portfolio and the few random images I pulled up only had about 10 ratings in them so my guess is those images you're talking about are the exception. You also make it sound like a 5 rating is bad. I guess it is when you realize that other people with the same or worse work are consistently getting higher ratings. I've seen photos that are very much like yours do better.


    People aren't going to change. Let me explain to you why. It is so much more important for the people that want higher ratings and more exposure to maintain them, than it is for people that want to be honest to do so. What do I gain from having to deal with a few emails a week complaining about my ratings and occassionally having people rate my images lower? Where someone who harrasses low raters gets the benefit of them being fed up and avoiding their photos. The whole system of having to comment on 1's and 2's and 7's but not 6's is also biased towards not giving low rates.

    The effect is that people who rate honestly don't participate as much. And there were a lot of people I liked getting input from. SOme people never bothered from the beginning. People don't have time to leave comments on every photo they see, but ratings are quick and easy. Someone like Bob doesn't rate that many photos and I don't think most of my work is his type of stuff but if it happened to run across him I'd love a rating from him.

    Try it Doug. For the rest of the month, try and visit the recently posted queue and then some of the critique request queues. Rate every photo you come across good or bad and give an honest opinion. Then find some of the photographers that could use help and go through entire folders leaving ratings on all comments on the ones you feel you can add a comment to. Also go through the highly rated photos and give your honest opinions. Not just singling out those you think have overly inflated ratings. I'm not saying go out of your way to rate bad images that are highly rated, just that don't skip over them and be honest. Although, go out of your way to find people who could use some advice. See how that goes. People accuse you of all sorts of things if you state oppinion that isn't inline with others.
  32. mg


    "Go through the highly rated photos and give your honest opinions. Not just singling out those you think have overly inflated ratings. I'm not saying go out of your way to rate bad images that are highly rated, just that don't skip over them and be honest."
    Well, Tom, you might be surprised reading this, but I've done just that, and many times. For example, in the past, I've rated many images by Emil Schildt, Jorg Grundler, Adam Orzechowski, Fred Vnoucek, Erwin Friesenbischler (spelling?), Fred Kamphues, Nana Souza, Ken Williams... Most of their portfolio in fact, at that time. I've left ratings between 1/1 and 7/7 on these pages. I've also rated quite a number of pictures by Valter Filippeschi, Vincent Tyler, Ilona Wellman, and quite a number of others. I've finally rated ALL the top 300 photos on the site twice in 2 months time - often leaving 4s and 5s, and many 6/5s, very few 6/6s and 6/7.
    So, what happened ? Well, retaliatory ratings piled up on my own pages... and since not many people did what I did - expressing negative opinions -, my ratings on some top-rated photographers works had no effect at all on their visibility on the site. Yet, my own work became a lot less visible in a matter of days.
    Conclusion: Doug is right. As long as only a few rare individuals will speak up their mind, all they will do is to push themselves out of visibility. If you search for the site's "Rating average > All" pages, you will now see many shots worth a 5 perhaps, but rated at an average of 6.X. That's today. Why ? Simply because people think of preserving the visibility of their own images instead of speaking up, or because people got tired of being insulted for the critiques they posted. Personally, I couldn't care less anymore about the visibility of my own pictures, as I have received already much more than my fair share of comments, but I'm not here to get insulted, and I find an absolute shame that does virtually nothing against VERBAL ABUSE. But as a result of all these practices, criticism is dying on the site, and great images are burried under loads of crap, and I still see nothing done by nor by its members to set things straight and revitalize criticism; and that's one of the reasons why I lost interest in this site and stopped critiquing 2 weeks ago - the other reason being that verbal abuses are now tolerated, to the point where one can post "*X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#* Marc", trash an entire folder with angry comments, and be there the next day to do the same again. Sorry, but that's not what I came here for. I'm now trying to figure out what and its members are planning to do in the near future, but I can't seem to get any answer to my questions, so I guess I'll do what Bob said and let players play and nonsense rule. Regards.
  33. I took time to read all that threat because I also feel quite fed up with this un-balance. I fully agree with initial comment of Doug.

    But, as most of people in PN, I don't want to play the 'bad' guy. Therefore, I rate picture I generally like or like a lot; but still my average of the 760 pictures I have rated so far is around 5.6.
    I don't think I belong to special group of mutual backscrtcher althought I like some photographers' works more than others.

    The problem here is that 'To give a good mark cost NOTHING'. Imagine what will happen if the situation was similar at school and university (everybody would get a PhD!)

    That said... BACK TO SCHOOL and although I studied mathematics, everybody can understand the following.

    If we admit that the balance is around 4.5. Lets fix it at 4.5 as a SIMPLE RULE FOR EVERYBODY.

    Then from now on when PN rater will rate a 7 he will have to rate a 2 before continuing to rate; when he will rates a 4 he will have to rate a 5 before continuing,...and s.o..

    In order to make it practical and feasible we could get 5 or 10 rating decay to get back to average.

    Then you will see the standard deviation around 4.5 very small and probably the number of rating will diminish. But at least people will think twice before distributing good marks that cost nothing.

    I think this measure can be VERY easily set in the system since there is an memory count for PN member rating.

    So when do WE start? It is urgent before rating become too meaningless
    and ridiculous.
  34. Additionally to my proposal, the images which cannot reach a minimum number of rating (5 or 10) after 3 months should be automatically erased.

    Then both problem would be solved: the rating and the memory. As a result, we may not have the biggest photo website in term of quantity of images and level of rating but at least the highest in quality one,.... IF IT IS THAT WE WANT...!?
  35. While I think Doug has many valid points, in the end, what does it matter? Aside from the fact that none of the top rated pages have been functional anyhow, the only important page that I know of that is sorted by high ratings is the &quottop photographer&quot page. As Bob said, &quotnobody wins anything&quot here, and the primary function of this site is receiving valuable feedback on your images. I think Carl's initial argument has been the strongest, and may be worth re-reading. If fact I plan to change my behaviour here on because of Carl's following statement.

    You can give me a 4/4 anytime you want, and you'll be doing me a favor. (The people who comment without offering others the chance to join in the discussion by not rating it don't understand the realities of the current system.) . . . . . . . . . . . .

    Most recently I have been guilty of more often than not only leaving comments and neglecting to rate unless I felt strongly one way or another about a particular image (in fact my combined ratings are an average 1 full point lower than Doug's). But in the future I will strive to find a number to accompany my comments. Not that I didn't understand the system, I just didn't appreciate its subtleties. Thank you Carl.

    I must also say that as a relative novice there is a bit of intimidation felt in throwing a rating that goes against the popular opinion on an image and I guess Doug, from what you're saying, you old pros feel some of the same.
  36. Great idea! At least the first part.
  37. mg


    Well, the trouble is that I honestly don't know anymore what WE want. Who is WE in the first place ? Is it ? I'm under the understanding that is THE One that should decide and state clearly what IT wants.
    Yet, here is a thread that was addressing the right issues, and which is about to sink in oblivion...:
    What does want ? Business model 1 or business model 2 ? That's the 1st question on's list of priorities - after the hardware issues of course, which are now, understandably, the main focus.
    Based on a clear objective (stated for all to see), it may indeed take time, but a better system - if not a *perfect* system - could probably be implemented.
    Meanwhile, Doug or Tom's suggestions of rating more images - and rating them honestly - is the only thing that members can do.
  38. Marc,

    That's my point exactly. You don't have to tell me what happens. I know what happens when you rate and comment honestly. Some of my favorite stories, I commented on some horrible pictures giving some advice. I mean they were really bad. Barely enough exposure to understand what was going on, bad composition, etc. This person apparently got paid for these shots and didn't like my comment so went through and rated some of my photos 1/1. Found this out after ratings were no longer anonymous. I never rated her photos just left my constructive criticism. My favorite was I met this one guy in the photo critique chat room. Any photo he rated of mine was given 8/8 and I had no idea who he was. People accused me of creating it as a fake account. The funny thing is that he stopped rating photos because he pretty much only rated photos he thought deserved an 8/8 but one day someone sent him a threatening letter for rating the photo an 8/8 because it brought down his average.

    I don't care if I become unpopular with some people with overinflated egos. I'd rather tick off a few people by being honest as every once in a while my comments/ratings help someone. I've never been much of a sheep. THough there are some people's portfolios I avoid now because they want to keep thinking their great, why should I try and stop them.
  39. mg


    "A rate - any rate - will give it even more visibility, so it's counterproductive."
    No. Sorry.
    Yes, perhaps so during the first 3 days. Then, no longer. Count, Carl. How many searches are available ? "Highest number of ratings" and "Most viewed folders", then number of comments, are the 3 only searches I know of are not "average-based". On the other hand, Highest average, Highest Aesthetics, Highest Originality, Photographer's highest rated image, Photographer's highest overall average, Highest rated photo of the day, all these searches are based on scores - and NOT NUMBERS of views, ratings, comments. . You might look at the searches that are not based on averages, but who else does ? I can bet with you that the most used top searches are the average-based ones; and once a picture at the top of an average-based search, Doug is right saying that rating it lower (if that's what you think) will DECREASE and not INCREASE its visibility. Besides that, if a new-comer arrives on PN looking for the best pictures, do you honestly think he will go to see the pictures that have the highest number of ratings...?
  40. Entirely agree with you Marc on the fact that PN should decide what direction they want for their site before it degenerates too much.

    Marc said "Meanwhile, Doug or Tom's suggestions of rating more images - and rating them honestly - is the only thing that members can do."

    I agree also but you experimented it as some other did and you get ignored or retaliated (I prefer retaliation than ignorance anyway). So it is NOT A REALISTIC solution. We definitely need a rule set by PN, otherwise which solution would time the most consumming: try to be fair and fight the system (or the absence of it) or create a new site ex-nihilo ?

    Suggestion I made was quite simple and easy to set, and whatever business plan PN is choosing for future, it won't be a constraint but an advantage compare to other site.
  41. I have been looking today at the average ratings given by the photogs in this thread(including me) many of us are way above 4/4 and some of us are above 5/5 so are we all rating only what we like. Maybe.<br>
    But it may also be true that we choose to view what we like then we give the rating so of course it is above 4/4. So to achieve the balance that Bob was talking about at the begining we would all have to start viewing pictures that we don't like so we can rate them accordingly. IMO this is the problem with ratings and you will never change it because people don't go and view what they don't like.
  42. You're right. If I had a DSL connection, then maybe I'd be willing to
    go through lists instead of the various top pages searches just to
    make my averages look good. Too many people think that dropping a
    load of 3/3s on snapshots is good for the site in that it makes your
    averages look good, but all it does is clutter up the top pages /
    number of rates with junk making the only useful search criterion
    useless. People, please don't do it.

    Marc, you're right about most search options being average based. My
    question is WHY, given that the official function of the ratings
    system is not to order all the images best to worst, but to serve only
    as an initial filter to weed out 80% - 90% of the daily snapshot
    uploads. . .
  43. I agree that with you that photonet should not be used as a place to upload pics of rallies, partyies or club outings there is plenty of free blog sites and free webspace around for this kind of use. But many people don't understand what this is all about here they think it free web space or something. Maybe they need pointing in the right direction.
  44. There may be more search options that are based on averages, and I agree that those are typically more useful to me, but the fact is that the default search -- when one clicks on "High-rated Photos" in the menu -- is "Number of Ratings" in "Past 3 Days." Thus, Carl's point about the sheer number of ratings being the key factor is in fact correct for anyone who clicks on that link to the top photos, which is probably at least where most people start if not where they also stop searching.
  45. Carl's point is uncontestable, but is nullified by the fact that these wayward images make it not only to the TRP, but through it was well and into the database. The number of ratings gets them to the TRPSE. The quality of ratings keeps them there. All this talk about revising the ratings system is a terrible waste of time. I'm not trying to change "people." I'm trying to change YOU.

    Let me restate my point (with the benefit of all comments and clarifications, above): These images get to the default page anyway either because of alliances, gangs, true merit, or whatever. When they get there they typically acquire another dozen or more extremely high ratings before sliding off into the database. Well, good for them, and more power to them. The pictures have somehow earned their way to the TRP, so they must be good. The trouble is, what if I (or you) look at them and think: Who the bleeping blazes pulled the wool over the eyes of so many that this dull image is rated so highly.

    The issue in question is why are we, you, me, allowing them to proceed into the database without our individual input?

    "I rate only what I like" I've seen that many times and formerly practiced the same thing.

    This is rubber stamping an approval signature on what is good, and I feel it's a legitimate and necessary action. However, it is in fact only expressing one-half of your aesthetic. I, for one, am as happy as the next person to rate what I like, thereby fulfilling my need to express my aesthetic IN TERMS OF WHAT I LIKE. There is the other side of expressing my aesthetic, namely in terms of what I don't like. Want to hone in on your aesthetic? Start calling a spade a spade. Your work will get stronger. Your conviction will get stronger. You will get stronger. (You will also get retaliated against, but that's the price of sharpening yourself. Take it or leave, I say. )

    The logical end to this, in my view: I do a search on the TRPSE, All Images/Average Rating. (This search should bring up the very best image, according to ratings, the single image with the highest average rating.) Open the image in the top spot, the upper left hand corner. Open the ratings page. The names that are NOT there INDICATE BY THEIR ABSENCE, a form of consent that yes, this image belongs here.

    Want to truly see the best of the best on the TRP? I mean from day one to now? Get three or four hundred members doing this on a daily or weekly basis, and you'll see a wonderful dynamic taking shape.
  46. g|1


    Well Doug this is a very persuasive argument, and after only 2 rates over the last year, you have managed to talk me into using the rating system again. Besides which, if Brians new ratings reform goes ahead I will need at least a hundred bellshaped rates to earn anonymous ratings...
  47. The fact that my adding a 4/4 rating to a top rated image will push it higher up the page is nothing to be concerned about. And in one important way this is a benefit! Face it, even without my rating these images will still be just as visible as ever, right there on page one. And it's true, if 10 people were to add honest 4/4 ratings with comments explaining their rating these images will indeed climb higher on the default page, but with much more realistic averages. The additional benefit is it will allow even more people to see that there ARE indeed other opinions. The group of people who slap 7's on highly rated images simply because they are ALREADY rated highly and therefore MUST be good will be offered some other opinions for a change. And maybe some will start to think about their ratings more carefully in the future.
  48. As they say in politics, Photo.Net is one helluv a big tent. It
    embraces experienced working pros, first time hobbyists and
    everything in between -- from digital artists to photographic

    When you factor in the international reach and the language
    problems associated with photographic jargon, it’s amazing that
    the ratings system works at all. But in the midst of all this
    complexity, it not only works -- but works rather well.

    It’s clear that cronyism and ratings inflation are going to be a
    feature of any subjective ratings system that is not anonymous.
    Just look at the Olympics. It’s human nature.

    Still, the designers of the present iteration of the PN system had
    a brilliant idea in awarding the default “High-rated” status based
    on the volume of ratings. To get a lot of ratings, most
    photographers must make a lot of ratings. This structure favors
    PARTCIPATION which is certainly good for PN’s own page-hit
    stats as well as for building an active and loyal community --
    presuming, of course, that there’s server capacity and bandwidth
    to handle it all.

    This is not to say that the system doesn’t have a built-in bias. On
    the plus side, IMO, truly exceptional work does stand out and get
    noticed very quickly. Novel ideas and techniques also tend to
    stand out -- although there seems to be an ebb and flow as
    today’s novelty becomes tomorrow’s cliché.

    Finally, there’s a political bias. This is what Doug is talking
    about. Fair or not, photographers who post a lot of images, rate a
    lot of images (especially with pleasantly high numbers), have a
    reputation among the regulars, and develop a network of
    “mates,” are going to end up dominating the top-rate pages.

    In short, the ratings system as presently structured is partly
    objective and partly political, which, when you think about it, is a
    lot like most other human “communities.”

    Doug believes that we aren’t speaking up in opposition to what
    we know to be imperfect or mediocre images. He’s probably
    right. But it’s also important to realize most people shape their
    behavior to maximize their reward from the system.

    I, for one, take commenting seriously, and whenever possible, try
    to devote considerable time to making helpful (and realistic)
    suggestions for improvement. (“Pity you overexposed it,” is not
    what I consider a helpful comment.)

    I spend a couple of hours a week in the Gallery, commenting on
    the work of talented new-comers, or good new work by regulars
    whose names I recognize. I ignore what I consider banal.

    I also spend a couple of hours trying to rate the work of people
    who have taken the time to comment on my images. This is
    sometimes rather painful, because frequently, I just can’t bring
    myself to give someone a 4 or 5 when they have, out of the blue,
    commented favorably and given me a 6 or a 7. So, often I
    regretfully leave their work un-rated. It’s not really anything to do
    with fear of retribution. I just know that people DO take ratings

    I’m also inclined to be overly generous with people whose work
    I admire or who frequently rate and comment generously. I take it
    even Doug is apt fall into this particular behavior pattern.

    Finally, I get extremely pissed off when critics use someone
    else’s creative work as a forum for addressing the generic
    problems of the rating system. This is a vital topic, but properly
    discussed, as Doug is doing, in the site Forum, and NOT in
    ratings comments of specific photos.

    Doug’s point, as I take it, is that we should be rating the images
    we don’t like, as well as the ones we do -- at least the one’s that
    make it to the “High-rated pages.” Call a spade a spade. Ideally,
    this is true. But realistically, this is not behavior the system
    rewards -- if anything, it’s behavior the system discourages.

    Yes, we can all be more aggressive in promoting our “aesthetic”
    -- although I personally prefer to make such statements through
    my work, rather than by tearing down someone else’s image
    with contentious comments.

    It's not an easy thing to tell a sincere person that you consider
    what is presumably their best effort to be fundamentally flawed
    and mediocre in an objective and emotionally neutral manner.
    I'm not sure I can do it. I seen very few photographers on PN who

    PN could, I think, eliminate this conflict by going to a system
    where the uploading photographer remains anonymous during
    a given ratings period, say a week or ten days.

    This would surely promote objectivity. Would it be fun? And most
    importantly, would photographers upload a thousand images a
    day in order to take the inevitable lumps that would come from
    being rated anonymously? Probably not. Which leaves me
    thinking that the current system, despite its flaws, does a pretty
    good job for most of the people, most of the time.
  49. P.S.

    Somehow I missed Jacques suggestion earlier in the thread. It
    won't do anything to address visibility, but it sure would keep
    ratings inflation in check.

    There's one potential side effect that needs to be thought
    through. Would it result in sudden wave of photographer
    suicides? If, in effect, one must gave out a "1" for every "7,"
    there's going to be a lot of highly discouraged novices.

    Still, it's something worth considering!
  50. No one has mentioned the Personal Favorites page. I had hoped people
    would use it to find strong images rated highly by people whose work
    they admire . . . a sort of referal system.

    But perhaps in the same way the nuances of the number of rates pages
    failed to bring a lot of people back into the ratings game because
    they failed to see that there were many more options available, so too
    have the personal favorites pages failed to get much attention . . .
    and I can prove it. Mary Ball rated one of my obscure images a 7/7,
    so it's on her first page. Given that she's one of the five selected
    critics on the Gallery Page, along with Seven who has also rated a few
    of mine higly, I would have thought others would have found and rated
    those images according to their own criteria.

    You guessed it, they have barely been noticed. This is discouraging
    not because of the fate of this particular image, but because I would
    have thought that finding out what YOU think are the best images on
    the site is much more useful than what the popular consensus for the
    'best' images are. I don't understand this preoccupation with what we
    think other people find in their own searches for the site's best.

    Another example: Is your 'highest rated' and 'most rated' image that
    comes up on their respective searches your best work? Mine isn't . .
    . not even close.
  51. I get the impression that many, including some working closely with, feel that it is probably a waste of time even trying to improve upon the ratings system/gallery, seeing it as rather like flogging a dead horse.

    I am not a mathematician, analyst or statistician, but surely somewhere amongst all the contributors there are those who are and could apply their specialist skills to arrive at a solution or at least some options to improve upon the present system.

    I know that right now there are perhaps more pressing problems for the likes of Brian to tackle, but I worry when I see photographers such as Marc Gouguenheim walking away due to the sites perceived lack of direction and inertia.

    A very wise old head once told me “you are judged by the company you keep”. If is to thrive and be more than a dumping ground for holiday snaps, it needs the active input of photographers such as Marc to attract other talent, who will then likewise do the same.
  52. "But perhaps in the same way the nuances of the number of rates pages failed to bring a lot of people back into the ratings game because they failed to see that there were many more options available, "

    Carl, things like what Marc described failed to bring a lot of people back to the ratings game and only serve to drive them away. So the only way to be part of the ratings game is to play by the rules that a small but very vocal part of the site have set up. Not only are people being dissuaded (to put it mildly) from rating. Their old ratings are being erased somehow. In the past 3 months even with the addition of new photos and new ratings I still have about 60 less ratings today than I did almost exactly 3 months ago (I have a quick way of checking) and my ratings have increased so it looks like low rates where axed. So not only are the people rating honestly on things they like and things they don't like being discouraged, people with lower ratings are being removed from the system! I had no cause to complain about these people but apparently others did. On one photo I lost 13 out of 75 raters.

    The majority of first time visitors to this site come here for the information contained here not for the photos. How can I be so certain about this without seeing any of the usage reports? Easy, the photo pages are not indexed by search engines, and like most sites, a lot of new visitiors come to sites like this through a search engine. This site was set up to discuss photography and learn from others. The forum/static pages get about the same amount of traffic as the gallery section according to one of Brian's posts but the gallery section consumes the most resources. Now the people with the best photos on here generally have the least to learn from others on here but so much of the attention is geared towards bringing people to their photos as well as other people discouraging leaving ratings on not so good photos. It just doesn't seem to follow the roadmap of the rest of the site.

    "so too have the personal favorites pages failed to get much attention ."

    I just saw that recently pretty neat. I don't know how long it's been around because it's not on the community member page, just on the portfolio page for users. Depending where you click the name from you get one or the other. Why you're not getting more exposure (comments/ratings) from it... my guess people look at it mostly to compare how someone who rated their photos rated others, rather than to find new work. Although I did see some very nice photos that I've never seen before in some cases, I didn't have the urge to rate them because I'd have to click it to get the photo page, then click the ratings tab to add a rating, then submit my rating. Too much clicking and backpaging especially if I wanted to add a comment. I generally stick to the ratings queue and critique request as well as rating whole folders just for that reason.
  53. Rating folders is not common practice - in my portfolio, exactly once
    since joining a year ago.

    Rating from a queue is not a practical option unless you have a high
    speed connection. Too much chaff, not enough wheat.

    Encouraging comments on overrated images ignores the fact that most
    rates are based initially on genre preference. Very few frequent
    raters on this site are qualified or inclined to offer valid
    constructive criticism on a broad range of images. Look at POW
    comments for examples.

    Brian's fine tuning of the top pages interface and the setup of
    personal favorites pages was a big improvement, but if we want to
    deemphasize the competitive nature of the ratings system, then adding,
    removing and modifying existing search options would help.

    . . . . then figure out a way to promote these changes to encourage
    greater particpation.

    . . . but you can't change - or critique - people's tastes.
  54. "if we want to deemphasize the competitive nature of the ratings system, "

    What's this "we" stuff? Is this something "we" want to do? Is this a stated goal? I'm asking, using a little humour (very little, I know) because I don't know. Is this a goal, to deemphasize the competitiveness?

    ". . . but you can't change - or critique - people's tastes."

    Watch out for disagreement here. A new word to consider: Education. It has been working to change people's tastes for thousands of years.

    And I think you are perfectly entitled to critique people's tastes. What's un-critiqueable about someone's taste? I'm lost here, if I'm wrong. I agree you can't pass judgement with condescension, but everyone is entitled to hold an opinion. If the advocate is saying "you can't critique someone's tastes," then I see that as a cultural taboo, however, on this site, you are not only empowered to do just that, but expected to render your opinion if you want to be a player. Otherwise, someoe else will be making the decisions about what your aesthetic is. For example: "Hey Friend, my photographs are on Check them out." Response: "I've been to and there's nothing good there. Let's talk about sports."

    Lots of sound wisdom in Jim's comment.

    I'm not advocating a sweeping change of the system, or of the species in general. I'm simply encouraging all of us here, those who are concerned with how looks to the rest of the world, those of us who care what passes as good photography, and those of us who have or want a stronger sense of our own aesthetic, to take special care that images don't slip into the database, or remain there, with abnormal, fraudulent, or grossly inflated ratings.
  55. " Is this a goal, to deemphasize the competitiveness?"

    Yes, it is. Brian and Bob have made this abundantly clear.

    "Education. It has been working to change people's tastes for
    thousands of years. "

    By showing what is 'good', rather than knocking down what is

    "I've been to and there's nothing good there."

    As I mentioned above, part of the solution is in the interfaces.
    Stop calling these images 'top' or 'high'. Since anyone can rate,
    call them 'popular' because that's the truth of it. If we had
    categories, people could focus on genres they like rather than
    the out of balance representation that we see now.

    Whose fault is it if someone can't find good images on Mostlypeople aree too lazy to figure out how to use all
    the various search options that are available.

    Do you think there are photographers who upload images on
    this site that you would like but don't know about? I doubt it. All it
    takes is finding one image by using 'photographer's highest' in
    various time periods, checking out their portfolios, marking them
    as interesting, then visit when it suits you.

    Maybe we need a highly visible page entitled "how to find the
    best images on".
  56. Maybe we need a highly visible page entitled "how to find the best images on".

    I think we have one of these already, the same thing I've been calling the TRP.

    But I appreciate your perseverence and can finally see your point, (I think):

    All we need to do is change the name of the link on the masthead, and elsewhere, from "high rated images" to "popular images." The TRP will then become the MPI for Most Popular Images, and there will be no need to worry about their quality because, after all, popularity is not a measure of quality. Quality won't matter, mate rating will make no sense because the number of rates will be key, not the value and ratings inflation will end. To express your asethetic you can rate an image you like, which is what everyone does anyway, so there will be no need to change the species; ignore images you don't like, which everyone does anyway, thereby inactively expressing your aesthetic, which no one wants to do actively. To populate the MPI with the best quality of images on the site, we will only have to worry about the quality of the membership. If you don't like an image, you can comment, suggesting improvements, but not rating, because you don't want to promote an inferior image, and you don't want to quantify the actual degree of dislike you might have, saving everyone from using terms like Bad and Below average, and no one's feelings get hurt.

    Sounds like the perfect solution, unless I missed something. Seriously, is this the perfect solution? Have we been upset all this time over semantics?
  57. Maybe we need a highly visible page entitled "how to find the best images on". I think we have one of these already, the same thing I've been calling the TRP.
    I think what Carl was proposing was a short tutorial somewhere on how to use the TRP search engine to find what you want, whether that is "most popular" pictures or "best" pictures or what have you.
  58. What I never understood is why do people want to rate photos that have already been given good ratings? Especially when they just rate them high as well. I can understand wanting to look at the photos that have been given high rates to find good work but when it comes to rating and critiquing why bother with only the good ones.

    The main reason I critique on this site is to learn and hopefully in the process someone picks up something from what I've said. I look at the photos and figure out what's good and what's bad, how I would have done things differently. The same type of thoughts I have when I look at my own photos. It's a fairly selfish motive but I try to share with the photographer and everyone else that might view it. It may sometimes come across harsh compared to other people on the site but I don't sugar coat it for myself either. Although I don't think it's as selfish as just focusing on the ones you really like. How does that help anyone else other than to add to ego stroking.

    What value do you add to a critique (or more importantly the site) if you're just making the same praises everyone else does on the same photos by the same photographers? The critique requests random photos should be the input areas for ratings. If you want to participate in ratings you do it through there. If you want to look and comment on nice photos you use the top pages. I've always wondered what would happen if you could only rate images that were submitted for critique in the forum but you could comment on any photo. Also if the rate random, was set up so that it randomly chose one photo from different photographers in a fair way to rate from there as well. Instead of seeing 20 photos each from the same few photographers every time you look at the top page, you'd see more photographers represented. That would be good for the people new to the site to have their photos on there. I mean, if you see one great photo from one photographer on the top site you'll probably click into their portfolio. Why do you need to see all their up loaded photos on the top page? Spread it around a little and I think more people will be into the site.

    If you look at a lot of the highest rated photographers you'll see a common thread in their ratings. They will have a decent amount of ratings from people who only rate a few of their photos. The lower ones sometimes get deleted on the premise of abuse. The reason why they're so high is because there's a large fan base that will rate all of their photos or a majority of them with nothing but 6's and 7's. Usually coming out to 1 to 3 points above the average rating. And these people that rate a lot of the photos high, you'll see on all the high rated photographs and sometimes are the high rated photographers.

    And I remember quite a few photographers on this site that I didn't find through ratings but rather from doing searches for a specific camera, lens, developer in the old gallery search that had practically no ratings.
  59. Good question. I can think of a few.

    Although it is not true that images 'vanish' after a short time on the
    top pages, it is true that longer time frames are more competitive and
    even though all the regul;ar uploaders are represented by something in
    the various searches, YOUR Favorite may indeed be harder to find.

    And that is what the personal favorites page is all about. Seem
    ashame to load them up with mostly POWs which are easy to find on it's
    own search. Most of mine are selections that some might have missed,
    even if they know the photographer.

    If you are familiar with someone's work, don't you think someone who
    respects you would be pleased to know which one of his is your

    . . . . . but the overriding issue is WHY you like it. How many
    popular images do you see that still don't have an in depth critique
    that show a newbie why and how this works. It's not self evident, and
    not everyone can explain why. If you know, say so.

    And lastly, images that are 90% there are the one that benefit the
    most from a suggestion that could help change the image in question -
    and more importantly, future images - from 'good' to 'great'. Every
    now and then, somebody drops an idea on one of my images and I think
    "why didn't I see that?
  60. I'm fairly new to the Gallery and not too bright. Would some kind soul please tell me how I find the personal favourites pages?

  61. As an example (because it has featured in this thread) go to Carl's Summary page... You'll see the Photo Ratings heading and will easily be able to identify where to go next to browse Carl's "highest rated photos"... Cheers,
  62. The summary page can be found by clicking on the person's name, then
    the number of images uploaded
  63. Thanks for clarifying the omission in my last comment, Carl.
  64. Peter and Carl

    Many thanks indeed.
  65. Repetition, post after post the ratings, eh - why do you keep changing your name, Doug? Is it CLEVER? Oh, right......the mate thing - get them rushing to your pics.
    So you want a different model, us to spread our rates about? I'm IN and have been doing this for yonks; but your mates.......well, they don't want to do it DOUG. Look around, then follow this link
    go here, we've talked about this before. Are YOU to blame for your question??
  66. Well this has been interesting. We could go on with this for months but I have come to my on conclusions that work for me.
    The rating system it's self is not that flawed it is human nature that is to blame. I am not likely to put bad ratings on peoples photos that have given me good ratings I prefer not to rate it and leave maybe a polite comment. I am not likely to put bad ratings on a photo that many other have rated highly not because I fear retaliation but mayby I am wrong and it is a good image. I don't use that rapid fire production line rating page. I prefer to look at thumbs and choose the pictures I like to look at. And in some way we all mate rate because we like someones work mark them as interesting and check their work when they add new pics.<br> These are my conclusions I hope you found them interesting, this at least explains how I rate photos.(rate what I like, view what I like).<br> Stuart :)
  67. Stuart - we are all extemely grateful for your input; even DOUG who no longer has a handle ...... on things.

    If I can help, I will - just send the email buddy.
  68. I'm not sure what type of help Stuart was asking for Seven? It appears to me that he was simply describing his rating habits. Oh well, it was nice of you to offer anyway!

    I may be wrong, but I think I noticed a touch of sarcasm in your comment before Stuart's. Could that be true? No matter!

    "but your mates.......well, they don't want to do it DOUG. Look around, then follow this link"

    I'm sorry, but I really don't understand what you are driving at here? Which mates don't want to do what? Look around where? I followed your link, but that didn't answer my questions either!

    But I would like to respond to your comments on both of these threads right here if I may. The only "mist" I am aware of is the one engulfing the top rated pages. It consists for the most part of spittle resulting from all of the mutual tongue kissing, and similar forms of slobber going on between a subset of the community who need not think much beyond the act of pressing the shutter on their cameras in order to receive a flood of 6's and 7's.

    This concept proposed by Doug, as radical as it may appear, is very simple! Voice your opinion! Speak up! We have the privilege here to be able to speak freely (avoiding profanity, and other abusive behavior), so why not take advantage of that privilege? If you see a family snapshot with an average over 6/6 and you think it deserves 3's, or 4's then say so! Rate it! Be polite, but be honest.

    Well, I don't want to run on too long, so I'll just stop here. I hope I explained this concept adequately, but I may not have. So Seven, if I can help, I will - just send the email buddy.:)
  69. Well, we could take turns picking the photo of the day - the one Doug,
    or anyone else has preselected to visit en masse to voice our
    collective opinions. Maybe make it automatically the most rates - 24
    hour. I suspect we'll be reading lots of text based entirely too
    often on genre preference, but I would seriously like to see the POW
    idea extended, since it's usually dead after two or three days.
  70. Going around in more ways than one! Carl, your last comment prompted me to drag out the often suggested idea of appointed PN curators, who select Top Photos... Like the POW discussions, this might be an invitation for lively threads on the chosen Top images. Unfortunately, I can feel a discussion erupting about who should be the appointed PN curators - don't you just love this place!
  71. Yeah Pete; sick and running around 100 degrees, but this place is okay.

    Will send email.
  72. I think we're talking two different things here.

    1. Critiquing, which implies a critical assessment of one's image using aesthetics and originality as criteria; and

    2. Rating, which implies, to me at least, some sort of competition.

    To me, those looking for #1 cannot be fullfilled by number ratings alone. They are looking to improve their skills and need critique in the form of text (e.g. your highlights are blown, composition is skewed and sloppy, etc).

    Those who come to compete, are really looking for numbers and could care less about what you might thinking of their blown highlights -- unless, of course, you think their blown highlights are worthy of a 7/7!

    By combining both forms of evaluation, those coming to compete (#2) are pushing those coming to be critiqued (#1) aside with no feedback to improve their skills.

    I think a critique forum should be used for critique, with no ratings.

    A "competition" forum could be created where ratings could be the main form of communication. But, to help control abuse ratings should be controlled:

    1. everybody gets a fixed number of ratings that they begin with, say, 10 ratings

    2. the ratings that each can assign are distributed equally along a Bell Curve (say, you get 3 ratings of 4 (average) to give, you get 2 ratings of 5 and 3 (good and not so good) to give, and you only get one rating of 6 and 2 -- wait, this doesn't work out with a total of 10 ratings, but you get the gist.

    3. once some assigns all of their ratings, they get another batch of Bell Curve-distributed ratings to assign. Perhaps, the number of ratings per batch can increase once a batch is depleted.

    Disclaimer: I do not consider myself a great citizen of this community since I am guilty of offering limited text feedback and do not rate those images that I find horrible.

  73. The Critique Circles were discontinued without explanation.

    Multiple fake accounts would undermine your ratings allocation and are
    difficult and time consuming to trace.
  74. Seven, Buddy, use your email to answer questions, too, like the one I sent you yesterday morning. Sorry for my stupidity, but I don't know what your point was with half of your first comment. Can't answer you 'til I do.

    The ratings system, in my opinion, only needs to be changed to the extent that people will use it. In the meantime, it's not working because people aren't using the full range of available rates.

    "my opinion doesn't matter because I'm not qualified" I've heard this excuse. NEWS FLASH: Your opinion DOES matter. If you have a membership here, you have a voice. Use it. Your opinion does matter. There are scores and scores of people just like you, but on the opposite side: They don't know a good photograph from a bad one, but they're not afraid to rate the ones they think are good. Most of those with this excuse follow this somewhat twisted logic: "I'm not qualified to judge a bad photo (even though I know one when I see it, but what do I know) but I am very well qualified to judge a good one, which is why I rate only the ones I like with 6's and 7's. "

    Personally, I don't think that makes sense.
  75. Also, why wait around for someone else to appoint curators? Don't you see: We've already been appointed!

    That's the whole idea of the ratings system in the first place: To give each of us the responsibility of selecting the best images to represent That's what curators do, they are the ones in charge of a collection, exercising the power of choice and rejection, building a strong collection more by rejection than by accepting? Don't believe me? Send your work to the museum curator closest to you.

    You can't fulfill the task of being a curator by only accepting work. You have to equally, consciously, thoughtfully and actively reject work, too. Otherwise, you're not being a curator, you're just nominating.

    Shall we take the POD suggestion to the forum? I don't mean suggest the idea to the site at large. I mean post, (or email) a link to a particular photograph which you will visit, critique and rate according to your own personal sense of aesthetics.

    As a trial, I'll do this for one week with images I feel need a balanced perspective, either an under-rated image, but to begin with probably an over rated image. One per day. I'll start when 6 people accept this challenge, promising to rate according to their conscience, and posting in this forum their intent to participate in this experiment. If it works out, if it becomes an worthwhile and productive activity, one where learning, education, balance and a quest to discover excellent photography prevail, then we can continue and someone else can propose an image for critique. Then someone else the next time, and so on.

    Does anyone accept this challenge?
  76. Well, Doug I'm sure you have your 6 people. In fact I'm sure you have well over 6 people. There are tons of people on this site; who, like me, always "rate their conscience". You just need the top rated or closely followed photographers to "rate their conscience". That includes you, Marc, Margaret, Anna ,Bailey Seals,hmmm..who else? Oh, go ahead and pick someone. Theres your 6 people.
  77. the "open to all" rating system cannot work properly as long as there are people who will take revenge for a bad rating... and surely this will never change...
    for obvious reasons (you mentioned) i don't really care about the ratings i get, or highly rated pictures...
    i post my pictures here mainly to get constructive comments, to learn... a good or bad rating isn't much help without explanation...

    of course a working rating system would be nice to get the top pictures all in one place, but then people would get lazy, only check on the good ones, and no beginner or average would get comments and learn... and omg, no one would view MY pictures anymore!!! *fakes a tear* since they don't show up in high rating or number of comments, or wherever...
    your idea about the pod is interesting, but i*'m not sure if i'm fully getting this... ok, so someone chooses a picture to be rated by a group of people considered honest by themselves, only this one picture can be "selected for the best images to represent" (since other ratings don't count) if it gets good ratings by your select group... you can cover one picture per day, which means that about 1000 of the other pictures uploaded per day don't even get the chance... isn't that about what the elves are doing at the moment, or am i mistaken? since i'm quite new here, i could be wrong...
  78. "the "open to all" rating system cannot work properly as long as there are people who will take revenge for a bad rating..."

    Uhm... how about the people that complain that any rating they get that isn't one point away from their average rating is a revenge rating? Some people really need to get over themselves and stop emailing I think I contacted them once and I can't remember the guy who was doing that. very nice guy but I wanted one raters identity because I was getting viruses from the same ip and I new the rater was bogus. All I got was the ratings deleted. Also asked if I could get another raters ratings deleted and this was obviously a real person but there was no problem having them deleted.
  79. umm... i wasn't speaking of myself... i got one (real) revenge-rater on the first day, who didn't like my (maybe a bit too harsh) 1/1... we solved the problem between us... nevertheless, i still try to rate and comment honest, i don't care anymore... but it doesn't work, because many people fear for their own ratings...
  80. "umm... i wasn't speaking of myself..."

    See what I mean... everyone takes everything so personally.
  81. Good Point Tom about accepting ratings that are below the standing average!
    Carrier, I don't know who came up with the POD idea, it just sort of appeared in the thread, but here's the way I see it as it pertains to my question:
    On a trial basis, an image is selected from the database that is grossly overated. Particpants link to the image, comment and rate it. By "according to their conscience" I mean without respect for whose image it is, or fear of retaliation, etc. I mean to judge the image on its photographic merits.
    Erin, when I ask for people to judge an image according to their conscience, I agree with you that there are scores of members that already do this. The problem is most of them do it only on images they like. My problem is that hundreds of images are slipping into the database with inflated scores because members are not listening to their consciences. They are refraining from challenging these inflated images because they don't want to be the bad guy, they don't want to go against the flow, they don't want to be retaliated against, etc.
    This is not being a curator. If the curator system ever does become a reality, don't expect to get selected if you only rate what you like. That's not curating. (The word derives from a latin root meaning to care for. One definition I found indicated its meaning was to protect.) Think of it this way: Curators protect the database (the collection) by removing/discarding unworthy images, thereby leaving only images that reflect the values of the collecting entity. Right now, you can go into the database and pull up images with extremely high ratings, such as this one, and this one This first image has 50 ratings and is holding at 5.84/6.06. Two of its first 36 ratings, were below 6. The second has 19 rates and was at 6.26/6.02 with its first 15.
    Now, you may like these images, and that's perfectly fine, I have no problems with anyone liking them and giving them 6's and 7's. I have a problem with them being examples of excellent photography, though. Big problems. Are these two examples consistent with your idea of excellent photography? Or are they merely cute? The point is that these images are in the database and possess an unbalanced ratings record and are Photonet's answer to "What is excellent photography?"
    But the database is supposed to represent the tastes and aesthetics of the COMMUNITY, not those who only rate what they like, and according to non-photographic criteria, I might add. What a sorry place this would be (is becomming) if the database represented the tastes of just the few individuals that award 6's and 7's without thought for photography, but rather for how funny an image is, or how pretty it is, etc.
    That's why every opinion is valid, because we are part of a community and are permitted as much influence as the next person. If more of us were less afraid, those that retaliate would be too busy.
  82. According to the highest rated filter, which I somehow stumbled upon, this is the highest rated and best photograph the site has ever seen:
    Average after 36 rates: 6.67/6.69. (35 6's and 7's, one 5/5, (two after I get there))
  83. Ok, Doug- I hear what you're saying. But if you jump over to my portfolio right now- you'll see a whole slew of 2's and 3's on my new uploads "The Litchfield Houses". So, I'm not sure if you're right about A. people only rating pictures they like or B. People being afraid to put bad ratings. So, I don't know what exactly the problem is. The biggest culprit- I'd say- is going to be mate rating/revenge rating.

    Perhaps a test is in order. Someone can set up two bogus PN accounts. Upload the exact same pictures to each account- and then go and put 7's on every picture you come across with one account and 1,'s and 2's on other pictures with the other account. Then, sit back and see what kind of rating's your pictures get.

    But, perhaps this wouldn't work, being as I always rate my conciense and yet I have about 20 pictures that I'd consider to be better than a cat in a crockpot- all with 2's and 3's on them..

    Go Figure.
  84. but who will vote the participants? you? we? the community?
    in any case i'd be interested if you really get this running = )
  85. Well, it doesn't matter so much who does it- I have at least a hundred photo's that I haven't uploaded yet, I could do it. Doug is spearheading the campaign to reform the ratings system- he could do it, you're interested- you could do it.

    Just an idea- let's see what other people have to say about it.
  86. I have a problem of ratings with no comments even when I respectfully ask for comments. I don't mind it, but it makes me wonder if people read my request at all or if they are rating via the recent photos venue rather than the critique requests.
    I know my photos stink, I am still learning & do not have any of my slides yet scanned (just got my scanner today) so I assume my ratings which are on the low end are accurate or a little too high, if anything. While I do not mind the numerical rating on my photos, I value constructive critisism far more & I seem to have to almost pull teeth in order to get it eventhough I make if quite clear in my request that its what I want.
    I know a lot of this has to do with my stinky photos & I can't blaim people for not wanting to look at stinky photos, but I am in this new hobby alone & how wlse am I supposed to grow if I do't knwo what I can do to improve?
    Eh, I am venting more than critisizing here. Busy site & I am jsut a microbe floating around in the masses.
  87. erin, mhmm... i went and figured and many of your pictures are unfocused and almost all have quite low contrast... in this case i'm not sooo surprised by the ratings... sorry...
  88. The two images you listed are a prime example of TASTE. How
    do you propose to critique taste? Are they well executed? Are
    there ways you could have done better? Your hoping that the
    average photographers' tastes would be more sophisticated is
    wishful thinking. I learned that from professional photographers
    judging camera club competions a while ago.

    The POD idea was mine . . . . and we REALLY need to start
    calling these POPULAR images.
  89. the problem with popular images is, how to rate them...
    of course we can say, this is not art, it's just cheap amusement for the masses (bluntly), but wouldn't this simply be putting our personal tastes over theirs? when they are technically good, this is a problem...
  90. That's the point.

    Leave them alone.

    Promote other images that you think more people should see.
  91. I don't for one second propose to critique taste, and in fact have defended it throughout my postings in this thread. People are free to rate what they want. To critique taste would be to go in with this attitude:

    "This image doesn't deserve a 7. Are you people crazy? What do you all know, anyway. It's obviously a 4/4, 5/5 on a good day. clearly Im the first person here with any sense, etc."

    That's critiquing taste.

    My offering them as examples is evidence of *my* taste, and I will stand behind my taste and my aesthetic that these two images do NOT represent excellent photography.

    Carl, How would you rate these two images? The rest of you? I've just compared the list of ratings to those that have contributed to this thread and see that none of your names are on both lists. So, How would each of you rate these images? Do you think they represent the best has to offer?
  92. I'm offended. My tastes run ALOT higher than "Cat in crockpot".
  93. o/a: tha cat 4/4, the baby ducks 5/5, the kangaroo(?) 5/5 to 6/5 (would need a closer look here)
  94. I see I'm not making my point because I'm reading in the last posts by carrier and carl that this is thought of as a contest.

    You're not putting your taste OVER anyone else's. You're putting your taste BESIDE someone else's.

    The database is the winner. Not you, not the image, not the photographer. The database. The database.

    The database.
  95. next to the last by carrier.
  96. you use a 40$ argus point and shoot camera, do you expect it to focus properly? or have a lens system that delivers good contrast and colors? no way! this has nothing to do with taste...
    even if you know about DOF and how to use it, your camera does not.
    you can't expect high ratings on technically bad pictures, even if it's not your fault...
  97. Please upload the urls for the images in question. I'd like to see
    what you said and how you rated.
  98. ok, but how do you explain to the people with popular/other taste, that their pictures are not worth being in the database?
  99. mg


    Hi ! May I join in ? Thanks for inviting me to post again in this thread... After Seven Stuartson's latest insinuations, I must say I'm flattered...
    Hey, wait...! This is my friend Igor's baby ducks !! Igor is a real nice guy... I don't know personally, but I've got his 7s all over my folders, and he's almost always very enthusiastic. So since he's my friend, I'm not going to tell him that I think this image is an O2 A3 ? Right...?
    The cat...? Mmmmm... Well the cat is blurry in all kinds of corners and suffer from multiple PShop injuries... On top of that, the borders make me truly sick... Argh... It hurts right here... The colors are truly awful as well... Fortunately I forgot who's the photographer, so it wasn't my friend... So I guess it's a 1 in Aesthetics - no really, I mean it... Originality ? Well, it's not just a cat, it's in a pot, but the Photoshopping in not "clever" at all. It destroys the image imo. So I'd give it an Origiginality rating of 2.
    As for the highest rated picture of all times, I think it's really A LOT better. Not exactly the most original thing I've seen on the site - Yuri Bonder has something similar and two of my friends do as well -, but it's well taken. 5/5 at least. I'd go for a 6/5.
    Who's next ? Aren't we having fun yet...? :))
  100. I think the main start up TRP page should be according to # of views. Good photos get lots of view, often in the 10's of thousands. Nobody here has a clique group or mate-rate group big enough to affect those kinds of numbers. SO, LETS DO IT....RAISE OUR HANDS TOGETHER AND ANNOUNCE THAT RATINGS DON'T MATTER.

    The only other system I can think of, if people are compelled to "VOTE", is to have a simple +/- system that is completely anonymous. You like the photo, give it a plus. If you don't like the photo, give it a minus. The most pluses make the top photos page. The minuses would not play into the total, but just provide a visual to the photographer of the number of detractors.
  101. I thought that the DB here wasn't just for technically & aesthetically perfect images, but also a place where people can learn. How else is one to get critiqued constructively if one doesn't place thier non-perfect attempts up on the db for all to see, out of focus & all? Is this db only to be used as eye candy?
  102. Carl, I sent the links in email.

    Carrier, explanations are not required. The only thing needed is to evaluate the image based on the image. The system is designed to do the rest. If the majority think it's great, it will rise to the top. If the majority think it's crap, it will sink. If the majority don't rate, then whatever happens is inaccurate.

    Good point Heather. I'm not sure how to respond to that right away, but I guess my first answer would be to say that this is only part of the purpose. The search engine allows entries for highest average rating, and that average has nothing to do with educational value, but only with aesthetics and originality. I don't know how to make the search engine call up the most educational, maybe number of comments comes closest, and this is right now one of the choices. Something tells me that *almost* excellent images are more educational than excellent ones, anyway.
  103. Carrier- not aesthetically, No. Of course I don't. But some of those shots are getting O2 A2. I mean C'MON. They're much more original than THAT. But getting off topic.

    Marc- I rate my friends the same way I rate strangers. If I think t's a 2,2 I give it a 2,2 if I think it's a 6,7 I give it that. You should too. When and if I EVER post any good images I won't appreciate your friend Igors ugly ducks clogging up the top rated pages because you gave him undeserved 7's.

    It's not a matter of taste- Doug you're right. It's a matter of dishonest ratings. Or people who don't even think about the image before they rip it to pieces. Just like real life- things get messed up by ignorant people who just don't give a crap about others.

    People just need to grow up, and theres nothing you or I can do to make that happen. Just rate all your pictures honestly. That's all you can do.
  104. A walk of sorrows
    With thanks to Doug, Geraldine and some others I lately have had many visitors at this photo - or perhaps the original Photo. First I was wondering why. Now I know why. Doug had chosen it in order to present it to other photonetters - for the ratings he found were much too high. People might rate and comment as they just like to do, but in my opinion Doug could have been so kind to tell me he had put a link to my photo, so I knew what was going on. Just my opinion. Thanks.
  105. Bente, I apologize for not obtaining your permission to use your image as an example of problems here on As it is a public image, I didn't feel it was necessary. I'm not implicating you in these problems as I don't see that you have rated your own image. In fact, I'm not even upset with all of those that DID rate the photograph. The problem I'm trying to address falls in the lap of those who did NOT rate your photograph. I stand behind any member's right and privilege to rate any image as they like, whether it be with 1's, or 7's.

    My link, above, went to the image itself, without any identifying remarks. The link provided the image alone, not the page, not your name, not the ratings list, not the opportunity to rate. I was very careful not to provide a link to an actual page, but to an image only. It was posted for discussion. The last rating, by Ilan Ginzberg, was posted this morning before it was referenced in this thread. I know this because I saw his rating and his comment as I was researching an image to post here for the purposes of the discussion. So, in point of actual fact, no one has yet rated, or commented on your image as a result of this thread.

    I see that you have switched it for another picture, which is of course your perogative, but I hope you eventually change it back, seeing as how others have posted their opinion on a photoshopped cat in a pot, and not on a "Walk of Sorrows," which is a much better image, photographically speaking, in my opinion.
  106. g|1


    Bente it was me that drew attention to your cat-pot picture. I found it by myself, and quite frankly I was surprised that it had earned so many 6's & 7's. It was this very reason I decided Doug was right about the rating issue, and decided to start using the rating system again after a year of opting out in favour of comments only. I brought your picture to Doug's attention as a prime example of the rating issue he was discussing. People are rating according to who is a friend instead of according to the quality of work being reviewed. I do apologise if the attention to your picture was unwanted but it is on a public forum and is open to discussion and critique amongst members, as well as high rates from your friends. I do hope you understand what we are discussing here, and again please accept my apologies. It was not intended to single any person out, as the problem is currently widespread.
  107. I rated and commented on the image after it was brought
    forwards as an example of an image that had high rates but
    where the comments were of no benefit to the photographer
    beyond making him feel good. Bente, I don't know if you were
    aware that the bright stick and leaves is a flaw that keeps the
    image from comparing well with other similar images. Why did
    no one else mention it?

    I was not aware that more than one of your images was selected
    for the purposes of discussion and I think that's unfortunate and

    Doug, may I suggest that if you want people to rate and
    comment on 'popular' images that seem not to have had the
    benefit of critical analysis, that we devise a way to pick images by
    formula, not by personal random selection, as was done here.

    The POD - there would actually be several - would be the first
    image on the 24 hour / most rating page. By definition, selecting
    it would assure that it stayed there, but it takes several hours to
    get to that position and will be gone in a few hours to be
    replaced by another one that has a few more hours of maximum
  108. The image in question didn't have any sticks in it. It was a cat in a pot with photoshopped edges.

    I selected it as an example of an image with high rates and little else. It was not set forth as an image open for visitation, although I did ask for people's opinions within this thread. I was very careful not to provide links to the page itself. Carl asked for links so he could see my comments and ratings, and I provided them solely to him.

    I'm very frustrated with this issue and am thinking the database can take care of itself, that it doesn't need my help.

    I apologize for taking up everyone's valuable time with my unreasonable ideals.
  109. Don't give up yet Doug, I like this idea! A "potentially" overrated image one day, an underrated or mostly ignored image the next? Count me in!
  110. Spoken like a true Martyr.
  111. "ok, but how do you explain to the people with popular/other taste, that their pictures are not worth being in the database?"

    Snobs like this tick me off. That's not the whole point. And I've seen photos from a $40 Argus that have been "worthier" of being in the gallery than yours if it's really about worth.


    I'm curious, what are you going to do now? Are you going to rate "honestly" and more "balanced" now or have you been scared away because you think your ratings might go down or convinced it's not a good idea because rating low dones't "do anybody any good"? I liked your comment about being a curatur. I hope you stick to it. There are a lot of people that will rate honestly. They usually don't have any photos on this site so they don't have concern for their own ratings. (I guess that's how the harassment started) so their easy targets for being called fake users. It's nice to know we discourage some new members from staying on the site because they just joined and had all their ratings deleted.

    THe ratings system wasn't that bad. It's that there are some people on it that are very vocal about ratings and cause problems by getting all snippy when someone rates their images low or leaves a less than glowing comment. If it wasn't so rediculous it would be sad. I can't count the number of times people have contacted me saying they would change their ratings or have all their friends rate my images better if I did this or that, how many times I get a slew of emails over one comment or rating (sometimes all the emails just from one person), people telling me that giving low ratings is not a good idea when they have given me 1's and 2's on images that other people loved. And you'd be surprised to know who some of these people are.

    The intimidation, accusations of every rating under your average being ratings revenge and other bullshit like that needs to stop. Accusing a new member of ratings abuse just because he has no pictures and recently signed up needs to stop. How many new users have we lost because they come back only to see their ratings all removed sometimes their accounts as well.

    Most of the changes to the ratings system have done nothing to address the inflation, intimidation, problems. They've actually supported them. It's the reason why it took me so long to subscribe. I didn't come here for the gallery but I like getting opinions on my photos. But while the more important side of the site is going to to *X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#* the ratings side is getting more and more time committed and features are being put in that obviously are draining the system since they load so slowly. THe changes also make it easier for people to manipulate the system. I'm sorry I take that back. Not easy to manipulate the system, it's actually quite a lot of work to manipulate the system the way it is being done. But the changes have been done in such a way as to not negate any of that hard work.
  112. why is your walk full of sorrows (a good picture in my opinion) in your CAT FOLDER? what a coincidence, haha...

    and tom, i agree with that... i really thought about leaving, when this one guy started posting deformed versions of my pictures in his comments... well, we get along now and i don't care anymore for my ratings, but it was not a good start...

    i also like the idea of the curators, why are you suddenly discouraged, doug?... i admit this discussion is getting a bit complicated, but it's worth working on...

    and btw, i got an overrated pic with 7/6,75 average, haha... ok, two of the raters know that it won a POM, but it was a quite small gallery, so can some of you go there and do justice? = )
  113. g|1


    Carl, Bente changed the photo under discussion after it was brought into this thread. For reference it was a picture of a cat in a pot, with an extremely PS blurred background. The edges were the most rough cut n' paste I have ever seen. The point was that so many 7's would merit this picture a masterpiece, or at the very least an extremely special piece of work. The best. Clearly there was a need for an alternative perspective on the image. Perhaps it was not worthy of perfect 7's? Perhaps not everybody thought it a masterpiece? Doug is not saying you cannot rate 7's if you honestly believe a picture is worth it, but that others ought to use their ratings to contest those 7's if their own considered opinion is different to the general populous.
    I would be interested in how Bente thought of the high ratings. Did it qualify as the highly original, or the absolute best in aesthetics? I would be surprised if Bente considered that it did. Surely a few 5's would be encouraging enough? Why is it necessary for friends to go over the top with so many 6's & 7's in order to be 'kind'? Why didn't Bente write in response to the issue discussed, the photograph itself, or respond to the points raised, instead of making a complete diversion by bringing in a different issue about politeness?
    Tom I think you are getting mixed up between taste and acceptance of logical and objective criteria being used for assessment when placing rates. Please note the said image was rated by me as a 3/3. It could have been lower and still been justified. I would not rate anybody's image so low if some level of thought, skill, technical proficiency, or design input had been present, regardless of whether it had high rates on it or not. Speaking for myself here, I am not acting like the self-appointed police which has happened in the past, where high rates are brought down simply because they are rated highly, or even because I do not like the image. Somewhere some objectivity must play a part. For me, if technical ability, thought to aesthetic design, or some concept is apparent, then extremely low rates are not justified IMO. The same as high rates are not justified when they are absent. Regardless of who the photographer is, or whether I like the picture or not.
    With reference to comments about newbies, I agree that positive encouragement, time and tolerance are required. They need to feel welcome, and that they are contributing or at least developing and progressing. This applies to more serious photographers with more experience too, and all those in between. We never finish learning, or 'arrive' at a winners gate. The goal posts continually move.
  114. g|1


    On the point about snobbery; what is your definition here? To me snobbery is when one person thinks themselves better than another. That is quite personal and judgemental, and often without foundation. This is not what I wish to see on PN. Discernment on the other hand is quite a different matter. If you cannot discern between 'good' 'bad' or 'interesting' 'boring' etc, in photographic technicality, originality, or aesthetics, then what is the point of rating at all?
  115. Tom and Carrier, to answer your questions, I am going to stop *talking* about the issues raised here because talk is worthless without action. Everybody complains about the system, but no one does anything. I'm not discouraged about holding to my ideals, but I am discouraged about the endless discussion.

    And, I don't see snobbery as having anything to do with this at all. It's more about a democratic process with all sides equally represented.

    Now, how do I shut this thing off?
  116. Geraldine and Doug,

    Re: snobbery. I thought I was very clear. That comment I quoted regarding photos "not worthy of being in the database" is snobbery. Any photo that someone posts here for a genuine critique of their work should be able to get some input whether they post the most technically perfect, aesthetical pleasing photo of a unique subject or if they post a grainy, out of focus, badly composed picture of their kids toe. To say that one photo is worthy of being on here and another is not, or even to say that one is worth rating/critiquing and another is not is snobbery in my opinion.

    I still believe that the original purpose of this site, the reason why it became popular, should continue to be the foundation where any new features are built. Why mess with something that's been so successful? That includes the gallery/rating/critiquing sections. OK, not the original, original purpose (Phillip G's website) but what grew out of it which was a place for people, mostly amatuer photographers, to discuss, learn and improve their photography.

    If all the attention in the gallery is set up to focus on only the very best images, how does it help the majority of people on here that want to be able to take better pictures. How do we help the PN community if so many people are just fawning over the same photographer's images, that constantly posting consistent work if there are some people on here, that want to improve, that are never told they need to watch there metering, are underexposing their images, frame it slightly different, change the lighting, etc.?

    The whole premise that the gallery should just be full of only the best images, to me, is just bullshit. Going in that direction will quickly reduce the range of people that want to participate in this community. Less people, less involvement means less revenue.

    I'm not saying that the better work shouldn't be highlighted but that it should be a by product of an honest, fair critiquing system where traffic is directed not only to the images that are gathering high ratings but also to the images that could use some thoughtful criticisms. While it's true that people can learn from looking at good pictures they will learn a lot more if someone takes the time to tell them what they could do better in their photography. Some people will get offended, some people will be rude about their critques but that's the way things go, we can't always agree, but ignoring images you don't think are good enough to get high ratings doesn't make this site better, it just makes it more pleasant.

    The gallery is slowly becoming a playground for a few photographers and many people are frustrated that their photos aren't getting ANY attention in the photo critique section. So many photos in the request for critique section are getting overlooked and it seems there are more and more complaints about it and people giving up on trying to participate.

    Imagine where would be today if the purpose of the site was for experienced photographers to post advice randomly, like a photography tips site instead of a Q&A forum where someone comes in with a problem and people offer solutions.
  117. I agree 100% with Tom's latest post: he is reminding us of why has become what it is today, warts and all, yes, but very handsome still, despite the warts! Certainly we need to have a site that is self-supporting, whatever that takes, but if we become more elitist and appeal to a more limited group of posters and readers, we may very well go down the tubes anyway. One of the things we need to remember is that anyone who posts a picture here is entitled to a fair and honest critique, constructive and helpful. That does not mean we have to sugar-coat our comments; some of don't know how to do that anyway, but we need to be clear and direct and give real photo comments along with our opinions.

    This has little to do with ratings, BTW. The ratings are inevitably skewed and all too often simply personal applause for one reason or another. The critiques are what nearly all of us want. If you want uncritical praise, I guess you get 7/7 ratings accompanied by “fabulous” or “Your pictures are always so great” or “You are a great artist” and similar meaningless drivel. We already know who wants this stuff and complains bitterly when real criticism is posted.

    So I guess I am joining the chorus to say that all of us who really think that honest criticism and evaluation is what this site is all about must step up our efforts to deliver such critiques more often and to more members. We should especially try to give helpful criticism to those who seem to us to need it the most, whether they announce that they are beginners or not. We all could use some help of this kind, no matter how skilled or experienced we are.

    Let’s make an effort to do this, each and every one of us, and try to restore the spirit that made grow and flourish. Go forth and critique!!
  118. the sentence you quoted was actually a misunderstanding, i just noticed... i thought, what doug was referring to as "the database" was something like POW, a collection of pictures that should represent this gallery... "worth" was maybe the wrong word (i'm not native english) what i meant was how do you explain to people rating highly popular taste, that better not too much of this should represent this site. my mistake, and i understand that it was ticking you off...
    <br><br>but i don't think it's snobby to explain her ratings to erin, since most people don't even take the time to look for good composition or artistic intent in pictures displaying a low technical standard, when there are so many others to look at... and this has nothing whatsoever to do with my own pictures, i didn't compare hers to mine...
  119. g|1


    Tom, yes I hear what you are saying. I had actually interpreted Carrier's comment to refer to the top rated database. Judging by his response above, I guess that is what he meant. I don't think anybody has suggested some members don't deserve rates or critiques. Certainly there should be no elitist element active on PN. I would be the first to leave if that was how things developed.
    Basically what is in discussion here is what Jeremy describes when he says If you want uncritical praise, I guess you get 7/7 ratings accompanied by “fabulous” or “Your pictures are always so great” or “You are a great artist” and similar meaningless drivel. Well it isn't really of utmost importance, but nevertheless it is a shame when you want to view a variety of the best pictures that PN has to offer, only to find these kind of 'drivel' pages from the same few photographers over and over again. How else are we to find the best of PN's photo bank?
    I like Jeremy's approach and perspective, and think his post is a great note to close the thread on:
    So I guess I am joining the chorus to say that all of us who really think that honest criticism and evaluation is what this site is all about must step up our efforts to deliver such critiques more often and to more members. We should especially try to give helpful criticism to those who seem to us to need it the most, whether they announce that they are beginners or not. We all could use some help of this kind, no matter how skilled or experienced we are. Jeremy Stein
  120. In response to comments on adding additional rules about when and how ratings can be made (currently restricting 1, 2, and 7) - These restrictions only serve to distort ratings. Part of the reason (not all of the reason certainly) that you get so many critiques that just say "Wow!" is that you have to say something to leave a 7. If there's already a long thread discussing why the photo is good (or not), why should you be required to say "I agree with what's already been said here 32 times." just to leave a 7. If you want to rate it, just rate it and move on. If you want to leave a comment, then do that. If I think something is worth a seven, but what I like has already been said, I've taken to just leaving "!" as my comment.
    As for the people who are only interested in the ratings game, I say let them do their mate rates or whatever other trickery they care to use. I have better things to worry about than whether or not someone I've never met is interested in boosting ratings on a web site.
    If you're looking for good work, rather than worry about ratings from the point of view of the top rated photos, start browsing the favorites folder of people who's opinions you respect regarding a genre that interests you. I use three tools here to surf photos. The Rate selected recent photos link to browse a few random uploads, the Member requests for critique link to see new work where people have specifically asked for critiques (normally immediately jumping off to the more specific areas), and finally, to the recent comments and highest rated photos section. Ratings from one person to the next vary for any given photo, but they do tend to be consistent from photo to photo for the same person. I might have an inherent bias for portraits, but you can still find the ones I thought were the best among my favorites. A good tool to see the bias is the average ratings by the members, it allows you to see if they're just rating the "good or better" photos as many people prefer to do. Have a look at my highest rated photos. You might think I'm a genius or a moron for picking them, but if you like them it's a nice way to browse work that someone thought was good. Maybe you'll find Doug's highest rated photos to be a better selection.
  121. If you want a classic case of where this sort of stuff goes on take a look at This one 5 Ratings and I'm the only one not to have given it 6 for originality. But Tell the guy who put it for critique "Rain drops on Roses" hasn't been original since before the sound of music and he throws his toys out of the pram. But if no speaks up its pictures like that that end up top of the scores.
  122. James O -

    You're basically correct about the way the photo you linked was rated, but in part I blame that on the ratings system itself as much as on the people assigning the ratings. My preference would be for a system something like scoring for figure skating - one score for technical merit and one for artistic merit. As it is, we're stuck with what we have, and I have no idea how to rate most photos on originality. There are precious few shots that haven't been done before, but it doesn't seem practical to be rating 90% of the photos low on originality, or to rate stuff you think is crap an O7 just because you haven't seen it before. I don't have a perfect solution even for me, so I just go with my intuition. I gave the rose shot O4/A5, since it seemed to be about an average idea for a flower macro. There are worse approaches than the admittedly tired raindrop cliche used in that photo.
  123. The rating system has to go, period. We all fall into its traps more often than we would like to admit. I am not picking on you, Marc but since you are so vocal and well known I decided to use you as an example of inflated ratings. Just yesterday I found this folder rated above average with ratings 5/5 and 5/6 from you:

    I don't dig it? We may differ in opinions but I know you can tell a bad photograph from a good one. But the explanation was easier than I thought -- you just felt obliged to return a favor to a photographer who rated many of your pictures 7/7. Let's be honest with ourselves, stop that madness and abolish the rating system.
  124. mg


    I rated Andzrej's picture a 5/5, based on the following: I like the light, I like the composition and
    the 2 swans in the background. A 4/4 is the average on PN. Is this image "average" ? Meaning:
    are there more pictures that are better than this, than pictures that are worse than this on PN ?
    I don't think so. But of course you may disagree. My main point is that Andzrej is not a top-rated
    photographer and that a 5/5 will not help his picture to occupy the front pages. All the contrary, a 5/5
    is keeping this image OUT of the top-pages. Did I always rate perfectly ? No. But I think this image is a 4/5
    or a 5/5. Or at least this rating is consistent with my way to rate.
    I don't find it much better or worse than the picture of Valter I started my thread here with - for example.
    Now, this rating and others I gave to Andrezsj have nothing in common with the 7s or what ever that I have
    received. I think you need to understand the difference between a 5 and a 7 on PNet. My 5/5 here instead of
    a 4/5 or such is used to tell Andrzej which of his pictures I find better than others, and that's all it does. Whereas
    a 7 is a step towards the top-rated pages.
    For example, your 7/7 on THIS image, which is in my view well done but absolute kitsch, has helped to
    position it in the highest rated images ever on
    That is, to me, a lot more questionnable, especially given the fact that you rated this one a 7/7 too:
    but this one a 3/5:
    and this one a 4/6:
    I honestly don't care about your ratings, Maria, but how are
    you going to justify these differences in your ratings ? How are you going to justify that
    these 2 images of mine are just as original as or less original than the average of the images uploaded
    to PN...? Perhaps your previous ad hominem attacks against me in this thread are the best justification...? :)
    Feel free to deny...
    Perhaps, you could also explain to us why Andrezj's picture is worth a 1/2 by your standards. How are you
    going to rate the same shot if it is completely over-exposed for example ? Etc.
    You are wasting my time, Maria, and I won't let that happen again, so don't be surprised if your next ad hominem attacks are left unanswered. All the best.
  125. I won't engage in this nonsense with you anymore as well -- you never listen anyway and get defensive each time somebody sees things diffrently than you.

    Anyway, my ratings has changed in the past few days and they pretty much illustrate the idiocy of the system and our own shortcomings. I don't believe any campaigns will ever change that. To answer you in short (and you did waste your time following my comments): my 1/2 ratings on Andrzej's picture would change to 1/1 if the shot was grossly overexposed. I stand by my ratings and I feel awful that I had to rate it. As to your photographs, which I finally had guts to rate after all those years on, I will follow my ratings with a very polite comments remembering that "all that a person does or thinks is of consequence" (Whitman). So, please, please, don't take it personally and don't look for any innuendos because there are none -- no politics or agendas. I am thinking of a critique of your work in Susan Sontag style -- I hope you are familiar with her essays On Photography. They are a bit old but still a classic. Goodnite, Frenchman.
  126. Oh Maria, you are such a pathetic person. I don't know what is your mission in life, but it definitely sounds like you want to go out of your ways to aggrevate people. Why do you do that? You throw out those 1/1, 1/2 to a lot of innocent folks in the Gallery who are just trying to have some fun and excitment. But all you care is to make sure you dampened their spirit. Why? Do you have a very miserable life? You are now saying it is your civic duty to give out these low ball figures because you want to save, what lies! Instead, why don't you show us how to shoot a good picture. Oh, you can't, is it because you don't know how? Or you have insulted enough people that you worry about retaliation? Such foolish excuses.

    You have glorified yourself by saying this is your way to save If this is true, then we are ALL in trouble. Do some good deed, just learn to keep shut and stay out of other peoples lives, nobody will miss you. So pathetic...
  127. Oh Peter, so sorry you feel this way...but believe me all this is done in good faith.
  128. I cannot say that I have read all the discussion posted, but this is my humble opinion.

    The only way to get over the problems introduced by the rating system, is to implement a way of statistical weight.
    What I mean is, that a photo with 5 ratings and an overal 6 out of 7 has not the same weight as a photo with 20 ratings and a 5 out of 7. The reason is obvious.
    Also the "Revenge error" and the "Bad rating" error are things that can be avoided. The way is not that simple, ratings that deviate (have a great distance) from the mean value greatly should be ignored. So,let's say that ratings on a photo with 10 ratings give a mean value of 6 out of 7. But someone who is a poor judge, or wants to get even, places a rate of 1 or 2 ( I have seen that on a great photo). That is a distance of 5 from the mean value, so it should not be included on the mean value calculations.
    Matters like that can be solved with statistical analysis, but the fine tuning is to be done by people.

    In my opinion, people are to make judgements, and bad characters are to loose if we all make good judgements without passion for revenge or prejudice.My personal standing is to make judgements on all photos, good and bad, in order to have people ( like me) who make bad photos improve...some may upset, but that is the way life is!
  129. The following is a work of fiction. Any similarities to any real persons is purely coincidental, and entirely a product of the author's imagination. Some use is made of existing locales, landmarks and institutions, but this use is fictional in nature and intent, and is not to be misconstrued as an attempt to disparage nor to recommend.
    To m sv in particular and all other PNetter in general, I would propose to look at those 2 posting attentively and to evaluate them according to your personnal criteria. Objective here is not to critic taste but to question consistency, external and influential bias...
    First posting
  130. The following is a work of fiction. Any similarities to any real persons is purely coincidental, and entirely a product of the author's imagination. Some use is made of existing locales, landmarks and institutions, but this use is fictional in nature and intent, and is not to be misconstrued as an attempt to disparage nor to recommend.
    Second posting
  131. The following is not a work of fiction...
    Now how would you appreciate this one... romanticism
    Like in many fictions, there is a morality ... so I leave you with your set up your own conclusions.
  132. Speaking of balance, I thought this was an interesting
  133. Indeed Bob!!
  134. I haven't read this thread in it's entirety so if I repeat anything that someone else has already said,,, my apologies. I am responding to the original post. The question was, why are photos that I (D. Burgess) would consider mediorce showing up with high ratings with little or no opposing commentary. Where is the balance he asks. That is a para phrase but I think I got the jist of it.

    My first response is... just because YOU consider them mediocre doesn't mean they are. One (or two or three )person's opinion (s) shouldn't dictate what is or isn't "good" on this site. Just because you don't think a photo belongs on the high rated pages doesn't mean others agree. I rarely think that every shot I see on the high rated pages is a "superior" shot. But then again, I don't presume to set myself up as any kind of expert. In fact I don't think there is any such thing as an expert... I think we are all entitled to our opinions and I don't have to like every image for it to be considered worthy of top ratings. Ratings are purely subjective and are just like opinions.... everybody has one.

    Second, sometimes a cigar is a cigar...By that I mean, perhaps there are no opposing comments because no one is opposing what others have previously stated. I don't waste time repeating what another comment aready has stated. Do you??? I dont' think too many "ridiculously low quality" images are reaching the top pages... and... WHO AM I TO SAY anyway?? Am I a "mate rater" simply because I consistantly rate a photographer who's work I admire with a 5-7 rating? Couldn't it be that I just plain old like that persons' style of work?? ( A cigar could just be a cigar!) Do I have to give an image a low rating when I don't really want to just to ensure people don't think I am mate rating?? And if I prefer not to rate certain shots that I consider worthy of a low rating, does that mean I am wrong because I don't rate them at all??? Isn't that my choice?????????? To rate who I want, when I want, how I want??? IF WE ALL SAW EVERY PHOTO EXACTLY ALIKE, WHAT WOULD BE THE POINT OF THIS SITE???????????

    What have we done to It is an evolving site. Ever changing, keeping up with the times as best it can and when it is at it's best (in my opinion-for what it is worth) it is progressing with minimal interferance. NO ONE should be allowed to be abusive or harrassive in comments or ratings.... but rating who I want, when I want, and what I want... should not be dictated. If left alone to our own devices, I think things WILL balance. It doesn't take people long to figure out what they want to get out of the site: you get out what you put in just like everything else in life. Garbage in... garbage out.
  135. I think there's a big difference between liking a pretty picture and
    doing a critical analysis of a photograph. Those who have not
    been trained to do the latter may think that the former is all there
    is to it. That's why the top pages are loaded with pretty and often
    kitschy subjects. Those of us who would like to see a much
    greater variety of styles, including those that are more of an
    acquired taste, have a right to beleive this is the kind of site
    where those images should be visible. Doug is absolutely right
    in asserting that there are a fairly large number of experienced
    photographers who are able to do a critical analysis of any of the
    top images, but the political climate discouraged most of them
    long ago.

    We're trying to take back the site. Our way of looking at images
    is more in line with stated site policy then what currently passes
    for criticism on most of these pictures.
  136. I agree there is a difference Carl. But this site is for ALL who want to be involved. At least I thought so. As far as I know they are not turning away subscribers who don't post a professional resume or take a ctitical analysis ability test first. I for one am no pro who would never professe the ability to give professional critical analysis of a photo. But I know what I like. And it is ok to like what I like. It is a site open to the public and I am free to express my opinions (within non abusive restrictions)here. Is your (or anyone elses) opinion or critical analysis more valid than mine? I guess you would say it is. So does that mean I shouldn't be able to rate photos? Isn't there a section on the main page that shows high rated photos by certain chosen subscribers like Mary Ball, Bailey Seals etc. Should there be a separte rating system for people like me? Or none at all? Whould you prefer that I not rate or critique your images since I am not a professional? The idea of that saddens me. I would have thought a great photographer like yourself would be open to all thoughts, no matter how unlearned they may be. That is exactly what I like about PNet. How very much I learn from all ratings and critiques I read here - the good and the bad.

    You state that "we" want to take back the site. Am I not included in that "we"? Is "our" way of looking at images superior in some way to mine? Probably, but who is to make that decision on what is presumably a public site? Just like all ratings and critique, you take the good with the bad when you open a photo up to the public. You then can use your better judgement of what is a "true critcal analysis" and what is just some idiot who likes to give high ratings to "pretty pictures".

    If you only want to be rated by a chosen few.... then you shouldn't post publicly.

    Just my opinion (which appears to be growing more and more worthless all the time) sigh....
  137. Maybe you have not seen this yet.

    You've extrapolated my remarks way beyond what I've said.

    The focus here is on critical analysis, not merely adulation. You
    do agree that the most visible images rarely were subjected to
    the former until Doug's recent plea, right? Everyone has equal
    access to images on this site and an equal opportunity to do a
    critical analysis as best they can and to present their

    Drop by anytime. Maybe we'll both learn something.
  138. Well, I've been reading through the thread, and although there's much to be commented on, I'll just comment on the first post, which was the original question. Where is the balance, and what have we done to Well, at least one reason why people don't low-quality rating is, as it is aptly named "revenge-rating". I too rated some photographs low in the beginning, and made a point of justifying my rates through the comment field. I *tried* to help the photographer see what was wrong with his photograph (even I'm not good myself, you just sometimes spot things that ruin a picture). The result of this was that those people started rating my pictures as bad, mostly without leaving any comment. So now I only rate pictures that I like, and that I can give high rating. If there's something that can be improved (all IMHO off course) I won't fail to mention it, but I keep back from rating low. Another factor, more then towards unbalanced pictures, which I started a thread on earlier, but which got deleted (!) is the snapshot factor. Digital cameras are getting cheaper, and more and more people have one. They just press the button, see a somewhat blurred picture of their desk, think it's artistic, and submit it. Or the 'parent' factor. Of course, parents always think their kid is the cutest of all, and any picture, even if it is technically bad, or just a snapshot, is promoted to a almost divine status because their oh-so-cute kid is on it. It's ridiculous. So in my believe, there are quite a lot of people on who don't even have the slightest interest in photography as we see it. And some (frustrated) people who don't even have a single photo uploaded, fill their days with thrashing other peoples work, because they fail at it themselves. Might be that my pictures aren't any good, but a lot of work goes in them. I take them in my parents living room, with rented equipment, so it's always a lot of work to set up, and I do the makeup myself. All I ask for, just like most people, is for an honest comment and rating. No good? Ok, tell me why, or even better, what to improve. Good? Ok, but please tell me why also.

    So, to answer your questions Doug:

    Where is the balance? I believe it's down the drain, washed away in a flood of people who don't care as much for the art as you do.

    What have we done to I believe nothing, it's just happend. Cheap digicams and broadband connections have brought in a bunch of people who don't really belong on a serious website as this.

    What to do about it? I don't know. Maybe there could be a feature to have your photos rated/commented on only by members? I'm not one myself, but would become one if I could filter out Photo.Net down to its core, where I know motivated (therefore not expert !) people are posting pictures and comments.

    Best regards to all of you who are honest and sincere Photo.netters.
  139. i have had two POW evaluations deleted. in one, i simply state that the selection was ridiculous, i.e. did not deserve recognition for excellence and/or merit aesthetic preoccupation. ok, i can see that a bare bones type comment may be unacceptable. in the current week's (august 17-24) selection, i found the photo so bad, so lacking in any artistry whatsoever, i panned it in the following words: ""the composition, if so it can be called, is perfectly summarized in the tilted horizontal sliding so amateurishly through the image's background: blurred bystanders lose face or turn entirely away to avoid either the object of the photographer, or the photographer himself, perhaps disdaining both. the accordion unfolds some dubious, laconic tune, to which hussy and husband grimace in a caricature of rapture; one's eyes are drawn to the haggard frolic of the female with a quiet revulsion, shocked, despite the typicality of the expression, into a prurience both brutal and banal in its implications. everything reeks of bloated indulgence (is it the photographer's?, isn't it?), even to the accordionist's violent mouth and hostile gaze. to complete the instamatic character of the scene, a hot square perches in the background, winking at the viewer, offering a coda to the poorly structured visual disharmony it is uncomfortably a part of, and, in its poorly digested position, recapitulates the lack of aesthetic elements anywhere in the image. everything is disheveled, out of balance, unfocused: expectable, perhaps, in a neophyte's renditions, or a devil's, but unacceptable in any kind of art. as one is not permitted to question the aesthetic sentiments(!) of the gnomes (elves), nor use words like "bad", "ridiculous", or "ugly" to describe a photograph, i'm scanning a thesaurus for similar, albeit less emotionally charged synonyms to describe what i see. a man is compelled to lie voluminously these days, not only about his ethics but also his aesthetics. the more artless the specimen, the less it strives, the more diminished its attainment, then the more apt it is to receive high recognition, and trumpets full of hosannahs.
    if this be so, then let me huzzah! for god's sake, let me huzzah! for, by any true measure of design, poetics, or dynamics, this "snapshot" entirely begs another justice.""

    it is true that the POW guidelines for prohibit "vicious" attacks upon the photographer; apparently the gnomes/elves feel it permissible to allow the photographer to make "vicious" attacks on MY sensibilities, however. i do no regard this as a "vicious" attack, but as a summation of the qualities of this image that beg both compositional and technical competency--after all, POW insists that the selections are made on compositional grounds; and to my mind, that's precisely what it lacks, and i described it. i examined this year's POW's, and found that an unusually large number (by hasty count, 14 of 30) of them are black and white cameos of miserable, ugly, socially disregarded, or otherwise depraved folks, presented in a style ala bresson. there is a panoply of photographic styles and genre: why, i ask the panel of auditors, is it your prerogative to place such undue valence on what is one among many categories? and why is it your prerogative to both stifle disagreement among the viewers by censorial fiat, and by providing an abbreviated rating scale as well?

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