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Scoring system?
#1
Hey, I'm thinking of implementing some sort of scoring/rating system to help people critique photos. As you know, people share some amazing stuff, and sometimes I feel a "Nice!" or brief comment doesn't do it justice, or people comment on one particular aspect of a photo, but neglect other important attributes.

I'm thinking of something along the lines of a score out of 5 for attributes such as composition, technical quality, artistic interpretation, post-processing, wow factor etc. It could be implemented by a popup form activated by one of a bbcode buttons, which will then insert some code into your reply and will be displayed along with any comments you may have. It's purely optional of course whether to use it or not.


What do you think? I think a few questions need to be answered:

1. Should we even have such a system? Are comments enough? Will it be crushing to our members if someone gave them a 1/5 or 2/5? Will it become a lazy way out - instead of putting thought into commenting, people will just score?

2. If you think it's a good idea, what attributes should photos be "graded" on?

3. Any other suggestions? Maybe making the "score" more like a preference - e.g. "not for me / indifferent / appealing" - so that it's not so harsh?


Let me know what you think...
#2
If you do that shuttertalk, I will quit. I will end up getting worse scores than everyone else and be humiliated. It happens everywhere I go. Give me a break! Please.

--Don
Nikon D3100 with Tokina 28-70mm f3.5, (I like to use a Vivitar .43x aux on the 28-70mm Tokina), Nikkor 10.5 mm fisheye, Quanteray 70-300mm f4.5, ProOptic 500 mm f6.3 mirror lens. http://donschaefferphoto.blogspot.com/
#3
If you did this, I would only do it on the Critique forum... the showcase forum after all doesn't necessarily ask for comments/ratings.
#4
Don Schaeffer Wrote:If you do that shuttertalk, I will quit. I will end up getting worse scores than everyone else and be humiliated. It happens everywhere I go. Give me a break! Please.

--Don

That bad, huh?

Any other thoughts people? Things are fine the way they are?

By the way, the system I'm envisaging is just an optional thing, on a per post basis. People can choose to use it, or not. And it's not going to be tied to some huge tally database thing where you can see average scores etc. Photos will be rated on their merit, and members valued for who they are.
#5
Hey just another brainwave. Instead of a rating system, maybe I'll just have a series of smilies/emoticons, which you can use to show appreciation for a particular aspect of a photo.

e.g. you could have a "thumbs-up for composition", "artistic star" or "seal of approval" or some cute/cool graphic just to encourage the poster...
#6
I see this as something that might work for a monthly contest . I don't mind such a thing being integrated but it it's going to affect people the way it does Don then I what Craig says makes more sense.
Sit, stay, ok, hold it! Awww, no drooling! :O
My flickr images
#7
It always boils down to a popularity contest and forces your picture taking into safer forms. Clear bright photos of pleasant subjects always get good ratings. It will isolate anyone with contrary methods or opinions. Too many forums do this. I'm on one that calls itself a contest forum. People try to ruin each other by giving inexplicably low ratings. And they get bogged down in rules and definitions.

Alternatively, I think we should develop a course or a methodology for criticism. We should research classical photos and what made them great. We should learn how to critique, the art of criticism. A discussion thread or a training program could be very useful for all of us.

Even now this forum (in my opinion) is getting tied into convention. The range of photos is very narrow. A lot of the quality judgment presented in critiques comes from the technical quality and the power of the equipment you have.

I don't have a long lens to capture nice photos of birds. My flowers are usually stolen from the supermarket. Photography is a lot more than a good likeness.

One forum I'm in allows only one photo per 24 hours. There is a place to click to indicate that you like the photo (it counts the number of "likes"). There is an optional place for comments.
Nikon D3100 with Tokina 28-70mm f3.5, (I like to use a Vivitar .43x aux on the 28-70mm Tokina), Nikkor 10.5 mm fisheye, Quanteray 70-300mm f4.5, ProOptic 500 mm f6.3 mirror lens. http://donschaefferphoto.blogspot.com/
#8
I'm with Don on this one. I don't like rating systems. On other forums with such a system, I have seen photographers delete any shots of theirs that didn't get 5 star ratings. I also agree that it just shoves people into doing safer shots.

...and I don't really see the value that you gain from it.

We have a critique area for people that want that kind of thing. And if you choose to critique, you don't really need a methodology - just an opinion.

I'm OK with a monthly contest where judges critique things as Colin suggested.
#9
Don Schaeffer Wrote:Even now this forum (in my opinion) is getting tied into convention. The range of photos is very narrow. A lot of the quality judgment presented in critiques comes from the technical quality and the power of the equipment you have.

I don't really agree with this, however. I went back over the Showcase gallery to see if this is true. Individuals have their own styles, and all of any individual's photos tend to reflect a similarity of philosophy and approach - but I don't agree that everyone is coming together style-wise or that we are locking into convention.

But I respect your opinion. I would be interested in hearing why you think this is so.
#10
I belong to a critique forum/group where you submit your picture and the membrers of the group discuss about your picture, if they find that your picture is a very good one, they give their "gallery" vote. If you get 4 gallery votes your can submit your picture to the gallery of the group.

If your photo is not good, they tell you why is not good and tell you what you need to look for next time in order to improve your pictures.

If your picture is promissing, it is good but has some minor details that can be changed and make it look much better, then you can modify it based on the comments/advice of the members. If after you have done the improvements they consider it is a good one, the members can give their gallery vote.

I like this very much because you really give your best in your picture and to show a really good one to be judged or commented, since you know that you have the posibility to be in the "Gallery" of the group, which is in my opinion very motivating, and a very possitive reward for the photographer. I know of a guy how has been working hard to get one picture in the gallery of this group. He has been posting few pictures with the hope of having one in the gallery, he has done it all ready and has explained that the idea of having a picture in the gallery has been motivating for him. Only regular members of this group can vote, btw.

I really don't know if this might work here or not. I just want to share my experience about grading/scoring pictures in a forum.
A work of art which did not begin in emotion is not art.
Paul Cezanne
#11
Very interesting Irma, I get a lot out of competing in the local camera club and council... I set out in January to try and achieve one "10" by the end of the year. My scores have been climbing on a competition by competition basis.

I got my first 10 in March at the local club meeting, the picture had scored a 9 the week befrore at the council meeting. The criticism at the Council meeting was what got me the 10 at the next.

I got another 10 in April and in May's council meeting I got 2 Smile

I do think constructive criticism and scoring helps us grow as a photographer, but as I said previously, I also think it should have it's place, such as the critique forum.
#12
Congratulations for your scores Bob, I am very happy for you! Smile

Yes, I think the same as you, the scoring, no matter which way, it would be better if it worked only in the critique forum.
A work of art which did not begin in emotion is not art.
Paul Cezanne
#13
Thanks for the feedback everyone. I think I'll park this idea for the time being. These forums are all about you, so I wouldn't want to be implementing features that no one particularly wants.

I might investigate the smiley / emoticon idea though... Big Grin
#14
Don Schaeffer Wrote:It always boils down to a popularity contest and forces your picture taking into safer forms. Clear bright photos of pleasant subjects always get good ratings. It will isolate anyone with contrary methods or opinions. Too many forums do this. I'm on one that calls itself a contest forum. People try to ruin each other by giving inexplicably low ratings. And they get bogged down in rules and definitions.
Good point Don. When I first read ST's idea I thought it was a good one, but human nature being what it is.. I think you're absolutely right. People will simply concentrate on the scores, not the images.

Don Schaeffer Wrote:Alternatively, I think we should develop a course or a methodology for criticism. We should research classical photos and what made them great. We should learn how to critique, the art of criticism. A discussion thread or a training program could be very useful for all of us.
Also a good point. There is a lot more to critiquing than just liking or disliking something, and if the whole point of getting a critique is to impove one's photography, then suggestions for improvement or alternatives are vital. Quite often an image will have both good and bad attributes and elements, and broad comments or even scoring on "composition", "lighting", etc will simply average out the good and the bad, and dilute the benefit of the critique.

Don Schaeffer Wrote:Even now this forum (in my opinion) is getting tied into convention. The range of photos is very narrow.
hmm.. note sure I agree with you here, but even if it is true then that doesn't mean it is a result of the critiquing. hmm.. Not sure, it's not something I've thought much about.

Don Schaeffer Wrote:A lot of the quality judgment presented in critiques comes from the technical quality and the power of the equipment you have.
I don't have a long lens to capture nice photos of birds. My flowers are usually stolen from the supermarket. Photography is a lot more than a good likeness.
This is an interesting point. I agree with you that the equipment and technical aspects of a photo really do influence the critique you receive here... but I think there's nothing at all wrong with that; both of these things are significant factors in determining the image and so *should* factor in a critique.
But if we are no longer being critiqued on technical ability or whether or not our gear can actually capture what we want, does that mean we're being critiqued only on our shot selection (and perhaps post production)? While I don't want to understate these very important aspects, they are not the only things that make a good photo.
I acknowledge that pushing people into accepted techniques might propogate your idea that the range of photos here is narrowing, but to say that technique is not important in photography is like saying it isn't important in many other fields, such as music or athletics. Certainly people should not feel limited by established techniques, but as the saying goes.. you need to learn to rules before you break them.
Perhaps it is less "fair" to let the equipment influence the critique because people here are from different backgrounds and have many more important financial burdens in their life than camera gear, and people should take that into consideration when critiquing... but then again, your equipment influences your shooting patterns too. You say you don't have a long zoom to capture birds, so I bet you don't take a lot of wildlife photos. If you did post a photo of a bird that was a speck in the distance, and somebody else posted a very similar shot taken with a 400mm prime lens, do you think both images should receive the same critique "just to be fair"?
If you wanted to take bird photos then I'd suggest you perhaps bought an innappropriate camera. I'd imagine there are numerous other cameras around in the same price range with a much longer zoom. But I'm sure you chose your camera based on *your* shooting habits and needs, I get the feeling that bird photos aren't all that high on your priority list. Wink
While it is possible to make certain allowances, I believe the real skill is for the photographer to make the most of the equipment he/she has at their disposal.... and its a sad fact of life that some more expensive gear allows more flexibility.
The camera (and more importantly the lens) becomes inseperable from the image.
Don't get me wrong Don, I'm not trying to encourage people to *only* critique on technique and gear, and I do believe that unfortunately a "shiny happy" photo tends to instinctively get better feedback than a darker grittier one... but that's human nature to some extent I guess. If it bothers you, I would suggest including some text when you post an image for critique asking for the type of feedback you want (ie "this is an experiment in such-and-such, please ignore the such-and-such and concentrate on the something-or-other"), or else try not to compare your critiques to those of others. After all, your photography is quite different to that of most others here, so it's difficult to expect the critiques to be the same.
That diversity should certainly be encouraged, but the bottom line is you're asking for people's opinion.. and people are entitled to think and write what they like, for better or worse.

oo.. sorry for the long post.. I'm getting carried away and dribbling again Rolleyes

Hey ST.. as a compromise, you could make the scoring system an optional thing (like a poll). So people could switch it on for certain posts only if they want to.
I can see that it *might* be useful if used carefully (such as in EnglishBob's example), but a scoring system used by a panel of judges is very different to one used by the general public.
I'm not a big fan of the idea myself though, for the reasons Don mentioned at the start.
Adrian Broughton
My Website: www.BroughtonPhoto.com.au
My Blog: blog.BroughtonPhoto.com.au
You can also visit me on Facebook!
"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler." - Einstein.
#15
Kombisaurus Wrote:Hey ST.. as a compromise, you could make the scoring system an optional thing (like a poll). So people could switch it on for certain posts only if they want to.

Dude, I mentioned the word "optional" twice... Big Grin

Anyhoo, it seems I wouldn't be a very popular person round these parts if I implemented a rating/scoring system, so I'll park it for now.

If you have any further suggestions though, as always - please let me know.
#16
Yeah I think the scoring system doesn't really fall in sync with the shuttertalk "way". Maybe implementation of the smiley/emoticon idea though a monthly/quaterly/yearly competition, where users choose to participate, or even make the rating/voting anonymous? hehe just some suggestions Tongue
#17
Don Schaeffer Wrote:Alternatively, I think we should develop a course or a methodology for criticism. We should research classical photos and what made them great. We should learn how to critique, the art of criticism. A discussion thread or a training program could be very useful for all of us.


I agree wholeheartedly with Don there, I would love to know what makes photos great and the technical aspect of improving photography. This is where the more advanced photographers be they professional or skilled amateur can greatly help plebs like me. Big Grin
#18
Don Schaeffer Wrote:It always boils down to a popularity contest and forces your picture taking into safer forms. Clear bright photos of pleasant subjects always get good ratings. It will isolate anyone with contrary methods or opinions.

I don't quite understand your idea here Don. I have posted pictures with not too "pleasant subjects", if I may say so; as "After the fire" and "Cemetery". Both threads had good pictures. Not perfect, but the technique was good, I am sure of this, and I didn't get any comment from you. I posted bright and clean pictures as "Yucca" or "Morning dew" and I got comments from you.

This is not, in any moment, a reproach. Excuse me if it sounds like that. It is just to say that sometimes written ideas or thoughts are not congruent with the behaviour.
A work of art which did not begin in emotion is not art.
Paul Cezanne
#19
I think a scoring system organised around accepted photographic rules could be a good idea. That's the kind of thing that will help us to see where we're going wrong and therefore to improve....and maybe it should be a proviso that anyone who leaves a score explains with a brief comment how that score was reached?
That way you avoid the "popularity contest" as it's far harder to score pictures in that manner if you have to explain why you voted the way you did.

Another thing is if the scoring was to be excluded from one gallery....then we'd know that anything posted there was not "up for discussion" but the poster just wanted to show it. (Or more simply, maybe have one gallery where voting is the norm....those that don't want a critique can avoid it).

It should be a condition that if you don't put photos up for voting you can't vote on anyone else's either!

Just a few thoughts

--NN
#20
Hmm

Just read the thread more fully and somewhere in there is a suggestion that we learn the art of critque! Maybe it's just me, but I don't see the point of this at all...after all this is a photography forum where most of us are trying to learn to be better photographers, not art critics!

To take it to an extreme.....If you were trying to sell your photos you'd rely on them being good enough and appealing enough that people would like them and want to buy. You wouldn't get very far if every potential paying customer had to sign up to a course on art criticism before they could "see" that your photo was any good. Smile

I think we're losing the plot altogether here.....the forum is called Shuttertalk and seems essentially to be about cameras and about learning what makes a good photo, about improving our skills as photographers. We seem to be drifting away from that idea more and more. For instance, yestrday Lak came in after a long absence with some stunning photographs....that's what its all about, surely? There aren't many here who can equal that, but seeing those pictures inspires me to try and improve....maybe one day to produce something that good myself. I don't see how learning some supposedly correct way to critique is going to improve anyone's photography - it'll make them say more and do less!

I also see there's been an objecton to the idea of voting on the basis that people will vote for photo's that obey basic photogaphic rules - well I'd have to make two points on that. Firstly, in a forum about photography, for photographers, that's just what you'd expect, and secondly how is obeyng someone else's rules for critique any better?

At the end of the day we like what we like and to try and force people to like or dislike something just because we want them to is never going to work!

Voting systems can be abused (we're in the middle of General Election here!), but at the end of the day if you're posting pictures into a forum it MUST be because you want other's opinions on them....if not, or if you're only willing to accept a certain type of opinion then you might just as well give up and go home!

--NN
#21
This is not p*sig. Don't make it p*sig. :o

That said, it could work for a contest as Peto suggested. But even then, I'd still prefer the scoring be kept "invisible" and viewable only by the judges. Public scores tend to feed themselves, for both good and bad. Just look at p*sig ...
_______________________________________
Everybody got to elevate from the norm!
#22
I didn't read all your posts about this one, but how about an option. So you can choose whether you want people to tell you how good or bad your picture is based on a number from a scale which varies between everyone.
#23
I do agree Slej...I wouldn't want to see ST turn into P"Sig either, but at the same time it's becoming increasingly evident that for the most part any criticism that doesn't fall into the "I like it" category is unwelcome. If everyone simply goes around being "nice" how can any of us learn? A voting system would at least give us some idea where we're going wrong (and, occasionally right Smile ).

There are some really good photographers on this site and if they were to offer genuine, honest and to some extent "warts and all" criticism then maybe the rest of us would actually learn and improve. If they just say "that's nice", or say nothing then we can't learn.

We should remember, too, that much of what makes P*Sig the way it is is the people that frequent it....I do believe and hope that we're not like that on Shuttertalk....that we're able to be honest without getting into oneupmanship wars!

--NN
#24
Big Grin Hi All;
As a newcomer to this site; i think there is room for both options;

Personally I feel verbalised comment ; as distinct from our own opion of our work; is just so valuable; and helps an improvement cycle.

Personalisation from an ego viewpoint is counter productive in all ways;
i have seen in my limited time here; some very good work by a wide range of contributors;and feel if another can appreciate the submission they are duly enriched and the point proven of sharing and learning.

COMMENTARY AND POINT WARD[ SECTIONALISED];COMPLIMENTS THEWHOLE SCENARIO OF TRYING TO SHARE; HELP AND GROW; MAKING THIS SUCH AN EXCITING REWARDING INTEREST OF EXPRESSION.

Last but not least; remember it is only an opnion which need not always be right

Providing the producer of the piece sees it as an expression and extension[ gift to others] the joy of that alone and the potential of learning something at the same time; if applicable makes it all worthwile.

END OF SERMON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Big Grin
#25
shuttertalk Wrote:Dude, I mentioned the word "optional" twice... Big Grin

hahaha.. oops! Perhaps I thought you meant it was optional whether you implement the scheme or not.. not that the scheme would be optional on a post-by-post basis... but either way, I'll just shut up now! Tongue

adam Wrote:I didn't read all your posts about this one, but how about an option. So you can choose whether you want people to tell you how good or bad your picture is based on a number from a scale which varies between everyone.

<points at Adam> Look ST!!! Tell Adam off too.. go on! go on! Wink Big Grin


hmmm... interesting points by NN about people being afraid to give honest warts-and-all feedback in critiques.
While I certainly agree in honest critiques and think a number of reviews here might be "sugar coated" so as not to offend the photographer, I also think a vitally important part of learning photography is encouragement.

I welcome honest, critical and negative comments on my work. But there is no denying that it always feels good if the critic has something encouraging and positive to say at the end of the post. Similarly, a negative comment at the end of a post may leave a sour taste in the reader's mouth long after reading it.

It doesn't mean they have to like the photo or censor their negative feedback, but just an acknowledgement of *any* redeeming aspect of the image at least gives the impression that the critique isn't a personal attack, and it also forces the person doing the critique to look more closely at the image.
After all, there is little point in offering an honest critique if all it does is encourage the author to give up photography.
But at the same time, the person asking for the critique should be prepared for honest critism, otherwise perhaps they should ask for it... <Jack Nicholson voice> Can you handle the truth?? Wink

NN Wrote:Just read the thread more fully and somewhere in there is a suggestion that we learn the art of critque! Maybe it's just me, but I don't see the point of this at all...
I don't agree with you at all here NN.. I think learning to better critique *will* lead to better photography, not just for the author of the photo but also the critic. It teaches you how to "see" and gives you a far deeper understanding of what makes a good image. The ability to deconstruct an image and learn what makes it (and your brain) work is absolutely invaluable to improving your own photos in my opinion.
This is the reason why kids are forced to do book reviews in English class, and schools run "music appreciation" classes. These things provide understanding, not just training. They answer the "why?" questions behind the rules and techniques used in photography. I'd love to learn more about critiquing photos.
Adrian Broughton
My Website: www.BroughtonPhoto.com.au
My Blog: blog.BroughtonPhoto.com.au
You can also visit me on Facebook!
"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler." - Einstein.
  


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