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Scoring system?
I think the site works great as it is .........but when it comes to the critique forum it is there for a reason.....e.g. if I have a good shot I post it in there I am after an honest opinion from the members.......some will give good, some will give bad but if enough comment there will be a balance. I know this before I post!

To improve the site for those of us who are at the bottom of the hill I would love to see those photos going into the critique forum have more detail on how the shot was achieved. This would also help those giving the critique with more information to go off and then we would all learn!!!!
How about making it optional?
Kombisaurus Wrote: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.

Yep, I take it as read (and didn't think I needed to say) that good points should also be mentioned....but there's too much of just saying "that's nice" or "I like it" to photo's....even if the truth is that one sees nothing to criticise, perhaps the photographer and others aspring to producing similar works would be helped by knowing WHY someone likes it?

Quote: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.

I could agree with that if the general thrust of the thread had been something other than what it has been, which is that the rules of photography are pretty much irrelevant . In my mind that negates the rules of critique too Smile

Some kind of quick voting system (whether limited to certain areas or not) could be useful in allowing an opinion to be given on more of the photos submitted....sometimes there are a lot of posts and there just isn't time to go into an in depth critique on them all. As the consensus here seems to be that all we are getting is an opinion why not have a scoring system? It would give just as much of an opinion as a "That's nice", but maybe to a broader range of contributors.

(At the end of the day it doesn't really matter one way or the other to me, but I do like arguing the point!) Smile
Wow, so much discussion. I should have ideas more often! Big Grin

Thanks for your thoughts everyone... I think there are a lot of points here that we can incorporate when giving opinions and feedback on photos.
All good points NN... I was probably being a bit pedantic with my last two posts. You're right that in the context of this thread I probably went off on a bit of a tangent.... as I tend to do Rolleyes

I am still not convinced about the scoring system though... I think a rating is very different to a critique and that the quick "vibe" you get off a photo, while important, is quite different to the opinion of someone who has thoroughly examined and contemplated the image.
If you haven't got time to write a paragraph or two as a critique, then I can't see that you have time to really look at the image and do your critique any justice.

Ok, how's this for a concept? Leave the Showcase and Critique sections as they are, but for those people who don't have much time or want to quickly skim over many images and for those other people who just want a rough idea of what others think of their photos... how about a concept similar to websites such as

User galliers already exist here containing the photos to rate, and they already have a rating system... all ST would need to do is (a) Add a checkbox to the Gallery settings to make the system optional for users on a gallery-by-gallery basis, and (b) Design a streamlined voting system so that viewers can flip through random images and vote all in a single click.

Most of the work is already done, and the current rating system appears to be very much under-utilised. This would kill two birds with one stone and provide a new fun section to the website as well as give people another reason to upload photos to their galleries. If people want to keep track of their scores and treat it like a game or competition, so be it.. but at least it would be seperate from the "serious" critiquing section and would hopefully not influence people wanting to advice rather than simply praise.

ST.. please don't tell me you've already posted this idea, I don't want to have to re-read this entire thread Wink And I don't want to get in trouble again! Tongue
Adrian Broughton
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"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler." - Einstein.
An idea just popped into my head. How about forget about the scoring system and make all comments in the Critique section anonymous??
Seems like a reasonable idea to me....we get the best of both worlds with the chance to glean a general idea of how we're doing from the ratings section, plus the opportunity (as always) to ask for serious, in depth critique and advice in the critique forum. The showcase could be just for posting stuff you're personally happy with and want to display, but where you're really not concerned too much about others' opinions. Smile We'd all be free to choose where we wanted to place our pics and everyone would have a good idea about the expectations in terms of comment etc!

Lak Wrote:An idea just popped into my head. How about forget about the scoring system and make all comments in the Critique section anonymous??

also a good idea...maybe even make the pictures annonymous (for a while at least) too....then it couldn't be seen personal!! Big Grin


Maybe there should be simply an annonymous ratings gallery! (We put pics in annonymously and we vote annonymously...the only ones who know how we're doing are us!).
oooo... anonymous pictures AND comments!!! very interesting. I kind of like it.

The person posting the photo would need to be prepared for criticism.. but I guess the fact it is anonymous means that by definition it is not personal.

hmmmm.. but i suspect the critics might still sugar coat their responses "just in case" a photo is by the person they think it might be by... Invariably you will guess who posted what. The style of photos (and responses) will often give the identity of the poster away.

But a very interesting idea... Smile
Adrian Broughton
My Website:
My Blog:
You can also visit me on Facebook!
"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler." - Einstein.
I strongly disagree about anonymous critique.... the internet is already a fairly anonymous medium, posting blindly only encourages people to go beyond critique and into the realm of trashing for the fun of it.

While I know those of us here are adults and we should be able to control this, it's surprising how far things can go without the poster even realising. On top of which, if your not prepared to stand behind your comments, you should probably not be making them.

Anonymous posting of pictures on the other hand I do think could be interesting, it would test Don's theory of "popularity gets better ratings"
Quote:but i suspect the critics might still sugar coat their responses "just in case" a photo is by the person they think it might be by... Invariably you will guess who posted what. The style of photos (and responses) will often give the identity of the poster away

Isn't this idea of sugar coating exactly the problem though? It's just as much a critique on a personal level as one that is overly harsh for reasons of personal dislike,
and anyone who posted overtly identifiable images (eg me and my dogs) would be making it plain they wanted the criticism to take as much account of who they are as of the value of the picture. If that's what they want then they probably wouldn't want to get involved in that particular aspect of the site, but rather continue as before in the critique and showcase galleries. The idea of annonymous posting/critique is that we remove as much personal bias as we possibly can.....that way critics can be honest and posters can know that's the case. As it stands at the moment how do we know when someone says something nice that they're not sugar coating can a comment have any real value with that question hanging over it?

Quote:I strongly disagree about anonymous critique.... the internet is already a fairly anonymous medium, posting blindly only encourages people to go beyond critique and into the realm of trashing for the fun of it.

Surely this is what moderators are for.....This kind of deliberately nasty behaviour is going to be pretty obvious and I'm sure that while for the world at large all is annonymous it's easily possible for admin to identify posters of this kind of garbage and deal appropriately with them. For a start, both the ability to post and critique annonymously would have to be privileges extended to members only. would test Don's theory of "popularity gets better ratings"
Not sure I understand you here.....surely better ratings are an indicator of popularity not a consequence of it.......after all nothing can become popular without a lot of people liking it......if something gets good ratings it's because people like it, not vice versa. Smile

I agree completely with Bob. I don't agree about anonymous posting. You will discover immediately that I was me who wrote the post. My English has problems which you all know already, probably, and you will recognize my post. I don't use idiomatic expressions, it is too theoretic, and it lacks vocabulary, unfortunately. Also, I wouldn't like to hide from what I said about a picture.
A work of art which did not begin in emotion is not art.
Paul Cezanne
I used to belong to a speaking group. We paid a lot of attention to the form of a critique. It is an art in itself. Let me research the art of criticism and get back to you. Maybe there are some good links.

I really appreciate this forum and the kinds of relationships it forges.

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.
Hi irma,

I do agree on that one, but the idea was more for an annonymous rating system as a quick guide to the general reception a photo know with a score say from 1-5 and no comments. It wasn't meant to be a definitive critique, just a rough guide based on "marks out of 5". No-one would know who was entering the scores and anyone who has a problem with a points based ratings system could simply steer clear. When we want detailed critiuqe we can post in the critique forum as always, but being aware of the dangers that we may be fed too much sugar Big Grin

I must admit I haven't been following this thread thoroughly, but I am a member of a website with a rating system, so I can tell you how it is: You can give a comment and a rating from 1 to 10, or you can use a scorecard that helps you focus on the photographic qualities.

This is the scorecard:

[Image: Rating.gif]

And this is what it looks like when you've been scored:

[Image: Rated.gif]

As you can see it is anonymous, and it might be accurate if you get enough ratings for a picture, but: For me, this is not really informative. If my picture is rated low, I still don't know how to improve it. I don't really know how to learn from this sort of thing. I can learn something with the bottom comment, but nothing with the scorecard ratings.

Also, I think it doesn't fit here in Shuttertalk. I can only speak for me, but Shuttertalk has been like a family to me. When I get a picture, I'll share it. If some of you say it's great then I'll go to bed very happy, and if some of you don't like it I'm telling myself "They don't know nothing of true art". Big Grin My point is, however, that I enjoy the discussion with real persons - as real as they can get through an internet connection. I don't want my fellow photographers here to vote anonymously to give my picture a "rating". If I want my pictures rated, I can go somewhere else where I don't know anybody and don't mind if they like it or not - this would be just to have my picture rated.

Here it is different. I must say you all have grown on me, and I would take offense if someone I know would give me an anonymous rating. This would be like my neighbor slipping an anonymous note under the door to tell me to keep my cat away from their flower beds. Or so... Smile

In case this post is too complicated, not very understandable or too sentimental, here is a short summary: I don't want rating. Even worse would be anonymous rating.

Edited: I might add that, due to the rating on this other website, I only post a picture if I think it is really good. I do not post any experiments or interesting pictures with slight technical deficits. In total I have three pictures on this site so far. I don't think this effect is desirable.
Gallery/ Flickr Photo Stream

Reality is for wimps who can't face photoshop.
Sure...I can understand that if it's how you feel. But for me I find a score easier to relate to and understand...especially one made up of relevant components like the one you showed. Just "I like this", or "nice" is kind of meaningless to me in terms of whether my photography is improving. I suppose it's that where so many view negative criticism as a form of attack I'm unable to see beyond my perception of sugar-coating being applied whenever only "nice" things are said.

We all have different ways of looking at things and I suppose this is one of those cases. For some of us an annonymous rating system providesa clearer idea than a brief personal comment. Smile
Maybe, NN, but I think it would change the Shuttertalk experience profoundly. What has been "the friendliest forum on the web" would, in a worst case scenario, deteriorate into another rating machine. Sad
Gallery/ Flickr Photo Stream

Reality is for wimps who can't face photoshop.
Maybe, but the whole idea was for the rated section to be a separate secton which only those who want to would participate i. No-one would be forced to post or vote - it would be additional to what's already here, not instead of. I don't know - maybe I'm too much inclined to beleive I will never get an honest opinion when people are identified with their comments ...It's bit like asking your Mum for her opinion...she's going to tell you how nice it is but you'll always question whether she really thinks so or just says so because ehe's your mum!

I'm struggling because I don't think I can believe criticism that's virtually all's just not real! I'm personally as likely to be offended by being treated as though I'm unable to handle genuine criticism as by any perceived malice. After all if criticims is malicious it's obvious...and can be ignored, but if it's all along the cosy don't upset anyone line then I can't tell when someone really likes what they see and when they'e just being nice for the sake of it. And that's the root of it as far as I'm concerned......if it's not posssible to trust that what you're reading is a genuine opinion of the photograph then there's little point in putting it up there and asking for one. All the "that's nice dears" in the world won't help me improve, just leave me believing there's no improvement needed.

I'm off now....too tired for any more of view is obviously very different from everyone else's.
But don't we already have 2 sections: Showcase and Critique. If you want to introduce a rating system to Critique - fine - but you have to allow comments. Giving somebody a 3 out of 5 for composition tells them nothing about what your critique is. I just don't see the benefit in a number/emoticon rating system - either make a constructive comment/criticism or don't - let your silence do the talking - I don't want to see a bunch of unsubstantiated 1s and 2s and 3s from anonymous posters.

I sometimes comment to other Shuttertalkers if I see something I think could be improved - even when it is in Showcase. Just be constructive in your criticism and take the extra second to point out good things in the photo as well as the necessary improvements.

But not anonymous - The original author is totally free to disregard my unsolicited advice - but I still stand behind what I say. I think most people here do.
Quote:I don't want to see a bunch of unsubstantiated 1s and 2s and 3s from anonymous posters

Yep....pretty much the same as unsubstantiated niceties isn't it.
As I reread this thread, I see some ideas that I don't think I agree with.

They are:

1. Everyone is here to improve through honest critique. While I agree that people generally want to improve, some people are just here to share their hobby. Most of us take a lot of pictures in a year, and for the most part - nobody ever sees them. At least in the days of film, you could put them in an envelope and take them to work or to your neighbours or put them in a photo album that you trot out for guests. With digital - if they are online and not supported by a forum - your pictures will tend to languish in obscurity. Some people just want to share their hobby with friends. Improvement is secondary. (and we do have the critique forum to solicit improvement advice). I feel that I improve most through seeing a wide variety of images taken by others - and I will improve less if those people become hesitant to show their stuff because they know their photos will be subjected to a rating system.

2. The only "real" critique is anonymous. Maybe if your idea of critique is being a jerk, it is. If you are generous with your praise as well as with your suggestions for improvements, the experience is much more positive for everyone, and the advice will be much better received. When somebody flames a work without being positive, their comments tend to be ignored completely, and so the comments cause pain without benefit. You should be prepared to stand by your words - anonyminity is one of the curses of the Internet. Don't say anything on the web that you wouldn't say to somebody close enough to punch you.

3. There is something wrong with being "nice" in your comments. Social interaction is what makes the world go round. Shuttertalk prides itself on being a friendly place (and rightfully so). I count many of the people on this site as real - not just virtual friends, and that is how I deal with my real friends - I don't always tell them every time I think they have made a subtle error or they are dressed kind of funny. That is why we have such remarkable longevity of our membership. If I want to be flamed, I know plenty of websites happy to oblige.

4. People "hold back" their suggestions for improvement for fear of offending others. I just haven't seen that to be true. I can find a thousand "tilted horizon", "rule of thirds", "tighter crop", and "correct exposure" suggestions from everybody here to everybody else. And if I want to solicit tougher criticism, the "Critique" forum already exists.

5. When someone says "nice photo", they really mean something worse. When I login to ST, I usually find 5 to 25 threads with new posts, and probably half of those threads have photos attached. A lot of times, I login from work or when I have a few minutes between other tasks. Sometimes I don't have time to comment at length, but I still want to acknowledge that I have seen the photo and feel positive towards it. Sometimes I want to encourage people, particularly new members, to continue to post so I give them at least "nice" feedback even if I am not too impressed. Sometimes, because I know the people here, I know that someone is feeling fragile and needs some encouragement. Sometimes the photo is just "nice" - not great, not art, not something to frame and hang, but still a pleasant little snippet of life captured in time. Just because it doesn't make my list of all time favourites doesn't mean that it should go without comment. It can be really disheartening to have your photos uncommented on - as I am sure many of the members know well. I don't really "dislike" many of the photos that I see posted - usually a photo has something to recommend it, but I am indifferent to lots of them - they just don't grab me one way or the other. Those ones I usually don't comment on. Sometimes sielence speaks much louder than harsh words.

(Clarification: Just because I didn't comment on your photo doesn't necessarily mean I am indifferent - maybe I am just busy).

Sorry for lengthy post...
Scaling as in rating scales is complicated. I sometimes post on "Photos of the Year." They have a 10 point scale. Average on that scale should be around 5, but veru few regulars use the scale below 7. So the unofficial average is 7. Anything below 7 is substandard or below average. The regulars will give me a rating of 7 or 8 (9 or 10 is only applied to some elite photographers in the group). But when a newbie comes along I often get a 5 rating which substantially reduces my average and makes me look quite bad. I always get a lot of newbie ratings and for a time I had the worst rating of all.

I griped, whined and cried and felt justice denied. Eventually I discovered I could raise my average by deleting all my below average photos. Now, if one photo averages below 7.5, I delete it. It is shame, humiliation, and vanity gione amuck. I can't learn anything from that.
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.
Hi all... thanks very much for sharing your views on this idea that I put forth. You've been very generous sharing both positive and negative points about such a system.

At this point in time, I think I will adhere to the "If it ain't broke" policy, and leave things the way they are.

Perhaps at some later point in time we might revisit the concept again, or maybe an incarnation of it.

Thanks again!

p.s. Apologies to all affected, I had to zap some of the latter posts as they were waaaay off topic and not contributing at all to the atmosphere of the forums.
I used to be very defensive about scoring systems but now, since I know where I belong on the pecking order, I'm not. I would just say keep it simple. Probably a not for me = 0, average =1, good work =2, and very special =3 would do it. comments to justify ratings should follow. You might want to use a thumbs up count or thumbs down and thumbs up visual. Actually I think the system would enrich the forum.
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.
Where do you think you are in the 'pecking order' Don.
From my point of view you post a mixture of shots. Technically not always good but usually very interesting.
Along the lines of Picasso versus van Gogh.
I don't reply to most because my eyes ache after a while on the PC. It's an ageist thing.
But everyone will have different views of the same photo, because we are all different.
Rating system? I just go with the flow "que sera".
Lumix LX5.
Canon 350 D.+ 18-55 Kit lens + Tamron 70-300 macro. + Canon 50mm f1.8 + Manfrotto tripod, in bag.

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