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AdrianW 03-20-2007 12:16 AM

Improving critique quality? An idea, thoughts?
 
Whilst there are some excellent critiques written here, there are also some non-critiques which slip through the net, so I was thinking about ways to improve the quality without having to get Adam to do it manually. So, I came up with an idea:

Are any of you familiar with slashdot? I think something like their moderate/meta-moderate concept would be useful here for critique rating.

Set up a system where the photographer can't mark critiques that relate to them as useful, but can only rate other peoples - maybe make everyone to rate an anonymized critique each time they write one themselves?

And occasionally make people rate a rating, to create a bias for accuracy of ratings - if you see what I mean? Accurate raters get more weight assigned to their rating than those who always click useful.

Thoughts? Any obvious options for gaming the system? Any subtle ones?

vapours 03-20-2007 12:26 AM

Re: Improving critique quality? An idea, thoughts?
 
I've always had the idea that the rating for critiques should be done as a percentage system, so people don't drop their quality once they've reached the quota of 50 useful critiques.

I do like your idea though, I think anything thats going to encourage people (myself included) to write better critiques is nothing but beneficial to the site.

danielswalsh 03-20-2007 03:53 AM

Re: Improving critique quality? An idea, thoughts?
 
I think that's a great idea- I'm 100% for it!

- Dan

Olof 03-20-2007 04:14 AM

Re: Improving critique quality? An idea, thoughts?
 
I agree. It will force us all to write better critiques. Good idea.

Lars

ronners 03-20-2007 06:28 AM

Re: Improving critique quality? An idea, thoughts?
 
The idea only works Adrian if you assume that everyone somehow can write a worthwhile critique (I'm being more specific than simply saying 'good'). The irony is that a useful critique is what you as the viewer personally think - not a regurgitation of a cookie-cutter blah about composition etc. In my few years here I can only think of a handful of useful critiques that appeared to reflect some kind of original thought process.

If you tell me that the use of the xyz filter was helpful, or if the composition is great, or the colors are well saturated, or that the light is nice, that doesn't help me at all. Writing something that supports my own motivation for making that photo in the first place isn't really worthwhile at all (surely I'm not alone in differentiating between a sycophant and a critiquer).

So sorry for that rant, but there's no such thing as a 'good' critique, and there's no such thing as a 'bad' critique. Suggesting so is frankly, with all due respect, foolish. The best kind of critique challenges your motivation for visualizing, making, and posting that image in the first place. Now how many people would really mark a well reasoned 'trashing' of their work as 'useful'?

So how do you make the system better? Well, you don't. You just apply probability theory and hope that amongst thousands of members there is someone who will be so stirred by your work they might actually say what they think.

Ron.

kevinos 03-20-2007 06:40 AM

Re: Improving critique quality? An idea, thoughts?
 
You have forgotten the whole point of a critique, for many people. It is not given in order to develope our understanding of the picture; it is given to makes sure that the giver gets two points back.
I think phrases like "good colour", "nice compostitio".should be banned. unless the critiquer says what about the colour or composition. If one follows the critiques of some people, points milkers, they are usually the same about thing any pictutre.

kevinos 03-20-2007 06:50 AM

Re: Improving critique quality? An idea, thoughts?
 
You have forgotten the real point of a critique, for many people. It is not given in order to develop our understanding of the picture; it is given to makes sure that the giver gets two points in return.
I think phrases like "good colour", "nice composition".should be banned. unless the critiquer says what about the colour or composition they like. If one follows the critiques of some people, points milkers, they are usually say rougly same about thing about any picture.

" Hi Jules, great shot, I like the colour. have a good weekend . Love Jim" is not a critique, it is a request to be given two points in return.

ronners 03-20-2007 08:12 PM

Re: Improving critique quality? An idea, thoughts?
 
Kevin,

It's probably a waste of time to expect anything to change on this front, unless you lock yourself in a virtual 'room' with a few like-minded individuals. People who give bland critiques aren't necessarily 'bad' people - they may simply not be able to put their ideas into words. There's no fault in that.

Writing a useful critique forces you to really put some thought into what you like or don't like about an image, or any other piece of art for that matter. And being able to figure that out in turn should help solidify your own vision and in turn make you a better artist. What, after all, does a "nice composition" comment really mean? Does it mean that you applied the rule of thirds in a particularly scholarly fashion? Does it mean that your horizon is straight? What's missing here is the "why"? Why is it a good composition? Why are the colours good? Unless you can figure out all the 'whys' you will remain a mediocre artist, and it will be your own fault.

To be honest, if a lot of the "This is my xxxxth post ;)" members were a little more self-critical we wouldn't have such a deluge of images to review.

Ron.

AdrianW 03-20-2007 08:49 PM

Re: Improving critique quality? An idea, thoughts?
 
> The idea only works Adrian if you assume that everyone somehow can write a worthwhile critique

Actually I think everyone has the potential to write good critiques, it just might be a bit hard to realise that potential in some folk ;)

All I'm trying to do is more accurately whinnow the wheat from the chaff anyway, without adding to the moderation overhead for the Trek sites.

> So how do you make the system better? Well, you don't.

So, you'd rather see thousands of empty comments, than trying to improve things?

> Now how many people would really mark a well reasoned 'trashing' of their work as 'useful'?

Honestly? Depends on how it's delivered. If you put it confrontationally, then very few, but if you put some praise in the mix and point out that it's your own opinion, rather than stating it as the ultimate truth, perhaps more than you'd expect.

My suggested changes would mean that it wasn't the photographer who'd rate the critique anyway, it would be everyone else - so just as long as they agreed with your assessment...

I know that as time passes I'm becoming more open to the critical side of the process. The trouble is it's an ego thing, it can be hard to be detached when someone says something negative about an image that caused you to have a row with your girlfriend and sit in the freezing cold for a couple of hours ;)

BobTrips 03-20-2007 10:20 PM

Lots of thoughts...
 
I quit posting and essentially quit critiquing because the "quality" of feedback became so diluted by non-informative posts. (And another reason or two. ;o)

Seems to me that there are two major subgroups working against each other. There are the folks who want to work on their photography skills via the critique/workshop process and there are the folks who are "point harvesters".

(And there's nothing wrong with being either. ;o)

Giving honest, thoughtful critiques is not the best strategy to gain points.

Few of us can receive a critical, but honest review of our photographs and have the spontaneous desire to rush over to the critiquer's photos and give him/her a couple of points. That's just human nature.

So if points are what we are after we most likely tone down the non-complimentary portions of our feedback, and possibly amplify the positive points.

So what to do?

Why not split the site? It's already been split a few times. There's Trek Lens for images that don't fit on TE and there's Trek Nature for, well, nature images. (Are there more? Haven't been keeping up.)

So why not have a Trek Earth for those who want real criticism and a Trek Earth for those who don't really want critical feedback but are more interested in sharing their photos and collecting points?

The design of TE-Critique can include ways to teach people how to write critiques and possibly ways to vote non-learners off the island. Lots of possibilities here once the decision has been made to create a separate site.

ronners 03-21-2007 12:20 AM

Re: Improving critique quality? An idea, thoughts?
 
I think that improving things is out of the question because this site is a reflection of human nature. We all want to be loved so we write nice critiques for others, etc. etc. It's hard to change that and I don't think we can try. Bob's idea of segregation is one option, but the problem is - where does it end? You go from having a separate site for thoughtful critiques (a 'Critique Club') to a sub-site dedicated to landscapes, to a sub-site dedicated to mountains. OK, I'm being facetious on purpose but I think you can see what I mean.

Another thing to keep in mind is why are people members at all? There are a fair number of members who quite happily treat this as another Flickr, and posting a few snapshots here and there and sharing glowing critiques with their mates is what its all about.

The biggest issue is that you learn through both criticism and the work of others that you aspire to. TrekEarth often provides neither learning experience, but that's just a facet of its popularity. Your suggestion still, in my view, won't completely accomplish your goals. Critiques by someone who is still 'learning the game' may be highly rated by someone else in the same boat, and you as the photographer still don't benefit.

As I noted before, quite often the best criticism is self-criticism. If you were asked to present one of your photographs as the finest accomplishment of your life would you be able to do so? If you were asked if you would have liked to have done better, would you say "yes"?

BobTrips 03-21-2007 01:38 AM

Re: Improving critique quality? An idea, thoughts?
 
"As I noted before, quite often the best criticism is self-criticism. If you were asked to present one of your photographs as the finest accomplishment of your life would you be able to do so? If you were asked if you would have liked to have done better, would you say "yes"?"

I'm very self-critical of my photographs. But that doesn't mean that I know what might be wrong/better/fixed.

The value of this site in the early days (for me) was that I could post one of "my best" images and have a group of people give me critical feedback. Early on I learned a lot about framing, sharpening, etc. There were (and still are) things that I couldn't see even when I was looking right at them.

(It will be a long time, if ever, before I could present one of my photographs as the finest accomplishment in my life. I'm better at a few other things. ;o)

ronners 03-21-2007 02:37 AM

Re: Improving critique quality? An idea, thoughts?
 
Bob,

Once we all get a handle on the technical stuff (sharpness etc.) it becomes more of a question of "Does this photo say what I want it to?". I think that the photographer is the best one to make a judgement on that. What I look for here is a feel for what a photograh says to someone else. For example, I'll get a bunch of "Oh, that looks like something from LOTR". Well, that's fine, but why do you like that kind of image? That for me is the key - digging below the surface of "I like this photo because it reminds me of something else that I like". That would be really interesting feedback.

Ron.

BobTrips 03-21-2007 03:15 AM

Re: Improving critique quality? An idea, thoughts?
 
What you're asking for, seems to me, is thoughtful criticism.

Me too.

Good, helpful criticism comes in many forms. There's not just the technical feedback (which I still need), there's criticism of content, composition, and probably lots of other things.

The topic at hand, I believe, is how to get it.

I'll repeat my point. First you need an environment in which criticism is valued and encouraged.

Adrian started this discussion about a potential way to improve critiques and I think his idea has merit. But it doesn't apply to this site in its current configuration.

IMHO.

ronners 03-21-2007 03:27 AM

Re: Improving critique quality? An idea, thoughts?
 
Agreed.

Davids 03-21-2007 11:40 AM

10 thoughts
 
We had the discussion many times before, one and a half year ago, Jose Elias <a href="http://www.trekearth.com/read.php?f=1&t=144846&m=211451" target="new window">started</a> a topic, and I also sugested to <a href="http://www.trekearth.com/read.php?f=1&t=144846&m=211508" target="new window">calibrate</a> people.

So suggestions;
1) a seperate section for people who actualy stick to the TOS (don't like that);
2) after each 100 critiques, you will be calibrated by other members (how to do?), your name will turn gold is all is OK, or stay blue if not;
3) report TOS violations more often (already possible on TE today!);
4) add the possibility to mark critiques as favourite;
4a) only allow comments, if three people mark it as usefull, it turns into a critique. Moderators should check if is it O.K., if not, they revers the process. The people who mark comments as usefull in contradiction with the TOS, get their ability to mark comments as usefull removed after 3 or 5 of such occasions, for a period of 2 weeks first, the second time it happens, two months, the (last) third time for ever. (this is closest to your proposal)
5) apoint more moderators (a few hundred should be enough)
6) allow new members to write critiques only three month after joining, the first three month thay can only write comments;
7) allow new members to post a new photo after writing 6 comments (the average on TE per photo);
8) take a test before people join TE, asking questions about the TOS. If they fail, they should try again, so in the end Adam can be sure they have actualy read the TOS before joining (hmmm, childish isn't it?);
9) set up an alternative for TE (worse proposal so far);
10) install a filter that allerts moderators about bad critiques (that's why the few hundred moderators);

In the end, it starts with yourself. I have changed through the years, and my last step was to use the full range of smilies, and not automaticly give the dark-green-two-points-smile. It doesn't make me popular, but it makes me feel good.

I have noticed more members putting up TE-profiles in their Intro, and I think it is a good idea.

flagman 03-21-2007 01:38 PM

Re: 10 thoughts
 
What about this idea? Should be quite effective and should only be a fairly minor change for the site?
Members have the ability to mark a critique as 'crap', 'useless', or whatever you want to call it. At the moment, we only have the option of neutral or useful.
Obviously, if this could be tied so some sort of automatic warning or banning of such critiquers, all the better!

I think the idea of splitting the site into 'serious critiques' and 'points harvesters' is a no-go. The TOS are there for all to see, if people don't want to conform, they should go elsewhere.

Andy.

AdrianW 03-21-2007 02:23 PM

Re: 10 thoughts
 
Actually there was a "not useful" rating originally, still is on TL I think.

Adam removed it from here and TN though, I think in light of abuse/retribution issues, but I can't remember...

kevinos 03-21-2007 03:43 PM

Re: Improving critique quality? An idea, thoughts?
 
Ron (Ronners) makes some really good points. Not everyone is capable of writing a real critique. By a real critique, I mean one that tries to say what you really think of a picture (and that means that you actually have to think about it) and tries to explain why you like what you like or don't like what you don’t like. It could still be crap, of course, but at least it’s honest crap. However it is not trite critiques that I find depressing; it is a whole syndrome.

You notice a rather average snapshot has got over 70 points. Astonished, you look further and discover, that the author of the picture
1) Always gets a heap of points, whether the picture is good or not.
2) Writes the full quota of critiques every day.
3) Tends to critique proven responders, that is, members who are known to repay points.
4) Always writes trite, brief and flattering critiques.
5) Tends to receive the same trite and flattering critiques, plus two points, of course, in return.
It’s not lack of critiquing skill that depresses me, it is this whole syndrome.
Many TE members that I have talked with are equally depressed and some have drifted away from TE because of it.

So when I post a picture, it will probably get a few points, and if I’m lucky, a real critique (for whaich i am always grateful). The points received will be, not so much a reflection of its quality as of my recent critiquing activity. So, I am not encouraged to improve. Worst of all, it pushes me to write crap critiques myself. On the basis that it seems rude not to say something nice about that kind person that was nice about mine.

I have found that, you can say 10 good thing about a picture but it you say one critical thing, you have lost a friend. Many members don’t really want critiques, they want flattery and points and that game leads us all nowhere.

lcelvenes 03-21-2007 04:19 PM

Re: Improving critique quality? An idea, thoughts?
 
Hi Adrian

Unfortunately I don't have the time to read all the posts at the moment, but I have a question. I'm not familiar with slashdot, so I was wondering if you could post an example here in the thread to show us what a critque could look like? That would be great. I believe the best way to change the critiquing culture on TE (and TL and probably TN) is to make sure our own critiques meet the standards we seek in others. Well done, thanks for taking the initiative :)

Lars-Christan

Davids 03-21-2007 05:37 PM

write helpful critiques to 'bad' photos
 
Lets start by writing helpful critiques to 'bad' photos, not to photos with enough critiques saying how nice they are.
say something about notes, processing, themes, how it fits in the portfolio.
just a thuoght. . .

Davids 03-21-2007 05:45 PM

Re: Improving critique quality? An idea, thoughts?
 
what a beautiful rant.
you just gained a friend . . .

"to write crap critiques myself."
is the best critique you could have ever written.

:)

flagman 03-21-2007 07:08 PM

Re: write helpful critiques to 'bad' photos
 
Kevinos kind of summed it all up really, so unless the admins want to do something about it, that kind of activity will only continue.
Unfortunately any good intentions by the few of us who improve our own critiques in the hope that others will follow will be wasted. TE is far too big for such a small group of people to do anything.
Bring back the 'not useful', that's what I say! :)
Andy

BobTrips 03-21-2007 07:13 PM

Re: 10 thoughts
 
"The TOS are there for all to see, if people don't want to conform, they should go elsewhere."


What we don't seem to get in these periodic discussions on critique quality and the point system is input from Adam. (Perhaps he has spoken up and I've missed it.)

I remember (perhaps incorrectly) that he established this site as a serious (semi-serious?) critique site. It certainly was a critique site in it's early days. But over time it has grown to be a high traffic site and serious critiques seem to have become a small subset of the activity.

It seems to me that a lot more people are interested in showing their pictures and collecting points. I could be very wrong on this one. All I've got to go on is subjective, no objective data.

Adam must be enjoying the popularity of the site. It's got to be a huge ego stroke. I doubt if he wants to take any action that might chase away the majority of members.

flagman 03-21-2007 07:29 PM

Re: 10 thoughts
 
Good point, Bob.
The more visitors, the more ad income :)

Andy

BobTrips 03-21-2007 08:29 PM

"Not useful"
 
Not useful and scowling faces have caused hurt feelings and problems in the past on this site. Not everyone (perhaps only a small percentage) want "real" critiques. Lots of folks want praise, even if it isn't deserved.

AdrianW 03-21-2007 10:01 PM

Re: 10 thoughts
 
&gt; Adam must be enjoying the popularity of the site. It's got to be a huge ego stroke. I doubt if he wants to take any action that might chase away the majority of members.

I don't think that's fair, not even close. Adam's always fixing bugs, and he works damned hard on the sites. Personally I know I wouldn't want a small kid, a full time job, and have to deal with the overall moderation of TE/TL/TN as well - that's a massive amount of work. I wouldn't have time to sleep, let alone significantly change things based on a few bits of feedback.

Feedback is what I'm trying to provide though, positive feedback - not carping on about much better life would be if...

I'm trying to come up with a concrete proposal, and then attempt to get the community's backing for it. If it's a success, then I'll ask Adam. If he refuses, that's fair enough, it's his site. There's always a possibility that I'll code it myself in that eventuality - but first I need to get the concepts right. That's what I'm asking here. Is my concept correct, and do you (collectively) think it'll work as intended if implemented?

BobTrips 03-21-2007 10:15 PM

Sorry...
 
" Adam must be enjoying the popularity of the site. It's got to be a huge ego stroke. I doubt if he wants to take any action that might chase away the majority of members."

"I don't think that's fair, not even close."

----------------------------------------------------------------------
I don't see anything at all that's unfair about what I wrote. Are you sure you are reading it correctly?

Adam's got a very popular site. Lots of people set up sites that don't get a tiny fraction of the traffic that this one does.

Sure, it takes some work to maintain. And I doubt that he's making any significant money from the site (he might even be a bit out of pocket).

Given that my financial assumption is true, then there are only two reasons that I can think of which would explain his continuing to run this site.

First, he enjoys its popularity. That's the "ego stroke" part.

Second, he anticipates/hopes that some well-funded entity purchases the site from him for significant money. (That just happened to one privately owned site with which both you and I are familiar. The existing traffic made the owner "rich" - his word.)

As for your concept, I'll address that separately in a different post.

BobTrips 03-21-2007 10:23 PM

Re: Adrian's original post: Improving critique quality?
 
Something along this line might work well. For those who want to write "real" critiques.

(I wouldn't necessarily leave the photographer out of the system.)

The problem, as I see it, is that you've (probably) got a large percentage of people on this site who thing "pretty picture" is a great critique. I would even guess that they outnumber the "serious" critiquers.

How do you keep them from controlling the process? What if the "you should straighten your horizon" critiques get down rated by those who operate from a speak-no-evil stance?

greg 03-21-2007 10:39 PM

Re: Adrian's original post: Improving critique quality?
 
It could be possible to set it up so that a moderator (i.e. Adam) could weight the critique ratings of selected users who critique in the desired way, and these weights could filter through to those approved by these critique writers... and so on. With the right tweaking, this might handle the problem Bob mentions.

You'd then have a dilemma about making the weightings transparent or not: if yes, they would become as bad or worse than the points for competition. So probably no... but some won't like that either.

AdrianW 03-21-2007 10:47 PM

Re: Adrian's original post: Improving critique quality?
 
&gt; How do you keep [the great shot folks] from controlling the process? What if the "you should straighten your horizon" critiques get down rated by those who operate from a speak-no-evil stance?

That's where the final paragraph comes in:
"And occasionally make people rate a rating, to create a bias for accuracy of ratings - if you see what I mean? Accurate raters get more weight assigned to their rating than those who always click useful."

Start with a low bias for all users, and have the initial "up"-bias applied by the moderator. If a moderator rates the critique a zero out of ten, and fifteen people rated it a ten, then you drop the bias values on those folks accordingly, and increase the bias on those who rated it "correctly".

With the slashdot moderation system users are occasionally allowed to give moderator bias if their views rate consistently similar to the prevailing opinion.

The idea is that the system becomes self sustaining after a while.

The problem on slashdot seems to be that group-think prevails - but I think that would be corrected with more moderator input, or even slightly different values in their system - a more aggressive low bias perhaps?

I'm also wondering whether the critiques with the highest rating should float to the top, maybe?

AdrianW 03-21-2007 10:48 PM

Re: Adrian's original post: Improving critique quality?
 
I was thinking mostly non-transparent, but yes, that's the idea!

BobTrips 03-21-2007 10:59 PM

Re: Adrian's original post: Improving critique quality?
 
"The problem on slashdot seems to be that group-think prevails - but I think that would be corrected with more moderator input, or even slightly different values in their system - a more aggressive low bias perhaps?"

Why not simply tag "bad" critiques? Imagine a system where one could tag critiques as either "vacuous" or "unnecessarily harsh" (add others as required). If someone's rate of posting down rated critiques exceeded some ratio they would get voted off the island.

That would allow a broad range of critiques, would not result in the community shaping what they consider a good critique.

And don't report scores publicly. Each member should be able to see his/her own ratings, no one else. Get the competition out of the system. If people don't like their ratings they can change or disappear.



"I'm also wondering whether the critiques with the highest rating should float to the top, maybe?"

Critiques are sometimes sequential. "As others have pointed out..." doesn't work well if you float it to the top.





I'm also wondering whether the critiques with the highest rating should float to the top, maybe?

bazal 03-22-2007 12:58 AM

walk this way...
 
I really think this discussion is going more and more disdainful (even insulting, sometimes) towards those who are considered as "bad critiquers". Hopefully they won't read it! But maybe I'm one of them...

Come on! Are you so annoyed that some people on this site don't behave as you do? Or should I say as you would like them to do because I sincerely don't think that most of the "critique teachers" I've read here can be seen as references for top-critique writers?

If you don't like some critiques nobody forces you to read them, if you don't like certain kinds of pictures, you don't need to look at them and if you're just jalous of the points earned by some people (it doesn't matter they are deserved or not), just turn off the poin system and you'll feel immediately better.

Please, live your life and let the other act the way they want without trying to add new rules, sherifs, sanctions and barbed-wires on this website. What you're speaking of is not improving the site but limiting the freedom of those who don't think as you.

I sincerely hope nobody will take what I say personnaly, and that's why I did not copied any citations about what I've read before on this discussion. Nevertheless these things really represent the feelings I have while reading your comments. Wish I was wrong.

Best regards.
LB.

ronners 03-22-2007 01:14 AM

Re: walk this way...
 
Loic,

The intention isn't to dismiss those whose critiques we don't like. The thing that we're all wrestling with here is that a lot of people aren't getting as much as they would like out of the site. To many who have posted on this topic, TrekEarth is more than a social photography forum, because at times we've all benefited from the useful and constructive critiques that from time to time make this site unique. We're all members because we love the original idea, and if it seems to have gone off track then that's a shame. So please don't look at this in a negative way; we're trying to be constructive here.

Ron.

berseph 03-22-2007 04:02 AM

Re: 10 thoughts
 
You could always implement that a critique has to have a certain length (similar to a note) or else it automatically becomes a comment. Many of the critiques I've seen on this site are only a few words long and these are never helpful. Granted, they could still fill it with fluff, but at least a first pass at separating the two.

I don't see why the "not useful" button couldn't be brought back either, although I have no idea it could be implemented (i.e. would we hide those that have negative ratings, or would these become comments after a certain number of negative responses?). Maybe people could vote whether the post is a comment or a critique after it is written (instead of having it assigned by the poster).

I doubt many use the ratings function for critiques anyways, as if you look at the long list of critiques, very few have a number after them indicating that they haven't recieved at least 2 useful ratings (granted I don't know how many of the critiques were really usefull anyhow. Making it mandatory to rate them may make them biased as well, based on the "dark green smiley only" mentality on this site (I even recently got criticized for using the light smiley for one post when I was the only one to write a critique).

Also, we all must be aware that this site has people of all different photography abilities and the critiques will develop as we all progress. It's hard to give usefull critiques to someone who is much better at photography, since many of those pictures will seem perfect to the majority of us.

AROBN54 03-22-2007 09:32 AM

Re: walk this way...
 
This is hard for me. I am at a point I can't even stand my own pictures. And now this. I have to worry if my opinions of a picture mean anything. It's like I've said - I don't look at thumbnaiils I don't think I'll like. When I like something I prefer to be able to express myself, though I've tried to... tone it down. I have great sympathy for those who have problems with English or who just aren't natural writers. Those I feel are struggling to MAKE a comment and participate deserve a useful rating. JMO
Shelly

oochappan 03-22-2007 10:39 AM

Re: walk this way...
 
Right Shelly,
the simple reflections often written with a lot of efforts seems more honest and modest, as thus more reliable then the mile long oracles, turning, turning around with expensive words avoiding to come to the point and that we have to read way to often on the opening page ? Such can only frighten new off to write their own critique.

Wisdom is mostly written in a clear simple short way, know what you want to say and say it simple and clear to the point, that stands for intelligency, the nice bla-bla-bla-bla are sales-tricks.

The best critique is still a PP to show immediatly what you want to say, but that cost an effort and some knowledge of editing for new people still to learn but the old generation can ... that dignity to help someone else telling the secrets of editing can also be yours :)).

jrj 03-22-2007 11:49 AM

To the TE elite
 
I have with interest followed this thread the last 2 days:
After the ordinary harassing of those with more than xx points and xx critics written, the small group of thread participants amongst our elite, where some seems still to be in the dream land of “Good ol’ TE” where the sun was shining every day (that is before 2003), and Sir Adrian himself, 3 photos posted in 2006, but, of course Sir, also some high quality ws and critics – they have now finally landed into some dynamic proposals together with some few newer members who have engaged themselves in the most creative suggestions for how to develop our moderators to become some charming mini STASI or KGB juniors (that is after we have some hundreds of new moderators in place – as one suggest)

I think gentlemen that one of these days you should try to land your mental flight. Could be TE is not perfect but look to the world around you. Control freaks and mind control is kind of out of date. And with your constant rant of all the fails done by some active members at TE – never forget that their activities goes on within the TOS – they are legal at this site.
Be welcome back with some proposals for writing better critics based on motivation and personal guidelines, practical examples, training courses for that sake, but be sure to have support by more than the very few that have been supporting, so far, in this thread. Or simply set up a ‘quality critic’ list where all interested may participate.

Davids 03-22-2007 02:21 PM

Re: To the TE elite
 
Jack,
We've both been long enough on this site to understand the dynamics. I refered to a simular discussion joselias started in oktober 2005, and no doubt there will be more.
What I like about these discussions is that newer members hopefully learn about the various aspects of TE, that points aren't the only reason.
TE is a largly self moderating site, and its openness and respect in discussions is -I think- rather unique on the www.
When I joined TE I wasn't aware of the past of TE, since the beginning of 2006, I find it had to be motivated on TE, because I miss the constructive critisism to improve.
I still browse TE, learn about the world, but it gets harder by the day to find an original note.
I try to stop writing critiques that say to others how nice the photo is. If I like the photo, and technicaly it is OK, I just look at another. I stopped giving two points for every photo, I do not make a difference between someone with 8 or 18000 points.
I miss a good photo editing programm to start reposting photos I posted, or to keep on posting more than I want.
I think it is good to think about if TE isn't becoming more and more like Flickr?
If we talk about the rants in combination with high points (and this is part of the dynamics I mentioned before), there is a difference of oppinion that will never be solved, simply because it is an integrated part of TE.
Some members have time enough to participate more than others, writing the maximum of critiques per day. Others have little time or are/became -lets face it- less interested in TE because TE doesn't live up to their standards. Ventilating these thoughts, always leads to the same point in a discussion where people with multiple thousends of points and the rest start to accuse eachother. Plenty of examples in the past threads.

And here we come to the core of one of your last remarks;
“never forget that their activities goes on within the TOS – they are legal at this site.”. This is arguable There are more examples in the TOS that are simply not moderated. The most stricking one is that the photos from common objects without note will be deleted. TE has simply become too big to be moderated.
The arguable part is that Adam could decide that critiques that only write about positive parts of the photo -even when this is motivated- are actualy comments, and if a member is persistant in only writing (largly) possitive comments that are marked as critiques, he could remove them.
I have a creative profession, and being not critical will mean I wil loose my job in the end. I have learned that possitive remarks are accepted more easy than –constructive- negative ones. For exaplme if I say ‘the colours are nice’, it doesn’t say why they are nice. Are they nice because they are balanced? deep but not over saturated? do they associate with something form the history or surroundings? The reason for being good is hardly ever questioned. But this is exacly what would be informative to members with less experience.
The question Adam will have to answer is if it is still the intention of TE that the bulk of critiques only emphasise the good aspects, and if he will be more critical of these critiques?
This affects many people with high points, true, but just because we are discussing it doesn’t mean that it’s personal or wrong.
What is being discussed is if TE is becoming too common.
I have given many proposals in this thread, and the one I liked nest has so far received one reaction; why don’t we start writing more critiques to bad photos?
Also I think it would be better if we stopped using the two point smiley for every critique we write, even more, I think we discuss to mark more critiques as comments.

Your remark about moderators and KGB/Stasi tactics –a little bit too provocative in my mind- has some truth in it. But I don’t think that a moderator is per se a bad person just because he/she regulates. It is part of human nature that people have to moderated, just look at the amount of discussions Adam locks every month that are in the wrong part of the Forum. And most interesting, look at the amount of esperience the people have who start these threads, and I wonder if they never looked into the other parts of the forum, knowing where to post them in the first place.

So the central question is; has TE become too common, where writing about the parts of a photo or note that needs improvement has become too rare to be accaptable? Do members understand it is part of TE to do so, and that it has no personal intentions, other than to help the person? Have TE members become too experienced, and are they posting only good photos these days?

Jack, as usual, no offence ment of coarse :)


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