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Old Apr 8, 2010, 7:20 AM   #11
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I won't talk about the Bi-weekly shootout for now as I've never really been involved, but just in general we go through phases of people replying lots to threads and things being quiet. I've noticed it through the years and when they've been quiet tried to encourage people to post. It varies by who is around at the time, so certain sections will get lots of posts and others will be quiet. It just takes a few to be keen and get things going in a specific section for things to change. Let's take the Photo Critique section as an example. We decided a little while ago that it wasn't really working so Dustin and I proposed a revamp, new name and more dedicated posting and advice. It might not be perfect there and still depends on the time people have but the photos are getting more replies and we are also seeing more people post there in the first place.

So do I have a solution, nope not really. Just think if as many people as possible post then it will create a culture of posting, if we give up then people will see nothing happening and be reluctant to join in. So like most things it starts with the individual.
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Old Apr 8, 2010, 7:39 AM   #12
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Here is my take as an observer. This is a challenging subject. Over the years there have been complaints by people who have received unwanted critique of their photos. This has led to the official policy of only openly critiquing photos in the Critique section. In reality that's a pretty loosely enforced policy. Still, it's there because there are people that simply don't want critique - they just want to share. Limiting comments to only 'nice picture' types of comments really is pointless for those people who are honestly interested in peer review. So, that's your first hurdle - participants and moderators of the bi-weekly shootout need to come to consensus as to whether critique is acceptable and should be encouraged.

Now, if you do decide that's the way you want to go then you have the next hurdle - first, the people that do not like critique will simply stop posting here. Second, there are people that simply don't like to do critical analysis and point out the good and areas for improvement. So, here are my suggestions as a person (not a moderator) if peer review is actually a truly desired state:

1) Limit entries to 1 photo per person per contest. Period.
2) Turn it in to a contest with a final vote. The "winner" now must perform as official commenter for next challenge and he/she cannot contribute to that challenge. This does a couple things - first it encourages the most creative photographers to actually comment and second it keeps that person from winning every challenge or even having their photos out in every challenge. If the same people keep posting wonderful shots and winning, it can be difficult to get other people to participate. You'll get too much of "my shot is no where near as good as theirs so why bother?" In fact I might go so far as to suggest that the top 10% vote getters fall into this category. If 20 people participate then the top 2 vote getters are out of the next challenge and must spend the next challenge offering critique.

finally - on critique. Here's how it is encouraged in the corporate world - provide what the person did well and provide at least one area for improvement. So, "nice shot" is not acceptable critique.

For certain anyone else can say whatever they like but the 'official' critique givers must critique in that capacity.

I think this works in the spirit of the bi-weekly challenge because the whole point is to get more creative and get better. You can't get better if people either say nothing or only concentrate on the positives and don't offer advice on what could be done better.

Just my thoughts as an individual - not as a moderator.
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Old Apr 8, 2010, 2:34 PM   #13
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Not sure about 2). So you win the contest and then your're forced to "comment slavery"? What about creating a sticky Honor Prize Biweekly Winners Forum?
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Old Apr 8, 2010, 3:00 PM   #14
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I'm thinking that some folks aren't that comfortable providing a narrative response -- but may like the idea of providing a 5-scale rating of a post instead...with 5 being the best. Those who want to provide additional suggestions could do so as well.

I like the way dpreview.com does its challenges with that type of rating. They get hundreds of submissions for most of their challenges, and I think it is because you can find out how your own entry stacked up against all others.

There is a learning opportunity with that approach as well, although including narrative comments (in our forum) would be even better. We don't necessarily have to have the "votes" totaled, as long as we can see more responses to our submissions -- which was my original concern.

Moderators: Is there a way of including a rating scale response with a mouse click feature?
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Old Apr 8, 2010, 3:17 PM   #15
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I don't really have anything to do with the forum either other than contributing from time to time. So my comments are just as an observer.

I think JohnG's point about the critiques in this forum must be covered first. As mentioned we have a critique forum because some people get upset if they receive constructive feedback. So before anything can be done, the critique must be decided on. Is critique allowed on all photos, or just if the tag "c&c welcome" as in other forums.

I think there should be only 1 entry allowed per contest area. When you get a flood of photos and several from a few people, it becomes too much to comment on. I know often times i just skip over the posts in this forum when i am low on time due to large amount of posts, especially during the early period of the contest time.

Then you will have to decide on how its handled as a contest. Will you have winners, what will these winners "get"

But I do agree, this forum could be in need for at least a small facelift in the same vein as photo critiques recently did.
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Old Apr 8, 2010, 3:42 PM   #16
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Then you will have to decide on how its handled as a contest. Will you have winners, what will these winners "get"

Nothing material. Just the joy of being selected.
Critiques should be accepted on all forums. If somebody don't like critiques, the he/she should create their own web site. We're guests here and should be thankful to participate and have a place to learn.
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Old Apr 8, 2010, 3:55 PM   #17
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This is a quote directly from the forum guidelines provided by Calr,

"The Biweekly Shoot Out forum is a place to have some fun and, hopefully, learn a few things. It is a place to see some excellent photos...and a few bad ones! It is a place to post your photos and get comments from the moderators and other users. Everyone is invited to comment and critique posted photos. If you like a photo, tell us why. If you don't like a photo please tell us exactly what you think is wrong. You are asked to be civil and make your comments constructive. Simply saying a photo is "crappy" doesn't help anyone and could cause the loss of a good forum member."

So Critique is expected here. I do like the idea of a rating or scoring system as well as comments, good or bad. I'm not sure there should be a limit on the amount of pictures each person can post, one per day/per post, perhaps. The winner should then be encouraged to comment on as many as they can for the next challenge but not be eligible to "win"
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Old Apr 8, 2010, 5:25 PM   #18
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I should have clarified on #2. If they are anything like me they might feel hesitant to comment because they don't feel like they really know what makes a good photograph good. Anyways, I do agree with your other points. Maybe people just by seeing this thread will prompt them to comment more often! I know it has motivated me to. Off to NHL's post...

I am not sure how much of a bandwagon we can create, but what if someone went through the biweekly shots and picked their top 3. People can then vote and say why/why not? A nice poll from the admins would be nice but I am sure we could do it just as well.
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Old Apr 8, 2010, 11:12 PM   #19
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Ladies and gentlemen,
From my point of view, the participants in this forum have gotten lazy. Make a challenge more difficult and people either don't participate or complain. This has been the trend for the last several years.

Perhaps this forum has outlived its usefulness. With all the bickering, name calling, and general dissent, it may be time to disband this forum. We have had some excellent challenges and some very bad ones. There have been a lot of show and tell challenges which are not the least bit educational.

The current challenge is more difficult than most and people are running for the hills. If you were to read the book referenced in the challenge description, you would better understand the challenge and it would make a better photographer of you.

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Last edited by calr; Apr 11, 2010 at 11:14 AM. Reason: Some content removed
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Old Apr 9, 2010, 7:45 AM   #20
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1. I dislike the idea of turning the 'challenge' into a competition. I deplored the renaming as a "Shoot-out". There are competitions everywhere, especially on TV. I do enjoy the more cerebral quiz shows, but I don't care who wins, and in the better ones, neither do the participants. I see no advantage at all in picking a winner round here, and disadvantages for those who are 'a little different' one way or another.

2. Mark is quite right in remembering bad patches of tetchiness or even acrimony here and elsewhere in these forums. They come and they go, as he wisely points out.

3. I recommend folk to take a peek back in time, search for their earliest surviving posts and replies here, and browse in those threads for a while. This may well remind everyone why we're here. I enjoyed it hugely, but missed good forum friends who aren't around here any more. It's good fun. You can say to yourself either "Gosh, wasn't I brilliant then!" or "Haven't I improved?" or whatever you like. The earliest post here of mine that the "Search this forum" software could find was in March 2004.

4. Last time I remember debating the business of folk looking and not posting, I pointed out the simple mathematics of time in viewing the forums.

If I commented on everything about which I had a view, it would be impossible to have a life outside the forums. When occasionally I do get enthusiastic about posting frequently, I am painfully aware that I'm spending too much time in front of a screen, and not enough on other interests, including getting out with the camera and taking photographs. Here, I post not for the sake of it, but when I have something particular to say.

5. I am fully aware of the pain experienced when a shot you posted and really liked gets many views and no comments. However, it doesn't happen all that often, and quite often I think it happens through accidents of timing.

6. So I think we should soldier on as we are. I don't don't think it's necessary to be too creative over topics. Recycling some very old ones doesn't do any harm.

I am unenthusiastic about the current one, because as already pointed out it demands that we each catch ourselves a willing assistant, preferably a none-too-imaginative one. I had a brief discussion with the family about it. I am confident that the three candidates nearby, aged 18, 50-something, and 80 could all, with their digicams, attempt to come up with something, whatever location I gave them, and they're busy people with better things to do than rack their brains challenging me.

7. Our devoted and dedicated moderators deserve a huge vote of thanks for the enormous amount of time they effort they must be putting in for our benefit.

Best wishes to all.
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