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Keitht 08-31-2006 07:16 PM

Re: The Critique Conspiracy
I've just been looking at the membership numbers which themselves make interesting reading.
When I joined in July 2003 there were typically about 5 or 6 new members each day. Yesterday there were nearly 90!
On the day I joined there were 3 pages of images posted = about 50. Yesterday there were 43 pages = about 770.
It all helps to explain why people simply aren't getting the same level of feedback as they did 'In the old days'. Back then members could click on each image to get a better impression. At say 10 seconds per image, to have a proper look, it was under 10 minutes. To attempt the same now would take over 2 hours.

BobTrips 08-31-2006 08:31 PM

Rethinking the mission...
"There certainly seemed to be a clique in the earlier days of TE, who would give glowing critiques which appeared to me to relate more to the photographer than the quality of the work. I have seen little evidence of that recently."

"Exactly the opposite of my impressions. I think back to the original days of this site, where the membership was quite limited and close knit. It was not at all unusual to see even some quite good photos with multiple yellow faces. Nowadays, I rarely see yellows and I have seen plenty of photos which garner a lot of critiques where very obvious flaws are simply never mentioned."

After reading Darren's comments I realised that my original statement required some clarification. I didn't mean to imply that the site was full of cliques in the earlier days i.e. a couple of years ago, but it was apparent that there was a small group of members who always critiqued each other's work and always in glowing terms.
I certainly agree that there seem to be fewer critiques with yellow smilies now, and there are definitely a huge number of 'Well done' and 'Good shot' responses.

I joined in 2002. I found TE incredibly valuable for my growth as a photographer. Photographs were carefully viewed and helpful feedback was given. TE was truly a critique site.

The community was small enough that most of us got to know each other in terms of skill level and aspirations. That made for a close knit group, but at the same time the site seemed to welcome new members.

Over time membership grew and true critiques were diluted with lots and lots of meaningless comments. To a great extent those comments seem, IMO, to be driven by the desire to acquire points.

Perhaps it's time for Adam to create a new site. A TrekEarth for more serious photographers. A place where the emphasis would be on growth via considered feedback from other like-minded members.

No reason that the databases from the two sites couldn't be merged for those who simply want to browse pictures from one part of the world. But separate the critiques from the comments/points rather than trying to serve multiple purposes with only one site.

kinginexile 08-31-2006 08:36 PM

Re: The Critique Conspiracy
I think the problem is not so much that there would be constant backslapping "cliques", but the contrary, ie. no participation. I have critiqued a lot of pictures from members who were, so to speak, totally out of the blue, neither my favorites, or my "buddies", and I am ready to bet that not one out of 15 had anything to say on my photos. It just went on for too long, and my critiquing enthusiasm is not what it used to be, for sure.

Even considering that they DO not have to reciprocate, it's a bit against the idea of TE. The quality of pix is down, day after day, and that may have to do with the fact that people are not learning from each other that much anymore, maybe. I read the few critiques on your shots, Harjit. You are one of the lucky ones, people are very constructive in their critiques, and their post is worth 20 "you are the greatest" smyley-giving ones, to encourage you to improve...

jinju 09-01-2006 03:18 AM

Re: The Critique Conspiracy
My impression is also that negative critiques were better handled back then. Nowadays, when critiques mention a flaw in a photo, all too often the photographer either replies with an excuse as to why the flaw couldn't be avoided or a rationalization as to why it is not a flaw. Before, it seemed more that members would take their lumps, be thankful for the critique and move on.

A flaw isnt always a flaw Darren. It may be to you, it may not to the photographer. have you read the Flickr groups dismissal of HCB's bicycle photo? The flaws mentioned wre that it wasnt sharp, the focus wasnt right on where it should be. To them that was a flaw, to HCB it wasnt.

Darren 09-01-2006 09:06 AM

Re: The Critique Conspiracy
A flaw might not always be a flaw Rafal, but my very strong impression here is that many people do not take criticism well and are way too defensive or make way too many excuses when someone points out something they don't like in a photo. Sure, what is a flaw for one might not be a flaw for another, but when you are dealing with basic photographical principals like poor exposure, cropping in such a way that subjects in the photo interfere with each other, shooting in poor light, missing focus or a host of other things, a flaw in general is a flaw. Even if it is not a flaw to the photographer, when I see a highly commented upon photo which has such "flaws", yet of 10-50 (or more) critiques, noone mentions the "flaw", people just aren't looking very analytically. Of course, when the photographer publicly disagrees with the comment, this sets the tone for the site: this tone is one where noone says negative things as it just isn't worth the effort.

As for the HCB thing, quite frankly that is a total red herring. I will guarantee HCB himself was far more critical of his work than the folks here on TE are. This is how he rose to the level he attained. Quite likely he liked many elements of the photo, but I would be shocked to hear that he thought that photo was flawless. I doubt he thought any of his shots were perfect. I would also guess he took criticism given to him in the way it was intended. HCB was no god. He took more duds in his life than any ten members on TE have taken photos. Not every shot he took was a masterpiece. Of course he also created more masterpieces than pretty much any other photographer.

ktanska 09-01-2006 09:49 AM

Re: The Critique Conspiracy
> Hi Kari, actually you've received more points than the no. of critiques > you gave - a good sign? :)

I have given more critiques than have received. I deliberately didn't mention points.
For the rest I agree completely.

Davids 09-01-2006 09:56 AM

Re: The Critique Conspiracy
Keith, I agree.
When I joine in 2004, there were about 9 new memebers every day, half a year later it was about 15.
When I started, I received some critiques welcoming me, and that encouraged me to starting writing comments first, and later when I felt more confident, critiques.
I just had a look at the first 10 pages of new members, and the 300 new members posted 74 photos, and wrote 54 critiques. Only a few wrote more than 2 critiques.
To get started now is a lot more difficult than it was before, the mechanism to become part of the community has gone.

Davids 09-01-2006 10:14 AM

Re: The Critique Conspiracy
Herve, I had the same experience the last couple of weeks. I don't have a big 'buddy circle', only a few members periodicly visit my photo's. For the rest, It comes down to posting new photo's and luck.
Last weeks, I tried the random aproach, without posting new photo's, because I want critiques to help me to improve. I feel that I'm not progressing the way I want to, I need new inspiration, and new theme's. Hardly any of them returned 'the favour'. They don't have to, but I miss the feedback.
Harjit has the same problem, and the feedback is quite constructive, but it also shows that there is problem now, just imagine if you are new!

There was once a proposal to allow a post after writing a minimum of critiques. But the problem of the quality of critiques will only get bigger. The quality of the photo's is now also critisised more and more.

in all we have three problems;
- quantity of feedback
- quality of feedback
- quality of photo's

kinginexile 09-01-2006 10:21 AM

Re: The Critique Conspiracy
which reminds me he, HCB, said "your first 10 000 shots are the worst ones". Roughly translated in digitsl mediums, for me at least, that would mean 100 000. Sounds about right, the 100 001st should be roughly around the fall or winter of 2008...

Though we should be weary to abide by what he said. For one luminous insight, a lot seemed coming from a very anally retentive public personality. He seemed in his later decades totally negating the relevance of having been a photographer. Not fun, grumpy old man HCB.... :-(

jinju 09-01-2006 10:44 AM

Re: The Critique Conspiracy
Seperate the personality from the work, if thats possible. I also always wandered, how could someone who didnt like the medium be so good at it. And thats how he came across in the interviews and stuff I read about him. That he didnt like it.

About rules, I think keeping to the rules is sometimes a blind alley. Many times imperfections speak much more forcefully.

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