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  #1  
Old 03-20-2007, 12:16 AM
AdrianW AdrianW is offline
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Default 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?
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  #2  
Old 03-20-2007, 12:26 AM
vapours vapours is offline
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Default 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.
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Old 03-20-2007, 03:53 AM
danielswalsh danielswalsh is offline
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Default Re: Improving critique quality? An idea, thoughts?

I think that's a great idea- I'm 100% for it!

- Dan
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  #4  
Old 03-20-2007, 04:14 AM
Olof Olof is offline
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Default Re: Improving critique quality? An idea, thoughts?

I agree. It will force us all to write better critiques. Good idea.

Lars
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  #5  
Old 03-20-2007, 06:28 AM
ronners ronners is offline
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Default 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.
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  #6  
Old 03-20-2007, 06:40 AM
kevinos kevinos is offline
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Default 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.
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Old 03-20-2007, 06:50 AM
kevinos kevinos is offline
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Default 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.
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  #8  
Old 03-20-2007, 08:12 PM
ronners ronners is offline
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Default 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.
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  #9  
Old 03-20-2007, 08:49 PM
AdrianW AdrianW is offline
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Default 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 ;)
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  #10  
Old 03-20-2007, 10:20 PM
BobTrips BobTrips is offline
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Default 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.
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